A Charm

Rudyard Kipling (30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936)

Take of English earth as much
As either hand may rightly clutch.
In the taking of it breathe
Prayer for all who lie beneath—
Not the great nor well bespoke,
But the mere uncounted folk
Of whose life and death is none
Report or lamentation.
Lay that earth upon thy heart,
And thy sickness shall depart!

It shall sweeten and make whole
Fevered breath and festered soul;
It shall mightily restrain
Over-busy hand and brain;
It shall ease thy mortal strife
’Gainst the immortal woe of life,
Till thyself restored shall prove
By what grace the Heavens do move.

Take of English flowers these—
Spring’s full-facéd primroses,
Summer’s wild wide-hearted rose,
Autumn’s wall-flower of the close,
And, thy darkness to illume,
Winter’s bee-thronged ivy-bloom.
Seek and serve them where they bide
From Candlemas to Christmas-tide.
For these simples used aright
Shall restore a failing sight.

These shall cleanse and purify
Webbed and inward-turning eye;
These shall show thee treasure hid,
Thy familiar fields amid,
At thy threshold, on thy hearth,
Or about thy daily path;
And reveal (which is thy need)
Every man a King indeed!

Angel or Demon

Victor Hugo (26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885)

(“Tu domines notre âge; ange ou démon, qu’importe!”)

Angel or demon! thou,—whether of light
The minister, or darkness—still dost sway
This age of ours; thine eagle’s soaring flight
Bears us, all breathless, after it away.
The eye that from thy presence fain would stray,
Shuns thee in vain; thy mighty shadow thrown
Rests on all pictures of the living day,
And on the threshold of our time alone,
Dazzling, yet sombre, stands thy form, Napoleon!

Thus, when the admiring stranger’s steps explore
The subject-lands that ‘neath Vesuvius be,
Whether he wind along the enchanting shore
To Portici from fair Parthenope,
Or, lingering long in dreamy reverie,
O’er loveliest Ischia’s od’rous isle he stray,
Wooed by whose breath the soft and am’rous sea
Seems like some languishing sultana’s lay,
A voice for very sweets that scarce can win its way.

Him, whether Paestum’s solemn fane detain,
Shrouding his soul with meditation’s power;
Or at Pozzuoli, to the sprightly strain
Of tarantella danced ‘neath Tuscan tower,
Listening, he while away the evening hour;
Or wake the echoes, mournful, lone and deep,
Of that sad city, in its dreaming bower
By the volcano seized, where mansions keep
The likeness which they wore at that last fatal sleep;

Or be his bark at Posillippo laid,
While as the swarthy boatman at his side
Chants Tasso’s lays to Virgil’s pleased shade,
Ever he sees, throughout that circuit wide,
From shaded nook or sunny lawn espied,
From rocky headland viewed, or flow’ry shore,
From sea, and spreading mead alike descried,
The Giant Mount, tow’ring all objects o’er,
And black’ning with its breath th’ horizon evermore!

41 thoughts on “June-17

  1. Grace

    Take the daily path, life and death and living.
    Explore the mansions of earth.
    Seek that sad city beneath the volcano,
    dreaming echoes, shadows.
    And soaring, breathless, over the dazzling sea—the wild-hearted rose!

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Giant

    Clutch the hand of Virgil
    Take thy ease in his presence
    Treasure the soaring of his voice
    Lingering long
    The echoes dazzling, breathless
    Spreading the loveliest reverie
    To sweeten and make whole
    The woe of all uncounted folk

    Liked by 6 people

  3. The Taking of Breath Amid Familiar Fields

    Breathe.……………..take a breath amid familiar fields

    uncounted breath bespoke of heart

    ………………………………………….and fevered death

    breathless breath

    …………………………….amid close-faced flowers

    languishing in soft failing light and sombre bower

    breathe…………thy black’ning breath

    cleanse and purify…………illume and ease…….breathe

    thy soaring breathless breath

    away………………..take flight……………….away

    from mortal strife on earth

    …………………………from this age of ours

    this dreaming time espied from sleep

    the taking of breath amid familiar fields and wild flowers.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. A Charm Shall Sweeten and Make Whole

