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Poetry Gallery

Irish Landscapes, Freedom of the Hills, Poem by : Douglas Fraser – 1968

Irish landscape images
County Waterford
Nigel Borrington

Freedom of the Hills

By: Douglas Fraser – 1968

Mine is the freedom of the tranquil hills
When vagrant breezes bend the sinewy grass,
While sunshine on the widespread landscape spills
And light as down the fleet cloud-shadowed pass.

Mine, still, that freedom when the storm-clouds race,
Cracking their whips against defiant crags
And mists swirl boiling up from inky space
To vanish on the instant, torn to rags.

When winter grips the mountains in a vice,
Silently stifling with its pall of snow,
Checking the streams, draping the rocks in ice,
Still to their mantled summits I would go.

Sun-drenched, I sense the message they impart;
Storm-lashed, I hear it sing through every vein;
Among the snows it whispers to my heart
“Here is your freedom. Taste – and come again.”

Landscape in Sunlight
Nigel Borrington


Friday Poetry – Light by : Margaret Tait

Lock Melfort
Oban – Scotland
Scottish Landscapes
Nigel Borrington

Light

A Poem By Margaret Tait

Did you say it’s made of waves?
Yes, that’s it.
I wonder what the waves are made of.
Oh, waves are made of waves.
Waves are what they are,
Shimmeringness,
Oscillation,
Rhythmical movement which is the inherent essence of all things.
Ultimately, there’s only movement,
Nothing else.
The movement that light is
Comes out of the sun
And it’s so gorgeous a thing
That nothing else is ever anything unless lit by it.


Great Poems : The Evening Light – By Alfred Austin

Sunrise to sunset
Nigel Borrington

The Evening Light
I
Angels their silvery trumpets blow,
At dawn, to greet the Morning Glow,
And mortals lift adoring eyes
To see the glorious sun arise.
Then, winged by Faith, and spurred by Hope
Youth scans the hill, youth scales the slope.
Its pulses bound, its thoughts exult,
It finds no danger difficult,
Quickens its pace, disdaining ease
Victor before it comes and sees,
Feeling the Universe its own,
The Sovereign of a Self—made Throne.

II
Each hope fulfilled, obtained each prayer,
We glory in the Noonday Glare.
Welcome the blinding heat of strife,
Deeming resistance part of life.
We deal the blow, return the stroke,
Fighting our way through dust and smoke,
Until, our battle—banner furled,
We tower above a conquered World;
Whether one leads mankind along
By gift of speech or grace of song,
Seizes by forceful hand the helm,
Or adds an Empire to the Realm,
Confronts the sun with forehead bare,
Exulting in the Noonday Glare.

III
But, as the lengthening shadows glide
Silent towards the eventide,
And dew baptizes leaf and flower
In twilight’s sanctuary hour,
A sacred Something haunts the air,
Tender as love, devout as prayer,
And in the lofty dome afar
Glimmers one bright outriding star,
Announcing to the watchful sight
Coming battalions of the Night.
Then Noonday Glare and Morning Glow
Fade into shadowy Long—ago.
One feels Earth’s vain ambitions fade
Into the vanished dust they made.

All that the glow of dawn foretold,
And all the glare of noon unrolled,
Seem nothing to the quiet joy
No clamour mars, no cares destroy,
‘Twixt restless day and restful night,
That cometh with the Evening Light.


The end of springtime – Fallen flower – a garden poem

Fallen Garden flowers Nigel Borrington

In the Garden at eight am
I witness the end of Springtime
flowers of green, blue and purple
falling all over the table top

I place my cup of tea down
a moment frozen, soon moves on
as more of these blooms fall all around me
soon it will be summer time

clearly the flowers know, against all hope !
time moves on
never stopping
never frozen
never pausing for anyone ……


Monday Poetry : The Harbour, by: Winifred Mary Letts

The Harbour, Poem By Winifred Mary Letts Nigel Borrington

The Harbour, Poem

By : Winifred Mary Letts

I think if I lay dying in some land
Where Ireland is no more than just a name,
My soul would travel back to find that strand
From whence it came.

I’d see the harbour in the evening light,
The old men staring at some distant ship,
The fishing boats they fasten left and right
Beside the slip.

The fishing boat rests along the shore,
The grey thorn bushes growing in the sand,
Our Wexford coast from Arklow to Cahore –
My native land.

The little houses climbing up the hill
Sea daises growing in the sandy grass,
The tethered goats that wait large -eyed and still
To watch you pass.

