"Autobiographies of great nations are written in three manuscripts – a book of deeds, a book of words, and a book of art.
Of the three, I would choose the latter as truest testimony." - Sir Kenneth Smith, Great Civilisations

"I must write each day without fail, not so much for the success of the work, as in order not to get out of my routine." - Leo Tolstoy

I have never believed that one should wait until one is inspired because I think the pleasures of not writing are so
great that if you ever start indulging them you will never write again. - John Updike

"The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour
is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it." - J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Hugh Dunford Wood - Poetry in Paintings

 
Landscapes

“No longer do stones, springs, trees or animals speak to man, nor can he speak to them. Through scientific understanding our world has become dehumanized.” ~ C.G.Jung.

Landscape painting is an unfashionable genre. Many people regard the landscape with unease, for its association is rough and unsophisticated.

Most of us today live urban lives, out of balance with the natural world. All around us lies evidence of our neglect, for the culture we have constructed is in contrast, even in opposition, to the wildness of the natural world.

My paintings are therefore an attempt to address this imbalance, to bring the outside in. I am a figurative painter at present looking at woodland and at coastline. There is meaning and virtue in landscape which can have a positive effect on our living and working spaces.

These are metre large canvases painted out in the field. They take a full day to paint in a race against cold, hunger and the dying of the light. They attempt to make order of the riot of the natural world to present a field of contemplation to urban man.

 - Hugh Danwood 


Above Beer Head



Cobb Gate



Achilles Bay Bermuda



Caseford Shaw



Lambert's Hedgerow



Coneys Castle



Farm at Dunkerswell



Bedruthan Steps



Above Stoke Abbot



Garden in Bermuda



Bottom of Hell Lane



Shinbone Alley Bermuda



Swerford Valley



Sussex Copse



Turner's Hill



Church ope Cove



Devonshire Dock Bermuda



Green Lane



Colne Valley



Happy Valley



Hillside in September



Autumn Hedgerow



Bermuda Beach



Breakens Head



Quarry Lane



Red Bicycle



Tempest Wood



Landscape



Landscape



Tuscan Castle



Hell Lane



The Unfinish Church Bermuda



Traitors Ford


Hugh Dunford Wood


HuHugh Dunford Wood has worked as an independent artist designer since student days at Oxford’s Ruskin School of Art in the 1970s. He made a good living painting landscapes and portraits; he ran a fashion business for 15 years handpainting mens’ ties with a team of 24 artists under his direction. He designs crockery, jewelry, furnishing fabrics and wallpapers.

He is a member of The Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Artist Member of the Royal Western Academy, Visiting Tutor at West Dean College, and was guest lecturer at Open University of the Arts. As a volunteer he ran art workshops through the London’s Passage night shelter, where he developed the Streetwise Artpack for homeless people. He ran art courses for detainees at Campsfield Removal Center, and at HMP Belmarsh and other prisons. He worked on a portrait project with prisoners in Philadelphia Correctional Facility, USA.

Artist in Residence at The Royal Shakespeare Company (where he developed an art therapy course with actors), and the Globe Theatre when it first opened in 2000, and The Museum of Bermuda Art in 2009 to mark of the 400th anniversary of settlement. He has also been Artist in Residence with the Church of England in London.

He has exhibited widely in London and abroad with work in the collections of the V&A Museum, Christchurch & other Colleges at the University of Oxford, various County Councils, and private collections in Europe and America.

Hugh has always been keen to demystify and disseminate the role of the arts, co-founding the first Open Studio Weeks in Britain in 1983, in Oxfordshire, and the Lyme Regis ArtsFest in 2003. He curates the pop-up National Gallery of Lyme Regis for Dorset Arts Weeks.

Hugh likes to encourage others to develop their creative potential, as he has been fortunate in his life. He initiated a series of creative exercises while Artist in Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company, and subsequently developed these with prison inmates, homeless men & women, asylum seekers and refugees.

In the last 10 years Hugh has been developing a series of workshops sharing more specific skills such as the Wallpaper Weekend Workshop, Cushion Design Workshop, The iPad Workshop, Collino Workshop and Sketchbook Workshop.



