Out Of The Sighs by Dylan Thomas

Out of the sighs a little comes,
But not of grief, for I have knocked down that
Before the agony; the spirit grows,
Forgets, and cries;
A little comes, is tasted and found good;
All could not disappoint;
There must, be praised, some certainty,
If not of loving well, then not,
And that is true after perpetual defeat.

After such fighting as the weakest know,
There’s more than dying;
Lose the great pains or stuff the wound,
He’ll ache too long
Through no regret of leaving woman waiting
For her soldier stained with spilt words
That spill such acrid blood.

Were that enough, enough to ease the pain,
Feeling regret when this is wasted
That made me happy in the sun,
And, sleeping, made me dream
How much was happy while it lasted,
Were vagueness enough and the sweet lies plenty,
The hollow words could bear all suffering
And cure me of ills.

Were that enough, bone, blood, and sinew,
The twisted brain, the fair-formed loin,
Groping for matter under the dog’s plate,
Man should be cured of distemper.
For all there is to give I offer:
Crumbs, barn, and halter.

 

by Dylan Thomas

 

Marina by T. S. Eliot

“Quis hic locus, quae regio, quae mundi plaga?”

 

What seas what shores what grey rocks and what islands

What water lapping the bow

And scent of pine and the woodthrush singing through the fog

What images return

O my daughter.

 

Those who sharpen the tooth of the dog, meaning

Death

Those who glitter with the glory of the hummingbird, meaning

Death

Those who sit in the style of contentment, meaning

Death

Those who suffer the ecstasy of the animals, meaning

Death

 

Are become unsubstantial, reduced by a wind.

A breath of pine, and the woodsong fog

By this grace dissolved in place

 

What is this face, less clear and clearer

The pulse in the arm, less strong and stronger –

Given or lent? more distant than stars and nearer than the eye

 

Whispers and small laughter between leaves and hurrying feet

Under sleep, where all the waters meet.

Bowsprit cracked with ice and paint cracked with heat.

 

I made this, I have forgotten

And remember.

The rigging weak and the canvas rotten

Between one June and another September.

Made this unknowing, half conscious, unknown, my own.

The garboard strake leaks, the seams need caulking

This form, this face, this life

Living to live in a world of time beyond me; let me

Resign my life for this life, my speech for that unspoken,

The awakened, lips parted, the hope, the new ships.

 

What seas what shores what granite islands towards my timbers

And woodthrush calling through the fog

My daughter.

 

by T. S. Eliot

First published September 25, 1930 in Ariel Poems.

After Kosovo by Richard Poole

“… as a systemic idea that has some dynamics, some real vitality, liberal democracy is really all there is now…”

Francis Fukuyama

.

If this is the end of history, why

do thousands wake in cold fields, faces

in their neighbours’ stink, minds mined

with memories of blood, a puzzled dog nosing

the glazing eyes of somebody’s grandmother?

.

If this is the end of history, why

do so many cheeks wear chains of tears,

as if water were the one thing they can squeeze out

from their arid selves when everything else

is gone – houses, chattels, husbands, wives, kids?

.

Yet this is the end of history after all,

for where’s the going back to the book of life

gone up in flames, charred covers like black

frontiers suddenly all that’s left of it, lettering

undecipherable in the raw light of dawn?

.

.

by Richard Poole

‘The Hand That Signed The Paper Felled A City’ by Dylan Thomas

The hand that signed the paper felled a city;

Five sovereign fingers taxed the breath,

Doubled the globe of dead and halved a country,

These five kings dig a king to death.

 

The mighty hand leads to a sloping shoulder,

The finger joints are cramped with chalk;

A goose’s quill has put an end to murder

That put an end to talk.

 

The hand that signed the treaty bred a fever,

And famine grew, and locusts came;

Great is the hand that holds dominion over

Man by a scribbled name.

 

The five kings count the dead but do not soften

The crusted wound nor pat the brow;

A hand rules pity as a hand rules heaven;

Hands have no tears to flow.

 

by Dylan Thomas