The women at the well with dripping pails,
Their men colloguing by the harbour wall,
The coils of rope, the nets, the old brown sails,
I’d know them all.

And then the sun- I’d surely see
The disk against a golden sky.
Would let me be at my rest.


Monday Poetry : Bicycle Beats By Christian Reid Oct 2014

Christian Reid Oct 2014
Bicycle Beats

Axels and chains and
Feet and brains
It’s the bicycle beats
And the trees and the streets
Join the lines in the sidewalk
As I ride and I talk
To myself,
“Breathe in,” &
“Breathe out,” —
Burning and churning to the
Grooves and the cracks
Red light’s the only chance to relax
Racing the bus and flashing a grin
To the sorry folks trapping themselves therein
Ecstasy building with each revolution
Wiping my sweat away, tasting pollution
Grinding and winding a path on my bike
Where cars and pedestrians hate me alike


The Hand of Glory: The Nurse’s Story : Richard Harris Barham

The path to Top Withens,Earnshaw family house Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë.
Nigel Borrington

The Hand of Glory: The Nurse’s Story
Richard Harris Barham

On the lone bleak moor,
At the midnight hour,
Beneath the Gallows Tree,
Hand in hand
The Murderers stand
By one, by two, by three!
And the Moon that night
With a grey, cold light
Each baleful object tips;
One half of her form
Is seen through the storm,
The other half ‘s hid in Eclipse!
And the cold Wind howls,
And the Thunder growls,
And the Lightning is broad and bright;
And altogether
It ‘s very bad weather,
And an unpleasant sort of a night!
‘Now mount who list,
And close by the wrist
Sever me quickly the Dead Man’s fist!—
Now climb who dare
Where he swings in air,
And pluck me five locks of the Dead Man’s hair!’

There ‘s an old woman dwells upon Tappington Moor,
She hath years on her back at the least fourscore,
And some people fancy a great many more;
Her nose it is hook’d,
Her back it is crook’d,
Her eyes blear and red:
On the top of her head
Is a mutch, and on that
A shocking bad hat,
Extinguisher-shaped, the brim narrow and flat!
Then,— My Gracious!— her beard!— it would sadly perplex
A spectator at first to distinguish her sex;
Nor, I’ll venture to say, without scrutiny could be
Pronounce her, off-handed, a Punch or a Judy.
Did you see her, in short, that mud-hovel within,
With her knees to her nose, and her nose to her chin,
Leering up with that queer, indescribable grin,
You’d lift up your hands in amazement, and cry,
‘— Well!— I never did see such a regular Guy!’

And now before
That old Woman’s door,
Where nought that ‘s good may be,
Hand in hand
The Murderers stand
By one, by two, by three!

Oh! ‘tis a horrible sight to view,
In that horrible hovel, that horrible crew,
By the pale blue glare of that flickering flame,
Doing the deed that hath never a name!
‘Tis awful to hear
Those words of fear!
The prayer mutter’d backwards, and said with a sneer!
(Matthew Hopkins himself has assured us that when
A witch says her prayers, she begins with ‘Amen.’) —
—’ Tis awful to see
On that Old Woman’s knee
The dead, shrivell’d hand, as she clasps it with glee!—

And now, with care,
The five locks of hair
From the skull of the Gentleman dangling up there,
With the grease and the fat
Of a black Tom Cat
She hastens to mix,
And to twist into wicks,
And one on the thumb, and each finger to fix.—
(For another receipt the same charm to prepare,
Consult Mr Ainsworth and Petit Albert.)

‘Now open lock
To the Dead Man’s knock!
Fly bolt, and bar, and band!
— Nor move, nor swerve
Joint, muscle, or nerve,
At the spell of the Dead Man’s hand!
Sleep all who sleep!— Wake all who wake!—
But be as the Dead for the Dead Man’s sake!!’

All is silent! all is still,
Save the ceaseless moan of the bubbling rill
As it wells from the bosom of Tappington Hill.
And in Tappington Hall
Great and Small,
Gentle and Simple, Squire and Groom,
Each one hath sought his separate room,
And sleep her dark mantle hath o’er them cast,
For the midnight hour hath long been past!

All is darksome in earth and sky,
Save, from yon casement, narrow and high,
A quivering beam
On the tiny stream
Plays, like some taper’s fitful gleam
By one that is watching wearily.

