THE WORLD’S GREAT POEMS

WE’LL GO NO MORE A-ROVING  by Lord Byron

So, we’ll go no more a-roving

So late into the night,

Though the heart be still as loving,

And the moon be still as bright.

For the sword outwears its sheath,

And the soul wears out the breast,

And the heart must pause to breathe,

And love itself have rest.

Though the night was made for loving,

And the day returns too soon,

Yet we’ll go no more a-roving

By the light of the moon.

DEATH OF A NATURALIST by Seamus Heaney

A brilliant poem by a great poet.

Death of a Naturalist

BY SEAMUS HEANEY

All year the flax-dam festered in the heart
Of the townland; green and heavy headed
Flax had rotted there, weighted down by huge sods.
Daily it sweltered in the punishing sun.
Bubbles gargled delicately, bluebottles
Wove a strong gauze of sound around the smell.
There were dragonflies, spotted butterflies,
But best of all was the warm thick slobber
Of frogspawn that grew like clotted water
In the shade of the banks. Here, every spring
I would fill jampotfuls of the jellied
Specks to range on window sills at home,
On shelves at school, and wait and watch until
The fattening dots burst, into nimble
Swimming tadpoles. Miss Walls would tell us how
The daddy frog was called a bullfrog
And how he croaked and how the mammy frog
Laid hundreds of little eggs and this was
Frogspawn. You could tell the weather by frogs too
For they were yellow in the sun and brown
In rain.
    Then one hot day when fields were rank
With cowdung in the grass the angry frogs
Invaded the flax-dam; I ducked through hedges
To a coarse croaking that I had not heard
Before. The air was thick with a bass chorus.
Right down the dam gross bellied frogs were cocked
On sods; their loose necks pulsed like sails. Some hopped:
The slap and plop were obscene threats. Some sat
Poised like mud grenades, their blunt heads farting.
I sickened, turned, and ran. The great slime kings
Were gathered there for vengeance and I knew
That if I dipped my hand the spawn would clutch it.

DEAD IN A WHEELBARROW

DEATH IN A WHEELBARROW

 (on reading of the corpse of a murdered youth being pushed through the streets of Leeds one night in a wheelbarrow)

 So this is life in our civilised society

First bludgeoned away

The trundled through un-inquisitive streets

In a squeaky wheelbarrow

Like manure for somebody’s allotment

 

Not that it mattered to him

Whether he was headed for the rubbish-tip

Or some knackers yard

On the other side of town

 

But you, good people of Leeds,

How can you live with your indifference?

You walk your dogs

Roll out of your pubs

Wait for your buses

Admire you plate-glass images

And piss in your alleyways

 

Not caring that a mile

Of your bumpy city-centre pavements

Wheel-barrowed your dead