    This age of ours rests on all pictures of the living day
    In the taking of it breathe, over-busy hand and brain,
    Lingering long in dreamy reverie as either hand may
    Rightly clutch report or lamentation
    And on the threshold of our time alone
    Whose life and death a mighty shadow thrown
    At thy threshold, on thy hearth where mansions keep
    All who lie beneath, while away the evening hour
    Or wake the echoes, mournful, lone and deep
    It shall ease thy mortal strife in its dreaming bower

    Liked by 6 people

  5. Nature’s Evening-tide

    Thy Darkness shall illume dazzling with long lingering light
    the mournful woe of Life;

    Thy immortal Grace shall show dazzling with long lingering light
    the time of mortal Strife;

    and, at thy threshold, they shall o’er familiar fields be soaring
    long in flight beneath thy Shade.

    Of all who lie alone beneath as languishing echoes breath
    upon the subject-lands of Heavens and Death

    o’er thy threshold they shall depart and stray solemn along the shore
    beneath thy Presence as thou dost enchanting be for evermore;

    Spring Winter Summer Autumn dreaming o’er Earth and Sea
    tow’ring all objects black’ning with thy shadow of dreamy reverie

    and in thy Darkness wake
    shrouding this age of fevered festered hours

    to cleanse and purify
    this Age of Lamentation ours

    till thee thyself restored shall be

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Soaring Echoes

    charm your angel or demon with enchanting lamentation
    in the bee-thronged darkness breathe prayer and grace
    for this earth fevered volcano, this sombre horizon, this mournful form
    be wild wide-hearted, sweets dost sway – illume – cleanse
    the pleased sleep of loveliest lingering – a flight to purify

    Liked by 5 people

  7. shadowchants of the Charm King

    in the taking of breath, breathe
    breath spreading breath
    wildbreath restored by in-turning windbreath, by seabreath, by earthbreath

    Charm of the Daily Hearth
    Charm of the Shrouded Face
    Charm of the Rocky Shore

    breath spreading the likeness of breath


    in the dreaming of sleep, wake
    hour spreading hour
    wakesleep restored by in-turning eyesleep, by widesleep, by sidesleep

    Charm of the Fever Clutch
    Charm of the Candlemas Rose
    Charm of the Treasure Bee

    wake spreading the likeness of sleep


    on the threshold of voice, echoes
    time spreading time
    echoes restored by in-turning shadow, by shaded, by hid

    Charm of the Stranger’s Breath
    Charm of the Deep City
    Charm of the Lone Boatman

    echoes spreading the likeness of voice


    in the failing of sight, illume
    light spreading light
    softlight restored by in-turning circuit, by scarcelight, by straylight

    Charm of the Autumn Bloom
    Charm of the Fatal Hour
    Charm of the Stray Angel

    light spreading the likeness of sight


    in the uncounted steps, depart
    flight spreading flight
    flightpath restored by in-turning gracesteps, by headland, by soaring

    Charm of the Dark Web
    Charm of the Eagle Eye
    Charm of the Power Heart

    flight spreading the likeness of life


    Liked by 5 people

      • thank you sian – in turn, I really like yours because it doesn’t read like a cut-up at all, which is quite awesome – invisible seams!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. thanks carol! I found this one difficult, so really enjoyed it – and I love the way we would probably be able to tell who wrote what now, without the names attached 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • We probably could; but everyone’s word-use and/or formatting and/or sentence structure has changed tremendously since last year. I would not have thought Carol’s piece with her spaces had been written by her. This and last month’s poems are pleasantly remarkable progresses.

      Liked by 1 person

      • yes, I agree about changes and developments – but I think I would have guessed carol’s – she has a gift for movement and rhythm – it looks lovely on the page, like a dandelion or thistle blown

        Liked by 3 people

  9. ‘every man’

    he lays
    strangers’ steps’ echoes
    through the sad city
    where mansions
    keep vigil
    from the sea
    to the rocky mount

    life and death
    is none to him
    not breathless, nor feverish
    a mover of shadows
    his angel
    an English rose
    by the threshold of time

    this age of ours
    danced away
    his dazzling life
    his soul sleep’d away
    the evening hours
    to seek and to serve
    summer’s bee
    lingering in reverie

    Liked by 3 people

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