Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Tuesday Poem: "This Is The Place" by Tony Walsh, a poem to honour the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing


This is the place
In the north-west of England. It’s ace, it’s the best
And the songs that we sing from the stands, from our bands
Set the whole planet shaking.

Our inventions are legends. There’s nowt we can’t make, and so we make brilliant music
We make brilliant bands
We make goals that make souls leap from seats in the stands
And we make things from steel
And we make things from cotton
And we make people laugh, take the mick summat rotten
And we make you at home
And we make you feel welcome and we make summat happen
And we can’t seem to help it
And if you’re looking from history, then yeah we’ve a wealth
But the Manchester way is to make it yourself.

And make us a record, a new number one
And make us a brew while you’re up, love, go on
And make us feel proud that you’re winning the league
And make us sing louder and make us believe that this is the place that has helped shape the world
And this is the place where a Manchester girl named Emmeline Pankhurst from the streets of Moss Side led a suffragette city with sisterhood pride

And this is the place with appliance of science, we’re on it, atomic, we struck with defiance, and in the face of a challenge, we always stand tall, Mancunians, in union, delivered it all
Such as housing and libraries and health, education and unions and co-ops and first railway stations
So we’re sorry, bear with us, we invented commuters. But we hope you forgive us, we invented computers.

And this is the place Henry Royce strolled with Rolls, and we’ve rocked and we’ve rolled with our own northern soul
And so this is the place to do business then dance, where go-getters and goal-setters know they’ve a chance
And this is the place where we first played as kids. And me mum, lived and died here, she loved it, she did.
And this is the place where our folks came to work, where they struggled in puddles, they hurt in the dirt and they built us a city, they built us these towns and they coughed on the cobbles to the deafening sound to the steaming machines and the screaming of slaves, they were scheming for greatness, they dreamed to their graves.

And they left us a spirit. They left us a vibe. That Mancunian way to survive and to thrive and to work and to build, to connect, and create and Greater Manchester’s greatness is keeping it great.
And so this is the place now with kids of our own. Some are born here, some drawn here, but they all call it home.
And they’ve covered the cobbles, but they’ll never defeat, all the dreamers and schemers who still teem through these streets.
Because this is a place that has been through some hard times: oppressions, recessions, depressions, and dark times.
But we keep fighting back with Greater Manchester spirit. Northern grit, Northern wit, and Greater Manchester’s lyrics.

And these hard times again, in these streets of our city, but we won’t take defeat and we don’t want your pity.
Because this is a place where we stand strong together, with a smile on our face, greater Manchester forever.
And we’ve got this place where a team with a dream can get funding and something to help with a scheme.
Because this is a place that understands your grand plans. We don’t do “no can do” we just stress “yes we can”
Forever Manchester’s a charity for people round here, you can fundraise, donate, you can be a volunteer. You can live local, give local, we can honestly say, we do charity different, that Mancunian way.
And we fund local kids, and we fund local teams. We support local dreamers to work for their dreams. We support local groups and the great work they do. So can you help us. help local people like you?

Because this is the place in our hearts, in our homes, because this is the place that’s a part of our bones.
Because Greater Manchester gives us such strength from the fact that this is the place, we should give something back.
Always remember, never forget, forever Manchester.


by Tony Walsh

Here is a video of the poet reading this poem at a vigil for the victims of this recent tragedy in Manchester:


For more information about poet, Tony Walsh, see:



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tuesday Poem: "Like A Stone" by Chris Cornell


On a cobweb afternoon
In a room full of emptiness
By a freeway I confess
I was lost in the pages
Of a book full of death
Reading how we'll die alone
And if we're good, we'll lay to rest
Anywhere we want to go
In your house I long to be
Room by room patiently
I'll wait for you there
Like a stone
I'll wait for you there
Alone
On my deathbed I will pray
To the gods and the angels
Like a pagan to anyone
Who will take me to heaven
To a place I recall
I was there so long ago
The sky was bruised
The wine was bled
And there you led me on
In your house I long to be
Room by room patiently
I'll wait for you there
Like a stone
I'll wait for you there
Alone
Alone
And on I read
Until the day was gone
And I sat in regret
Of all the things I've done
For all that I've blessed
And all that I've wronged
In dreams until my death
I will wander on
In your house I long to be
Room by room patiently
I'll wait for you there
Like a stone
I'll wait for you there
Alone
Alone

by Chris Cornell

Today's post is to commemorate Chris Cornell, a musician, who died at age 52. Cornell made no secret of his battles with anxiety and depression and, sadly, it appears from news reports so far that Cornell took his own life.

