Remember by Christina Rossetti

Remember me when I am gone away,

Gone far away into the silent land;

When you can no more hold me by the hand,

Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.

Remember me when no more day by day

You tell me of our future that you planned:

Only remember me; you understand

It will be late to counsel then or pray.

Yet if you should forget me for a while

And afterwards remember, do not grieve:

For if the darkness and corruption leave

A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,

Better by far you should forget and smile

Than that you should remember and be sad.


by Christina Rossetti (1830 – 1894)


Fun facts: She wrote the words of the Christmas carols “In the Bleak Midwinter”, set to a tune by Gustav Holst, and “Love Came Down at Christmas”. Also if you’re thinking ‘is she related to THE Rossetti?’ The answer is very likely yes. The family had a lot of connections and successful members.

The title of J.K. Rowling’s novel The Cuckoo’s Calling is based on a line in Rossetti’s poem A Dirge.


To Her by Vasily Zhukovsky

Where’s there a name for you?

No mortal’s art has the power

to express your charm.


Nor are there lyres for you!

Songs? Not to be trusted –

the echo of a belated rumour.


If they had ears for the heart,

every one of my senses

would be a hymn to you.


I carry your life’s charm,

this pure, holy image,

like a mystery in my heart.


All I can do is love;

only eternity can speak

the love you inspire.


by Василий Андреевич Жуковский (Vasily Andreyevich Zhukovsky)


translated by Robert Chandler


Fun fact: Ivan Bunin, the Nobel Prize winning Russian emigre author, is related to him.

Moithered by Mike Jenkins

She used it totally out of place

but natural as calling an infant ‘Babes!’

The poet’s moithered by all that pollution

like herself annoyed at my constant questions.


The word was her, chewing-gum twirler

giving so much lip and jip,

a desk-scribbler stirrer

using her tongue as a whip.


It was perfect for flustered:

I could imagine the artist

as all the complex phrases whirred

and churned, his hair in a twist.


No examiner could possibly weight it,

no educationalist glue and frame it:

it leapt out like her laughter

and my red mark was the real error.


by Mike Jenkins

from Red Landscapes


Муза (Muse) by Anna Akhmatova

I feel my life hang by a hair

as I wait at night for the Muse;

youth, freedom, fame melt into air

as my guest appears with her flute.


She enters, tosses back her shawl;

her half-closed eyes let nothing pass.

‘So it was you who sang of Hell

to Dante?’ ‘Yes,’ she says, ‘it was.’


by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova)


from Тростник (Reed) / Из шести книг (From the Sixth Book) era

translation by Robert Chandler

Fun Fact: The exact muse from Greek mythology referred to here is Euterpe who in late Classical times was named muse of lyric poetry and was often depicted holding a flute. The Dante referred to here is of course Dante Alighieri and his epic poem the Divine Comedy, in particular the Inferno section. Calliope was usually considered the muse of epic poetry but of course Akhmatova herself wrote lyric poetry thus explaining why she, to her surprise, encounters Euterpe and not Calliope.


Fragment (Before Death I Have Felt The Dark Of Death) by Wilhelm Küchelbecker

Before death I have felt the dark of death;

I thought: like Ossian I shall lose my way

in mist by the grave’s edge and blindly stare

from wild moors down through the dim precipice

of dawnless night and see no trees, no fields

of freedom, no soft grass, no azure skies,

and no sun rising like a miracle.

Yet with the soul’s eye I shall see you, shades

of prophets, friends too soon flown out of sight,

and I shall hear the blessed poet’s song

and know each voice and recognize each face.


by Вильгельм Карлович Кюхельбекер (Wilhelm Karlovich Küchelbecker)


translated by Peter France


Fun fact: This was written after he went blind about a year before his death.


Twenty-four Years by Dylan Thomas

Twenty-four years remind the tears of my eyes.

(Bury the dead for fear that they walk to the grave in labour.)

In the groin of the natural doorway I crouched like a tailor

Sewing a shroud for a journey

By the light of the meat-eating sun.

Dressed to die, the sensual strut begun,

With my red veins full of money,

In the final direction of the elementary town

I advance for as long as forever is.


by Dylan Thomas


Fun fact: Because of his almost obsessive preoccupation with death, each birthday was a milestone that called for a celebration, and on several occasions Thomas composed a poem that expresses his sense of where he stood as a man and an artist. “Twenty-four Years” is his earliest significant version of this celebratory mode, and it is full of both the exuberance of early manhood and his already familiar feeling that death was imminent.


Still He Lay Without Moving, As If, After Some Difficult… by Vasily Zhukovsky

Still he lay without moving, as if, after some difficult

task, he had folded his arms. Head quietly bowed, I stood

still for a long time, looking attentively into the dead man’s

eyes. These eyes were closed. Nevertheless, I could

see on that face I knew so well a look I had never

glimpsed there before. It was not inspiration’s flame,

nor did it seem like the blade of his wit. No, what I could

see there,

wrapped round his face, was thought, some deep, high


Vision, some vision, I thought must have come to home. And I

wanted to ask, ‘What is it? What do you see?’


by Василий Андреевич Жуковский (Vasily Andreyevich Zhukovsky)


translated by Robert Chandler


Fun fact: Ivan Bunin, the Nobel Prize winning Russian emigre author, is related to him.