Members Login
Username 
 
Password 
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: Cornish poems


Administration

Status: Offline
Posts: 1579
Date: Aug 7 6:02 PM, 2011
RE: Cornish poems
Permalink  
 


Thomas and Emma:
Poems by Thomas Hardy about his first wife, Emma Gifford

"Thomas Hardy met his first wife, Emma Gifford, while he was working as an architect on St. Juliot's church, just outside Boscastle on the North Cornwall Coast. They were married in 1874 and she died in 1912. Hardy wrote several poems about their first meeting and about their marriage, most of these poems were written in the years immediately after her death. In the poems, Hardy disguises some place names as was his habit, although others remain as they were. St. Juliot and Beeny Cliff are real places near Boscastle. Castle Boterel refers to Boscastle itself, while Lyonesse is the name of the mythical land of ancient Cornwall. I have included four of Hardy's poems on this page, all of which relate Cornwall with Emma Gifford in some way, although he also wrote many poems that refer to Cornwall in other ways."

 


 

 

"A Dream or No"

Why go to Saint-Juliot? What's Juliot to me?
      I've been but made fancy
      By some necromancy
That much of my life claims the spot as its key.

Yes. I have had dreams of that place in the West,
      And a maiden abiding
      Thereat as in hiding;
Fair-eyed and white-shouldered, broad-browed and brown-tressed.

And of how, coastward bound on a night long ago,
      There lonely I found her,
      The sea-birds around her,
And other than nigh things uncaring to know.

So sweet her life there (in my thought has it seemed)
      That quickly she drew me
      To take her unto me,
And lodge her long years with me. Such have I dreamed.

But nought of that maid from Saint-Juliot I see;
      Can she ever have been here,
      And shed her life's sheen here,
The woman I thought a long housemate with me?

Does there even a place like Saint-Juliot exist?
      Or a Vallency Valley
      With stream and leafed alley,
Or Beeny, or Bos with its flounce flinging mist?

February 1913

 


 

"At Castle Boterel"

As I drive to the junction of lane and highway,
   And the drizzle bedrenches the waggonette,
I look behind at the fading byway,
   And see on its slope, now glistening wet,
      Distinctly yet

Myself and a girlish form benighted
   In dry March weather. We climb the road
Beside a chaise. We had just alighted
   To ease the sturdy pony's load
      When he sighed and slowed.

What we did as we climbed, and what we talked of
   Matters not much, nor to what it led,-
Something that life will not be balked of
   Without rude reason till hope is dead,
      And feeling fled.

It filled but a minute. But was there ever
   A time of such quality, since or before,
In that hill's story? To one mind never,
   Though it has been climbed, foot-swift, foot-sore,
      By thousands more.

Primaeval rocks form the road's steep border,
   And much have they faced there, first and last,
Of the transitory in Earth's long order;
   But what they record in colour and cast
      Is-that we two passed.

And to me, though Time's unflinching rigour,
   In mindless rote, has ruled from sight
The substance now, one phantom figure
   Remains on the slope, as when that night
      Saw us alight.

I look and see it there, shrinking, shrinking,
   I look back at it amid the rain
For the very last time; for my sand is sinking,
   And I shall traverse old love's domain
      Never again.

March 1913

 


 

"Beeny Cliff
March 1870 - March 1913"

I

O the opal and the sapphire of that wandering western sea,
And the woman riding high above with bright hair flapping free-
The woman whom I loved so, and who loyally loved me.

II

The pale mews plained below us, and the waves seemed far away
In a nether sky, engrossed in saying their ceaseless babbling say,
As we laughed light-heartedly aloft on that clear-sunned March day.

III

A little cloud then cloaked us, and there flew an irised rain,
And the Atlantic dyed its levels with a dull misfeatured stain,
And then the sun burst out again, and purples prinked the main.

IV

- Still in all its chasmal beauty bulks old Beeny to the sky,
And shall she and I not go there once again now March is nigh,
And the sweet things said in that March say anew there by and by?

V

Nay. Though still in chasmal beauty looms that wild weird western shore,
The woman now is-elsewhere-whom the ambling pony bore,
And nor knows nor cares for Beeny, and will see it nevermore.

 


 

"When I Set Out for Lyonnesse"

When I set out for Lyonnesse,
      A hundred miles away,
      The rime was on the spray,
And starlight lit my lonesomeness
When I set out for Lyonnesse
      A hundred miles away.

What would bechance at Lyonnesse
      While I should sojourn there
      No prophet durst declare,
Nor did the wisest wizard guess
What would bechance at Lyonnesse
      While I should sojourn there.

When I came back from Lyonnesse
      With magic in my eyes,
      All marked with mute surmise
My radiance rare and fathomless,
When I came back from Lyonnesse
      With magic in my eyes!