The Seafarer


Norman Rockwell - "Boy and old Sea Captain"



Norman Rockwell, “Home Sweet Home” (1923)



Johnny Collins with Jim Mageean + Co
Poor old Horse (Man)



"This 124-line poem is often considered an elegy, since it appears to be spoken by an old sailor looking back on his life and preparing for death. He discusses the solitariness of a life on the waves, the cold, the danger, and the hardships. As such, the poem captures the bewitching fascination the sea holds for us, but also its darker, more unpredictable side. Ezra Pound produced a loose translation of the poem in the early twentieth century." - Dr. Oliver Tearle

 


THE SEAFARER
Anon

Mæg ic 2: be me sylfumI can 1: make a true song
1: soðgied wrecan,2: about me myself,
siþas secgan,tell my travels,
hu ic 2: geswincdagumhow I 1: often endured
3: earfoðhwile2: days of struggle,
1: oft þrowade,3: troublesome times,
4a5: bitre breostceare4: [how I] have suffered
4: gebiden hæbbe,5: grim sorrow at heart,
gecunnad in ceolehave known in the ship
cearselda fela,many worries [abodes of care],
atol yþa gewealc,the terrible tossing of the waves,
þær 4: mec 2: oft 3: bigeatwhere 1: the anxious night watch
1: nearo nihtwaco2: often 3: took 4: me
æt nacan stefnan,at the ship's prow,
8aþonne he be clifum cnossað.when it tossed near the cliffs.
Calde geþrungenFettered by cold
wæron mine fet,were my feet,
forste gebundenbound by frost
caldum clommum,in cold clasps,
þær þa ceare seofedunwhere then cares seethed
hat ymb heortan;hot about my heart --
hungor innan slata hunger tears from within
12amerewerges mod.the sea-weary soul.
Þæt se mon ne watThis the man does not know
þe him on foldanfor whom on land
fægrost limpeð,it turns out most favourably,
hu ic earmcearighow I, wretched and sorrowful,
iscealdne sæon the ice-cold sea
winter wunadedwelt for a winter
wræccan lastum,in the paths of exile,
16awinemægum bidroren,bereft of friendly kinsmen,
bihongen hrimgicelum;hung about with icicles;
hægl scurum fleag.hail flew in showers.
þær ic ne gehyrdeThere I heard nothing
butan hlimman sæ,but the roaring sea,
iscaldne wæg.the ice-cold wave.
Hwilum ylfete songAt times the swan's song
20adyde ic me to gomene,I took to myself as pleasure,
ganotes hleoþorthe gannet's noise
ond huilpan swegand the voice of the curlew
fore hleahtor wera,instead of the laughter of men,
mæw singendethe singing gull
fore medodrince.instead of the drinking of mead.
Stormas þær stanclifu beotan,Storms there beat the stony cliffs,
þær him stearn oncwæð,where the tern spoke,
24aisigfeþera;icy-feathered;
ful oft þæt earn bigeal,always the eagle cried at it,
urigfeþra;dewy-feathered;
nænig hleomægano cheerful kinsmen
2: feasceaftig ferð1: can comfort
1: frefran meahte.2: the poor soul.
Forþon him gelyfeð lyt,Indeed he credits it little,
se þe ah lifes wynthe one who has the joys of life,
28agebiden in burgum,dwells in the city,
bealosiþa hwon,far from terrible journey,
wlonc ond wingal,proud and wanton with wine,
hu ic werig ofthow I, weary, often
2: in brimlade1: have had to endure
1: bidan sceolde.2: in the sea-paths.
Nap nihtscua,The shadows of night darkened,
norþan sniwde,it snowed from the north,
32ahrim hrusan bond,frost bound the ground,
hægl feol on eorþan,hail fell on the earth,
corna caldast.coldest of grains.
Forþon cnyssað nuIndeed, now they are troubled,
heortan geþohtasthe thoughts of my heart,
þæt ic 2: hean streamas,that I 1: myself should strive with
3: sealtyþa gelac2: the high streams,
1: sylf cunnige --3: the tossing of salt waves --
36amonað modes lustthe wish of my heart urges
mæla gehwylceall the time
ferð to feran,my spirit to go forth,
þæt ic feor heonanthat I, far from here,
