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Notes On The Art Of Poetry

I could never have dreamt that there were such goings-on

in the world between the covers of books,

such sandstorms and ice blasts of words,

such staggering peace, such enormous laughter,

such and so many blinding bright lights,

splashing all over the pages

in a million bits and pieces

all of which were words, words, words,

and each of which were alive forever

in its own delight and glory and oddity and light.

Do not go gentle into that good night

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Ga, ga niet zacht, in die goede nacht

Ga, ga niet zacht, in die goede nacht,

Een oude dag moet branden en bulderen aan het eind;

Raas en tier tegen het doven van het licht.

Al weten wijze mannen aan hun eind dat donker wacht,

Omdat hun woorden geen vonken deden vlammen, zij

Gaan, gaan niet zacht, in die goede nacht.

Goede mannen, voorbij de laatste golfslag, die huilen hoe helder

Hun tere daden hadden kunnen dansen in een groen dal, zij

Razen en tieren tegen het doven van het licht.

Wilde mannen die de zon op de vlucht vingen en bezongen,

En te laat merken dat zij ze kneusden onderweg, zij

Gaan, gaan niet zacht, in die goede nacht.

Sombere mannen, de dood nabij, die met verblinde blik zien

Hoe blinde ogen als meteoren kunnen gloeien en schitteren, zij

Razen en tieren tegen het doven van het licht.

En gij, mijn vader, daar op de droeve hoogte,

Ik smeek u, beproef, zegen me nu met uw felle tranen.

Ga, ga niet zacht, in die goede nacht.

Raas en tier tegen het doven van het licht.

( Translation: DE MEESTER Z.A.J. )

Especially when the October wind

Especially when the October wind

With frosty fingers punishes my hair,

Caught by the crabbing sun I walk on fire

And cast a shadow crab upon the land,

By the sea's side, hearing the noise of birds,

Hearing the raven cough in winter sticks,

My busy heart who shudders as she talks

Sheds the syllabic blood and drains her words.

Shut, too, in a tower of words, I mark

On the horizon walking like the trees

The wordy shapes of women, and the rows

Of the star-gestured children in the park.

Some let me make you of the vowelled beeches,

Some of the oaken voices, from the roots

Of many a thorny shire tell you notes,

Some let me make you of the water's speeches.

Behind a pot of ferns the wagging clock

Tells me the hour's word, the neural meaning

Flies on the shafted disk, declaims the morning

And tells the windy weather in the cock.

Some let me make you of the meadow's signs;

The signal grass that tells me all I know

Breaks with the wormy winter through the eye.

Some let me tell you of the raven's sins.

Especially when the October wind

(Some let me make you of autumnal spells,

The spider-tongued, and the loud hill of Wales)

With fists of turnips punishes the land,

Some let me make you of the heartless words.

The heart is drained that, spelling in the scurry

Of chemic blood, warned of the coming fury.

By the sea's side hear the dark-vowelled birds.

When all my five and country senses see

When all my five and country senses see

The fingers will forget green thumbs and mark

How, through the halfmoon's vegetable eye,

Husk of young stars and handfull zodiac,

Love in the frost is pared and wintered by,

The whispering ears will watch love drummed away

Down breeze and shell to a discordant beach,

And, lashed to syllables, the lynx tongue cry

That her fond wounds are mended bitterly.

My nostrils see her breath burn like a bush.

My one and noble heart has witnesses

In all love's countries, that will grope awake;

And when blind sleep drops on the spying senses,

The heart is sensual, though five eyes break.

And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.

Dead man naked they shall be one

With the man in the wind and the west moon;

When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,

They shall have stars at elbow and foot;

Though they go mad they shall be sane,

Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;

Though lovers be lost love shall not;

And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.

Under the windings of the sea

They lying long shall not die windily;

Twisting on racks when sinews give way,

Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;

Faith in their hands shall snap in two,

And the unicorn evils run them through;

Split all ends up they shan't crack;

And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.

No more may gulls cry at their ears

Or waves break loud on the seashores;

Where blew a flower may a flower no more

Lift its head to the blows of the rain;

Though they be mad and dead as nails,

Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;

Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,

And death shall have no dominion.

