Poem of the day

Voyages II
by Hart Crane (1899-1932)

—And yet this great wink of eternity,
Of rimless floods, unfettered leewardings,
Samite sheeted and processioned where
Her undinal vast belly moonward bends,
Laughing the wrapt inflections of our love;

Take this Sea, whose diapason knells
On scrolls of silver snowy sentences,
The sceptred terror of whose sessions rends
As her demeanors motion well or ill,
All but the pieties of lovers’ hands.

And onward, as bells off San Salvador
Salute the crocus lustres of the stars,
In these poinsettia meadows of her tides,—
Adagios of islands, O my Prodigal,
Complete the dark confessions her veins spell.

Mark how her turning shoulders wind the hours,
And hasten while her penniless rich palms
Pass superscription of bent foam and wave,—
Hasten, while they are true,—sleep, death, desire,
Close round one instant in one floating flower.

Bind us in time, O Seasons clear, and awe.
O minstrel galleons of Carib fire,
Bequeath us to no earthly shore until
Is answered in the vortex of our grave
The seal’s wide spindrift gaze toward paradise.

Poem of the day

Viererzug
by Detlev von Liliencron (1844-1909)

Vorne vier nickende Pferdeköpfe,
Neben mir zwei blonde Mädchenzöpfe,
Hinten der Groom mit wichtigen Mienen,
An den Rädern Gebell.

In den Dörfern windstillen Lebens Genüge,
Auf den Feldern fleißige Spaten und Pflüge,
alles das von der Sonne beschienen
So hell, so hell.

Poem of the day

If I Should Die
by Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)

If I should die, think only this of me:
   That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
   In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
   Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
   Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
   A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
      Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
   And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
      In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

From Leontxo García, the dean of chess journalists

Fifty years ago, during the Cultural Revolution, the authorities in the Asian giant fined players and burned chess books. But today, Liren Ding, who is competing for China, is fighting to become the champion who will succeed Magnus Carlsen, the Norwegian grandmaster

Poem of the day

Original Epitath on a Drunkard
by Royall Tyler (1757-1826)

Pray who lies here? why don’t you know,
‘Tis stammering, staggering, boozy Joe;
What, dead at last? I thought that death
Could never stop his long long breath.
True, death ne’er threw his dart at him,
But kill’d, like David, with a sling:
Whither he’s gone we do not know,
With spirits above or spirits below:—
But, if he former taste inherits,
He’s quaffing in a world of spirits.

Poem of the day

Love’s Martyrs
by John Ford (1586-1639)

Oh, no more, no more! too late
      Sighs are spent; the burning tapers
Of a life as chaste as Fate,
      Pure as are unwritten papers,
      Are burned out; no heat, no light
      Now remains; ’tis ever night.
Love is dead; let lovers’ eyes,
      Locked in endless dreams,
      The extremes of all extremes,
Ope no more, for now Love dies.
      Now Love dies, implying
Love’s martyrs must be ever, ever dying.

Poem of the day

The Soul and the Body
by John Davies (1569-1626)

But how shall we this union well express?
   Nought ties the soul; her subtlety is such
She moves the body, which she doth possess,
   Yet no part toucheth, but by virtue’s touch.

Then dwells she not therein as in a tent;
   Nor as a pilot in his ship doth sit;
Nor as the spider in his web is pent;
   Nor as the wax retains the print in it;

Nor as a vessel water doth contain;
   Nor as one liquor in another shed;
Nor as the heat doth in the fire remain;
   Nor as a voice throughout the air is spread.

But as the fair and cheerful morning light
   Doth here and there her silver beams impart,
And in an instant doth herself unite
   To the transparent air, in all and part;

Still resting whole, when blows the air divide,
   Abiding pure, when the air is most corrupted,
Throughout the air her beams dispersing wide,
   And when the air is tossed, not interrupted:

So doth the piercing soul the body fill,
   Being all in all, and all in part diffused;
Indivisible, incorruptible still,
   Not forced, encountered, troubled or confused.

And as the sun above the light doth bring,
   Though we behold it in the air below,
So from the eternal light the soul doth spring,
   Though in the body she her powers do show.

Poem of the day

Waltzing Matilda
by Andrew Barton “Banjo” Patterson (1864-1941)

Did you know that today is Waltzing Matilda Day? Over the years, since Patterson wrote the song, circa. 1895, numerous variations have crept into both the lyrics and the tune to which it was sung. This is one of the earliest versions (from a 1901 Australian newspaper). It has, of course, been recorded countless times. Here are a few versions, from Johnny Cash, Richard Dyer-Bennet, Burl Ives, Jimmie Rodgers, and Josh White.

Once a jolly swagman camped on a billabong,
Under the shade of a coolibah tree;
And he sang as he watched his old billy boiling—
“You’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me.”

Chorus.
Waltzing Matilda, Matilda, my darling,
You’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me;
And he sang as he watched his old billy boiling—
“You’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me.”

Down came a jumbuck to drink at the waterhole,
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee;
And he sang as he stowed him away in his tucker bag—
“You’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me.”

Down came the squatter riding a thoroughbred,
Down came the p’licemen, one, two, and three,
Whose is the jumbuck you’ve got in your tucker bag?
“You’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me.”

Up jumped the swagman, sprang into the waterhole,
Drowning himself ‘neath the coolibah tree;
And his ghost can be heard as he sings through the billabong—
“You’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me.”

Game of the week