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Fairy-Land by Edgar Allen Poe


Fairies by Arthur Rackham


Dim vales—and shadowy floods—

And cloudy-looking woods,

Whose forms we can’t discover

For the tears that drip all over:

Huge moons there wax and wane—


Every moment of the night—

Forever changing places—

And they put out the star-light

With the breath from their pale faces.

About twelve by the moon-dial,

One more filmy than the rest

(A kind which, upon trial,

They have found to be the best)

Comes down—still down—and down

With its centre on the crown

Of a mountain’s eminence,

While its wide circumference

In easy drapery falls

Over hamlets, over halls,

Wherever they may be—

O’er the strange woods—o’er the sea—

Over spirits on the wing—

Over every drowsy thing—

And buries them up quite

In a labyrinth of light—

And then, how, deep! —O, deep,

Is the passion of their sleep.

In the morning they arise,

And their moony covering

Is soaring in the skies,

With the tempests as they toss,

Like—almost any thing—

Or a yellow Albatross.

They use that moon no more

For the same end as before,

Videlicet, a tent—

Which I think extravagant:

Its atomies, however,

Into a shower dissever,

Of which those butterflies

Of Earth, who seek the skies,

And so come down again

(Never-contented things!)

Have brought a specimen

Upon their quivering wings.


Edgar Allan Poe was born on this day in 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts.

To view more of his work, available to borrow from Surrey Libraries, click here

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Love is like a dizziness by James Hogg

O, love, love, love!
Love is like a dizziness
It winna like a puir body
Gang about his biziness!

James Hogg
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J O Morgan scoops Costa prize


JO Morgan, originally from Edinburgh, took the award for his work Assurances about the nuclear tensions of the Cold War period.

“It really takes us back to the late 1950s and early years of the Cold War,” he said.

“There are a variety of voices that do come into it and overheard voices.

But there is also the aspect of landscape and, of course, I do live in the Borders and I live in a rural part and I am often looking down the valley.

It is very difficult to sort of avoid that landscape creeping into my work at any available opportunity and it certainly does here, keen-eyed readers will probably find.”

The work was influenced by his own family background.

“My father was in the RAF himself and he was actually part of the division dealing with the nuclear deterrent around that time so it was a subject that I just happened to know about,” he said.

“In recent years I thought: ‘I might try that, I might see what I can make of that’.”

“It is an intriguing subject,” he added. “It is still a relevant subject.”

Mr Morgan takes £5,000 for winning the poetry section and is one of five winning writers now in contention for the overall book of the year award to be announced at the end of the month.

Assurances is available to borrow from Surrey Libraries.


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‘Six O’Clock News’ by Tom Leonard

In memory of Tom Leonard, who passed away last month.


this is thi
six a clock
news thi
man said n
thi reason
a talk wia
BBC accent
iz coz yi
widny wahnt
mi ti talk
aboot thi
trooth wia
voice lik
wanna yoo
scruff. if
a toktaboot
thi trooth
lik wanna yoo
scruff yi
widny thingk
it wuz troo.
jist wanna yoo
scruff tokn.
thirza right
way ti spell
ana right way
to tok it. this
is me tokn yir
right way a
spellin. this
is ma trooth.
yooz doant no
thi trooth
yirsellz cawz
yi canny talk
right. this is
the six a clock
nyooz. belt up.

The content of the poem imagines a BBC newsreader explaining that if he read the news in Glaswegian dialect, people would not believe it.  He says there is a right way to speak and spell and that people who cannot do so clearly don’t know the truth and can’t be trusted.

View original post 212 more words

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Old Moments by Alistair Grey

Old Moments

Some moments stay fresh and clear
as this morning or five minutes ago
though crowds of later, mostly forgotten events
have killed or changed people I used to know.
In nineteen sixty-one and the month we wed
I pleased a roomful of folk so much that
‘I’m proud of you,’ my young wife said.
Our son liked to walk holding my hand
for years before he was ten.
If another boy came in sight we parted,
walked like strangers until, round a corner,
he felt it was safe for us to join hands again.
My marriage ended soon after.
My son dislikes me now, is a real stranger.
Queer how, near my own end, such old moments
stay so uselessly fresh and clear.

To read the full poem click here

Alistair Grey was born on this day in 1934 

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‘Seasons Greetings’ by Trevor Dunford

‘Seasons Greetings’


If only our Lord’s birth was Feb twenty nine

And how once every leap year would suit us just fine

To think we would have Christmas every four years

We’d be less hard up or troubled with tears

We might have forgotten the last Christmas party

And the gut busting grub and all that malarkey

There would be no need for cheap plonk and booze

And that for our livers would be really good news

No need to deal with the feasting leftovers

Or struggling with those morning hangovers

No lights to be put up at personal risk

Endangering the spruce to be burnt to a crisp

For when Christmas is coming all’s full of clover

But how deflated we are when once it’s all over

As for that shopping well, blow that for a joke

Jingle in my pocket reveals I am less broke

Remember the folks who are drowning in debt

I think they’ll be far less hard up then I bet

But I think it is this which I truly abhor

That so many forget just who Christmas is for

Commercialism, money and all kinds of stuff

This is Christ’s birthday is that not enough?

But as I get older and friends fly away

I wish to push Christmas to that February day

With few now to buy for, and gifts less extensive

The presents are smaller, but far more expensive

I think of the days when gifts cost me a tenner

But now I’m expected to weekend in Vienna

Has this gone too far? I think that it has

As I author this piece from Christmas La Paz

Changing the date would dismiss my worst fears

Watch ‘Where Eagles Dare’ just once in four years



I’d not shed a tear or experience grief

But I would be grateful with a sigh of relief

I hope that this rhyme is not sad or upsetting

It’s supposed to be funny, but maybe I’m guessing

After all my intention is to provide an idea

Of avoiding distress in December each year

If Christmas was changed to the date I suggest

There might be less frenzy and all for the best

We recover from Christmas some day in late spring

But in August we start over the whole blooming thing

If Christmas comes round just a little too quick

I know what to advise that would do just the trick

Ignore advent’s approach with that sense of dread

And transfer to a Christmas on twenty ninth Feb

I think this idea is well reasoned to me

Just think of the extra time we would have free

Switch off the fairy lights, burn down the spruce

Get rid of the last half of that inedible goose

Throw out the pudding, the streamers and sprouts

Expel all the spongers the drunks and the louts

The only way those clots will ever hold sway

Is when they remember the first Christmas Day

No need to share hard earned seasons cheers

I’ll forget to invite them in another four years

It’s hardly surprising I don’t find it depressing

As I sit calm and ponder in quiet reassessing

Trash all the tinsel and crackers unused

As we can afford now that long summer cruise

I hope that you are smiling in a positive way

But seriously think of that Leap Christmas Day

So if this idea is not attractive to you

Maybe it’s just that, you’ve not thought it through.


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I Said It To You by Paul Eluard

paul eluard

Jardin du Luxembourg à Paris by Yann Caradec

I Said It To You

I said it to you for the clouds
I said it to you for the tree of the sea
For each wave for the birds in the leaves
For the pebbles of sound
For familiar hands

For the eye that becomes landscape or face
And sleep returns it the heaven of its colour
For all that night drank
For the network of roads
For the open window for a bare forehead
I said it to you for your thoughts for your words

Every caress every trust survives.


Paul Eluard was born on this day in 1895.  His musical scores are available through the MALT collection.      
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