2: elþeodigra1: should seek the homeland
1: eard gesece --2: of a foreign people --
Forþon nis þæs modwloncIndeed there is not so proud-spirited
mon ofer eorþan,a man in the world,
40ane his gifena þæs god,nor so generous of gifts,
ne in geoguþe to þæs hwæt,nor so bold in his youth,
ne in his dædum to þæs deor,nor so brave in his deeds,
ne him his dryhten to þæs hold,nor so dear to his lord,
þæt he a his sæforethat he never in his seafaring
sorge næbbe,has a worry,
to hwon hine Dryhtenas to what his Lord
gedon wille.will do to him.
44aNe biþ him to hearpan hygeNot for him is the sound of the harp
ne to hringþegenor the giving of rings
ne to wife wynnor pleasure in woman
ne to worulde hyhtnor worldly glory --
ne ymbe owiht ellesnor anything at all
nefne ymb yða gewealc;unless the tossing of waves;
ac a hafað longungebut he always has a longing,
se þe on lagu fundað.he who strives on the waves.
48aBearwas blostmum nimað,Groves take on blossoms,
byrig fægriað,the cities grow fair,
wongas wlitigað,the fields are comely,
woruld onetteð:the world seems new:
ealle þa gemoniaðall these things urge on
modes fusnethe eager of spirit,
sefan to siþethe mind to travel,
þam þe swa þenceðin one who so thinks
52a2: on flodwegas1: to travel far
1: feor gewitan.2: on the paths of the sea.
Swylce geac monaðSo the cuckoo warns
geomran reorde;with a sad voice;
singeð sumeres weard,the guardian of summer sings,
sorge beodeðbodes a sorrow
bitter in breosthord.grievous in the soul.
Þæt se beorn ne wat,This the man does not know,
56asefteadig secg,the warrior lucky in worldly things
hwæt þa sume dreogaðwhat some endure then,
þe 2: þa wræclastasthose who 1: tread most widely
1: widost lecgað.2: the paths of exile.
Forþon nu min hyge hweorfeðAnd now my spirit twists
ofer hreþerlocan,out of my breast,
min modsefamy spirit
mid mereflode,out in the waterways,
60aofer hwæles eþelover the whale's path
hweorfeð wide,it soars widely
eorþan sceatas --through all the corners of the world --
cymeð eft to meit comes back to me
gifre ond grædig;eager and unsated;
gielleð anfloga,the lone-flier screams,
hweteð on hwælwegurges onto the whale-road
hreþer unwearnumthe unresisting heart
64aofer holma gelagu.across the waves of the sea.
Forþon me hatran sindIndeed hotter for me are
Dryhtnes dreamasthe joys of the Lord
þonne þis deade lifthan this dead life
læne on londe.fleeting on the land.
Ic gelyfe noI do not believe
þæt him eorðwelanthat the riches of the world
ece stondað.will stand forever.
68aSimle 2: þreora sumAlways 1: and invariably,
1: þinga gehwylce2: one of three things
4: ær his tiddege3: will turn to uncertainty
3: to tweon weorþeð:4: before his fated hour:
adl oþþe yldodisease, or old age,
oþþe ecgheteor the sword's hatred
2: fægum fromweardum1: will tear out the life
1: feorh oðþringeð.2: from those doomed to die.
72aForþon biþ eorla gehwamAnd so it is for each man
2: æftercweþendra1: the praise of the living,
1: lof lifgendra2: of those who speak afterwards,
lastworda betst,that is the best epitaph,
þæt he gewyrce,that he should work
ær he on weg scyle,before he must be gone
fremum on foldanbravery in the world
wið feonda niþ,against the enmity of devils,
76adeorum dædumdaring deeds
deofle togeanes,against the fiend,
þæt hine ælda bearnso that the sons of men
æfter hergen,will praise him afterwards,
ond his lof siþþanand his fame afterwards
lifge mid englumwill live with the angels
awa to ealdre,for ever and ever,
ecan lifes blæd,the glory of eternal life,
80adream mid dugeþum.joy with the Hosts.
Dagas sind gewitene,The days are gone
ealle onmedlanof all the glory
eorþan rices;of the kingdoms of the earth;
