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Home Along the River May 18, 2010

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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An old one, but a nice one all the same …

Home Along the River

by the Rambling Man

“You’ll be alright now, son!” he would say;
My gills as green as the sea being sliced by our bow;
And around the rocky point we would lurch – the tall tower
giving calm to the swell; inching inside her protection,
which could never come quickly enough.

The rocks of Hook draw lines that keep the maddening current in tow.
At Dunmore, the yachts are making for home on the tide.
I stumble from stern to midships, keen not to miss a thing.
The harbour’s form burning it’s place in my mind.

“Call out the bays and the rocks now, son!” he would say;
“Because I don’t want to get lost!”
And I’d jump to attention, glad to be back on hushed water.
Slowly they passed us, the river easing us home …
Hall Bay and then Boyce’s, with Creadan Head to your back.
The hatch patterned seats leaving marks on my knees.

“There’s Dollar and Booley!” I’d shout
Their crowdless beaches a sign that our own harbour was near.
“Can we go digging for treasure?” I’d plead,
until I outgrew the tales of the old folk,
who were rich from ingots found simply out walking !

A turn to the North meant I could command at the wheel …
The diesel engine thrumming a comforting song.
“Keep her straight now, son!” he would say;
“And line up the two towers in your sights” …
Rounding the Barrack, we’d laugh and talk about how
those on the Strand would rather be out here with us.

Tied up and safely ashore, the boat strains ‘gainst the current,
longing to bear us again, home, along the river.

Golf March 30, 2010

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor, Sports.
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by the Rambling Man

Now golf is a game of very much pain
its like hitting your head with a stick
you swing and you hit and curse when you miss,
sure the game makes the brightest look thick !

From the tee to the green, and to putts most obscene
we weekly subject all our patience
pushed left or sliced right, tis really a fight
not to lose it for lack of adjacence.

But when you hit a good shot, far more often than not
you lose all your anger in seconds
for theres nothing as cool, as watching men drool
when a birdie or eagle them beckons …

So with a good score secured, surely the worst you’ve endured
but your next shot is barely a scuff
and the lie you’ve just found, on scruffy old ground
makes long grass seem like lawn tis that rough !

So you hack and you whack, and damage your back
and grumble all the way to the green
but the ball it pops out, and leaves you a shout
at a putt like you’ve ne’er before seen.

So when out on the links, if your spirit it sinks
just remember the secret to golf
no matter how badly you play, theres always a way
to walk off the course feeling worse !

To those who have gone before March 24, 2010

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So I haven’t published a poem in a long time … here goes …

“To Those Who Have Gone Before”
by the Rambling Man

Your familiar names vault from the page – an unfaltering script
clearing the mist from some long-buried fact.
I carry your blood but could not recognise your face.
Or those of your children; my grandparents.

With each secret uncovered, a new branch on a tree
grows and stirs up the questions that a fresh life can bring.
Was there another ? A name not recorded but who
smiled and laughed, cried and then faded away ?

The gallery above me, my ancestors,
in ranks, are slowly revealed.
I am but one from the bottom, looking above
at the unknown figures of my forebears.

What were you like, ‘my people’ ?
You who have shaped me and made me.
Were you bold, or humble, funny or harsh ?
In those times long since passed, but still present.

Your names I record, so that those who have gone before
shall be known to those waiting to join them.
With each name that I speak, I complete
the patchwork that is me. And my children.

I am proud to be of you. Gardener, sailor, soldier and rebel.
And too of those unknown, unable to read or yet to be discovered.
For I am of you and you are of me.
Your posterity is revived.

Far in a Western Brookland May 29, 2009

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Far in a Western Brookland
by A.E. Houseman


Far in a western brookland
That bred me long ago
The poplars stand and tremble
By pools I used to know.

There, in the windless night-time,
The wanderer, marvelling why,
Halts on the bridge to hearken
How soft the poplars sigh.

He hears: no more remembered
In fields where I was known,
Here I lie down in London
And turn to rest alone.

There, by the starlit fences,
The wanderer halts and hears
My soul that lingers sighing
About the glimmering weirs.

Mountains at Sea May 25, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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Mountains at Sea
by the Rambling Man

If each of your peaks was a mountain, or even a hill;
A rugged, growth covered peak where families brought their guests
to gaze at some city below;
Then it would surely be the grandest range there was to see. At sea.

