Trying to glimpse another through their veil.

I embraced  the ambiguity like a bride
Who fears  disclosing that her face is fake
And while we’re on the subject, I take pride
In stealing water colours  from the lake

Ambiguous  in intentions we don’t know
We send out signals full of first class news
If this rebounds  an artist might then show
Our vision rests  upon our point of view

Seventeen types of clarity are mine
Fifteen from my  mind and two from pride
From this glass I make a view divine
Though Sunday someone said they thought I lied.

Ambiguously ,we hover by the scales
Trying to glimpse another through their veil.

But now it is what McCall Smith calls “late”

Sometimes when bereft  I’d love a snail
Though it might wet my bed with silvery trails
Would  snails be lonely  living in my house?
Shall I be but fit to  love some  louse?

I  hugged a rowan tree  and now it’s dead
The council said they’ll give me oak instead
It stood upon the pavement by the gate
But now it is what McCall Smith calls “late”

I  wonder  if self massage is the   thing
Some perfumed lotion stolen on the wing.
I    stroked my arms with Cream E45
Now they say I’m not allowed to drive!

I was sad but now I am at peace
All I needed was a plate of eggs and grease.

But shall I help the blind to lose their creeds?

I empathise  with   ladies  in great need
Though I prefer a cape   where  they like coats
But I have got a crutch and cannot  speed
Nor can I with my smartphone  walk and read
But shall I  help the blind to  lose their creeds?
In my hand I carry a large tote
Full of silken scarves and  hearts that bleed

When we feel

I do not wish to feel this sadness now
But who decides,who chooses what we feel?
If I were strong I might use a  large plough
To knock my feelings level  when they grow
Bur  that is not allowed by God and co.
Yet who denies his  measuring  the real?
I do not wish to feel this sadness now
Think, who derides,who cackles when we feel?

Why a poet writes




The possibility of suffering being redeemed by art, being made meaningful and thus real (as opposed to merely actual, something that happens to exist, happens to occur), is still vital to me. Art reminds us of the uniqueness, particularity, and intrinsic value of things, including ourselves. I sometimes have little sense of myself as existing in the world in any significant way outside of my poetry. That’s where my real life is, the only life that’s actually mine. So there’s also the wish to rescue myself from my own quotidian existence, which is me but is at the same time not me at all. I am its, but it’s not mine. For most of us most of the time, life is a succession of empty moments. You’re born, you go through x experiences, you die, and then you’re gone. No one always burns with Pater’s hard, gem-like flame. There’s a certain emptiness to existence that I look to poetry, my own poetry and the poetry of others, to fulfill or transcend. I have a strong sense of things going out of existence at every second, fading away at the very moment of their coming into bloom: in the midst of life we are in death, as the Book of Common Prayer puts it.

In that sense everyone is drowning, everything is drowning, every moment of living is a moment of drowning. I have a strong sense of the fragility of the things we shore up against the ruin which is life: the fragility of natural beauty but also of artistic beauty, which is meant to arrest death but embodies death in that very arrest. Goethe’s Faust is damned when he says, “Oh moment, stay.”

Daniel Hoffman, 1923 – 2013


This is where it is published

Arriving at last

It has stumbled across the harsh
Stones, the black marshes.

True to itself, by what craft
And strength it has, it has come
As a sole survivor returns

From the steep pass.
Carved on memory’s staff
The legend is nearly decipherable.
It has lived up to its vows

If it endures
The journey through the dark places
To bear witness,
Casting its message
In a sort of singing.

From Beyond Silence: Selected Shorter Poems, 1948-2003 by Daniel Hoffman. Copyright © 2003 by Daniel Hoffman. Reproduced with permission

OK you are not Shakespeare, now get back to work


“If you want to write, or really to create anything, you have to risk falling on your face. How much easier to sit back and snipe at the efforts of yourself and others. How sophisticated you can become, your own contribution unimpeachable, because it does not exist. Sometimes insightful, always acute, the inner critic can become your closest literary friend, the one who tells you the truth, the one who makes you laugh at yourself and punctures your delusions.”











Putting in the Seed by Robert Frost


The Frost couple moved to England in 1912, after they tried and failed at farming in New Hampshire. It was abroad that Frost met and was influenced by such contemporary British poets as Edward Thomas, Rupert Brooke, and Robert Graves. While in England, Frost also established a friendship with the poet Ezra Pound, who helped to promote and publish his work.

Putting in the Seed

Robert Frost, 18741963

You come to fetch me from my work to-night
When supper’s on the table, and we’ll see
If I can leave off burying the white
Soft petals fallen from the apple tree.
(Soft petals, yes, but not so barren quite,
Mingled with these, smooth bean and wrinkled pea;)
And go along with you ere you lose sight
Of what you came for and become like me,
Slave to a springtime passion for the earth.
How Love burns through the Putting in the Seed
On through the watching for that early birth
When, just as the soil tarnishes with weed,
The sturdy seedling with arched body comes
Shouldering its way and shedding the earth crumbs.


read poems by this poet

Robert Frost was born on March 26, 1874, in San Francisco, where his father, William Prescott Frost Jr., and his mother, Isabelle Moodie, had moved from Pennsylvania shortly after marrying. After the death of his father from tuberculosis when Frost was eleven years old, he moved with his mother and sister, Jeanie, who was two years younger, to Lawrence, Massachusetts. He became interested in reading and writing poetry during his high school years in Lawrence, enrolled at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, in 1892, and later at Harvard University in Boston, though he never earned a formal college degree.