nearon nu cyningasthere are not now kings,
ne caserasnor Cæsars,
ne goldgiefannor givers of gold
swylce iu wæron,as once there were,
84aþonne hi mæst mid himwhen they, the greatest, among themselves
mærþa gefremedonperformed valorous deeds,
ond on dryhtlicestumand with a most lordly
dome lifdon.majesty lived.
Gedroren is þeos duguð eal,All that old guard is gone
dreamas sind gewitene;and the revels are over --
wuniað þa wacranthe weaker ones now dwell
ond þæs woruld healdaþ,and hold the world,
88abrucað þurh bisgo.enjoy it through their sweat.
Blæd is gehnæged,The glory is fled,
eorþan indryhtothe nobility of the world
ealdað ond searað,ages and grows sere,
swa nu monna gehwylcas now does every man
geond middangeard.throughout the world.
Yldo him on fareþ,Age comes upon him,
onsyn blacað,his face grows pale,
92agomelfeax gnornað,the graybeard laments;
wat his iuwine,he knows that his old friends,
æþelinga bearnthe sons of princes,
eorþan forgiefene.have been given to the earth.
Ne mæg him þonne se flæschomaHis body fails then,
þonne him þæt feorg losaðas life leaves him --
ne swete forswelganhe cannot taste sweetness
ne sar gefelannor feel pain,
96ane hond onhrerannor move his hand
ne mid hyge þencan.nor think with his head.
Þeah þe 3: græf 1: willeThough he 1: would 2: strew
4: golde 2: stregan3: the grave 4: with gold,
broþor his geborenum,a brother for his kinsman,
byrgan be deadumbury with the dead
maþmum mislicum,a mass of treasure,
þæt hine mid wille,it just won't work --
100ane mæg þære sawlenor can the soul
þe biþ synna fulwhich is full of sin
gold to geocepreserve the gold
for Godes egsan,before the fear of God,
þonne he hit ær hydeðthough he hid it before
þenden he her leofað.while he was yet alive.
Micel biþ se Meotudes egsa,Great is the fear of the Lord,
forþon hi seo molde oncyrreð;before which the world stands still;
104ase gestaþeladeHe established
stiþe grundas,the firm foundations,
eorþan sceatasthe corners of the world
ond uprodor.and the high heavens.
Dol biþ se þe him his Dryhten ne ondrædeþ:A fool is the one who does not fear his Lord
cymeð him se deað unþinged.-- death comes to him unprepared.
Eadig bið se þe eaþmod leofaþ;Blessed is he who lives humbly
cymeð him seo ar of heofonum.-- to him comes forgiveness from heaven.
108aMeotod him þæt mod gestaþelað,God set that spirit within him,
forþon he in his meahte gelyfeð.because he believed in His might.
Stieran mon sceal strongum mode,Man must control his passions
ond þæt on staþelum healdan,and keep everything in balance,
ond gewis werum,keep faith with men,
wisum clæne.and be pure in wisdom.
Scyle monna gehwylcEach of men must
mid gemete healdanbe even-handed
112awiþ leofne ond wið laþnewith their friends and their foes.
* * * bealo.?
þeah þe he hine wille? though he does not wish him
fyres fulne? in the foulness of flames
oþþe on bæle? or on a pyre
forbærnedne? to be burned
his geworhtne wine,? his contrived friend,
Wyrd biþ swiþre,Fate is greater
116aMeotud meahtigra,and God is mightier
þonne ænges monnes gehygd.than any man's thought.
Uton we hycganLet us ponder
hwær we ham agen,where we have our homes
ond þonne geþencanand then think
hu we þider cumen;how we should get thither --
ond we þonne eac tilienand then we should all strive
þæt we to motenthat we might go there
120ain þa ecanto the eternal
eadignesseblessedness
þær is lif gelongthat is a belonging life
in lufan Dryhtnes,in the love of the Lord,
hyht in heofonum.joy in the heavens.
Þæs sy þam Halgan þoncLet there be thanks to God
þæt he usic geweorþade,that he adored us,
wuldres Ealdorthe Father of Glory,
124aece Dryhten,the Eternal Lord,
in ealle tid. Amen.for all time. Amen.







