Friday Poetry: Henry Normal

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone has had a good week so far.

My chosen poem this week is by the writer, poet, TV and film producer, founder of the Manchester Poetry Festival and co-founder of the Nottingham Poetry Festival Henry Normal (1956).

Three Lies and One Truth about the Moon

1. The moon only exists at night, and occasionally during the day, in summer.

2. No one has ever landed on the moon, and the Russian President knows this but promised his mum he wouldn't say anything. 

3. The moon is a hollow spaceship inhabited by nazi rabbits that turn men into werewolves.

4. If my heart was as big as the moon I couldn't love you more.

Henry Normal

Happy Reading



Friday Poetry: Li Po

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone has some fun plans for the weekend.

My chosen poem today is by a Chinese poet Li Po (701-762).

Poem is translated by Shigeyoshi Obata.

Addressed Humorously to Tu Fu

Here! is this you on the top of Fan-ko Mountain,
Wearing a huge hat in the noon-day sun?
How thin, how wretchedly thin, you have grown!
You must have been suffering from poetry again. 

Li Po

Happy Reading


Friday Poetry: Charles Causley

Happy Friday!

I hope you all have some fab plans for the weekend.

My chosen poem for this week is by the English poet, school teacher and writer Charles Causley (1917-2003).

I am the Song

I am the song that sings the bird.
I am the leaf that grows the land.
I am the tide that moves the moon.
I am the stream that halts the sand.
I am the cloud that drives the storm.
I am the earth that lights the sun.
I am the fire that strikes the stone.
I am the clay that shapes the hand.
I am the word that speaks the man.

Charles Causley

Happy Reading


Friday Poetry: Claude McKay

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone has some fab books to read over the weekend.

My chosen poem this week is by the Jamaican- American poet and writer Claude McKay (1890-1948). McKay studied in the United States and became a prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance.

After the Winter

Some day, when trees have shed their leaves
And against the morning's white
The shivering birds beneath the eaves
Have sheltered for the night,
We'll turn our faces southward, love, 
Toward the summer isle
Where bamboos spire the shafted grove
And wide-mouthed orchids smile.

And we will seek the quiet hill
Where towers the cotton tree,
And leaps the laughing crystal rill,
And works the droning bee,
And we will build a cottage there
Beside an open glade,
With black-ribbed blue-bells blowing near,
And ferns that never fade. 

Claude McKay

Happy Reading


The Aeneid by Virgil (translated by by Frederick Ahl)(Review #3)

The Aeneid by Virgil (translated by by Frederick Ahl)


After a century of civil strife in Rome and Italy, Virgil wrote the Aeneid to honour the emperor Augustus by praising his legendary ancestor Aeneas. As a patriotic epic imitating Homer, the Aeneid also set out to provide Rome with a literature equal to that of Greece. It tells of Aeneas, survivor of the sack of Troy, and of his seven-year journey: to Carthage, where he falls tragically in love with Queen Dido; then to the underworld,; and finally to Italy, where he founds Rome. It is a story of defeat and exile, of love and war, hailed by Tennyson as ‘the stateliest measure ever moulded by the lips of man’.


I have finally finished this book! When I first started reading it I was in the middle of my Masters and this sadly had to fall by the way side. However, on the 1st January I decided to read one book a day of this book and yesterday (yes I know a day behind) I finally finished. 

The book begins in Carthage where Aeneas tells his journey to Queen Dido starting from  the fall of Troy where Aeneas and the survivors he manages to gather including his father and son flee Troy and begin their 7 year journey to find a new home. Their journey goes from Carthage, to the Underworld and finally Italy his final destination.  

My first thought about this book is what an amazing piece of propaganda. The amount of propaganda in this book really made me laugh but I think the pinnacle of it was in book 7. In book 7 Anchises shows Aeneas all the descendants that will come from his line and it is quite a list. Aeneas is basically the father of all the great leaders of Rome which seems highly improbable. 

