Poet’s Corner in Westminster

Jul 25th, 2022

Lord Byron

Lines Written Beneath an Elm in The Churchyard of Harrow On The Hill

Spot of my youth! Whose hoary branches sigh
Swept by the breeze that fans thou cloudless sky
Where now alone I muse who oft have trod
With those I love. Thy soft and verdant sod
With those who, scattered far. perchance deplore
Like me, the happy scenes they knew before.
Oh! As I track again thy winding hill
My eyes admire, my heart adores thee still.
Thou drooping elm, beneath whose boughs,
I lay and frequent mused the twilight hours away
Where as they once were wont my limbs recline
But Ah! without the thoughts which then were mine
How do thy branches, moaning to the blast
Invite the bosom to recall the past
And seem to whisper as they gently swell
Take whilst thou can, a lingering last farewell

Kathy Galloway

KATHY GALLOWAY bucks the trend of poets seeking solace in nature. There is matter to reflect on her different approach from an Eastern style of meditation that vaunts the salvation of an individual through his ‘finding himself’.

Do not retreat into your private world

Do not retreat into your private world,
That place of safety, sheltered from the storm,
Where you may tend your garden, seek your soul
And ret with loved ones where the fire burns warm.

To tend a garden is a precious thing,
But dearer still the one where all may roam,
The weeds of poison, poverty and war,
Demand your care, who call the earth your home.

To seek your soul is a precious thing,
But you will never find it on your own,
Only among the clamor, threat and pain,
Of other people’s need will love be known.

To rest with loved ones is a precious thing,
But peace of mind exacts a higher cost,
Your children will not rest and play in quiet,
While they still hear the crying of the lost.

Don’t retreat into your private world,
There are more ways than firesides to keep warm;
There is no shelter from the rage of life,
So meet its eye, and dance within the storm.

Robert Graves

Robert Graves, b 1895, was in at the start of the latest phase of scientific discoveries

Synthetic Such

‘The sum of all the parts of Such –
Of each laboratory scene –
Is Such.’ While Science means this much
And means no more, why, let it mean!

But were the science-men to find
Some animating principle
Which gave synthetic Such a mind
Vital, though metaphysical –

To Such, such an event, I think
Would cause unscientific pain:
Science, appalled by thought, would shrink
To its component parts again.

Lewis Fry Richardson

Lewis Fry Richardson wrote in 1922:

Big whorls have little whorls

Big whorls have little whorls,
Which feed on their velocity,
And little whorls have lesser whorls,
And so on to viscosity.

Donald Rumsfeld

(Poems, compiled by Slate)

The Unknown

As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know
We don’t know.

Richard Leven

Subjects besides those arising out of science concern this institute of Reflection The strangeness of the world which we now see and the yearning to know what lies ahead for us fascinated Richard Leven. He was a poet but is better known for having flown a record number of daylight bombing missions in WW2, and then going on to become a circus ringmaster, a tale recounted in his book ‘My Flying Circus’

Excuse For Dreaming

Perhaps, the glory of a dream
Is that it can never be,
For oft the things I have seen
No man on earth can see

If my dream of things to be
Is what things really are,
I should be foolish not to see
What’s seen this very hour.

I like to feel there is a life
Far beyond the earth
Where I can surely wander
And reams are given birth.