Minstrel's Tales

Stories From a Guitar Case

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

Poem for the Day - The Wild Geese by Violet Jacob

Posted: 14 March 2018

Poem for the Day 
In case anyone was in any doubt Scotland has many wonderful poets apart from and, the equal of Burns. Here is one of my favourites.

'Oh tell me what was on yer road, ye roarin’ norlan’ Wind,
 As ye cam’ blawin’ frae the land that’s niver frae my mind?
 My feet they traivel England, but I’m deein’ for the north.'
 'My man, I heard the siller tides rin up the Firth o Forth.'

'Aye, Wind, I ken them weel eneuch, and fine they fa’ and rise,
 And fain I’d feel the creepin’ mist on yonder shore that lies,
 But tell me, ere ye passed them by, what saw ye on the way?'
 'My man, I rocked the rovin’ gulls that sail abune the Tay.'

'But saw ye naething, leein’ Wind, afore ye cam’ to Fife?
 There’s muckle lyin’ ‘yont the Tay that’s mair to me nor life.'
 'My man, I swept the Angus braes ye hae'na trod for years.'
 'O Wind, forgi’e a hameless loon that canna see for tears!'

'And far abune the Angus straths I saw the wild geese flee,
 A lang, lang skein o’ beatin’ wings, wi’ their heids towards the sea,
 And aye their cryin’ voices trailed ahint them on the air –'
 'O Wind, hae maircy, haud yer whisht, for I daurna listen mair!'

The Wild Geese
 Violet Jacob

Poem for the Day - First Sight of Spring by John Clare

Posted: 13 March 2018


The hazel-blooms, in threads of crimson hue,
Peep through the swelling buds, foretelling Spring,
Ere yet a white-thorn leaf appears in view,
Or March finds throstles pleased enough to sing.
To the old touchwood tree woodpeckers cling
A moment, and their harsh-toned notes renew ;
In happier mood, the stockdove claps his wing;
The squirrel sputters up the powdered oak,
With tail cocked o’er his head, and ears erect,
Startled to hear the woodman’s understroke;
And with the courage which his fears collect,
He hisses fierce half malice, and half glee,
Leaping from branch to branch about the tree,
In winter’s foliage, moss and lichens, deckt. 


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