Friday Poetry: Emily Dickinson

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone has some good books planned for the weekend. I have spent a bit of time in the garden today and it was wonderful to see the bees in the flowers which led to me choosing this poem. Sadly our pond has no frogs though.


Bee! I’m Expecting You!

Bee! I’m expecting you!

Was saying Yesterday

To somebody you know

That you were due –


The Frogs got Home last Week –

Are settled, and at work –

Birds, mostly back –

The Clover warm and thick –


You’ll get my Letter by

The seventeenth; Reply

Or better, be with me –

Yours, Fly.


Emily Dickinson


Have a good weekend!

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The Complete Poems by Catullus (Review)

The Complete Poems by Catullus (Translated by Guy Lee)

About the author


Gaius Valerius Catullus (c. 84-c. 54 BC) was a Latin poet of the late Romans Republic. He favoured writing about personal life rather than the classical heroes.

About the translator

Guy Lee was a Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge. He is the translator of numerous Latin texts including works by Ovid, Virgil, Tibillius, and Persuis.


Of all Greek and Latin poets Catullus is perhaps the most accessible to the modern reader. Dealing candidly with the basic human emotions of love and hate, his virile, personal tone exerts a powerful appeal on all kinds of readers. The 116 poems collected in this new translation include the famous Lesbia poems and display the full range of Catullus’s mastery of lyric meter, mythological themes, and epigrammatic invective and wit.


I had to read about 40 of the poems from this book for one of the assignments in my Masters but I loved the poems so much that I decided to read the whole book.

This book has the Latin on the left hand page and the translation opposite which was a massive help when I was writing about how different translators have treated certain poems. At the beginning of the book there is lengthy introduction by Guy Lee the translator which is very informative as it gives you details about Catullus’ life, work and translation. I loved this introduction as it was very interesting and gave me a compact introduction to Catullus. The Explanatory notes were also useful and the Appendices.

This book of poems had me laughing out loud and that is not something I do often when reading poetry as I am not generally a poetry fan. I loved the humour in the poems and I will be honest I was quite shocked at how rude some of the poems were. Some poems were just two lines long and some were pages and I will be honest the lengthier ones could be a struggle to read in full.

I will be honest I have taken breaks from the book and have dipped in and out of the poems. I have also returned to old favourites and re-read them with joy. I have also found some of the poems useful to reference in my assignments.

I really enjoyed the book and I am grateful for it being part of my required reading because it has been a good read. It is also in my opinion a good translation because it is less wooden than certain translations I have also read. I highly recommend this book of poems to people who want to read more of the classics. I give this book 3 out of 5 Dragons because I did find some of the lengthier poems a bit trying.

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Friday Poetry: Vita Sackville-West

Happy Friday my fellow Book Dragons!

I hope everyone has some good books planned for the weekend. My chosen poem this week is by Vita Sackville-West who was part of the Bloomsbury Group.


Full Moon

She was wearing coral taffeta trousers

Someone had brought her from Isfahan,

And the little gold coat with pomegranate blossoms,

And the coral-hafted feather fan,

But she ran down a Kentish lane in the moonlight,

And skipped in the pool of moon as she ran.


She cared not a rap for all the big planets,

For Betelgeuse or Aldebaran,

And all the big planets cared nothing for her,

That small impertinent charlatan,

But she climbed on a Kentish stile in the moonlight,

And laughed at the sky through the sticks of her fan.


Vita Sackville-West


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Friday Poetry: Anon


I have been reading and thoroughly enjoying Alison’s Weir’s Katherine of Aragon The True Queen, so I have a chosen a related poem.

This nursery rhyme is popularly believed to be related to the execution of Anne Boleyn.


Oranges and Lemons

Oranges and lemons,

Say the bells of St Clement’s.


You owe me five farthings,

Say the bells of St Martin’s.


When will you pay me?

Say the bells of Old Bailey.


When I grow rich,

Say the bells of Shoreditch.


When will that be?

Say the bells of Stepney.


I’m sure I don’t know,

Says the great bell of Bow.


Here comes a candle to light you to bed,

Here comes a chopper to chop off your head.

Chip chop, chip chop, the last man is dead.



Happy Friday

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Friday Poetry: John Clare

Good morning,

I hope everyone is enjoying this fine weather we are having, obviously abiding the lockdown rules. Today is the 75th Anniversary of VE DAY so I have chosen a poem that celebrates the English countryside.

This poem is by John Clare (1793-1864) who was an English poet who celebrated the English countryside in his poetry.


On a Lane in Spring

A little lane – the brook runs close beside,

And spangles in the sunshine, while the fish glide swiftly by;

And hedges leafing with the green springtide;

From out their greenery the old birds fly,

And chirp and whistle in the mourning sun;

The pilewort glitters ‘neath the pale blue sky,

The little robin has its nest begun

The grass-green linnets round the bushes fly.

