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Tag Archives: Poem for the Day Two

Low Tide, Swans and Louis MacNeice

I have never seen the Penryn  River mud looking so green at low tide.

The Penryn River at very low tide on a very hot morning

After singing I saw two swans with their cygnets, eight of them! I shall look forward to seeing them all on the river at some point.

family of swans

Swan family

I was looking in one of my favourite collections of poetry for one for today, Poem for the Day Two and there found, for yesterday, a poem that I used to teach and that I found very moving, Louis MacNeice’s ‘Prayer Before Birth’ which, it is speculated, was written as a father’s reaction to bring a child into a world at war. His daughter, Brigid Corinna, was born on 5th July 1943.

Prayer Before Birth

I am not yet born; O hear me.
Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the
club-footed ghoul come near me.

I am not yet born, console me.
I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me,
with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me,
on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me.

I am not yet born; provide me
With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk
to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light
in the back of my mind to guide me.

I am not yet born; forgive me
For the sins that in me the world shall commit, my words
when they speak me, my thoughts when they think me,
my treason engendered by traitors beyond me,
my life when they murder by means of my
hands, my death when they live me.

I am not yet born; rehearse me
In the parts I must play and the cues I must take when
old men lecture me, bureaucrats hector me, mountains
frown at me, lovers laugh at me, the white
waves call me to folly and the desert calls
me to doom and the beggar refuses
my gift and my children curse me.

I am not yet born; O hear me,
Let not the man who is beast or who thinks he is God
come near me.

I am not yet born; O fill me
With strength against those who would freeze my
humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton,
would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with
one face, a thing, and against all those
who would dissipate my entirety, would
blow me like thistledown hither and
thither or hither and thither
like water held in the
hands would spill me.

Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me.
Otherwise kill me.

 
 

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Bunk Bedding, A Sculpture and A Poem

I love getting the beds ready for LiveWire visits! As I write they are on the train and will be here soon and the bunk beds are ready with their favourite bedding.

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Our neighbours are sculptors and quite often build something in the garden before it goes off to its new home. Here are the legs of the next big thing! Check out their website http://www.peteandsuehill.co.uk/ to find out who these enormous legs are going to belong to!

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Today’s  poem is by Fleur Adcock and is in Poem for the Day Two for February 10th. I love the lines “your gentleness  is moulded still by words/from me”  What a responsibility we have to the world to teach our children to be kind and gentle.

For a Five-Year-Old

by Fleur Adcock

A snail is climbing up the window-sill
into your room, after a night of rain.
You call me in to see and I explain
that it would be unkind to leave it there:
it might crawl to the floor; we must take care
that no one squashes it. You understand,
and carry it outside, with careful hand,
to eat a daffodil.

I see, then, that a kind of faith prevails:
your gentleness is moulded still by words
from me, who have trapped mice and shot wild birds,
from me, who drowned your kittens, who betrayed
your closest relatives and who purveyed
the harshest kind of truth to many another,
But that is how things are: I am your mother,
And we are kind to snails.

 

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