My husband kindly treated me to see Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas opera for my birthday which I absolutely loved but I do think Purcell was rather kind to Aeneas. In truth I always found Aeneas to be a bit of an ass. Whilst he is fleeing Troy he accidentally loses his wife, he does go back and look for her but really he shouldn’t have lost her in the first place. Then what he does with Queen Dido is in my opinion absolutely awful. Yes, I know the gods had something to do with it but really the man did not show any remorse at all and was a complete b__.

The last 6 books of the book is where Aeneas and his men, and we presume some women and children as they are briefly mentioned, land in Italy and all hell breaks loose in war. I loved how all the gods get involved and even some nymphs as this really parallels with Homer’s depiction of the war of Troy. In fact Virgil is very clever with his direct links with Homer’s work. When studying my Masters it was always amazing how much the Romans wanted to be as good as the Ancient Greeks. The Romans copied their sculptures, their texts and much more but always keeping their Roman values. 

I really enjoyed this book and it was a great start to 2023 and my plan to read at least one Ancient Greek or Roman text a month. Virgil was a very talented writer who knew how to write an excellent piece of propaganda. I also loved Ahl’s translation but I knew it would be good as he is one of my favourite translators. I happily give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons. 


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(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Publius Vergilius Maro (October 15, 70 BCE – September 21, 19 BCE), usually called Virgil or Vergil /ˈvɜrdʒəl/ in English, was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues (or Bucolics), the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid. A number of minor poems, collected in the Appendix Vergiliana, are sometimes attributed to him.

Virgil is traditionally ranked as one of Rome’s greatest poets. His Aeneid has been considered the national epic of ancient Rome from the time of its composition to the present day. Modeled after Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, the Aeneid follows the Trojan refugee Aeneas as he struggles to fulfill his destiny and arrive on the shores of Italy—in Roman mythology the founding act of Rome. Virgil’s work has had wide and deep influence on Western literature, most notably the Divine Comedy of Dante, in which Virgil appears as Dante’s guide through hell and purgatory.


Friday Poetry: Sergei Yesenin

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone has had a good week so far and have some good plans for the weekend.

My chosen poem for this week is by another new poet for me, Sergei Yesenin. Yesenin (1895-1925) was a Russian lyric poet.

The Birch Tree

Under my window
Tucked in the snow
White birch retired
Clad in silver glow.

On the fluffy branches
Snowy-trim with silver-tinge
Melted around catkins
Forming white fringe.

Like golden fires
Snow-flakes blazed
While birch stood still
Asleep, or amazed.

Meanwhile, lazily
Strolling around,
Dawn threw more 'silver'
On the twigs (and ground). 

Sergei Yesenin

Happy Reading


Amours de Voyage by Arthur Hugh Clough (Review #2)

Amours de Voyage by Arthur Hugh Clough


Amours de Voyage is a novel in verse and is arranged in five cantos, or chapters, as a sequence of letters. It is about a group of English travellers in Italy: Claude, and the Trevellyn family, are caught up in the 1849 political turmoil. The poem mixes the political (‘Sweet it may be, and decorous, perhaps, for the country to die; but,/On the whole, we conclude the Romans won’t do it, and I sha’n’t’) and the personal (‘After all, do I know that I really cared so about her?/Do whatever I will, I cannot call up her image’). The political is important but the personal dilemmas are the crucial ones.

Claude, about to declare himself, retreats, regrets. It is this retreat, his scruples and fastidiousness, that, like a conventional novel, is the core of Amours de Voyage. The poem thus contributed something important to the modern sensibility; it is a portrait of an anti-hero; it is about love and marriage (the difficulties of); and it is about Italy.


I had never heard of Arthur Hugh Clough before but I was really intrigued when I saw this book in Persephone books so I bought it. I have been reading some pretty hefty books recently so last weekend I thought I would read a shorter book as a quick read and this was the book I chose. 

The first thing I loved about this book was the preface by Julian Barnes. Barnes gave a wonderful description of Clough’s life and the background behind this book. It really set the scene well. 

