Monday, October 28, 2013


Tomorrow greets with weary calm
and brings a tender healing balm;
the moors are filled with golden rum,
the light of bright Elysium.

Nay! not rum, but amber wine
distilled from winter eglantine,
nepenthe-nectar to forget
all the griefs that we have met.

And at eventide we sleep
to dream of joy and never weep;
no tears again will fall for sorrow,
but may for gladness on the morrow.

Friday, October 18, 2013


From "The Last Journal of Gwyllyn" - by C. James Gwyllyn (1871-1914), published posthumously in 1921.

Make your peace a whisper said
at the threshold of weary sleep,
as if quite soon I would be dead -
and yet this moved me not to weep
nor did it fill my heart with dread:
instead a gladness quivered there,
a pang of joy at tidings fair.

But make your peace - what means this?
How best should I achieve such ends?
To grant each ally a farewell kiss
and to each enemy a full amends?
To make right all that has gone amiss?
Gracious would such gestures be,
but not in the time now left to me.

Inclined myself then to my inmost heart,
which ever to me seemed quite serene -
yet behold! what rage there pulls me apart,
what seething old furies, bitter and mean,
over every ill word, every slightest dart:
a war boiling over, which I scarcely contain,
but fought with no foe except my own pain.

Such dark brooding armies gathering there!
Such bonfires blazing and surging high,
such smokes obscuring the heavens fair -
oh! does all this go with me when I die?
And to think I was someone given to prayer!
I need to quell the warfare in my own heart,
and bring peace to that realm before I depart.

Such a chance to prepare seems a tender grace,
a merciful concern for your health, O my soul -
to prevent you from beholding His loving Face
while still clutching bitterness within your control.
Having fought the good fight, now finish the race!
Bring your lifetime of hurts, injustice, and loss
and unite them with His pain upon His own Cross!

Then your arms will be His outstretched to the world,
not with fists clenched in bitterness, cursing your fate,
not with hatred and fuming, but with Mercy unfurled,
bringing Light to all darkness, and Love to all hate,
no matter what abuses your enemies have hurled.
Then Peace beyond telling will be yours from the Lord,
and you will go in peace likewise to your eternal reward.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Such are our lives

Like glinting light upon the waves
that break beneath the summer skies;
like shadows quivering upon the grass
caressed by gentle autumn sighs.

Like snowflakes lingering upon the leaf
in woodland eaves on a winter day;
like dewdrops gleaming bright at dawn
till warmth of spring burns them away.

Such are our lives upon these lands,
upon these shores of shifting sands.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Shadow of Light

What heavy waves fall on my brain,
like swells of dark and swirling seas
at high tide laboring; a looming pain
that waxes like some fell disease.

But hark! descending from vacant night,
from the starless moonless firmament,
comes a ray of dark - what words I write! -
and the fearsome ocean-waves are rent.

Broken asunder, and birthing hope,
while the burdens of darkness still remain -
yet now a night of encircling scope,
a shadow of light, of eternal gain.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Grandmother recalls our dear cousin Kate

How often, in the cool of the morning,
when serene gold was upon the world,
I saw you out on the wild heathlands
which seemed for you alone unfurled.

With bright and youthful eyes you gazed
across that endless range of fells -
endless, at least, they had seemed to you -
and bethought to yourself so many tales.

But no words you wrote while on the moors,
too rapt, no doubt, to wield the pen -
but returning into the house at noon,
your furious writing would then begin.

All through dinnertime, hardly partaking
of the fine victuals cook had prepared,
you filled the pages over with words,
but with none of us would these be shared.

And closing the papers, you then would smile
and full brighten up as if all the skies
inside your mind were swept of clouds
by warm and fragrant springtime sighs.

Oh! what delightful talks we had
once your tongue was then set free;
your brown eyes sparkled with lovely fire,
your laughter brought such joy to me.

But alas! your liveliness would not live long;
it was a decade ago this past September
when consumption robbed poor Rushton Manse,
and took away its fairest member.

You were nearly fifteen, my dear sweet Kate -
you'd have been twenty-five this coming year -
and yet, on some mornings, through yonder window,
upon the moors I see your form appear.

I know ‘tis but a trick of shadow and sun,
and the habits of these weary eyes,
still used to seeing you wandering there,
under the bright and boundless skies.

But we have the memories, and portraits made,
and especially the stories you wrote down then,
so filled with joy, which we often read
and, in reading, see your smiling face again.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Rats and Hogs

From "Songs for Children"
It's raining rats and hogs out there,
rodents and swine, falling everywhere.
See them scurrying on hundreds of feet,
scurrying scurrying down the street,
squeaking and squealing, an awful noise!
chasing around little girls and boys
who wanted to play outside in the storm,
instead of inside where it's dry and warm.
But running from rodents is such fearful play,
and sprinting from swine makes a rotten day.
They'd trample and bite you, and make you wet;
not one of them would make you a friendly pet.
See all their teeth, and their flashing eyes;
you'll stay here inside, if you are wise.
For it's raining rats and hogs out there,
you wouldn't go out, you wouldn't dare!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Upon the Howgill Fells

A poised and gentle brooding light,
in deep and golden honeyed waves,
enfolds all earnest thinking here,
the labours of constant recollection,
the shifting-shadows which lay behind
half-closed eyes - such cogs and wheels!
such soft machinery of feverish thought!
And yet such gravity upon these lands,
these barren hills, as a snowy moon
ascends unrushed into clean-swept skies,
greeting from afar the wilting sun
slipping down into comfortable shade,
in serene late-summer, at the ragged end
of this ruinous and desperate day.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Soup Kitchen

Who are these hungry wayworn creatures
with sweaty, smudged and crooked features,
with filthy clothes and weary eyes?
They are Jesus in disguise.