Game of the week

Poem of the day

Night
by Charles Heavysege (1816-1876)

’Tis solemn darkness; the sublime of shade;
Night, by no stars nor rising moon relieved;
The awful blank of nothingness arrayed,
O’er which my eye-balls roll in vain, deceived.
Upward, around, and downward I explore,
E’en to the frontiers of the ebon air,
But cannot, though I strive, discover more
Than what seems one huge cavern of despair.
Oh, Night, art thou so grim, when, black and bare
Of moonbeams, and no cloudlets to adorn,
Like a nude Ethiop ’twixt two houris fair,
Thou stand’st between the evening and the morn?
I took thee for an angel, but have wooed
A cacodaemon in mine ignorant mood.

Poem of the day

Afternoon in February
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

The day is ending,
The night is descending;
The marsh is frozen,
The river dead.

Through clouds like ashes
The red sun flashes
On village windows
That glimmer red.

The snow recommences;
The buried fences
Mark no longer
The road o’er the plain;

While through the meadows,
Like fearful shadows,
Slowly passes
A funeral train.

The bell is pealing,
And every feeling
Within me responds
To the dismal knell;

Shadows are trailing,
My heart is bewailing
And tolling within
Like a funeral bell.

Poem of the day

Who Ever Loved, That Loved Not at First Sight
by Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593)

It lies not in our power to love or hate,
For will in us is overruled by fate.
When two are stripped, long ere the course begin,
We wish that one should love, the other win;
And one especially do we affect
Of two gold ingots, like in each respect:
The reason no man knows, let it suffice,
What we behold is censured by our eyes.
Where both deliberate, the love is slight:
Who ever loved, that loved not at first sight?

Poem of the day

Music
by Amy Lowell (1819-1925)

The neighbour sits in his window and plays the flute.
From my bed I can hear him,
And the round notes flutter and tap about the room,
And hit against each other,
Blurring to unexpected chords.
It is very beautiful,
With the little flute-notes all about me,
In the darkness.

In the daytime,
The neighbour eats bread and onions with one hand
And copies music with the other.
He is fat and has a bald head,
So I do not look at him,
But run quickly past his window.
There is always the sky to look at,
Or the water in the well!

But when night comes and he plays his flute,
I think of him as a young man,
With gold seals hanging from his watch,
And a blue coat with silver buttons.
As I lie in my bed
The flute-notes push against my ears and lips,
And I go to sleep, dreaming.

Two dysfunctional systems

Since the start of the year, much of the world’s attention was focused on two trials on opposite sides of the world. In one, a brave truth-teller was persecuted by a vengeful administration after stirring up his patriotic followers in protest against tyranny. In the other, Donald Trump was acquitted by the Senate.

Poem of the day

La Belle Dame Sans Merci
by John Keats (1819-1891)

O what can ail thee, knight at arms,
         Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has wither’d from the lake,
         And no birds sing.

O What can ail thee, knight at arms,
         So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel’s granary is full,
         And the harvest’s done.

I see a lily on thy brow
         With anguish moist and fever dew,
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
         Fast withereth too.

I met a lady in the meads,
         Full beautiful, a fairy’s child;
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
         And her eyes were wild.

I made a garland for her head,
         And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She look’d at me as she did love,
         And made sweet moan.

I set her on my pacing steed,
         And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
         A fairy’s song.

She found me roots of relish sweet,
         And honey wild, and manna dew,
And sure in language strange she said—
         I love thee true.

She took me to her elfin grot,
         And there she wept, and sigh’d full sore,
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
         With kisses four.

And there she lulled me asleep,
         And there I dream’d—Ah! woe betide!
The latest dream I ever dream’d
         On the cold hill’s side.

I saw pale kings, and princes too,
         Pale warriors, death pale were they all;
They cried—“La belle dame sans merci
         Hath thee in thrall!”

I saw their starv’d lips in the gloam
         With horrid warning gaped wide,
And I awoke and found me here
         On the cold hill’s side.

And this is why I sojourn here,
         Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is wither’d from the lake,
         And no birds sing.