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3rd January – On This Day In History

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Born:

1892 JRR Tolkien (author – Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit) 

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Died:

2008 Natasha Collins (actress and TV personality)

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On This Day:

1959 Alaska admitted at the 49th State of the USA

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Have a good Wednesday, 3rd January

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Promise Of Peace

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The heads of strong old age are beautiful
Beyond all grace of youth. They have strange quiet,
Integrity, health, soundness, to the full
They’ve dealt with life and been tempered by it.
A young man must not sleep; his years are war,
Civil and foreign but the former’s worse;
But the old can breathe in safety now that they are
Forgetting what youth meant, the being perverse,
Running the fool’s gauntlet and being cut
By the whips of the five senses. As for me,
If I should wish to live long it were but
To trade those fevers for tranquillity,
Thinking though that’s entire and sweet in the grave
How shall the dead taste the deep treasure they have?

 

– Robinson Jeffers

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Summer

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Come we to the summer, to the summer we will come,
For the woods are full of bluebells and the hedges full of bloom,
And the crow is on the oak a-building of her nest,
And love is burning diamonds in my true lover’s breast;
She sits beneath the whitethorn a-plaiting of her hair,
And I will to my true lover with a fond request repair;
I will look upon her face, I will in her beauty rest,
And lay my aching weariness upon her lovely breast.

The clock-a-clay is creeping on the open bloom of May,
The merry bee is trampling the pinky threads all day,
And the chaffinch it is brooding on its grey mossy nest
In the whitethorn bush where I will lean upon my lover’s breast;
I’ll lean upon her breast and I’ll whisper in her ear
That I cannot get a wink o’sleep for thinking of my dear;
I hunger at my meat and I daily fade away
Like the hedge rose that is broken in the heat of the day.

 

– John Clare

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5th July – On This Day In History

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Born:

1853 Cecil John Rhodes (diamond merchant, politician, British expansionist)

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Died:

1979 Elizabeth Ryan (won 19 titles at Wimbledon)

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On This Day:

1811 Venezuela becomes the first South American country to gain independence from Spain

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Have a good Tuesday, 5th July

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A Summer Night

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In the deserted, moon-blanched street,
How lonely rings the echo of my feet!
Those windows, which I gaze at, frown,
Silent and white, unopening down,
Repellent as the world,–but see,
A break between the housetops shows
The moon! and lost behind her, fading dim
Into the dewy dark obscurity
Down at the far horizon’s rim,
Doth a whole tract of heaven disclose!

And to my mind the thought
Is on a sudden brought
Of a past night, and a far different scene:
Headlands stood out into the moonlit deep
As clearly as at noon;
The spring-tide’s brimming flow
Heaved dazzlingly between;
Houses, with long wide sweep,
Girdled the glistening bay;
Behind, through the soft air,
The blue haze-cradled mountains spread away.
That night was far more fair–
But the same restless pacings to and fro,
And the same vainly throbbing heart was there,
And the same bright, calm moon.

And the calm moonlight seems to say:–
Hast thou then still the old unquiet breast,
Which neither deadens into rest,
Nor ever feels the fiery glow
That whirls the spirit from itself away,
But fluctuates to and fro,
Never by passion quite possessed
And never quite benumbed by the world’s sway?–
And I, I know not if to pray
Still to be what I am, or yield, and be
Like all the other men I see.

For most men in a brazen prison live,
Where, in the sun’s hot eye,
With heads bent o’er their toil, they languidly
Their lives to some unmeaning taskwork give,
Dreaming of naught beyond their prison wall.
And as, year after year,
Fresh products of their barren labor fall
From their tired hands, and rest
Never yet comes more near,
Gloom settles slowly down over their breast.
And while they try to stem
The waves of mournful thought by which they are prest,
Death in their prison reaches them,
Unfreed, having seen nothing, still unblest.

And the rest, a few,
Escape their prison and depart
On the wide ocean of life anew.
There the freed prisoner, where’er his heart
Listeth will sail;
Nor doth he know how there prevail,
Despotic on that sea.
Trade-winds which cross it from eternity:
Awhile he holds some false way, undebarred
By thwarting signs, and braves
The freshening wind and blackening waves.
And then the tempest strikes him; and between
The lightning bursts is seen
Only a driving wreck,
And the pale master on his spar-strewn deck
With anguished face and flying hair
Grasping the rudder hard,
Still bent to make some port he knows not where,
Still standing for some false, impossible shore.
And sterner comes the roar
Of sea and wind, and through the deepening gloom
Fainter and fainter wreck and helmsman loom,
And he too disappears, and comes no more.

Is there no life, but these alone?
Madman or slave, must man be one?

