The Unsettling Gull

Gulls are getting a bad press lately, with even the Prime Minister expressing his disapproval of the seaside menaces. Here's a poem about them, and Welsh homesickness... I think we can all agree that gulls are unsettling. But I don’t think it’s just about the ‘cold, black eyes’ and their tendency ... Read More...

Song of the Cicada

Nige brings us this week's poetry feature: the 'thin uncomprehended song' of a swarming insect... A few years ago I heard a report on the radio about the spectacular mass hatching of Periodical Cicadas in the eastern seaboard states of the US. It put me in mind of Richard Wilbur's poem, Cicadas: You ... Read More...

The Destination

Where are we all headed?, asks Stephen (rhetorically)... We are often advised to take heed of the old saw "life is a journey, not a destination." I can see that this homily perhaps has some merit. Still, when I hear it repeated, I think: "Well, yes, but a destination does in ... Read More...

The Monument of Penelope Boothby

Nige visits one of the most touching monuments in the country... Ashbourne in Derbyshire is a fine and flourishing town, full of handsome buildings, including the house of John Taylor, Dr Johnson's old schoolfriend, whom he often visited. A most unclerical cleric, Taylor's chief interest lay in his herd of milch-cows - ... Read More...

Small Trifles

Meaning in life can be found in the small details that we too often miss... I would not describe William Wordsworth as a succinct poet.  He usually needs space to make his point.  However, there are exceptions.  For instance, there are the eight beautiful lines of "A slumber did my spirit ... Read More...

Stepping Westward

Stephen Pentz on a poem that shows how revolutionary Wordsworth's poetry was in its day, even though it seems very traditional to us now... In August and September of 1803, Wordsworth, his sister Dorothy, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge went on a tour of Scotland.  Dorothy Wordsworth's journal of the tour contains this ... Read More...

T.E. Brown in the Garden

Luxuriating in his suburban idyll, Nige considers the blackbird, and an effusive Victorian poet... There are sometimes nights when the sun is out, the air is warm, and one is able to enjoy that supreme expression of the suburban idyll - sitting out in the garden in the cool of the evening as ... Read More...

Of Growing Old

In today's poetry feature Stephen Pentz considers the business of growing old - not that he's complaining, mind... As a preface to the following poem, I would like to state that I am not complaining -- nor will I ever complain -- about "growing old."  I think that complaining about one's ... Read More...

From The Diary Of A Crow

On this day in 1970, a crow spotted a craggy-faced, heavy-set poet, and was inspired to write... The diary of a crow, on this day in 1970: Woke up in a foul temper. I was really, really pissed off. Sat atop a tree and shouted my head off. I was still pissed ... Read More...