Frost drifted through a string of occupations after leaving school, working as a teacher, cobbler, and editor of the Lawrence Sentinel. His first published poem, “My Butterfly,” appeared on November 8, 1894, in the New York newspaper The Independent.

In 1895, Frost married Elinor Miriam White, whom he’d shared valedictorian honors with in high school and who was a major inspiration for his poetry until her death in 1938. The couple moved to England in 1912, after they tried and failed at farming in New Hampshire. It was abroad that Frost met and was influenced by such contemporary British poets as Edward Thomas, Rupert Brooke, and Robert Graves. While in England, Frost also established a friendship with the poet Ezra Pound, who helped to promote and publish his work.

By the time Frost returned to the United States in 1915, he had published two full-length collections, A Boy’s Will (Henry Holt and Company, 1913) and North of Boston(Henry Holt and Company, 1914), and his reputation was established. By the 1920s, he was the most celebrated poet in America, and with each new book—including New Hampshire (Henry Holt and Company, 1923), A Further Range (Henry Holt and Company, 1936), Steeple Bush(Henry Holt and Company, 1947), and In the Clearing (Holt Rinehart & Winston, 1962)—his fame and honors (including four Pulitzer Prizes) increased. Frost served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 1958 to 1959.

Though his work is principally associated with the life and landscape of New England—and though he was a poet of traditional verse forms and metrics who remained steadfastly aloof from the poetic movements and fashions of his time—Frost is anything but merely a regional poet. The author of searching and often dark meditations on universal themes, he is a quintessentially modern poet in his adherence to language as it is actually spoken, in the psychological complexity of his portraits, and in the degree to which his work is infused with layers of ambiguity and irony.

In a 1970 review of The Poetry of Robert Frost, the poet Daniel Hoffman describes Frost’s early work as “the Puritan ethic turned astonishingly lyrical and enabled to say out loud the sources of its own delight in the world,” and comments on Frost’s career as the “American Bard”: “He became a national celebrity, our nearly official poet laureate, and a great performer in the tradition of that earlier master of the literary vernacular, Mark Twain.”

About Frost, President John F. Kennedy, at whose inauguration the poet delivered a poem, said, “He has bequeathed his nation a body of imperishable verse from which Americans will forever gain joy and understanding.”

Robert Frost lived and taught for many years in Massachusetts and Vermont, and died in Boston on January 29, 1963.

Selected Bibliography


In the Clearing (Holt Rinehart & Winston, 1962) Hard Not to Be King (House of Books, 1951)
Steeple Bush (Henry Holt and Company, 1947)
Masque of Reason (Henry Holt and Company, 1945)
Come In, and Other Poems (Henry Holt and Company, 1943)
A Witness Tree (Henry Holt and Company, 1942)
A Further Range (Henry Holt and Company, 1936)
From Snow to Snow (Henry Holt and Company, 1936)
The Lone Striker (Knopf, 1933)
The Lovely Shall Be Choosers (Random House, 1929)
West-Running Brook (Henry Holt and Company, 1928)
New Hampshire (Henry Holt and Company, 1923)
Mountain Interval (Henry Holt and Company, 1916)
North of Boston (Henry Holt and Company, 1914)
A Boy’s Will (Henry Holt and Company, 1913)

A Time to Talk By Robert Frost

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, ‘What is it?’
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.


We wished to see the flowers when in full bloom

We ‘d  hoped to see the rose gardens in June
But on the 1st he died and travelled on
We  both enjoyed   the roses in  full  bloom

We used the dark to see the stars and moon
But by the 1st  I found that he was gone
We hoped to see the rose gardens in June

As  I tell,  dark death arrived  too soon
And  took away  the  life of   a  dear man
We  wished to see the  flowers when in full bloom

As he  lay,I sang  to him the psalms
I  knew before the doctor’s he was going.
We meant to see the rose gardens in June

Then  there with me he  re-encountered calm
I had not gone there with a plan
We  longed to see the  flowers  enchanting blooms

May was cold and bitter with alarm
That was when he fell , yet rose again
We  hoped to see the rose gardens in June
We    loved the  scent of roses in their time

“Hope” is the thing with feathers 

This first line is often quoted but often people don’t knpw where it comes from
You might try singing it to the melody of “The yellow rose of Texas”
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

The basics of iambic pentameter


Shakespeare Wiki

A useful point:


[There are two more commonly used symbol to consider]. One is the symbol for elision. Elision means that instead of pronouncing a word as having, say, two syllables, it is pronounced as having one. Likewise, a word that appears to have three syllables, might be pronounced as two.

elisionThis symbol denotes elision.

Consider the following line:


An extract which is amusing:

Almost every major poet , prior to the 20th Century, wrote Iambic Pentameter when writing their best known poetry.  Exceptions would be poets like Walt Whitman (free verse), Robert Burns (who wrote a variety of metrical lines – mostly iambic), and Emily Dickinson (whose meter is derived from hymn tunes, which is why so many of her poems can be sung to Yellow Rose of Texas).