Winter Solstice poems: Old Irish/Mother Goose!

I have news for you

(9th century Irish)

I have news for you:
The stag bells, winter snows, summer has gone
Wind high and cold, the sun low, short its course
The sea running high.
Deep red the bracken; its shape is lost;
The wild goose has raised its accustomed cry,
cold has seized the birds’ wings;
season of ice, this is my news

In the Green Wood from Mother Goose
(making the fire)

Oak-logs will warm you well,
That are old and dry;
Logs of pine will sweetly smell
But the sparks will fly.
Birch-logs will burn too fast,
Chestnut scarce at all;
Hawthorn-logs are good to last –
Catch them in the fall.
Holly-logs will burn like wax,
You may burn them green;
Elm-logs like to smoldering flax,
No flame to be seen.
Beech-logs for winter time,
Yew-logs as well;
Green elder-logs it is a crime
For any man to sell.
Pear-logs and apple-logs,
They will scent your room,
Cherry-logs across the dogs
Smell like flower of the broom.
Ash-logs, smooth and grey,
Burn them green or old,
Buy up all that come your way –
Worth their weight in gold.

Advertisements

The Tropics of New York by Claude McKay in 2014 Black History Month’s last days.

Image

For love of all hot dusty roads, and our childhood memories, The Tropics of New York by Claude McKay in 2014 Black History Month’s last days. Thinking of Jamaica.

Bananas ripe and green, and ginger root
Cocoa in pods and alligator pears,
And tangerines and mangoes and grape fruit,
Fit for the highest prize at parish fairs,

Sat in the window, bringing memories
of fruit-trees laden by low-singing rills,
And dewy dawns, and mystical skies
In benediction over nun-like hills.

My eyes grow dim, and I could no more gaze;
A wave of longing through my body swept,
And, hungry for the old, familiar ways
I turned aside and bowed my head and wept.