Not to fret


The days, the days they break to fade.

What fills them I’ll forget.

Every touch and smell and taste,

This sun, about to set

can never last. It breaks my heart,

Each joy feels like a threat:

Although there’s beauty everywhere,

its shadow is regret.

Still, something in the coming dusk

whispers not to fret.

Don’t matter that we’ll lose today.

It’s not tomorrow yet.


Shades of Maya Angelou and Emily Dickinson in Kate Tempest’s collection “Hold it Own”. Photos of small things that give me pleasure.

Burning diamonds


Come we to the summer, to the summer we will come
For the woods are full of bluebells, and the hedges full of bloom,
The crow is on the oak a-building of her nest,
And love is burning diamonds in my true lover’s breast…


John Clare

A little madness


A little madness in the Spring /
is wholesome even for the King

Emily Dickinson. As ever with ED, there are so many meanings, that I could read a sentence forever. But right now, while weighing up whether I should see the ED biopic A Quiet Passion, I’m just enjoying these madly extravagant coiffures and bonnets.


From top to bottom: an early Picasso I’ve always liked, The Duchess of Kent, Julia Lady Peel, and a fashion shoot in this month’s Harpers Bazaar.

Rice-soft air


With hieroglyphs of bushes and trees /

they write and write, /

now pressing on their pens, now not /

Ah on wet paper /

with an invisible brush /

On the soft, rice-like air.

Olga Sedokova. Photos Prague, 2017.



Rat, oh rat…

never in my life have I seen

as handsome a rat as you.

Thank you for noticing my potatoes.

Oh Rat, I am not rich.

I left you a note concerning my potatoes,

but I see that I placed it too high

and you could not read it.

Oh Rat,

my wife and I are cursed with possession of a large and hungry dog;

it worries us that he might learn your name –

which is forever on our lips.

Oh Rat, consider my neighbour;

he has eight children (all of them older

and more intelligent than mine)

and if you lived in his house, Rat

ten good Christians

(if we include his wife)

would sing your praises nightly,

whereas in my house there are only five.

Christopher Logue

It rains

It rains, and nothing stirs within the fence

Anywhere through the orchard’s untrodden dense

Forest of parsley. The great diamonds

Of rain on the grassblades there is none to break

Or the fallen petals further down to shake.

And I am nearly as happy as possible

To search the wilderness in vain though well

To think of two walking, kissing there,

Drenched, yet forgetting the kisses of the rain

Sad, too, to think that never, never again

Unless alone, so happy shall I walk

In the rain. When I turn away, on it’s fine stalk

Twilight has fined to naught the parsley flower

Figures, suspended still and ghostly white,

The past hovering as it revisits the light.

It Rains, by Edward Thomas.

I like the imagery – forest of parsley, diamond (panes) of rain – but what I like most is how he uses enjambement. It creates deliberate, “poetic” ambiguity: Does the fine stalk belong to the parsley or the twilight’s light? It imparts rhythm, either running on to convey the unbroken density of the forest, or allowing Thomas to break a line as he turns away, starting a sentence unexpectedly with a new pace, not at the start but in the middle.

Looking closely, you spot that Thomas cultivated a casual, “natural” speaking voice that was carefully structured, precursor to the stream of consciousness writers, and akin to the transparent deception in Ford Maddox Ford’s The Good Soldier, a book published two years before Thomas died. In fact, the mix of detached observation and see-sawing between happiness and sorrow in It Rains fits that novel too.

I am gentle with you

I am gentle with you

as with bees

the sharp smell of flowers

as to the bird’s tired wings

a swinging branch

as gold

I fall on your lids

with a smile

I chase away thoughts – stinging wasps

this night

has given you to me

the vast night

with my hair strewn in disorder over canvas

you are

clear like the moon

you shine

in my cold sky

I pray to you

what religion is this

where they worship the lips

of the curved god of dawns

ah religion

magnificent blasphemers

we are to one another

a close four-cornered world

Halina Poswiatowska

Halina Poswiatowska

I think it’s hard to write poetry

look how often it doesn’t work for those

who should have succeeded

but I also think it’s not easy to take poison climb mountain tops

or swim the English Channel

and yet all these are human achievements

that’s why I dare one more time

I would be simple again

I would be simple again,

Simple and clean

Like the earth,

Like the rain,

Nor ever know,

Dark Harlem,

The wild laughter of your mirth,

Nor the salt tears

Of your pain.

Be kind to me,

Oh, great dark city.

Let me forget.

I will not come

To you again.

Langston Hughes, The Weary Blues (1926)


“…those who are the world’s working artists are not trying to help the world go around, but forward. Which is something altogether from the ordinary…Its labor requires a different outlook – a different set of priorities…It is a third self, occasional in some of us, tyrant in others. This self is out of love with the ordinary; it is out of love with time. It has a hunger for eternity.

From poet Mary Oliver’s book of essays, Upstream. Photo via Penguin Random House’s page.