Wednesday, 10 January 2007

The Snow and the Plum

The plum and the snow both claim the spring
a poet gives up trying to decide
the plum must admit the snow is three times whiter
but the snow can't match a wisp of plum perfume

by Lu Mei-P'o

Monday, 8 January 2007

Epitaph Proposal

Now he is dead,
And has played his part,
Of him, let this be said:
He had a pure and honest heart
Which he kept locked in his head.

© GB 2006

Sunday, 7 January 2007


Overnight, very
Whitely, dsicreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,

Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Blind-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot's in the door.

by Sylvia Plath

Bird Man/Bird Song

Once borne on errant wings
Of scavenged feathers
And stolen wax;
This angelic demon
Lies upon his oceanic bed,
With a cage of fingers
Over sockets,
That once held eyes,

While nereids dress
His salted wounds.

© GB 2000
Another early piece. I admit an unashamed love of classical Greek mythology.

Passion and Intellect

Passion and Intellect met on the shore,
Said Passion to Intellect: I always want more!
Replied Intellect to Passion: Of that, there's no doubt.
Answered Passion, abashedly: There's no need to shout.

© GB 2000
This is a little rhyme I wrote a few years ago where I tried to sum up my constant (Freudian?) struggle for some kind of equilibrium in my life. It smacks a bit of adolescent angst, but I still like the playfulness of the rhyme and its slow and steady rhythm. In hindsight, I can't help but feel that there's something of a Victorian repression going on here.

Saturday, 6 January 2007

Ma Boheme

This seems like a good poem to launch my blog with seeing as I've named it after the translated title. Arthur Rimbaud is one of my favourite poets (though I must admit it's a rather long list and I'd be very hard pressed to choose one over another). I hope you enjoy it as much as I do...

Off I would go, with fists into torn pockets pressed.
My overcoat became a wrap of mystery.
Under the great sky, Muse, I was your devotee.
Eh, what fine dreams I had, each one an amorous gest!

My only trousers gaped behind; and thus I went
Tom Thumb the dreamer, husking out some lyric line.
My nightly inn had always the Great Bear for sign.
My stars moved with a silken rustle of content.

And often, sitting by the roadside, I would listen,
On calm September evenings, with fine dew a-glisten
Upon my brow, like drops of cordial, sweet yet tart;

Where, rhyming in these shadowy, fantastic places,
As if I played a lyre, I'd gently pluck the laces
Of my burst boots, one foot hugged tight against my heart!

by Arthur Rimbaud