Thursday, December 3, 2015

A new Poetry blog
begins on Sunday 6th December at


Thursday, July 16, 2015


A New Blog begins on Saturday 25th July 2015


Monday, November 18, 2013


Irving Berlin 1888-19

Be careful, it's my heart,
It's not my watch you're holding, it's my heart.
It's not the note that I sent you that you quickly burned,
It's not the book I lent you that you never returned.

Remember, it's my heart,
The heart with which so willingly I part.
It's yours to take, to keep or break
But please, before you start
Be careful, it's my heart.


John Clare 1793-1864

Within a thick and spreading hawthorn bush
That overhung a mole-hill large and round,
I heard from morn to morn a merry thrush 
Sing hymns to sunrise, while I drank the sound
With joy; and, often an intruding guest,
I watched her secret toils from day to day - 
How true she warped the moss to form a nest,
And modelled it from within with wood and clay;
And by and by, like heath-bells gilt with dew,
There lay her shining eggs, as bright as flowers,
Ink-spotted over shells of greeny blue;
And there I witnessed, in the sunny hours,
A brood of nature's minstrels chirp and fly,
Glad as that sunshine and the laughing sky.


Thomas Moore 1779-1852

I have a garden of my own,
Shining with flowers of every hue;
I loved it dearly while alone,
But I shall love it more with you:
And there the golden bees shall come,
In summer time at break of morn,
And wake us with their busy hum
Around the Siha's fragrant thorn.

I have a fawn from Aden's land,
On leafy buds and berries nursed;
And you shall feed him from your hand,
Though he may start with fear at first;
And I will lead you where he lies
For shelter in the noon-tide heat;
And you may touch his sleeping eyes,
And feel his little silvery feet.


Oliver Goldsmith 1728-74

When lovely woman stoops to folly
And finds too late that men betray,
What charm can soothe her melancholy,
What art can wash her guilt away?

The only art her guilt can cover,
To hide her shame from every eye,
To give repentance to her lover
And wring his bosom is - to die.



Monday, November 11, 2013


William Butler Yeats 1865-1939

Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.

In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears. 


Ella Wheeler Wilcox 1850-1919

Laugh and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow it's mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life's gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.


William Shakespeare 1564-1616

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow'st.
     So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
     So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.


Oliver Goldsmith 1728-1774

A quiet home had Parson Gray,
Secluded in a vale;
His daughters all were feminine,
And all his sons were male.

How faithfully did Parson Gray
The bread of life dispense -
Well "posted" in theology,
And post and rail his fence.

'Gainst all the vices of the age
He manfully did battle;
His chickens were a biped breed,
And quadruped his cattle.

No clock more punctually went,
He ne'er delayed a minute -
Nor ever empty was his purse,
When he had money in it.

His piety was ne'er denied;
His truths hit saint and sinner;
At morn he always breakfasted;
He always dined at dinner.

He ne'er by any luck was grieved,
By any care perplexed -
No filcher he, though when he preached,
He always "took" a text.

As faithful characters he drew
As mortal ever saw;
But ah! poor parson! when he died,
His breath he could not draw!


Monday, November 4, 2013


Thomas Hood 1799-1845 

No sun - no moon!
No morn - no noon!
No dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day -
No sky - no earthly view -
No distance looking blue -

No road - no street -
No "t'other side the way" -
No end to any Row -
No indications where the Crescents go -

No top to any steeple -
No recognitions of familiar people -
No courtesies for showing 'em -
No knowing 'em!

No mail - no post -
No news from any foreign coast -
No park - no ring -
No afternoon gentility -
No company - no nobility -

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member -
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,


Percy French 1854-1920 

Oh Mary, this London's a wonderful sight
With the people here working by day and by night,
They don't sow potatoes nor barley nor wheat,
But there's gangs of them digging for gold in the street;
At least when I asked them that's what I was told,
So I just took a hand at this digging for gold,
But for all that I found there I might as well be
Where the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.

I believe that when writing a wish you expressed,
As to how the fine ladies of London were dressed;
Well, if you believe me, when asked to a ball,
They don't wear a top on their dresses at all;
Oh, I've seen them myself, and you couldn't in truth
Say if they were bound for a ball or a bath;
Don't be starting them fashions now, Mary Macree,
Where the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.

I've seen England's king from the top of a bus,
I never knew him, though he means to know us;
And though by the Saxon we once were oppressed,
Still I cheered, God forgive me, I cheered with the rest;
And now that he's visited Erin's green shore,
We'll be much better friends than we've heretofore;
When we've got all we want, we're as quiet as can be,
Where the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.

You remember young Peter O'Loughlin of course,
Well, now he is here at the head of the force;
I met him today, I was crossing the Strand
And he stopped the whole street with one wave of his hand;
And there we stood talking of days that are gone,
While the whole population of London looked on,
But for all these great powers he's wishful like me
To be back where dark Moume sweeps down to the sea.

