Thursday, 27 February 2020

Voice from the past - neglected poet - James Elroy Flecker

I re-read this poem recently and the last four lines really spoke to me. Who do we write for? Our children? Our children's children?   I find the words of past poets very comforting at times, that their words can span hundred of years and still have the power to move me.

To A Poet A Thousand Year Hence.    By James Elroy Flecker

I who am dead a thousand years,
And wrote this sweet archaic song,
Send you my words for messengers
The way I shall not pass along.

I care not if you bridge the seas,
Or ride secure the cruel sky,
Or build consummate palaces
Of metal or of masonry.

But have you wine and music still,
And statues and a bright-eyed love
And foolish thought of good and ill
And prayers to them who sit above?

How shall we conquer? Like a wind
That falls at eve our fancies blow,
And old Maeonides the blind
Said it three thousand years ago.

Since I can never see your face                                                                                                            
And never shake you by the hand,
I send my soul through time and space
To greet you. You will understand.

Friday, 20 September 2019


I’ve taken to opening the dictionary at random in quiet moments and choosing one word from the page in front of me. This time the word was hag, just a finger print down the page from haemorrhoid and haeremai (a Maori greeting) and up a bit from hagberry and hagbut.

The definitions are fascinating: it’s a witch, an ugly old woman, a crone, an eel-like parasitic fish, a phosphoric light found on horses‘ manes.

Whoa!  What?

Horses have phosphorescent manes and tails?  Really?

A horse with haemorrhoids snorted haeremai as it ate some hagberries and then emitted a strange phosphorescent hag-light from its mane and tail...

I know naughty little boys have set light to horse farts... is that called hag? I haven’t seen one myself, but I imagine a horse fart, when lit, might be a pretty, cold, blueish colour.

My mind wanders.   

I stabbed the word limb in the dictionary last week and found that one of the definitions was the outermost ring of the sun.

Again, whoa!

So I wrote a poem using the dictionary definitions of limb, as you do, and now it looks as though I’ll have to have a go at hag too.