Fern Hill

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs

About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,

The night above the dingle starry,

Time let me hail and climb

Golden in the heydays of his eyes,

And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns

And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves

Trail with daisies and barley

Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns

About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,

In the sun that is young once only,

Time let me play and be

Golden in the mercy of his means,

And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves

Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,

And the sabbath rang slowly

In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay

Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air

And playing, lovely and watery

And fire green as grass.

And nightly under the simple stars

As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,

All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars

Flying with the ricks, and the horses

Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white

With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all

Shining, it was Adam and maiden,

The sky gathered again

And the sun grew round that very day.

So it must have been after the birth of the simple light

In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm

Out of the whinnying green stable

On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house

Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,

In the sun born over and over,

I ran my heedless ways,

My wishes raced through the house high hay

And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows

In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs

Before the children green and golden

Follow him out of grace,

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me

Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,

In the moon that is always rising,

Nor that riding to sleep

I should hear him fly with the high fields

And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.

Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,

Time held me green and dying

Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

In My Craft Or Sullen Art

In my craft or sullen art

Exercised in the still night

When only the moon rages

And the lovers lie abed

With all their griefs in their arms

I labour by singing light

Not for ambition or bread

Or the strut and trade of charms

On the ivory stages

But for the common wages

Of their most secret heart.

Not for the proud man apart

From the raging moon I write

On these spindrift pages

Nor for the towering dead

With their nightingales and psalms

But for the lovers, their arms

Round the griefs of the ages,

Who pay no praise or wages

Nor heed my craft or art.

Our eunuch dreams


Our eunuch dreams, all seedless in the light,

Of light and love the tempers of the heart,

Whack their boys' limbs,

And, winding-footed in their shawl and sheet,

Groom the dark brides, the widows of the night

Fold in their arms.

The shades of girls, all flavoured from their shrouds,

When sunlight goes are sundered from the worm,

The bones of men, the broken in their beds,

By midnight pulleys that unhouse the tomb.


In this our age the gunman and his moll

Two one-dimensional ghosts, love on a reel,

Strange to our solid eye,

And speak their midnight nothings as they swell;

When cameras shut they hurry to their hole

down in the yard of day.

They dance between their arclamps and our skull,

Impose their shots, showing the nights away;

We watch the show of shadows kiss or kill

Flavoured of celluloid give love the lie.


Which is the world? Of our two sleepings, which

Shall fall awake when cures and their itch

Raise up this red-eyed earth?

Pack off the shapes of daylight and their starch,

The sunny gentlemen, the Welshing rich,

Or drive the night-geared forth.

The photograph is married to the eye,

Grafts on its bride one-sided skins of truth;

The dream has sucked the sleeper of his faith

That shrouded men might marrow as they fly.


This is the world; the lying likeness of

Our strips of stuff that tatter as we move

Loving and being loth;

The dream that kicks the buried from their sack

And lets their trash be honoured as the quick.

This is the world. Have faith.

For we shall be a shouter like the cock,

Blowing the old dead back; our shots shall smack

The image from the plates;

And we shall be fit fellows for a life,

And who remains shall flower as they love,

Praise to our faring hearts.

Light breaks where no sun shines

Light breaks where no sun shines;

Where no sea runs, the waters of the heart

Push in their tides;

And, broken ghosts with glowworms in their heads,

The things of light

File through the flesh where no flesh decks the bones.

A candle in the thighs

Warms youth and seed and burns the seeds of age;

Where no seed stirs,

The fruit of man unwrinkles in the stars,

Bright as a fig;

Where no wax is, the candle shows it's hairs.

Dawn breaks behind the eyes;

From poles of skull and toe the windy blood

Slides like a sea;

Nor fenced, nor staked, the gushers of the sky

Spout to the rod

Divining in a smile the oil of tears.

Night in the sockets rounds,

Like some pitch moon, the limit of the globes;

Day lights the bone;

Where no cold is, the skinning gales unpin

The winter's robes;

The film of spring is hanging from the lids.

Light breaks on secret lots,

On tips of thought where thoughts smell in the rain;

When logics die,

The secret of the soil grows through the eye,

And blood jumps in the sun;

Above the waste allotments the dawn halts.