Within that casement, narrow and high,
In his secret lair, where none may spy,
Sits one whose brow is wrinkled with care,
And the thin grey locks of his failing hair
Have left his little bald pate all bare;
For his full-bottom’d wig
Hangs, bushy and big,
On the top of his old-fashion’d, high-back’d chair.
Unbraced are his clothes,
Ungarter’d his hose,
His gown is bedizen’d with tulip and rose,
Flowers of remarkable size and hue,
Flowers such as Eden never knew;
— And there, by many a sparkling heap
Of the good red gold,
The tale is told
What powerful spell avails to keep
That careworn man from his needful sleep!

Haply, he deems no eye can see
As he gloats on his treasure greedily,—
The shining store
Of glittering ore,
The fair Rose-Noble, the bright Moidore,
And the broad Double-Joe from beyond the sea,—
But there’s one that watches as well as he;
For, wakeful and sly,
In a closet hard by
On his truckle bed lieth a little Foot-page,
A boy who ‘s uncommonly sharp of his age,
Like young Master Horner,
Who erst in a corner
Sat eating a Christmas pie:
And, while that Old Gentleman’s counting his hoards,
Little Hugh peeps through a crack in the boards!

There ‘s a voice in the air,
There ‘s a step on the stair,
The old man starts in his cane-back’d chair;
At the first faint sound
He gazes around,
And holds up his dip of sixteen to the pound.
Then half arose
From beside his toes
His little pug-dog with his little pug nose,
But, ere he can vent one inquisitive sniff,
That little pug-dog stands stark and stiff,
For low, yet clear,
Now fall on the ear,
— Where once pronounced for ever they dwell,—
The unholy words of the Dead Man’s spell!
‘Open lock
To the Dead Man’s knock!
Fly bolt, and bar, and band!—
Nor move, nor swerve,
Joint, muscle, or nerve,
At the spell of the Dead Man’s hand!
Sleep all who sleep!— Wake all who wake!—
But be as the Dead for the Dead Man’s sake!‘Now lock, nor bolt, nor bar avails,
Nor stout oak panel thick-studded with nails.
Heavy and harsh the hinges creak,
Though they had been oil’d in the course of the week,
The door opens wide as wide may be,
And there they stand,
That murderous band,
Lit by the light of the GLORIOUS HAND,
By one!— by two!— by three!

They have pass’d through the porch, they have pass’d through the hall,
Where the Porter sat snoring against the wall;
The very snore froze,
In his very snub nose,
You’d have verily deem’d he had snored his last
When the Glorious HAND by the side of him pass’d!
E’en the little wee mouse, as it ran o’er the mat
At the top of its speed to escape from the cat,
Though half dead with affright,
Paused in its flight;
And the cat that was chasing that little wee thing
Lay crouch’d as a statue in act to spring!
And now they are there,
On the head of the stair,
And the long crooked whittle is gleaming and bare,
— I really don’t think any money would bribe
Me the horrible scene that ensued to describe,
Or the wild, wild glare
Of that old man’s eye,
His dumb despair,
And deep agony.
The kid from the pen, and the lamb from the fold,
Unmoved may the blade of the butcher behold;
They dream not — ah, happier they!— that the knife,
Though uplifted, can menace their innocent life;
It falls;— the frail thread of their being is riven,
They dread not, suspect not, the blow till ‘tis given.—
But, oh! what a thing ‘tis to see and to know
That the bare knife is raised in the hand of the foe,
Without hope to repel, or to ward off the blow!—
— Enough!— let ‘s pass over as fast as we can
The fate of that grey, that unhappy old man!

But fancy poor Hugh,
Aghast at the view,
Powerless alike to speak or to do!
In vain doth be try
To open the eye
That is shut, or close that which is clapt to the chink,
Though he’d give all the world to be able to wink!—
No!— for all that this world can give or refuse,
I would not be now in that little boy’s shoes,
Or indeed any garment at all that is Hugh’s!
—’ Tis lucky for him that the chink in the wall
He has peep’d through so long, is so narrow and small.

Wailing voices, sounds of woe
Such as follow departing friends,
That fatal night round Tappington go,
Its long-drawn roofs and its gable ends:
Ethereal Spirits, gentle and good,
Aye weep and lament o’er a deed of blood.

