TENEBRIS INTERLUCENTEM (by James Elroy Flecker)

A linnet who had lost her way
Sang on a blackened bough in Hell,
Till all the ghosts remembered well
The trees, the wind, the golden day.

At last they knew that they had died
When they heard music in that land,
And someone there stole forth a hand
To draw a brother to his side.

JANUARY 1996 (by Ann MacKinnon)

In this dark January
death thrusts at me
as dead whales rot on the sand
and birds call over them.

A poet answers cryptically
but his images define, as he lights
a cigarette and allows one last poem
to trail down the page.

The country toasts the bard
who brought us love
in a red, red rose
and taught us tolerance.

A friend dies alone,
his imagination curbed,
but his creations remain,
a celebration of a mind so full

That he could no longer
control it and let it engulf him.
He courted death and left the
future to us.

A cairn is built for hundreds
who died but we can only mourn
a few special people
this dark January.

EARLY DEATH (by Elizabeth Siddal)

For a few words about Elizabeth Siddal, and a beautiful painting of her, see my earlier post HERE

Oh grieve not with thy bitter tears
The life that passes fast;
The gates of heaven will open wide
And take me in at last.

Then sit down meekly at my side
And watch my young life flee;
Then solemn peace of holy death
Come quickly unto thee.

But true love, seek me in the throng
Of spirits floating past,
And I will take thee by the hands
And know thee mine at last.

And here she is again, this time as Ophelia … 

I wonder whether the paintings she modelled for influenced her own writing?

IF I WAS DEAD (by Carol Ann Duffy)

If I was dead,
and my bones adrift
like dropped oars
in the deep, turning earth;

or drowned,
and my skull
a listening shell
on the dark ocean bed;

if I was dead,
and my heart
soft mulch
for a red, red rose;

or burned,
and my body
a fistful of grit, thrown
in the face of the wind;

if I was dead,
and my eyes,
blind at the roots of flowers,
wept into nothing,

I swear your love
would raise me
out of my grave,
in my flesh and blood,

like Lazarus;
hungry for this,
and this, and this,
your living kiss.

FEAR NO MORE THE HEAT O’ THE SUN (by William Shakespeare)

(from CYMBELINE)

Fear no more the heat o’ the sun,
Nor the furious winter’s rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o’ the great;
Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke;
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The scepter, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

Fear no more the lightning flash,
Nor the all-dreaded thunder stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finished joy and moan:
All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.

AND DEATH SHALL HAVE NO DOMINION (by Dylan Thomas)

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead man naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan’t crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

A visitor looks at the simple wooden cross that marks the grave of Welsh poet and playwright Dylan Thomas, in Laugharne, Wales, Sept. 17, 1963. (AP Photo)

ARGUING WITH GOD (by Elizabeth Bartlett)

I’m going to meet Him
arguing madly
and behaving badly,
scratching and biting

I’m not going to lie
down like a dog and die.
I’m going to gird my loins
in a Biblical way
and have them say
I went out fighting.

I’m going to write letters
to my elders and betters.
I’m going to protest loudly
to all who can hear
that what they all fear
is there in the writing.

I’m going to tell them
that it’s not an Amen,
but a Hallelujah instead.
Don’t make me swear
on the book or wear
a shroud for igniting.

I’m not going to admit
to the shame of it.
I’m going to meet Him
arguing madly
and behaving badly,
scratching and biting