Winter

The Darkling Thrush

Poetic Beats

Welcome to this week’s edition of Poetic Beats with Howard Bond and Davy D, recorded on the 11th of December 2017 on Red Kite Radio.

In this edition we read and examine what is considered one of the greatest Winter poems, The Darkling Thrush, by Thomas Hardy. Hardy was a prolific poet, writing over 1000 poems, but did not publish his first collection until nearly sixty years of age. This after his last novel, Jude The Obscure, received bad reviews, and he decided to concentrate solely on poetry.

If you have difficulty accessing the recording, a text version of the poem is provided after the sound bar.

To hear this week’s Poetic Beats please press the arrow to the left of the sound bar below.

 

The Darkling Thrush

I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land’s sharp features seemed to be
The Century’s corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.

Thomas Hardy

Winter

Poetic Beats

Welcome to this week’s edition of Poetic Beats with Howard Bond and Davy D, recorded on the 4th of December 2017 on Red Kite Radio.

Winter (at least the calendar Winter) has arrived in the UK. In today’s programme we read and discuss Davy D’s poem Winter, as well at looking at five amazing facts about Winter and snow that you may not have heard.

If you have difficulty accessing the recording a text version of the poem is provided after the sound bar.

To hear this episode please press the arrow to the left of the sound bar.

 

Winter

She dropped in last night.
It had been a while.
I missed her at first,
too busy slaying dragons
in the Kingdom of Nod.

Her calling card of white blankets and
grey sky fire the child in me.
Visions of snowball fights
And snowmen draw me outside.

Her icy breath coats
My throat and nostrils.
In the surrounding silence
She pulls me to the floor,
Arms and legs move like Angels.

We play for hours,
sliding, cavorting,
until her burning touch
forces me away.

Green pools appear
on her silken dress.
She starts to withdraw.
Frantic, I grab what remains.

© Davy D 2017

Goodbye Autumn: Hello Winter

Poetic Beats

Welcome to this week’s edition of Poetic Beats with Howard Bond and Davy D recorded on the 27th of November 2017 on Red Kite Radio.

With Autumn coming to and end in the UK and Winter approaching, we look at the poem Autumn Violets, by Christina Rossetti. The poem reflects on how everything has its place, with Violets being flowers of the Spring.

Christina Rossetti is regarded as one of the greatest English poets of the 19th Century. Her most famous poem, A Christmas Carol, will be sung all over the world throughout Christmas. Placed to music by Gustav Holst in 1906, the song version was titled, In the Bleak Midwinter.

If you are having difficulty accessing the recording, a text version of the poem is provided after the sound bar.

To hear this week’s episode please press the arrow to the left of the sound bar below.

 

 

Autumn Violets

 

Keep love for youth, and violets for the spring:

Or if these bloom when worn-out autumn grieves,

Let them lie hid in double shade of leaves,

Their own, and others dropped down withering;

For violets suit when home birds build and sing,

Not when the outbound bird a passage cleaves;

Not with dry stubble of mown harvest sheaves,

But when the green world buds to blossoming.

Keep violets for the spring, and love for youth,

Love that should dwell with beauty, mirth, and hope:

Or if a later sadder love be born,

Let this not look for grace beyond its scope,

But give itself, nor plead for answering truth—

A grateful Ruth tho’ gleaning scanty corn.

 

Christina Georgina Rossetti:

Haiku in Winter

shades-of-winter-1410098-639x462

Picture Credit: Carsten Huels

How did that happen?

It only seemed a moment ago, when I was walking through decaying leaves and pondering the poetic joys of Autumn when Winter arrives.

Here in the UK we have had a colder start to Winter than in past years. Temperatures have reached minus 9 degrees centigrade, in some areas, and snow has fallen in the North of England. It looks like a cold one and I’m happy, as I can hibernate in the poetry den for three months and get ahead with the poetry and writing.

Winter has provided the inspiration for many poets and poems and haiku is a genre of poetry where the theme of Winter is prominent. I have been reading a lot of haiku recently and there are perfect examples of haiku both, traditional and modern, inspired by the winter months.

Three of the masters of the haiku tradition Bashō, Buson and Issa all took inspiration from Winter and reading their work takes you to the heart and moment of the season. This haiku by Bashō (translated by Robert Hass) provides a perfect example.

Winter solitude-
in a world of one colour
the sound of wind.

From a more modern perspective Ruth Yarrow’s haiku captures the childhood joy that

Winter

winter

She came last night.
It had been a while.
I missed her at first, too busy fighting
Zombies and saving the world.

Her calling card of white blankets and
Grey sky fire the child in me.
Visions of snowball fights
And snowmen draw me outside.

Her icy breath burns
My throat and nostrils.
In the surrounding silence
She pulls me to the floor,

Arms and legs jerk in joy.
We play for hours, caressing,
sliding, cavorting, until her
burning touch forces me away.

Green pools appear
on her silken dress.
She starts to withdraw.
Frantic, I grab what remains.

© Davy D 2016

Winter

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

She came last night; it had been a while.
I missed her at first, too busy fighting
Zombies and saving the world.

Her calling card of white blankets and
Grey sky fired the child in me.
Visions of snowball fights
And snowmen drew me outside.

Her icy breath welcomed me, burning
My throat and nostrils, silencing
Those in her presence.

She pulled me to the floor,
My arms and legs jerked in joy.
We played for hours, caressing,
Sliding, cavorting, until her
Burning touch forced me away.

Green pools appeared on her silken dress.
She started to withdraw.
Frantic, I grabbed what remained.
I hope she returns soon.