Archive for the ‘Thought for the day’ Category


March 13, 2018



Mid-Term Break

by Seamus Heaney


I sat all morning in the college sick bay
Counting bells knelling classes to a close.
At two o’clock our neighbours drove me home.
In the porch I met my father crying—
He had always taken funerals in his stride—
And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.
The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
When I came in, and I was embarrassed
By old men standing up to shake my hand
And tell me they were ‘sorry for my trouble’.
Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,
Away at school, as my mother held my hand
In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.
At ten o’clock the ambulance arrived
With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.
Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops
And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him
For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,
Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple,
He lay in the four-foot box as in his cot.
No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.
A four-foot box, a foot for every year.


February 27, 2018




by Thomas Gray



The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
       The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
         And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimm’ring landscape on the sight,
         And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
         And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;
Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
         The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flow’r is born to blush unseen,
         And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
The breezy call of incense-breathing Morn,
         The swallow twitt’ring from the straw-built shed,
The cock’s shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
         No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.
Apparently this is the first time the word twitt’ring was ever used in a poem.  Does this surprise you?
The Cock’s shrill clarion, or echoing horn is the most beautiful line in English poetry.
Do you agree?
I certainly do not.  The first two versus are much greater favourites of mine.
Catharine McKenty


February 13, 2018




by Anonymous.


Overnight the frost moves in, spreading silver on the grass and copper in the trees.

You contemplate the world through chilly windowpanes, your breath making clouds upon the glass

You long to stay in all day.

If only you had been born a bear!

You’d sleep from now until the crocuses bloomed and the grass turned soft underfoot again.

But then, you’d miss the season’s riches: it’s warm golden feast and children’s laughter.

So throw back the covers and find your slippers.

Prepare a cup of hot, dark coffee.

Rub the sleep from your eyes, and hello to the new born winter.


February 6, 2018


Awakening To Snow




Blades of light slide under my eyelids

and pries them open to discover softness.

This is whisper day, muffled in deep down

of eiderdown snow, day of

those other echoes and shadows on frosted window panes

that pass by furtively, wondering.

Today is a hushed blue day of nothing, of

empty footprints where feet were,

of absence.

Today adrift from all the gongs of time,

suspended on the feather of your

silent white breath




January 30, 2018



Dark Rosaleen


James Clarence Mangan


O my dark Rosaleen,
    Do not sigh, do not weep!
The priests are on the ocean green,
    They march along the deep.
There’s wine from the royal Pope,
    Upon the ocean green;
And Spanish ale shall give you hope,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
    My own Rosaleen!
Shall glad your heart, shall give you hope,
Shall give you health, and help, and hope,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
Over hills, and thro’ dales,
    Have I roam’d for your sake;
All yesterday I sail’d with sails
    On river and on lake.
The Erne, at its highest flood,
    I dash’d across unseen,
For there was lightning in my blood,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
    My own Rosaleen!
O, there was lightning in my blood,
Red lighten’d thro’ my blood.
    My Dark Rosaleen!
All day long, in unrest,
    To and fro, do I move.
The very soul within my breast
    Is wasted for you, love!
The heart in my bosom faints
    To think of you, my Queen,
My life of life, my saint of saints,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
    My own Rosaleen!
To hear your sweet and sad complaints,
My life, my love, my saint of saints,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
Woe and pain, pain and woe,
    Are my lot, night and noon,
To see your bright face clouded so,
    Like to the mournful moon.
But yet will I rear your throne
    Again in golden sheen;
‘Tis you shall reign, shall reign alone,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
    My own Rosaleen!
‘Tis you shall have the golden throne,
‘Tis you shall reign, and reign alone,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
Over dews, over sands,
    Will I fly, for your weal:
Your holy delicate white hands
    Shall girdle me with steel.
At home, in your emerald bowers,
    From morning’s dawn till e’en,
You’ll pray for me, my flower of flowers,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
    My fond Rosaleen!
You’ll think of me through daylight hours
My virgin flower, my flower of flowers,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
I could scale the blue air,
    I could plough the high hills,
Oh, I could kneel all night in prayer,
    To heal your many ills!
And one beamy smile from you
    Would float like light between
My toils and me, my own, my true,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
    My fond Rosaleen!
Would give me life and soul anew,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
O, the Erne shall run red,
    With redundance of blood,
The earth shall rock beneath our tread,
    And flames wrap hill and wood,
And gun-peal and slogan-cry
    Wake many a glen serene,
Ere you shall fade, ere you shall die,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
    My own Rosaleen!
The Judgment Hour must first be nigh,
Ere you can fade, ere you can die,
    My Dark Rosaleen!