If each of your peaks was a mountain, or even a slope;
That the sunlight dusting its top, might stay with for more than a moment,
as it moved through and away.
Then they would surely be the most sparkling slopes there were to see. At sea.

If each of your peaks was a man, or even a child;
Each man and each child, never knowing the same shape more than the once;
As they marched in and up and out and back again;
Then it would surely be the grandest race there ever was to see. At sea.

And if atop but one of your peaks stood me,
And gazed upon this range, this slope, this race;
As they flowed, never ending from where I am now to where I had been;
without stopping, even for a breath, however calm.
Then it is surely the grandest sight there is to see. My sea.

* Please excuse the abject sentimentality of this effort !

Rain January 16, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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by Hone Tuwhare, renowned Maori poet, who died today in New Zealand.

I can hear you
making small holes
in the silence

If I were deaf
the pores of my skin
would open to you
and shut

And I
should know you
by the lick of you
if I were blind

On Raglan Road January 12, 2008

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Whether in song or in verse, this piece remains one of my favourite …

Raglan Road
by Patrick Kavanagh

On Raglan Road of an autumn day I saw her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue
I saw the danger and I passed along the enchanted way
And I said let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day

On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge
Of a deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion’s play
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay
Oh I loved too much and by such by such is happiness thrown away

I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret signs
That’s known to the artists who have known the true Gods of sound and stone
And words and tint without stint, I gave her poems to say
With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over fields of May

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow
That I had loved not as I should a creature made of clay
When the angel woos the clay he’ll lose his wings at the dawn of day

A Late Walk November 23, 2007

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1913 A Boy’s Will
A Late Walk

by Robert Frost

WHEN I go up through the mowing field,
The headless aftermath,
Smooth-laid like thatch with the heavy dew,
Half closes the garden path.
And when I come to the garden ground,
The whir of sober birds
Up from the tangle of withered weeds
Is sadder than any words.
A tree beside the wall stands bare,
But a leaf that lingered brown,
Disturbed, I doubt not, by my thought,
Comes softly rattling down.
I end not far from my going forth
By picking the faded blue
Of the last remaining aster flower
To carry again to you.

The Dead November 17, 2007

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The Dead
by Rupert Brooke

Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!
There’s none of these so lonely and poor of old,
But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold.
These laid the world away; poured out the red
Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be
Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene,
That men call age; and those who would have been,
Their sons, they gave, their immortality.
Blow, bugles, blow! They brought us, for our dearth,
Holiness, lacked so long, and Love, and Pain.
Honour has come back, as a king, to earth,
And paid his subjects with a royal wage;
And Nobleness walks in our ways again;
And we have come into our heritage.

I’m Nobody! Who are You ? November 3, 2007

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I’m Nobody! Who are You?
by Emily Dickinson

I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us -don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

… I bet there’s many a celebrity wishes he wasn’t a frog (erm ..?)

What Fifty Said October 18, 2007

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What Fifty Said
by Robert Frost

When I was young my teachers were the old.
I gave up fire for form till I was cold.
I suffered like a metal being cast.
I went to school to age to learn the past.

Now when I am old my teachers are the young.
What can’t be molded must be cracked and sprung.
I strain at lessons fit to start a suture.
I got to school to youth to learn the future.

A Stony Pier October 4, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Emigration, Poetry & Humor.
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A Stony Pier …

by The Rambling Man

At the end of a stone built pier, I see myself
standing – and I watch the choppy water surround laughing, splashing friends …
Remember the many times I jumped. And now the same
gnarling hive rises in my belly, as it did when mid air then,
only being vanquished when I breached the surface
Realising I could swim; and well at that.

Those were days of carefree, although we didn’t know it,
of jumps and somersaults and cries of “Did you hit the bottom?”,
Whether I sank or swam or drunk a gulp of salted (oily) water
home was but a few damp strides away …

And now I a man, and standing yet on that pier’s edge
wondering what bottom will I hit, or should I jump at all ?
Home will be no longer, short strides along the winding road …
I’ll jump I think and take the salt that this new land(ing) brings
and all that comes with, or doesn’t, or gets left behind …
For I can swim, you see; and well at that.

Aedh wishes for the Cloths of Heaven September 28, 2007

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Long time since I had a poem, so why not this chilly morning …

Aedh wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
by W.B. Yeats

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.