‘Tis early dawn — the morn is grey,
And the clouds and the tempest have pass’d away,
And all things betoken a very fine day;

But, while the lark her carol is singing,
Shrieks and screams are through Tappington ringing!
Upstarting all,
Great and small
Each one who ‘s found within Tappington Hall,
Gentle and Simple, Squire or Groom,
All seek at once that old Gentleman’s room;
And there, on the floor,
Drench’d in its gore,
A ghastly corpse lies exposed to the view,
Carotid and jugular both cut through!
And there, by its side,
‘Mid the crimson tide,
Kneels a little Foot-page of tenderest years;
Adown his pale cheek the fast-falling tears
Are coursing each other round and big,
And he ‘s staunching the blood with a full-bottom’d wig!
Alas! and alack for his staunching!—‘tis plain,
As anatomists tell us, that never again
Shall life revisit the foully slain,
When once they’ve been cut through the jugular vein.

There’s a hue and a cry through the County of Kent,
And in chase of the cut-throats a Constable’s sent,
But no one can tell the man which way they went:
There’s a little Foot-page with that Constable goes,
And a little pug-dog with a little pug nose.

In Rochester town,
At the sign of the Crown,
Three shabby-genteel men are just sitting down
To a fat stubble-goose, with potatoes done brown;
When a little Foot-page
Rushes in, in a rage,
Upsetting the apple-sauce, onions, and sage.
That little Foot-page takes the first by the throat,
And a little pug-dog takes the next by the coat,
And a Constable seizes the one more remote;
And fair rose-nobles and broad moidores,
The Waiter pulls out of their pockets by scores,
And the Boots and the Chambermaids run in and stare;
And the Constable says, with a dignified air,
‘You’re wanted, Gen’lemen, one and all,
For that ‘ere precious lark at Tappington Hall!’

There ‘a a black gibbet frowns upon Tappington Moor,
Where a former black gibbet has frown’d before:
It is as black as black may be,
And murderers there
Are dangling in air,
By one!— by two!— by three!

There ‘s a horrid old hag in a steeple-crown’d hat,
Round her neck they have tied to a hempen cravat
A Dead Man’s hand, and a dead Tom Cat!
They have tied up her thumbs, they have tied up her toes,
They have tied up her eyes, they have tied up her limbs!
Into Tappington mill-dam souse she goes,
With a whoop and a halloo!—‘She swims!— She swims!’
They have dragg’d her to land,
And every one’s hand
Is grasping a faggot, a billet, or brand,
When a queer-looking horseman, drest all in black,
Snatches up that old harridan just like a sack
To the crupper behind him, puts spurs to his hack,
Makes a dash through the crowd, and is off in a crack!
No one can tell,
Though they guess pretty well,
Which way that grim rider and old woman go,
For all see he ‘s a sort of infernal Ducrow;
And she scream’d so, and cried,
We may fairly decide
That the old woman did not much relish her ride!


The path to Top Withens,Earnshaw family house Wuthering Heights : Wuthering Heights, a Poem by Sylvia Plaths

The path to Top Withens,Earnshaw family house Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë.
Nigel Borrington

Last week we spent sometime in West Yorkshire, at Haworth the home town of the Brontë sisters, visiting the Parsonage Museum and walking upto Top Withens, the Earnshaw’s home in Emily Brontë’s novel – Wuthering heights.

The old farm house is located in some stunning landscape, the best west Yorkshire has to offer.

This is how Mr. Lockwood in the book describes his first impressions of Wuthering Heights …

Top Withens,Earnshaw family house Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë.
Nigel Borrington

” Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr. Heathcliff’s
dwelling. ‘Wuthering’ being a significant provincial
adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which
its station is exposed in stormy weather.

Pure, bracing ventilation they must have up there at all times, indeed:
one may guess the power of the north wind blowing over the edge, by the excessive slant of a few stunted firs at the end of the house; and by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun.

Happily, the architect had foresight to build it strong:
the narrow windows are deeply set in the wall, and the
corners defended with large jutting stones. ”

Top Withens (also known as Top Withins)

Is a ruined farmhouse near Haworth, West Yorkshire, England which is said to have been the inspiration for the location of the Earnshaw family house Wuthering Heights in the novel of the same name by Emily Brontë.

A plaque affixed to a wall reads:

“ This farmhouse has been associated with “Wuthering Heights”, the Earnshaw home in Emily Brontë’s novel. The buildings, even when complete, bore no resemblance to the house she described, but the situation may have been in her mind when she wrote of the moorland setting of the Heights. ”

Wuthering Heights a Poem By: Sylvia Plath

Top Withens, West Yorkshire, England
English Landscapes
Nigel Borrington

The horizons ring me like faggots,
Tilted and disparate, and always unstable.
Touched by a match, they might warm me,
And their fine lines singe
The air to orange
Before the distances they pin evaporate,
Weighting the pale sky with a soldier color.
But they only dissolve and dissolve
Like a series of promises, as I step forward.