__________________

"Perfection is a full stop .... Ever the climbing but never the attaining Of the mountain top." W.G.

 

 



Administration

Status: Offline
Posts: 1579
Date: Jul 30 12:25 PM, 2011
Permalink  
 

Cornish Poetry

"Over time, I intend this to grow into a large collection of poems about Cornwall and poems by Cornish poets. For copyright reasons, I will be unable to include any poems written by poets who died after 1941, but eventually I do hope to provide a large collection of earlier poetry. In particular, I aim to provide a substantial collection of poetry by John Harris, the Camborne miner whose poems were published in the mid-nineteenth century."

___________________________

 

http://www.brycchancarey.com/places/cornwall/poems.htm

With grateful acknowledgements




__________________

"Perfection is a full stop .... Ever the climbing but never the attaining Of the mountain top." W.G.

 

 



Administration

Status: Offline
Posts: 1579
Date: Jul 30 12:19 PM, 2011
Permalink  
 

Namparagirl wrote:

It would seem very likely, I think, that Winston Graham and John Betjemen's paths would surely have crossed at some point in their lives.  I was looking at the website: www.JohnBetjemen.com and was struck by the similarity of a photo showing JB walking away from the camera along what appears to be a clifftop path to the photo of WG walking away in much the same way in the photo on his book, Memoirs of a Private Man.  

Wonder if JB ever became a member of the Savile Club?

UPDATE:  have just checked through the list of prominent members for the Savile Club and the answer is no, JB is not listed ...


-- Edited by Namparagirl on Saturday 30th of July 2011 11:22:04 AM


 I agree they must have met at some stage after all both received high honours WG an O.B.E. and JB made Poet Laureate....



__________________

"Perfection is a full stop .... Ever the climbing but never the attaining Of the mountain top." W.G.

 

 



Administration

Status: Offline
Posts: 1579
Date: Jul 30 12:13 PM, 2011
Permalink  
 

THE HOMELAND by CLIES STEVENS


And is it like this in the homeland Mother?

Is the grass so green and the sky so big?

And is the sea so blue in the homeland Mother,

The land where our fathers rest,

Resting in the grave 'neath the granite cross

Looking forever to the far horizon.

 

And is the earth like this in the homeland Mother?

So brown and so rich, where the earth fed us all before we were born.

And is it like this in the homeland Mother?

Do they still weep for those who are no more?

Shall I weep for them now Mother,

Shall I weep for you as you rest in the sweet brown earth?

But no Mother, I shall weep no more.

 

For where you rest shall the homeland be,

A piece of Cornwall forever!

In the time when you were young Mother,

Before you left for this land,

Did our boats lie down on the golden sand?

Do the Gulls scream here Mother like they do in the other land?

 

Is the sky so big

Is the grass so green?

And did father love us like you did before you were gone.

And is he with you now to hold your hand,

To lead you into love in that golden land?

I hope so Mother, back to the Homeland.

 

I shall not weep for you Mother, you do not need my tears.

You are going to that other land you sang of,

And brought the stories from

That land of mist, myth and magic

And crashing swell,

Rolling moor

And you.

 

You are going home my Mother,

To the homeland of love!

__________________________

 

http://www.geniusloci.co.uk/poetry.htm#CORNWALL%20BY%20LOUISE%20JAMES

With grateful acknowledgements



__________________

"Perfection is a full stop .... Ever the climbing but never the attaining Of the mountain top." W.G.

 

 



Honorary life member

Status: Offline
Posts: 1218
Date: Jul 30 11:13 AM, 2011
Permalink  
 

It would seem very likely, I think, that Winston Graham and John Betjemen's paths would surely have crossed at some point in their lives.  I was looking at the website: www.JohnBetjemen.com and was struck by the similarity of a photo showing JB walking away from the camera along what appears to be a clifftop path to the photo of WG walking away in much the same way in the photo on his book, Memoirs of a Private Man.  

Wonder if JB ever became a member of the Savile Club?

UPDATE:  have just checked through the list of prominent members for the Savile Club and the answer is no, JB is not listed ... 



-- Edited by Namparagirl on Saturday 30th of July 2011 11:22:04 AM



__________________

Tide was nearly full. Mist lay in a grey scarf along the line of the cliffs.
.. and they walked home hand in hand through the slanting shadows of the new darkness.



Honorary life member

Status: Offline
Posts: 1218
Date: Jul 30 10:55 AM, 2011
Permalink  
 

Cornish Cliffs ..... Ah how wonderfully well this poem encapsulates the sights, sounds and spirit of Cornwall come late springtime, bringing alive images in my mind; for a moment I am there, sitting on that clifftop feeling the warm breeze on my face which carries the salty tang of the surf as it sprays upwards off the grey rocks.  Yes, I can almost smell it!



