Tag Archives: poems by other poets

Elegy in a Country Churchyard

I often think of Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard as I pass through the grounds of All Saints Church https://www.allsaintsuppernorwood.co.uk/

Gray’s poem is long since out of copyright and is reproduced below:

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

Now fades the glimm’ring landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;

Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow’r
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such, as wand’ring near her secret bow’r,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree’s shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mould’ring heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

The breezy call of incense-breathing Morn,
The swallow twitt’ring from the straw-built shed,
The cock’s shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.

For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care:
No children run to lisp their sire’s return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.

Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bow’d the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!

Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the poor.

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow’r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
Awaits alike th’ inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
If Mem’ry o’er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where thro’ the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour’s voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flatt’ry soothe the dull cold ear of Death?

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway’d,
Or wak’d to ecstasy the living lyre.

But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
Rich with the spoils of time did ne’er unroll;
Chill Penury repress’d their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flow’r is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country’s blood.

Th’ applause of list’ning senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o’er a smiling land,
And read their hist’ry in a nation’s eyes,

Their lot forbade: nor circumscrib’d alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin’d;
Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,

The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense kindled at the Muse’s flame.

Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray;
Along the cool sequester’d vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

Yet ev’n these bones from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck’d,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.

Their name, their years, spelt by th’ unletter’d muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply:
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.

For who to dumb Forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e’er resign’d,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing, ling’ring look behind?

On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
Ev’n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
Ev’n in our ashes live their wonted fires.

For thee, who mindful of th’ unhonour’d Dead
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,

Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
“Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.

“There at the foot of yonder nodding beech
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,
His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by.

“Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Mutt’ring his wayward fancies he would rove,
Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn,
Or craz’d with care, or cross’d in hopeless love.

“One morn I miss’d him on the custom’d hill,
Along the heath and near his fav’rite tree;
Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;

“The next with dirges due in sad array
Slow thro’ the church-way path we saw him borne.
Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay,
Grav’d on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.”

Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth
A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown.
Fair Science frown’d not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy mark’d him for her own.

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heav’n did a recompense as largely send:
He gave to Mis’ry all he had, a tear,
He gain’d from Heav’n (’twas all he wish’d) a friend.

No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
(There they alike in trembling hope repose)
The bosom of his Father and his God.

3 Poems By Poet Toby Wheeler

I posted recently regarding a poetry reading (which has now taken place), https://kmorrispoet.com/2019/03/08/forthcoming-poetry-reading-and-a-selected-poems/. For various reasons the attendance was small, however this added to the intimacy of the occasion, as my fellow poets and I where able to interact much more with the audience than would have been possible, had the event been a larger gathering.

One of the poets who participated in the event was my friend, Toby Wheeler. Toby has kindly given permission for 3 of his poems to be reproduced below. Please note, all of these poems are copyright of Toby Wheeler and may not be reproduced without the explicit written permission of the poet.

We’d Fly Rings Around the Moon

On quiet nights,

I think of you

And the thought of your embrace.

If only your heart would know me,

We’d fly rings around the Moon.

When the sun breaks

And I wake

To find I am in love,

I get this hurt,

That lingers.

If only your heart would open,

We’d fly rings around the Moon.

To be your lover by night

And friend by day,

And really get to know you.

If only it would be – I know,

That one day,

We’d fly rings around the Moon.

You know I would,

I’d slash the sky

To spend a day with you.

And if you loved me true,

And dreams could be,

We would fly rings around the Moon.


Rolling on the ocean foam,

With skies above

And sharks below,

I ramble round the seven seas – to nowhere.

I twist in the current and churn with the waves,

Tempests crash,

Hurricanes pass,

The sunny days are welcome.

The peace and cold and wetness told,

And creatures use my shade as home;

For I’m shelter where hurt fish cry,

A lushes shade in this vastness supply.

But now I pose in a man-made shade

In an earthwork dug from spades;

As I reached a shore, was grabbed and adorned,

And in a landscape garden here was laid.

I wanna be your cup of tea

I wanna be the taste in your tea and the brew that makes you stormy,

I wanna be the Earl Grey’s warmth, that kisses and keeps you cosy;

I wanna be the soothing sip that ah-s you while at work; and be that very mug of builders that quenches your morning thirst;

I wanna be the honey lemon that always makes you smile, and be the one you moan to, over a camomile;

I wanna be your PG Tips, your Yorkshire on the side,

And love me like milk with one sugar, and keep me by your side;

At night I’ll be your human cosy, that’s sure to keep you warm,

And whatever life may throw at us, a cuppa will keep us calm.

I don’t want much, just want your love, the Earl to your Lady Grey;

And promise me you’ll let me be, forever your favourite, cup of tea.

“Sic Vita” by Henry King

I awoke at a little after 3:30 this morning and got up in order to quench my thirst. As I moved through my home the cry of an owl reached my ears, which brought to mind “Sic Vita” by Henry King:

“Like to the falling of a star,
Or as the flights of eagles are,
Or like the fresh spring’s gaudy hue,
Or silver drops of morning dew,
Or like a wind that chafes the flood,
Or bubbles which on water stood:
Even such is man, whose borrowed light
Is straight called in, and paid to night.