Stormy Weathers




‘Smooth between sea and land’ 
by A. E. Housman (1859-1936)


Smooth between sea and land
Is laid the yellow sand,
And here through summer days
The seed of Adam plays.

Here the child comes to found
His unremaining mound,
And the grown lad to score
Two names upon the shore.

Here, on the level sand,
Between the sea and land,
What shall I build or write
Against the fall of night?

Tell me of runes to grave
That hold the bursting wave,
Or bastions to design
For longer date than mine.

Shall it be Troy or Rome
I fence against the foam,
Or my own name, to stay
When I depart for aye?

Nothing: too near at hand,
Planing the figure sand,
Effacing clean and fast
Cities not built to last
And charms devised in vain,
Pours the confounding main.


A. E. Housman
 author of A Shropshire Lad (1896)





A Thunderstorm
by Emily Dickenson


The wind begun to rock the grass
With threatening tunes and low, -
He flung a menace at the earth,
A menace at the sky.

The leaves unhooked themselves from trees
And started all abroad;
The dust did scoop itself like hands
And throw away the road.

The wagons quickened on the streets,
The thunder hurried slow;
The lightning showed a yellow beak,
And then a livid claw.

The birds put up the bars to nests,
The cattle fled to barns;
There came one drop of giant rain,
And then, as if the hands.

That held the dams had parted hold,
The waters wrecked the sky,
But overlooked my father's house,
Just quartering a tree.


Emily Dickenson






"Full Fathom Five" by William Shakespeare



"Full Fathom Five"  
(from The Tempest)
by William Shakespeare


Full fathom five thy father lies; 
Of his bones are coral made; 
Those are pearls that were his eyes; 
Nothing of him that doth fade, 
But doth suffer a sea-change 
Into something rich and strange. 
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell: 
Hark! now I hear them—Ding-dong, bell.

William Shakespeare





V. Innocentia Veritas Viat Fides
Circumdederunt me inimici mei 1
by Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-42)


Who list his wealth and ease retain,
Himself let him unknown contain.
Press not too fast in at that gate
Where the return stands by disdain,
For sure, circa Regna tonat.2
The high mountains are blasted oft
When the low valley is mild and soft.
Fortune with Health stands at debate.
The fall is grievous from aloft.
And sure, circa Regna tonat.

These bloody days have broken my heart.
My lust, my youth did them depart,
And blind desire of estate.
Who hastes to climb seeks to revert.
Of truth, circa Regna tonat.

The bell tower showed me such sight
That in my head sticks day and night.
There did I learn out of a grate,
For all favour, glory, or might,
That yet circa Regna tonat.

By proof, I say, there did I learn:
Wit helpeth not defence too yerne,
Of innocency to plead or prate.
Bear low, therefore, give God the stern,
For sure, circa Regna tonat.


Sir Thomas Wyatt
an English poet of the Renaissance

1. The Latin title adapts Psalm 16.9: "My enemies surround my soul."
Wyatt's name ("Viat") in the title is surrounded by Innocence, Truth,
and Faith.

2. "It thunders through the realms," Seneca, Phaedra, 1.1140.
The first two stanzas paraphrase lines from that play.


[Note: It is generally thought Wyatt wrote this poem after witnessing
the execution of Anne Boleyn and her "accomplices" from the window
grate of his cell in the Bell Tower at the Tower of London.]





Stormy Sea
by Scarlet


I’m stuck in a stormy sea
wave after wave
crushing me
drowning me
each breath shorter than the last
I start to think I see a calm coming
but I was fooled
for it was a new storm coming in
wave after wave
they crash against me
barely giving me time to breath
I start to think that each breath might be my last
but then I think I see a calm coming
but once again I was fooled
for it was once again a storm coming in
I can see the calm
I know it will eventually reach me
but for now I’m trapped under these waves
wave after wave
breath after breath
I keep looking for that calm
searching for that calm
I see it
but as it moves towards me
it becomes a storm
as it gets closer it gets tougher
tougher to catch my breath
for the waves become rougher and rougher
wave by wave
I start to lose it
lose sight of that calm
for it just keeps moving back
moving away from me
leaving me trapped
trapped by wave after wave
stuck thinking that breath after breath
it could be my last
for I will soon sink in this stormy sea
for soon I will take my last breath
then I will sink
sink deeper and deeper
slowly reaching a calm
different calm
a permanent calm
maybe that is the only calm for me


Scarlet
Sunday, April 22, 2007






Amoretti: Sonnet LXXV
by Edmund Spenser


One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washed it away:
Again I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tide, and made my pains his prey.
‘Vain man,’ said she, ‘that dost in vain assay,
A mortal thing so to immortalize;
For I myself shall like to this decay,
And eke my name be wiped out likewise.’
‘Not so,’ (quod I); ‘let baser things devise
To die in dust, but you shall live by fame:
My verse your vertues rare shall eternize,
And in the heavens write your glorious name:
Where whenas death shall all the world subdue,
Our love shall live, and later life renew.’

Edmund Spenser





The Thunder Mutters
by John Clare (1793-1864)


The thunder mutters louder & more loud
With quicker motion hay folks ply the rake
Ready to burst slow sails the pitch black cloud
& all the gang a bigger haycock make
To sit beneath—the woodland winds awake
The drops so large wet all thro’ in an hour
A tiney flood runs down the leaning rake
In the sweet hay yet dry the hay folks cower
& some beneath the waggon shun the shower.


John Clare
*Known as a Romantic, nature, and great English poet





Second Coming
by R.E. Slater


Tall wheat heads bend
    to hot wind's heavy breath
Rippling across golden fields.