Plainness and clearness without shadow of stain!
Clearness divine!
Ye heavens, whose pure dark regions have no sign
Of languor, though so calm, and though so great
Are yet untroubled and unpassionate;
Who, though so noble, share in the world’s toil,
And, though so tasked, keep free from dust and soil!
I will not say that your mild deeps retain
A tinge, it may be, of their silent pain
Who have longed deeply once, and longed in vain–
But I will rather say that you remain

A world above man’s head, to let him see
How boundless might his soul’s horizons be,
How vast, yet of what clear transparency!
How it were good to live there, and breathe free;
How fair a lot to fill
Is left to each man still!

 

– Matthew Arnold

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12th April – On This Day In History

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Born:

1947 Tom Clancy (author)

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Died:

1989 Sugar Ray Robinson (boxer)

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On This Day:

1946 Syria gains its independence from France

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Have a good Tuesday, 12th April

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To The Daisy (4th Poem)

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Sweet Flower! belike one day to have
A place upon thy Poet’s grave,
I welcome thee once more:
But He, who was on land, at sea,
My Brother, too, in loving thee,
Although he loved more silently,
Sleeps by his native shore.

Ah! hopeful, hopeful was the day
When to that Ship he bent his way,
To govern and to guide:
His wish was gained: a little time
Would bring him back in manhood’s prime
And free for life, these hills to climb;
With all his wants supplied.

And full of hope day followed day
While that stout Ship at anchor lay
Beside the shores of Wight;
The May had then made all things green;
And, floating there, in pomp serene,
That Ship was goodly to be seen,
His pride and his delight!

Yet then, when called ashore, he sought
The tender peace of rural thought:
In more than happy mood
To your abodes, bright daisy Flowers!
He then would steal at leisure hours,
And loved you glittering in your bowers
A starry multitude.

But hark the word!–the ship is gone;–
Returns from her long course:–anon
Sets sail:–in season due,
Once more on English earth they stand:
But, when a third time from the land
They parted, sorrow was at hand
For Him and for his crew.

Ill-fated Vessel!–ghastly shock!
–At length delivered from the rock,
The deep she hath regained;
And through the stormy night they steer;
Labouring for life, in hope and fear,
To reach a safer shore–how near,
Yet not to be attained!

“Silence!” the brave Commander cried:
To that calm word a shriek replied,
It was the last death-shriek.
–A few (my soul oft sees that sight)
Survive upon the tall mast’s height;
But one dear remnant of the night–
For Him in vain I seek.

Six weeks beneath the moving sea
He lay in slumber quietly;
Unforced by wind or wave
To quit the Ship for which he died,
(All claims of duty satisfied;)
And there they found him at her side;
And bore him to the grave.

Vain service! yet not vainly done
For this, if other end were none,
That He, who had been cast
Upon a way of life unmeet
For such a gentle Soul and sweet,
Should find an undisturbed retreat
Near what he loved, at last–

That neighbourhood of grove and field
To Him a resting-place should yield,
A meek man and a brave!
The birds shall sing and ocean make
A mournful murmur for ‘his’ sake;
And Thou, sweet Flower, shalt sleep and wake
Upon his senseless grave.

 

– William Wordsworth

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Alms

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My heart is what it was before,
A house where people come and go;
But it is winter with your love,
The sashes are beset with snow.

I light the lamp and lay the cloth,
I blow the coals to blaze again;
But it is winter with your love,
The frost is thick upon the pane..

I know a winter when it comes:
The leaves are listless on the boughs;
I watched your love a little while,
And brought my plants into the house.

I water them and turn them south,
I snap the dead brown from the stem;
But it is winter with your love,
I only tend and water them.

There was a time I stood and watched
The small, ill-natured sparrows’ fray;
I loved the beggar that I fed,
I cared for what he had to say,

I stood and watched him out of sight:
Today I reach around the door
And set a bowl upon the step;
My heart is what it was before,

But it is winter with your love;
I scatter crumbs upon the sill,
And close the window, —and the birds
May take or leave them, as they will.

 

– Edna St. Vincent Millay

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27th November – On This Day In History

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Born:

1756 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (composer)

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Died:

1986 L Ron Hubbard (founder – Church of Scientology)

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On This Day:

1880 Thomas Edison patents “electric incandescent lamp”

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Have a good Friday, 27th November

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Autumn Leaves

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A haunting sound is heard softly whistling,
like a magic flute in the distance playing,
luring summer leaves to hum and sway,
to don new colours, to dance and to play;
and like a Mexican Wave the merriment spreads:
an infectious mood carried by the autumn winds.

Soon the Autumn Ball is in full swing,
oblivious to the fate autumn will bring.
The sound grows louder, the party raucous,
the swaying erratic, the movement vigorous,
and like whirling Dervishes unable to stop,
autumn leaves reluctantly begin to drop.

– Isam Hussain

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