There's beautiful girls here - Oh, never you mind,
With beautiful shapes Nature never designed,
And lovely complexions, all roses and cream,
But O'Loughlin remarked with regard to the same,
That, if at those roses you venture to sip,
The colours might all come away on your lip,
So I'll wait for the wild rose that's waiting for me
Where the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.


Frederick Locker-Lampson 1821-95

I recollect a nurse called Ann,
Who carried me about the grass,
And one fine day a fine young man
Came up and kissed the pretty lass.

She did not make the least objection.
Thinks I “Aha!
When I can talk I’ll tell Mama”

- And that’s my earliest recollection.


BLOG NEWS:   A new series of "John's Quiet Corner" which ran from May 2009 until May 2011 begins on 8th November and will be updated every Friday. The address is


Monday, October 28, 2013


Thomas Campbell 1777-1844

A chieftain, to the Highlands bound,
Cries, “Boatman, do not tarry!
And I'll give thee a silver pound
To row us o'er the ferry!''

“Now, who be ye, would cross Lochgyle,
This dark and stormy weather?''
“O, I'm the chief of Ulva's isle,
And this, Lord Ullin's daughter.

“And fast before her father's men
Three days we've fled together,
For should he find us in the glen,
My blood would stain the heather.

“His horsemen hard behind us ride;
Should they our steps discover,
Then who will cheer my bonny bride
When they have slain her lover?''

Out spoke the hardy Highland wight,
“I'll go, my chief - I'm ready,
It is not for your silver bright,
But for your winsome lady.

“And by my word! the bonny bird
In danger shall not tarry;
So, though the waves are raging white,
I'll row you o'er the ferry.''

By this the storm grew loud apace,
The water-wraith was shrieking;
And in the scowl of heaven each face
Grew dark as they were speaking.

But still as wilder blew the wind,
And as the night grew drearer,
Adown the glen rode arm├Ęd men,
Their trampling sounded nearer.

“O haste thee, haste!'' the lady cries,
“Though tempests round us gather;
I'll meet the raging of the skies,
But not an angry father.''

The boat has left a stormy land,
A stormy sea before her,
When, O! too strong for human hand,
The tempest gather'd o'er her.

And still they row'd amidst the roar
Of waters fast prevailing:
Lord Ullin reach'd that fatal shore,
His wrath was changed to wailing.

For, sore dismay'd through storm and shade,
His child he did discover -
One lovely hand she stretch'd for aid,
And one was round her lover.

“Come back! come back!'' he cried in grief
Across this stormy water:
And I'll forgive your Highland chief,
My daughter! - O my daughter!''

'Twas vain: the loud waves lash'd the shore,
Return or aid preventing:
The waters wild went o'er his child,
And he was left lamenting.



Here lies a poor woman who was always tired,
She lived in a house where help wasn't hired:
Her last words on earth were: “Dear friends, I am going
To where there's no cooking, or washing, or sewing,
For everything there is exact to my wishes,
For where they don't eat there's no washing of dishes.
I'll be where loud anthems will always be ringing,
But having no voice I'll be quit of the singing.
Don't mourn for me now, don't mourn for me never,
I am going to do nothing for ever and ever.”


Cole Porter 1891-1964

You do something to me.
Something that simply mystifies me.
Tell me, why should it be
You have the pow'r to hypnotize me.
Let me live 'neath your spell.
Do do that voodoo that you do so well.
For you do something to me
That nobody else can do.


Monday, October 21, 2013


John Keats 1795-1821 

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'erbrimmed their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, -
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing, and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.


Emily Dickenson 1830-86 

Wild Nights! Wild Nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild Nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port, -
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart!

Rowing in Eden!
Ah! the sea!
Might I but moor
To-night in Thee!


A.E. Housman 1859-1936

With rue my heart is laden   
  For golden friends I had,   
For many a rose-lipt maiden   
  And many a lightfoot lad.   

By brooks too broad for leaping           
  The lightfoot boys are laid;   
The rose-lipt girls are sleeping   
  In fields where roses fade.


George, Lord Byron 1788-1824

So, we'll go no more a-roving   
  So late into the night,   
Though the heart be still as loving,   
  And the moon be still as bright.   

For the sword outwears its sheath,            
  And the soul wears out the breast,   
And the heart must pause to breathe,   
  And love itself have rest.   

Though the night was made for loving,   
  And the day returns too soon,     
Yet we'll go no more a-roving   
  By the light of the moon.


NEW - now online - NEW
The term, usually derogatory, describes idealistic, sentimental paintings. Artists like Renoir were often derided for producing such works. The genre was particularly loved by the Victorians and my selection will appeal to many today.