Gnome by Samuel Beckett

Spend the years of learning squandering
Courage for the years of wandering
Through a world politely turning
From the loutishness of learning.

Samuel Beckett

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Be Frugal by Richard Church

Be frugal in the gift of love,
Lest you should kindle in return
Love like your own, that may survive
Long after yours has ceased to burn.

For in life’s later years you may
Meet with the ghost of what you woke
And shattered at a second stroke.
God help you on that fatal day.

Richard Church

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Mira’s Will by Mary Leapor

Imprimis–My departed shade I trust
To Heaven–My body to the silent dust;
My Name to public censure I submit,
To be disposed of as the world thinks fit;
My vice and folly let oblivion close,
The world already is overstocked with those;
My wit I give, as misers give their store,
To those who think they had enough before.
Bestow my patience to compose the lives
Of slighted virgins and neglected wives;
To modish lovers I resign my truth,
My cool reflection to unthinking youth;
And some good-nature give (‘tis my desire)
To surly husbands, as their needs require;
And first discharge my funeral–and then
To the small poets I bequeath my pen.

Let a small sprig (true emblem of my rhyme)
Of blasted laurel on my hearse recline;
Let some grave wight, that struggles for renown,
By chanting dirges through a market-town,
With gentle step precede the solemn train;
A broken flute upon his arm shall lean.
Six comic poets may the corpse surround,
And all free-holders; if they can be found:
Then follow next the melancholy throng,
As shrewd instructors, who themselves are wrong.
The virtuoso, rich in sun-dried weeds,
The politician, whom no mortal heeds,
The silent lawyer, chambered all the day,
And the stern soldier that receives no pay.
But stay — the mourners should be first our care:
Let the freed ‘prentice lead the miser’s heir;
Let the young relict wipe her mournful eye,
And widowed Husbands o’er their garlic cry.

All this let my executors fulfil,
And rest assured that this is Mira’s will;
Who was, when she these legacies designed,
In body healthy, and composed in mind.

Mary Leapor

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One of the Principal Causes of War by Hugh MacDiarmid

O she was full of loving fuss
When I cut my hand and the blood gushed out
And cleverly she dressed the wound
And wrapt it in a clout.

O tenderly she tended me
Though deep in her eyes I could tell
The secret joy that men are whiles
Obliged to bleed as well.

I thanked her kindly and never let on,
Seeing she could not understand,
That she wished me a wound far worse to staunch–
And not in the hand!

Hugh MacDiarmid

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Where Are the War Poets? by C. Day Lewis

They who in folly or mere greed
Enslaved religion, markets, laws,
Borrow our language now and bid
Us to speak up in freedom’s cause.

It is the logic of our times,
No subject for immortal verse–
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse.

C. Day Lewis

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No Mean City by Patrick MacDonogh

Though naughty flesh will multiply
Our chief delight is in division;
Whatever of Divinity
We are all Doctors of Derision.
Content to risk a far salvation
For the quick coinage of a laugh
We cut, to make wit’s reputation,
Our total of two friends by half.

Patrick MacDonogh

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This is to Let You Know by Noel Coward

This is to let you know
That there was no moon last night
And that the tide was high
And that on the broken horizon glimmered the lights of ships
Twenty at least, like a sedate procession passing by.

This is to let you know
That when I’d turned out the lamp
And in the dark I lay
That suddenly piercing loneliness, like a knife,
Twisted my heart, for you were such a long long way away.

This is to let you know
That there are no English words
That ever could explain
How, quite without warning, lovingly you were here
Holding me close, smoothing away the idiotic pain.

This is to let you know
That all I feel for you
Can never wholly go.
I love you and miss you, even hours away,
With all my heart. This is to let you know.

Noel Coward

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