The Thought Fox by Ted Hughes


Edward James Hughes also known as Ted Hughes (1930-1998) was appointed the Poet laureate in 1984.
His work is rooted in nature and the animal metaphors he uses are brilliant. The poetry of Hughes is about survival of the fittest in animals as well as humans When I read Iron Man , I had no idea he wrote such excellent poems. Hawk Roosting and crow are my favorites. Here is one more that I really like


The Thought Fox

I imagine this midnight moment’s forest:
Something else is alive
Besides the clock’s loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.

Through the window I see no star:
Something more near
Though deeper within darkness
Is entering the loneliness:

Cold, delicately as the dark snow,
A fox’s nose touches twig, leaf;
Two eyes serve a movement, that now
And again now, and now, and now

Sets neat prints into the snow
Between trees, and warily a lame
Shadow lags by stump and in hollow
Of a body that is bold to come

Across clearings, an eye,
A widening deepening greenness,
Brilliantly, concentratedly,
Coming about its own business

Till, with sudden sharp hot stink of fox
It enters the dark hole of the head.
The window is starless still; the clock ticks,
The page is printed.

-Ted Hughes

Two poems by Ogdan Nash


Ogden Nash (1902 – 1971 ) America’s Laureate of Light Verse

Candy is dandy,
but liquor is quicker — ON

I love his poems. It was a pleasure to discover some which I had not read before. Simple verses, sometimes humorous, insightful, whimsical, and sometimes nonsensical and immensely enjoyable. Even the titles of his poems are such fun for example ‘I Always Say a Good Saint Is No Worse Than a Bad Cold’. Nash’s poems contained some truth of human experience. His signature style used exaggeration, an element of surprise,and absurdity juxtaposed with the universal experience.

There are hundreds of his poems I can share but for now enjoy these two. 🙂

1. No, You Be A Lone Eagle

I find it very hard to be fair-minded
About people who go around being air-minded.
I just can’t see any fun
In soaring up up up into the sun
When the chances are still a fresh cool orchid to a paper geranium
That you’ll unsoar down down down onto your (to you) invaluable
cranium.
I know the constant refrain
About how safer up in God’s trafficless heaven than in an automobile
or a train
But …
My God, have you ever taken a good look at a strut?
Then that one about how you’re in Boston before you can say antidis-establishmentarianism
So that preferring to take five hours by rail is a pernicious example of
antiquarianism.
At least when I get on the Boston train I have a good chance of landing
in the South Station
And not in that part of the daily press which is reserved for victims of
aviation.
Then, despite the assurance that aeroplanes are terribly comfortable I notice that when you are railroading or automobiling
You don’t have to take a paper bag along just in case of a funny feeling.
It seems to me that no kind of depravity
Brings such speedy retribution as ignoring the law of gravity.
Therefore nobody could possibly indict me for perjury
When I swear that I wish the Wright brothers had gone in for silver
fox farming or tree surgery.

Ogden Nash

2 What Almost Every Woman Knows Sooner Or Later

Husbands are things that wives have to get used to putting up with.
And with whom they breakfast with and sup with.
They interfere with the discipline of nurseries,
And forget anniversaries,
And when they have been particularly remiss
They think they can cure everything with a great big kiss,
And when you tell them about something awful they have done they just
look unbearably patient and smile a superior smile,
And think, Oh she’ll get over it after a while.
And they always drink cocktails faster than they can assimilate them,
And if you look in their direction they act as if they were martyrs and
you were trying to sacrifice, or immolate them,
And when it’s a question of walking five miles to play golf they are very
energetic but if it’s doing anything useful around the house they are
very lethargic,
And then they tell you that women are unreasonable and don’t know
anything about logic,
And they never want to get up or go to bed at the same time as you do,
And when you perform some simple common or garden rite like putting
cold cream on your face or applying a touch of lipstick they seem to
think that you are up to some kind of black magic like a priestess of Voodoo.
And they are brave and calm and cool and collected about the ailments
of the person they have promised to honor and cherish,
But the minute they get a sniffle or a stomachache of their own, why
you’d think they were about to perish,
And when you are alone with them they ignore all the minor courtesies
and as for airs and graces, they uttlerly lack them,
But when there are a lot of people around they hand you so many chairs
and ashtrays and sandwiches and butter you with such bowings and
scrapings that you want to smack them.
Husbands are indeed an irritating form of life,
And yet through some quirk of Providence most of them are really very
deeply ensconced in the affection of their wife.

Ogden Nash

Lover’s Gifts by Rabindranath Tagore


“When the voice of the Silent touches my words. I know him and therefore know myself.” Tagore

Everyone knows about this great poet, song writer, painter and story teller. Gurudev has been an inspiration for me since childhood. Every poem, every story has left a deep impression. His poems are spiritual, sublime, simple and timeless at the same time.

He was awarded Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913.

I will be posting more of his work later.

Enjoy these beautiful gems from his collection ‘Lover’s Gifts’.

