Minstrel's Tales

Stories From a Guitar Case

Poem for the Day - The Song of Shadows by Walter de la Mare

Posted: 19 March 2018

Poem for the Day

Sweep thy faint strings, Musician,
With thy long, lean hand;
Downward the starry tapers burn,
Sinks soft the waning sand;
The old hound whimpers couched in sleep,
The embers smoulder low;
Across the wall the shadows
Come, and go.

Sweep softly thy strings, Musician,
The minutes mount to hours;
Frost on the windless casement weaves
A labyrinth of flowers;
Ghosts linger in the darkening air,
Hearken at the opening door;
Music hath called them, dreaming,
Home once more.  

The Song of Shadows 
Walter de la Mare 1873 - 1956

Poem for the Day - Recycled by Bill Adair

Posted: 18 March 2018

Poem for the Day

The stately tree falls
To the woodcutter’s axe
And all nature mourns.

From death comes new life.
A perfect shape emerges
From the plain, gnarled wood.

In his skilful hands
The carpenter produces
A thing of beauty.

But all things must pass.
Crushed wood re-born as paper.

The woodcutter dies
And rests in the tree re-made.
Seeking forgiveness?

He enters the earth.
The soft forest floor opens
And bids him welcome.

An oak marks his place.
Its roots at one with his bones.
The slow turn of life.

And beneath the soil
His decomposing body
Gives the young tree life.

Bill Adair

Poem for the Day - Raglan Road by Patrick Kavanagh

Posted: 17 March 2018

Poem for the Day
For St Patrick's Day one of my favourite Irish poems.

On Raglan Road on an Autumn day I saw her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I would someday rue....
I saw the danger yet I walked 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 walked lightly along the ledge
Of a deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion’s pledge.
The Queen of Hearts, still making tarts, and I not making hay;
Oh, I loved too much and by such and such is happiness thrown away.

I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign that’s known
To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone.
And word and tint I ne’er did stint, for I gave her poems to say,
With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds o’er fields of May.

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now,
And away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow
That I had wooed, 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.

Raglan Road
Patrick Kavanagh

Poem for the Day - The Day The Tree Fell Down by Jack LeZebnik

Posted: 16 March 2018

Poem for the Day

crumbling. It died of old age,
I tell you, like a man. We wept.
We had worn our time upon it, put...
our arms around to touch fingertips
and we measured ourselves, our feelings
on the years. We made our calculations
pay, then. Now, the fears, age,
daily mathematics. The tree held
the green. Birds, squirrels, coons
made memory there until the day it fell.
They got out. It groaned for twenty minutes.
I tell you, it sighed as it bent,
its branches catching the dull fall,
the soft turning in wet dissolution.
The body lay exposed: a gut of grubs,
a lust of hollowness. We wept,
as I say, more than it was called for.

The Day The Tree Fell Down
Jack LaZebnik

Poem for the Day - Stuffed by Carol Ann Duffy

Posted: 15 March 2018

Poem for the Day
A very different, quite difficult poem from the Poet Laureate. I will be interested to see what people make of it.

 I put two yellow peepers in an owl.
Wow. I fix the grin of Crocodile.
Spiv. I sew the slither of an eel. 

I jerk, kick-start, the back hooves of a mule.
Wild. I hold the red rag to a bull.
Mad. I spread the feathers of a gull.

I screw a tight snarl to a weasel.
Fierce. I stitch the flippers on a seal.
Splayed. I pierce the heartbeat of a quail.

I like her to be naked and to kneel.
Tame. My motionless, my living doll.
Mute. And afterwards I like her not to tell.

Carol Ann Duffy

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