The wind blows out, the bubble dies,
The spring entombed in autumn lies,
The dew dries up, the star is shot,
The flight is past, and man forgot”.

Spellbound, by Emily Brontë

Emily Brontë is best known for her novel “Wuthering Heights”, which was published in 1847. She did, however also write poetry one of which, “Spellbound”, is a favourite of mine and is reproduced below:

“The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me
And I cannot, cannot go.

The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow.
And the storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.

Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing drear can move me;
I will not, cannot go”.

“The Invigilator” by Jayne King

Thank you to Jayne King for her poem, “The invigilator”. The below poem is copyright Jayne King and may not be reproduced without the explicit written permission of Jayne King.

Being an invigilator,
Is there anything more boring?
Scanning the hall.
Toing and froing.

Trying to be alert,
So I can respond quickly to a raised hand.
Wishing I could sit like the others.
But instead, having to stand.

How slowly the time passes,
Seemingly standing still.
There’s movement all around me,
But somehow the time stays still.

Seconds turn to minutes,
A minute lasts an hour.
Some students offer small, tired smiles,
Others just sit and glower.

“The Oak” by Dawn D

Thank you to Dawn D for kind permission to reproduce her poem, “The Oak”. The below is copyright and may not be reproduced without the explicit permission of Dawn D. Dawn’s blog is currently private. You can, however contact Dawn to request access.

The Oak

Die Eiche

Ich bin die Eiche.
Ich bin das Eichhörnchen, ich bin der Vogel, die in dieser Eiche leben.
Ich bin die Frau, die unter dieser Eiche vergewaltigt wurde.
Ich bin der Mann, der ab dieser Eiche gehängt wurde.
Ich bin der Wind, der durch die Blätter dieser Eiche fließt.
Es gibt keine Zeit, nur Ewigkeit.
Ich bin frei, ich bin stark. Ich bin Ich!

The oak

I am the oak.
I am the squirrel, I am the bird, that live in that oak.
I am the woman who got raped under that oak.
I am the man who got hung from that oak.
I am the wind that flows through the leaves of that oak.
There is no time, only eternity.
I am free, I am strong. I am Me!

(For the original post please visit, https://dawnsnight.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/poetry-2/).

“The Dead Man Walking” by Thomas Hardy

Thank you to my colleague Alison, for drawing my attention to Thomas Hardy’s poem, “The Dead Man Walking”. It is a powerful piece which does, I believe speake for itself, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZP1v54SeHY4

Ex (by Anon)

The Past Has Passed
Once upon a time
This heart of mine
Was broken by you
But now I’m no longer blue.
However, you seem to want me back
But as always you lack
To tell me how 
You truly feel now.
I’ve had to let you go
Because I now know 
Without the all important trust 
It simply won’t work.
Perhaps I’m a little colder 
Or wisdom came as I got older
But in my heart I feel it’s right
To bid our love a sweet good night.

I Remember, I Remember By Thomas Hood

A beautiful and poignant poem by the English poet, Thomas Hood. “thee tree is living yet” says it all.

I remember, I remember
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon
Nor brought too long a day;
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away.

I remember, I remember
The roses, red and white,
The violets, and the lily-cups
Those flowers made of light!
The lilacs where the robin built,
And where my brother set
The laburnum on his birthday,
The tree is living yet!

I remember, I remember
Where I was used to swing,
And thought the air must rush as fresh
To swallows on the wing;
My spirit flew in feathers then
That is so heavy now,
And summer pools could hardly cool
The fever on my brow.

I remember, I remember
The fir-trees dark and high;
I used to think their slender tops
Were close against the sky:
It was a childish ignorance,
But now ’tis little joy
To know I’m farther off from Heaven
Than when I was a boy.

“La Belle Dame sans Merci” by John Keats

I have long been intrigued by John Keat’s poem “La Belle Dame sans Merci” (“The Beautiful Lady Without Mercy”).


“O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,

Alone and palely loitering?

The sedge has withered from the lake,

And no birds sing.


O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,

So haggard and so woe-begone?

The squirrel’s granary is full,

And the harvest’s done.


I see a lily on thy brow,

With anguish moist and fever-dew,

And on thy cheeks a fading rose

Fast withereth too.


I met a lady in the meads,

Full beautiful—a faery’s child,

Her hair was long, her foot was light,

And her eyes were wild.


I made a garland for her head,

And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;

She looked at me as she did love,

And made sweet moan


I set her on my pacing steed,

And nothing else saw all day long,

For sidelong would she bend, and sing

A faery’s song.


She found me roots of relish sweet,

And honey wild, and manna-dew,

And sure in language strange she said—

‘I love thee true’.


She took me to her Elfin grot,

And there she wept and sighed full sore,

And there I shut her wild wild eyes

With kisses four.


And there she lullèd me asleep,

And there I dreamed—Ah! woe betide!—

The latest dream I ever dreamt

On the cold hill side.


I saw pale kings and princes too,

Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;

They cried—‘La Belle Dame sans Merci

Hath thee in thrall!’


I saw their starved lips in the gloam,

With horrid warning gapèd wide,

And I awoke and found me here,

On the cold hill’s side.


And this is why I sojourn here,

Alone and palely loitering,

Though the sedge is withered from the lake,

And no birds sing”.