There is no life higher than the grasstops
Or the hearts of sheep, and the wind
Pours by like destiny, bending
Everything in one direction.
I can feel it trying
To funnel my heat away.
If I pay the roots of the heather
Too close attention, they will invite me
To whiten my bones among them.

The sheep know where they are,
Browsing in their dirty wool-clouds,
Grey as the weather.
The black slots of their pupils take me in.
It is like being mailed into space,
A thin, silly message.
They stand about in grandmotherly disguise,
All wig curls and yellow teeth
And hard, marbly baas.

I come to wheel ruts, and water
Limpid as the solitudes
That flee through my fingers.
Hollow doorsteps go from grass to grass;
Lintel and sill have unhinged themselves.
Of people the air only
Remembers a few odd syllables.
It rehearses them moaningly:
Black stone, black stone.

The sky leans on me, me, the one upright
Among the horizontals.
The grass is beating its head distractedly.
It is too delicate
For a life in such company;
Darkness terrifies it.
Now, in valleys narrow
And black as purses, the house lights
Gleam like small change.


W.B. Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire

W.B. Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire
Irish Landscapes
Nigel Borrington

“God spreads the heavens above us like great wings
And gives a little round of deeds and days,
And then come the wrecked angels and set snares,
And bait them with light hopes and heavy dreams,
Until the heart is puffed with pride and goes
Half shuddering and half joyous from God’s peace;
And it was some wrecked angel, blind with tears,
Who flattered Edane’s heart with merry words.

Come, faeries, take me out of this dull house!
Let me have all the freedom I have lost;
Work when I will and idle when I will!
Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.

I would take the world
And break it into pieces in my hands
To see you smile watching it crumble away.

Once a fly dancing in a beam of the sun,
Or the light wind blowing out of the dawn,
Could fill your heart with dreams none other knew,
But now the indissoluble sacrament
Has mixed your heart that was most proud and cold
With my warm heart for ever; the sun and moon
Must fade and heaven be rolled up like a scroll
But your white spirit still walk by my spirit.

When winter sleep is abroad my hair grows thin,
My feet unsteady. When the leaves awaken
My mother carries me in her golden arms;
I’ll soon put on my womanhood and marry
The spirits of wood and water, but who can tell
When I was born for the first time?

The wind blows out of the gates of the day,
The wind blows over the lonely of heart,
And the lonely of heart is withered away;
While the faeries dance in a place apart,
Shaking their milk-white feet in a ring,
Tossing their milk-white arms in the air;
For they hear the wind laugh and murmur and sing
Of a land where even the old are fair,
And even the wise are merry of tongue;
But I heard a reed of Coolaney say–
When the wind has laughed and murmured and sung,
The lonely of heart is withered away.”

― W.B. Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire


The Mountain, a poem by Deloris Louise Pacheco, USA

Carrauntoohil, County Kerry
Irish Landscapes
Nigel Borrington

It was just before dusk
When he started his climb
The path grew narrow
So the dog went ahead
It grew rocky and steep
But the old man kept up
Not knowing the dog
Had slowed his pace

The old man thought back
To his very first climb
That summer evening
Of his twelfth year
All alone on the mountain
A heaven full of stars
A rock for his pillow
He talked to the moon

He asked many questions
He called his ancestors by name
The heavens answered him
With many signs and sounds
That were later explained to him
By the tribal Medicine Man
A man who came to play
A very important part in his life

He became a warrior that year
He learned much from his family
The tribal customs and traditions
Were ingrained in his soul
He was a good listener
And was comfortable with words
He was accepted by the coucil
At a very young age

He had the strength of his father
The patience of his mother
The intelligence of his grandmother
And the wisdom of his grandfather
He learned how to guide
Not only himself but others
He had become all things
To all of those around him

He was a good chief
But his days were dwindling
His mind kept going back
Over all the things he had done
No regrets, no what ifs
Knowing he did his best
But things were changing
It was the dawn of a new era

The old man reached the ledge
Where he had stood many times
Since being that boy of twelve
And he was still awed
By the beauty of the heavens
The stars seemed so close
You could reach out and touch them
And that night, he did