Lover’s Gifts LIV: In the Beginning of Time

In the beginning of time, there rose from the churning of God’s
dream two women. One is the dancer at the court of paradise, the
desired of men, she who laughs and plucks the minds of the wise
from their cold meditations and of fools from their emptiness; and
scatters them like seeds with careless hands in the extravagant winds of March, in the flowering frenzy of May.

The other is the crowned queen of heaven, the mother, throned
on the fullness of golden autumn; she who in the harvest-time
brings straying hearts to the smile sweet as tears, the beauty deep
as the sea of silence, -brings them to the temple of the Unknown,
at the holy confluence of Life and Death.

Lover’s Gifts XIII: Last Night in the Garden

Last night in the garden I offered you my youth’s foaming wine. You lifted the cup to your lips, you shut your eyes and smiled while
I raised your veil, unbound your tresses, drawing down upon my
breast your face sweet with its silence, last night when the moon’s
dream overflowed the world of slumber.

To-day in the dew-cooled calm of the dawn you are walking to
God’s temple, bathed and robed in white, with a basket full of
flowers in your hand. I stand aside in the shade under the tree,
with my head bent, in the calm of the dawn by the lonely road to
the temple.

Lover’s Gifts XLVIII: I Traveled the Old Road

I traveled the old road every day, I took my fruits to the market,
my cattle to the meadows, I ferried my boat across the stream and
all the ways were well known to me.
One morning my basket was heavy with wares. Men were busy in
the fields, the pastures crowded with cattle; the breast of earth
heaved with the mirth of ripening rice.
Suddenly there was a tremor in the air, and the sky seemed to
kiss me on my forehead. My mind started up like the morning out of
mist.

I forgot to follow the track. I stepped a few paces from the
path, and my familiar world appeared strange to me, like a flower
I had only known in bud.
My everyday wisdom was ashamed. I went astray in the fairyland
of things. It was the best luck of my life that I lost my path that
morning, and found my eternal childhood.

Lover’s Gifts XXVIII: I Dreamt

I dreamt that she sat by my head, tenderly ruffling my hair with
her fingers, playing the melody of her touch. I looked at her face
and struggled with my tears, till the agony of unspoken words burst
my sleep like a bubble.
I sat up and saw the glow of the Milky Way above my window,
like a world of silence on fire, and I wondered if at this moment
she had a dream that rhymed with mine.

George Gray by Edgar Lee Masters


George Gray is part of The Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters (1868-1950). What an unconventional book both in style and content. voices of the dead .. never read anything like this before. Each dead citizen has a story to tell and the free verse narration is awesome. I am still reading the book and enjoying every bit of it. Thanks Mike and Kris for recommending it. Each poem is a gem and a learning..

I will be posting some more poems later.

George Gray

I have studied many times

The marble which was chiseled for me—

A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.

In truth it pictures not my destination

But my life.

For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment;

Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid;

Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.

Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.

And now I know that we must lift the sail

And catch the winds of destiny

Wherever they drive the boat.

To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness,

But life without meaning is the torture

Of restlessness and vague desire—

It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.

Edgar Lee Masters

Night of the Scorpion by Nissim Ezekiel


This is one of my favorites among many of the Ezeliel poems. For some reason It stayed with me since I read it as a teenager. For a Jew poet in post independent India, he was a lonsome figure. I love his tight rhymed quatrians and the Indianness in his poetry written in English. Something about his work captivates the reader for a long time. I also love his poem, ‘Poet, Lover and Birdwatcher’.

Night of the Scorpion

“I remember the night my mother was stung by a scorpion.
Ten hours of steady rain had driven him to crawl beneath a sack of rice.
Parting with his poison — flash of diabolic tail in the dark room — he risked the rain again.
The peasants came like swarms of flies and buzzed the Name of God a hundred times to paralyse the Evil One.
With candles and with lanterns throwing giant scorpion shadows
on the sun-baked walls they searched for him; he was not found.
They clicked their tongues. With every movement the scorpion made his poison moved in Mother’s blood, they said.
May he sit still, they said.
May the sins of your previous birth
be burned away tonight, they said.
May your suffering decrease
the misfortunes of your next birth, they said.
May the sum of evil balanced in this unreal world against the sum of good become diminished by your pain.
May the poison purify your flesh of desire, and your spirit of ambition, they said, and they sat around on the floor with my mother in the centre.
The peace of understanding on each face.
More candles, more lanterns, more neighbours, more insects and the endless rain.
My mother twisted through and through groaning on a mat.
My father, sceptic, rationalist, trying every curse and blessing, powder, mixture, herb, and hybrid. He even poured a little paraffin upon the bitten toes and put a match to it.
I watched the flame feeding on my mother.
I watched the holy man perform his rites to tame the poison with incantation.
After twenty hours it lost its sting.”
“My mother only said:
Thank God the scorpion picked on me and spared my children.”

Nissim Ezekiel
(1924-2004)