22 August 2015

from The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle (Beatrix Potter)

Once upon a time there was a little girl called Lucie, who lived at a farm called Little-town. She was a good little girl - only she was always losing her pocket-handkerchiefs!
One day little Lucie came into the farm-yard crying - oh, she did cry so! 'I've lost my pocket-handkin! Three handkins and a pinny! Have you seen them, Tabby Kitten?'
The Kitten went on washing her white paws; so Lucie asked a speckled hen -
'Sally Henny-penny, have you found three pocket-handkins?'
But the speckled hen ran into a barn, clucking -
'I go barefoot, barefoot, barefoot!'
And then Lucie asked Cock Robin sitting on a twig.
Cock Robin looked sideways at Lucie with his bright black eye, and he flew over a stile and away.
Lucie climbed upon the stile and looked up at the hill behind Little-town - a hill that goes up - up - into the clouds as though it had no top!
And a great way up the hill-side she thought she saw some white things spread upon the grass.
Lucie scrambled up the hill as fast as her stout legs would carry her; she ran along a steep path-way - up and up - until Little-town was right away down below - she could have dropped a pebble down the chimney!

02 August 2015

Fielder (Zaffar Kunial)

If I had to put my finger on where this started,
I’d trace a circle round the one moment I came to, or the one
that placed me, a fielder - just past the field, over the rope,
having chased a lost cause, leathered for six ...
when, bumbling about, obscured in the bushes,
I completely stopped looking for the ball -
perhaps irresponsibly - slowed by bracken, caught by light
that slipped the dark cordon of rhododendron hands,
a world hidden from the batsmen, the umpires and my team,
like the thing itself: that small, seamed planet, shined
on one half, having reached its stop, out of the sphere of sight.
And when I reflect, here, from this undiscovered city,
well north of those boyish ambitions - for the county,
maybe later, the country - I know something of that minute
holds something of me, there, beyond the boundary,
in that edgeland of central England. A shady fingernail
of forest. The pitch it points at, or past, a stopped clock.
Still, in the middle, the keeper’s gloves
clap at the evening. Still, a train clicks
on far-off tracks. And the stars are still to surface.
The whole field, meanwhile, waiting for me,
some astronaut, or lost explorer, to emerge with a wave
that brings the ball - like time itself - to hand. A world restored.
But what I’d come to find, in that late hour
was out of mind, and, the thing is, I didn’t care
and this is what’s throwing me now.

Vitaï Lampada (Henry Newbolt)

There's a breathless hush in the Close to-night -
Ten to make and the match to win -
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season's fame,
But his Captain's hand on his shoulder smote,
'Play up! play up! and play the game!'

The sand of the desert is sodden red, -
Red with the wreck of a square that broke; -
The Gatling's jammed and the colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
And England's far, and Honour a name,
But the voice of schoolboy rallies the ranks,
'Play up! play up! and play the game!'

This is the word that year by year
While in her place the School is set
Every one of her sons must hear,
And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all with a joyful mind
Bear through life like a torch in flame,
And falling fling to the host behind -
'Play up! play up! and play the game!'