-- Edited by Namparagirl on Saturday 30th of July 2011 10:56:33 AM



__________________

Tide was nearly full. Mist lay in a grey scarf along the line of the cliffs.
.. and they walked home hand in hand through the slanting shadows of the new darkness.



Administration

Status: Offline
Posts: 1579
Date: Jul 30 10:39 AM, 2011
Permalink  
 

Back From Australia by John Betjeman
Cocooned in Time, at this inhuman height,
The packaged food tastes neutrally of clay,
We never seem to catch the running day
But travel on in everlasting night
With all the chic accoutrements of flight:
Lotions and essences in neat array
And yet another plastic cup and tray.
"Thank you so much. Oh no, I'm quite all right".

At home in Cornwall hurrying autumn skies
Leave Bray Hill barren, Stepper jutting bare,
And hold the moon above the sea-wet sand.
The very last of late September dies
In frosty silence and the hills declare
How vast the sky is, looked at from the land.

 

http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/john_betjeman/poems/844

 


__________________

"Perfection is a full stop .... Ever the climbing but never the attaining Of the mountain top." W.G.

 

 



Administration

Status: Offline
Posts: 1579
Date: Jul 30 10:37 AM, 2011
Permalink  
 

Trebetherick by John Betjeman
We used to picnic where the thrift
Grew deep and tufted to the edge;
We saw the yellow foam flakes drift
In trembling sponges on the ledge
Below us, till the wind would lift
Them up the cliff and o'er the hedge.
Sand in the sandwiches, wasps in the tea,
Sun on our bathing dresses heavy with the wet,
Squelch of the bladder-wrack waiting for the sea,
Fleas around the tamarisk, an early cigarette.

From where the coastguard houses stood
One used to see below the hill,
The lichened branches of a wood
In summer silver cool and still;
And there the Shade of Evil could
Stretch out at us from Shilla Mill.
Thick with sloe and blackberry, uneven in the light,
Lonely round the hedge, the heavy meadow was remote,
The oldest part of Cornwall was the wood as black as night,
And the pheasant and the rabbit lay torn open at the throat.

But when a storm was at its height,
And feathery slate was black in rain,
And tamarisks were hung with light
And golden sand was brown again,
Spring tide and blizzard would unite
And sea come flooding up the lane.
Waves full of treasure then were roaring up the beach,
Ropes round our mackintoshes, waders warm and dry,
We waited for the wreckage to come swirling into reach,
Ralph, Vasey, Alistair, Biddy, John and I.

Then roller into roller curled
And thundered down the rocky bay,
And we were in a water world
Of rain and blizzard, sea and spray,
And one against the other hurled
We struggled round to Greenaway.
Blessйd be St Enodoc, blessйd be the wave,
Blessйd be the springy turf, we pray, pray to thee,
Ask for our children all happy days you gave
To Ralph, Vasey, Alistair, Biddy, John and me.

 

http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/john_betjeman/poems/841

 



__________________

"Perfection is a full stop .... Ever the climbing but never the attaining Of the mountain top." W.G.

 

 



Administration

Status: Offline
Posts: 1579
Date: Jul 30 10:26 AM, 2011
Permalink  
 

Cornish Cliffs by John Betjeman

 


Those moments, tasted once and never done,
Of long surf breaking in the mid-day sun.
A far-off blow-hole booming like a gun-

The seagulls plane and circle out of sight
Below this thirsty, thrift-encrusted height,
The veined sea-campion buds burst into white

And gorse turns tawny orange, seen beside
Pale drifts of primroses cascading wide
To where the slate falls sheer into the tide.

More than in gardened Surrey, nature spills
A wealth of heather, kidney-vetch and squills
Over these long-defended Cornish hills.

A gun-emplacement of the latest war
Looks older than the hill fort built before
Saxon or Norman headed for the shore.

And in the shadowless, unclouded glare
Deep blue above us fades to whiteness where
A misty sea-line meets the wash of air.

Nut-smell of gorse and honey-smell of ling
Waft out to sea the freshness of the spring
On sunny shallows, green and whispering.

The wideness which the lark-song gives the sky
Shrinks at the clang of sea-birds sailing by
Whose notes are tuned to days when seas are high.

From today's calm, the lane's enclosing green
Leads inland to a usual Cornish scene-
Slate cottages with sycamore between,

Small fields and tellymasts and wires and poles
With, as the everlasting ocean rolls,
Two chapels built for half a hundred souls.

http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/john_betjeman/biography



__________________

"Perfection is a full stop .... Ever the climbing but never the attaining Of the mountain top." W.G.

 

 

Page 1 of 1  sorted by
 
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.