A winter’s query

January 15, 2018

What is your most memorable experience of winter?

If you live in the eastern part of North America- Canada how do you cope with the severe cold? Were you affected by thawing and freezing as Montreal was?

Are you a skier or snowboarder?

If you are a snowboarder why did you choose that sport?


December 19, 2017



Pay It Forward

By Jon M. Nelson


In the midst of battle
The war rages on.
The bullets were flying
As the peace was withdrawn.

As I dove in the foxhole
To avoid the shells
I thought to myself,
“I’m in the middle of hell”.

As I regained composure
I saw on the ground
An enemy soldier
That was hit by a round.

When I looked at the soldier
I saw in his face,
The fear of a child
That was lost, and out of place.

I reached out my hand
To show I was a friend.
I tried to give him peace
For my enemy was at his end.

The soldier began to speak
I didn’t know what he was saying.
Although I didn’t know his language
I knew that he was praying.

His wound was very fatal
I knew he would not live
Then he reached out to me
As if to say “forgive? ”

Then he went with God
Or Allah if he preferred.
So I let him rest in peace
For that’s what he deserved.

The bombing then receded
And I had to continue on
Moving through the night,
Until the early dawn.

As I tell this story
No one believes it’s true,
But if two enemies can find peace
Maybe we can too.


December 12, 2017




by Kevin Higgins


The day you fall, bawling into the world
in a village northeast of Salisbury;
in faraway Florida, Sidney Poitier is busy


being one day old. In Moscow heavily scarved
women mark the anniversary:
Lenin – One Month Dead Today.


Your two older brothers soon join him.
And your father, Gabriel, scarpers.
You are ten years old. It is nineteen thirty four


and all down to you. Mission schools,
then university. You are a teacher.
Your only son dies of cerebral malaria.


For subversive speech,
you are under arrest. Ten years.
You study law. The Party


chooses you. Rocket launchers
and Chairman Mao. You look in the mirror
one morning and see: His Excellency Comrade President.


Your name on the lips of a continent.
In the final act you start gifting
farms the white man stole


to your friends. One for everyone
in the audience. As the supermarket shelves empty,
your life fills up with dead people.


The country may be living on Styrofoam and grass
but will sing your name
one last time. The air fat with laughter


as you step into the TV to say
“We don’t cheat; but on the other side…
all sorts of irregularities.”


A foreign journalist is arrested
on the tenth floor
of a hotel near the airport.


but for the sound of an occasional dog barking
on Samora Machel Avenue.


Outside your office the sign:
Mugabe is right. It is two thousand and eight
and all down to you.



from Frightening New Furniture (Salmon Poetry, 2010) 


December 5, 2017




By Katharine Tynan


God bless the little orchard brown
Where the sap stirs these quickening days.
Soon in a white and rosy gown
The trees will give great praise.

God knows I have it in my mind,
The white house with the golden eaves.
God knows since it is left behind
That something grieves and grieves.

God keep the small house in his care,
The garden bordered all in box,
Where primulas and wallflowers are
And crocuses in flocks.

God keep the little rooms that ope
One to another, swathed in green,
Where honeysuckle lifts her cup
With jessamine between.

God bless the quiet old grey head
That dreams beside the fire of me,
And makes home there for me indeed
Over the Irish Sea.


November 28, 2017


The first snowfall

by James Russell Lowell



THE snow had begun in the gloaming,
And busily all the night
Had been heaping field and highway
With a silence deep and white.

Every pine and fir and hemlock
Wore ermine too dear for an earl,
And the poorest twig on the elm-tree
Was ridged inch deep with pearl.

From sheds new-roofed with Carrara
Came Chanticleer’s muffled crow,
The stiff rails were softened to swan’s-down,
And still fluttered down the snow.

I stood and watched by the window
The noiseless work of the sky,
And the sudden flurries of snow-birds,
Like brown leaves whirling by.

I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn
Where a little headstone stood;
How the flakes were folding it gently,
As did robins the babes in the wood.

Up spoke our own little Mabel,
Saying, ‘Father, who makes it snow?’
And I told of the good All-father
Who cares for us here below.

Again I looked at the snowfall,
And thought of the leaden sky
That arched o’er our first great sorrow,
When that mound was heaped so high.

I remembered the gradual patience
That fell from that cloud like snow,
Flake by flake, healing and hiding
The scar of our deep-plunged woe.

And again to the child I whispered,
‘The snow that husheth all,
Darling, the merciful Father
Alone can make it fall! ‘

Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her;
And she, kissing back, could not know
That my kiss was given to her sister,
Folded close under deepening snow.