RIP Chris Cornell. May you find in death the peace that often eluded you in life. You were a great musical artist and you will be sadly missed. My love and best wishes go out to your wife and your children for whom this is a most terrible and unnecessary tragedy.


For more information about musician, Chris Cornell, see:


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Tuesday Poem: "The Trouble With Love Poems About Men" by Bethy Gylys



They're not of curves and shadows made.
They don't wear skirts to swoop and tease

the eye, nor toss their hair, nor sway.

So arduous to package men to please:

a slant of hip, or buttocks tucked in faded

jeans--they lack aesthetic flair.  A spray


of curls might fan their brows, or bellies bloom

above their belts. To paint men in the best

of light requires certain skill. The groom

looks better if he's built. He'll fill

his tux with sculpted flesh. His chest

will taper to the cummerbund. Still,


what work to capture men's appeal!

A rise between the legs will also shade

and shape their usual lines. Alas, revealed,

the bulge is but a stick. We live dismayed.

It's difficult to bring men warm regard.

We try. Their love is always hard.



by Beth Gylys



For more information about the poet, Beth Gylys, see:


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Poem for International Dylan Thomas Day: "Do not go gentle into that good night" by Dylan Thomas (1914 - 1953)



Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
by Dylan Thomas
From The Poems of Dylan Thomas, published by New Directions. Copyright © 1952, 1953 Dylan Thomas. Copyright © 1937, 1945, 1955, 1962, 1966, 1967 the Trustees for the Copyrights of Dylan Thomas. Copyright © 1938, 1939, 1943, 1946, 1971 New Directions Publishing Corp. 
Sunday May 14 is International Dylan Thomas Day and, although the above poem may have been almost anthologised to death, it is still one of my favourites of his poems so I hope you can enjoy it one more time.
For more information about the poet, Dylan Thomas, see:

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tuesday Poem: "Money" by Philip Larkin



Quarterly, is it, money reproaches me:
‘Why do you let me lie here wastefully?

I am all you never had of goods and sex.

You could get them still by writing a few cheques.’


So I look at others, what they do with theirs:

They certainly don’t keep it upstairs.

By now they’ve a second house and car and wife:

Clearly money has something to do with life


– In fact, they’ve a lot in common, if you enquire:

You can’t put off being young until you retire,

And however you bank your screw, the money you save

Won’t in the end buy you more than a shave.


I listen to money singing. It’s like looking down

From long French windows at a provincial town,

The slums, the canal, the churches ornate and mad

In the evening sun. It is intensely sad.



by Philip Larkin



For more information on the poet, Philip Larkin, see:


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Tuesday Poem: "Refugee Blues" by W.H. Auden

;


Say this city has ten million souls,
Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:

Yet there's no place for us, my dear, yet there's no place for us.


Once we had a country and we thought it fair,

Look in the atlas and you'll find it there:

We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there now.


In the village churchyard there grows an old yew,

Every spring it blossoms anew:

Old passports can't do that, my dear, old passports can't do that.


The consul banged the table and said,

"If you've got no passport you're officially dead":

But we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive.


Went to a committee; they offered me a chair;

Asked me politely to return next year:

But where shall we go to-day, my dear, but where shall we go to-day?


Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said;

"If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread":

He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me.


Thought I heard the thunder rumbling in the sky;

It was Hitler over Europe, saying, "They must die":

O we were in his mind, my dear, O we were in his mind.


Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened with a pin,

Saw a door opened and a cat let in:

But they weren't German Jews, my dear, but they weren't German Jews.


Went down the harbour and stood upon the quay,

Saw the fish swimming as if they were free:

Only ten feet away, my dear, only ten feet away.


Walked through a wood, saw the birds in the trees;

They had no politicians and sang at their ease:

They weren't the human race, my dear, they weren't the human race.


Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,

A thousand windows and a thousand doors:

Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours.


Stood on a great plain in the falling snow;

Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro:

Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me.



by W. H. Auden


For more information about the poet, W.H. Auden, see:


https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/w-h-Auden