Heads bending, stalks swaying,
    falling back, moving forward,
In unison, together.

Bent before the broad storm
   rumbling it's coming wake
Across croplands of waking hearts.

Shaking slumbering, ripe fields
    waking fell airs stirring alive
Unbowed author to life's deep longings.


R.E. Slater
May 9, 2021
Rev. May 10, 2021

@copyright R.E. Slater Publications
all rights reserved





Stormy 
(an Italian Sonnet)
by Gert Strydom


With pouring rain as many other days,
with clouds in the sky the sun seems dead,
as if for weeks from the earth it has fled
where of it there is not even a small trace,

yet radiant with smiling beauty are your face,
where very few words between us is said,
where against each other we lie in our bed
and with a own music the rain outside plays,

where here we are in a hot and happy home,
outside in the pine forest the wind does not rest,
while very turbulent is the surging of the deep,
where in tempest the ocean does break and foam,
with you right here hot and tender it seems best,
where our love and promises to each other we keep.


by Gert Strydom
Thursday, November 1, 2018

© Gert Strydom





Stormy Weather
by Sandra Feldman


There is no song for loneliness,
Just storming clouds of sadness,
The skies are gray, and lightning rays,
Illuminate the darkness.

There is no song for Love that's gone,
And you, you keep on caring,
Your heart becomes a jaded cage,
From then on all despairing.

Sandra Feldman
Saturday, April 19, 2014





The Waste Land Part V –
What the Thunder said
by T.S. Eliot


V. What the Thunder said

After the torchlight red on sweaty faces
After the frosty silence in the gardens
After the agony in stony places
The shouting and the crying
Prison and palace and reverberation
Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience

Here is no water but only rock
Rock and no water and the sandy road
The road winding above among the mountains
Which are mountains of rock without water
If there were water we should stop and drink
Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think
Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand
If there were only water amongst the rock
Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit
Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit
There is not even silence in the mountains
But dry sterile thunder without rain
There is not even solitude in the mountains
But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
From doors of mudcracked houses
If there were water
And no rock
If there were rock
And also water
And water
A spring
A pool among the rock
If there were the sound of water only
Not the cicada
And dry grass singing
But sound of water over a rock
Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
But there is no water

Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
I do not know whether a man or a woman
– But who is that on the other side of you?

What is that sound high in the air
Murmur of maternal lamentation
Who are those hooded hordes swarming
Over endless plains, stumbling in cracked earth
Ringed by the flat horizon only
What is the city over the mountains
Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air
Falling towers
Jerusalem Athens Alexandria
Vienna London
Unreal

A woman drew her long black hair out tight
And fiddled whisper music on those strings
And bats with baby faces in the violet light
Whistled, and beat their wings
And crawled head downward down a blackened wall
And upside down in air were towers
Tolling reminiscent bells, that kept the hours
And voices singing out of empty cisterns and exhausted wells.

In this decayed hole among the mountains
In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing
Over the tumbled graves, about the chapel
There is the empty chapel, only the wind's home.
It has no windows, and the door swings,
Dry bones can harm no one.
Only a cock stood on the rooftree
Co co rico co co rico
In a flash of lightning. Then a damp gust
Bringing rain

Ganga was sunken, and the limp leaves
Waited for rain, while the black clouds
Gathered far distant, over Himavant.
The jungle crouched, humped in silence.
Then spoke the thunder
DA
Datta: what have we given?
My friend, blood shaking my heart
The awful daring of a moment's surrender
Which an age of prudence can never retract
By this, and this only, we have existed
Which is not to be found in our obituaries
Or in memories draped by the beneficent spider
Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor
In our empty rooms
DA
Dayadhvam: I have heard the key
Turn in the door once and turn once only
We think of the key, each in his prison
Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison
Only at nightfall, aetherial rumours
Revive for a moment a broken Coriolanus
DA
Damyata: The boat responded
Gaily, to the hand expert with sail and oar
The sea was calm, your heart would have responded
Gaily, when invited, beating obedient
To controlling hands

I sat upon the shore
Fishing, with the arid plain behind me
Shall I at least set my lands in order?

London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down

Poi s'ascose nel foco che gli affina
Quando fiam ceu chelidon – O swallow swallow
Le Prince d'Aquitaine ? la tour abolie
These fragments I have shored against my ruins
Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo's mad againe.
Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.

Shantih shantih shantih


T.S. Eliot

from Collected Poems 1909-1962 (Faber, 1974),
by permission of the publisher, Faber & Faber Ltd.