How mild the spring comes in! the daisy buds

Lift up their golden blossoms to the sky.

How lovely are the pingles and the woods!

Here a beetle runs – and there a fly

Rests on the arum leaf in bottle-green,

And all the spring in this sweet lane is seen.

John Clare


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Friday Poetry: Thomas Dekker

Happy Friday!

Dare I say “Pinch punch first of the month”. I know it doesn’t feel like it because everything is merging into one but it is a new month. I was meant to be conducting my band for a massive VE Day Concert today, feels very strange to not be doing band rehearsals or concerts at the moment. So here is the poem by Thomas Dekker who was an Elizabethan and Jacobean era writer, poet and playwright.


The Merry Month of May

O! the month of May, the merry month of May,

So frolic, so gay, and so green, so green, so green!

O! and then did I unto my true Love say,

Sweet Peg, thou shalt be my Summer’s Queen.


Now the nightingale, the pretty nightingale,

The sweetest singer in all the forest choir,

Entreats thee, sweet Peggy, to hear thy true love’s tale:

Lo! yonder she sitteth, her breast against a briar.


But O! I spy the cuckoo, the cuckoo, the cuckoo;

See where she sitteth; come away, my joy:

Come away, I prithee, I do not like the cuckoo

Should sing where my Peggy and I kiss and toy.


O! the month of May, the merry month of May,

So frolic, so gay, and so green, so green, so green!

And then did I unto my true Love say,

Sweet Peg, thou shalt be my Summer’s Queen.


Thomas Dekker 


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Friday Poetry: A. E. Housman


You will have noticed that this isn’t Friday but I will be honest I forgot the days of the week and forgot it was Friday yesterday. However, I have decided I will post the poem anyway because everything is so random at the moment anyway.

I have chosen another Housman poem I think this will now be my fourth, I feel I might be getting another favourite poet! This poem is all about not being able to go back but to live in the present instead.


Into my Heart an air that Kills

Into my heart an air that kills

From yon far country blows:

What are those blue remembered hills,

What spires, what farms are those?


That is the land of lost content,

I see it shining plain,

The happy highways where I went

And cannot come again.


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Friday Poetry: Jeff Phelps

Well we have reached another Friday, it really doesn’t feel like a Friday but I do have some teaching over Skype this morning to keep me busy.

The sun has been shining here over the last few days and I will be honest I have been enjoying the odd glass of something nice, so this week’s poem reflects that. It also reflects my OCD with regarding washing up, everything has to be washed in a certain order and only one item in the bowl at a time. Anybody else also have this issue with washing up? It drives my family and friends crazy, hence why most things go in the dishwasher in our house.


Wine Glasses

Wine glasses must be washed first

in water hot as hands can bear, untainted

by the everyday of cutlery and plates.

Rub out the deep red lines, invert them,

stems-up to stand like potters’ kilns.

I think I had forgotten what a poem was

till you reminded me how the world can be made

to scintillate on a single wavelength.

Now I hold the glass up to the light.

The taut brittle arc of its bowl is faith

in the impossible. I rub a moist finger round the rim,

hear a kind of gathering, a resonance that’s neither

glass nor air, but a new place between.

Its high sound fills the kitchen like a prayer bell.


Jeff Phelps


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Friday Poetry: W. H. Davies

Happy Good Friday everyone, I hope you all have some yummy hot cross buns.

I will be honest it is only my blog that is keeping me on track of what day it is.

The poem I have chosen is all about the arrival of the cuckoos which usually happens mid April.


The Woods and Banks

The woods and banks of England now,

Late coppered with dead leaves and old,

Have made the early violets grow,

And bulge with knots of primrose gold.

Hear how the blackbird flutes away,

Whose music scorns to sleep at night:

Hear how the cuckoo shouts all day 

For echoes – to the world’s delight:

Hullo, you imp of wonder, you –

Where are you now, cuckoo? Cuckoo?


W. H. Davies


Happy reading.

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Friday Poetry: Rachel Rooney

Hello my wonderful Book Dragons!

Whilst reading poetry this week I discovered a wonderful woman who I wanted to learn more about. My chosen poem is about Helen Keller who in 1904 became the first deaf and blind person to graduate from university. Keller learned her first word ‘water’ when her hand was held under the water pump and the letters for ‘water’ were spelt on her other palm. This poem is about that moment.

Everyone, look up this amazing woman her story is inspiring.


First Word (After Helen Keller)

This thing she’s feeling

is nameless cold

that can’t be held.

This unheard sound

its unseen lettering

drums her outstretched skin

like fingertips.

This thing is spilling over.


This thing she’s feeling

in her other palm

is nameless warm.

This unseen sound

its unheard lettering

drums her outstretched skin

like drops of rain.

This thing is spelling water.


Rachel Rooney


Happy Friday.

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