This was quite a different read for me but one that I flew through. I really loved Claude’s thoughts on Rome as he really was very unimpressed with the whole affair and I found his reactions to it quite amusing. The book is a novel in verse and made up of letters. Claude writes to his long suffering friend Eustace and I say long suffering because I think the poor man has a lot of letters of Claude. The other letters are from the Trevellyn sisters to their friend. 

I will be honest the character Claude was not my favourite. He found Rome boring, he was self centred, looked down on people and only found Mary interesting when she had gone. Personally I think Mary was better off without Claude in her life. Mary thought a lot more about Claude than Claude did about Mary. 

Overall, I loved Clough’s writing and I would love to read more of his work but what let it down for me was simply his main character Claude. I just could not deal with Claude’s selfish behaviour sadly. Due to this I give the book 3 out of 5 Dragons. 


Purchase Links

Book Depository | | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861) was an English poet, an educationalist, and the devoted assistant to Florence Nightingale. 


Friday Poetry: Sara Coleridge

Happy Friday!

I hope you all have some fab plans for the weekend. I am rather gloomy now the Christmas decorations have come down as I always find the house so bare and dull once the pretty decorations are taken down.

My chosen poem today is from a new poet for me. Sara Coleridge (1802-1852) was a translator, novelist and poet. Coleridge hailed from a very literary family, her father was the early Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Her uncle was the Poet Laureate Robert Southey and her neighbour was William Wordsworth. Coleridge was surrounded by talented poets.

The Garden Year

January brings the snow,
Makes our feet and fingers glow. 

February brings the rain,
Thaws the frozen lake again.

March brings breezes, loud and shrill,
To stir the dancing daffodil.

April brings the primrose sweet,
Scatters daises at our feet.

May brings flocks of pretty lambs
Skipping by their fleecy dams.

June brings tulips, lilies, roses,
Fills the children's hands with posies.

Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots, and gillyflowers.

August brings the sheaves of corn,
Then the harvest home is borne.

Warm September brings the fruit;
Sportsmen then begin to shoot. 

Fresh October brings the pheasant;
Then to gather nuts is pleasant.

Dull November brings the blast;
Then the leaves are whirling fast.

Chill December brings the sleet,
Blazing fire, and Christmas treat.

Sara Coleridge

Happy Reading


Friday Poetry: Eleanor Farjeon

Happy Friday!

I hope you are all looking forward to New Year and have some fun plans for New Year’s Eve. We will probably have a quiet New Year’s Eve at home but we have a nice bottle of champagne to help us celebrate.

My chosen poem today is by one of my favourites Eleanor Farjeon.


What is Poetry? Who knows?
Not a rose, but the scent of a rose;
Not a sky, but the light in the sky;
Not the fly, but the gleam of the fly;
Not the sea, but the sound of the sea;
Not myself, but what makes me
See, hear, and feel something that prose
Cannot: and what it is, who knows?

Eleanor Farjeon

Happy Reading


Friday Poetry: Cicely Mary Barker

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone is ready for Christmas. My chosen poem today is a favourite of mine by Cicely Mary Barker.

Sadly our tree won’t have a Christmas Tree fairy living in it because our tree is artificial, this is mainly because my husband and myself are both allergic to real Christmas trees.

The Christmas Tree Fairy

The little Christmas Tree was born
And dwelt in open air;
It did not guess how bright a dress
Some day its boughs would wear;
Brown cones were all, it thought, a tall
And grown-up Fir would bear.

O little Fir! Your forest home
Is far and far away;
And here indoors these boughs of yours
With coloured balls are gay,
With candle-light, and tinsel bright,
For this is Christmas Day!

A dolly-fairy stands on top,
Till children sleep; then she
(A live one now!) from bough to bough
Goes gliding silently.
O magic sight, this joyous night!
O laden, sparkling tree!

Cicely Mary Barker

Happy Reading