The Land of Nod by R L Stevenson

rl stevenson copybook

R L Stevenson’s University Notebook

The Land of Nod by R L Stevenson

From breakfast on through all the day
At home among my friends I stay,
But every night I go abroad
Afar into the land of Nod.
All by myself I have to go,
With none to tell me what to do —
All alone beside the streams
And up the mountain-sides of dreams.
The strangest things are there for me,
Both things to eat and things to see,
And many frightening sights abroad
Till morning in the land of Nod.
Try as I like to find the way,
I never can get back by day,
Nor can remember plain and clear
The curious music that I hear.

Robert Lewis Stevenson and his father

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Pleasure by Charlotte Bronte

Pleasure  (A Short Poem or Else Not Say I)

True pleasure breathes not city air,
Nor in Art’s temples dwells,
In palaces and towers where
The voice of Grandeur dwells.
No! Seek it where high Nature holds
Her court ‘mid stately groves,
Where she her majesty unfolds,
And in fresh beauty moves;
Where thousand birds of sweetest song,
The wildly rushing storm
And hundred streams which glide along,
Her mighty concert form!
Go where the woods in beauty sleep
Bathed in pale Luna’s light,
Or where among their branches sweep
The hollow sounds of night.
Go where the warbling nightingale
In gushes rich doth sing,
Till all the lonely, quiet vale
With melody doth ring.
Go, sit upon a mountain steep,
And view the prospect round;
The hills and vales, the valley’s sweep,
The far horizon bound.
Then view the wide sky overhead,
The still, deep vault of blue,
The sun which golden light doth shed,
The clouds of pearly hue.
And as you gaze on this vast scene
Your thoughts will journey far,
Though hundred years should roll between
On Time’s swift-passing car.
To ages when the earth was young,
When patriarchs, grey and old,
The praises of their god oft sung,
And oft his mercies told.
You see them with their beards of snow,
Their robes of ample form,
Their lives whose peaceful, gentle flow,
Felt seldom passion’s storm.
Then a calm, solemn pleasure steals
Into your inmost mind;
A quiet aura your spirit feels,
A softened stillness kind.

Charlotte Bronte was born on this day in 1816 in Thornton, West Riding, Yorkshire.

You can find more of her work here



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Easter Wings by George Herbert


Bluebells at Lacock by Iain R

Easter Wings

Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
      Though foolishly he lost the same,
            Decaying more and more,
                  Till he became
                        Most poore:
                        With thee
                  O let me rise
            As larks, harmoniously,
      And sing this day thy victories:
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.
My tender age in sorrow did beginne
      And still with sicknesses and shame.
            Thou didst so punish sinne,
                  That I became
                        Most thinne.
                        With thee
                  Let me combine,
            And feel thy victorie:
         For, if I imp my wing on thine,
Affliction shall advance the flight in me.
George Herbert was born on this day in 1593, you can find more of his work here
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Good Friday by Maria Melendez Kelson

Good Friday

Jesus, I want my sins back.
My prattle, pride, and private prices — 
climbing, clinching, clocking — 
I might loan you a few for the evening,
so you don’t show up at your own crucifixion
naked of all purpose.
But for God’s sake, don’t spill any
redemption on them! They’re my
signature looks. Body by Envy.
Make up & wardrobe provided by Avarice. Lord,
if you take away my inordinate cravings,
what the hell’s left?
the cross
To read the full poem click here
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The Sun, the Rose and the Child by Miguel Hernandez

The Sun, the Rose and the Child


The sun, the rose, and the child

were born the flowers of the day.

Things of every day

suns, flowers, new children.


Tomorrow I’ll be no more:

someone else will be real.

I’ll be no more, beyond

those who wish for their memory.


The flower of a day is tallest

at the foot of the smallest thing.

Flower of light, the lightning flash,

and flower of the moment, time.


Between the flowers you went.

Between the flowers I remain.


Miguel Hernandez died on this day in 1942.   He is one of the greatest and best-loved Spanish poets.
He fought on the side of the Republican forces fighting Franco and the Nationalists but was unable to escape into exile after the triumph of Franco’s troops, and died in prison, of tuberculosis, in 1942.
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Constantly Risking Absurdity by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Constantly Risking Absurdity

Constantly risking absurdity

                                                     and death
            whenever he performs
                                        above the heads
                                                            of his audience
   the poet like an acrobat
                                 climbs on rime
                                          to a high wire of his own making
and balancing on eyebeams
                                     above a sea of faces
             paces his way
                               to the other side of day
    performing entrechats
                               and sleight-of-foot tricks
and other high theatrics
                               and all without mistaking
                     any thing
                               for what it may not be
To read the full poem click here
Lawrence Ferlinghetti was born on this day in New York 1919
from Coney Island of the Mind. Copyright © 1958 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation,
Source: These Are My Rivers: New and Selected Poems (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1993)
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The Almond Tree by Jon Stallworthy

The Almond Tree


All the way to the hospital
the lights were green as peppermints.
Trees of black iron broke into leaf
ahead of me, as if
I were the lucky prince
in an enchanted wood
summoning summer with my whistle,
banishing winter with a nod.

Swung by the road from bend to bend,
I was aware that blood was running
down through the delta of my wrist
and under arches
of bright bone. Centuries,
continents it had crossed;
from an undisclosed beginning
spiraling to an unmapped end.


Crossing (at sixty) Magdalen Bridge
Let it be a son, a son, said
the man in the driving mirror,
Let it be a son. The tower
held up its hand: the college
bells shook their blessing on his head.


I parked in an almond’s
shadow blossom, for the tree
was waving, waving me
upstairs with a child’s hands.


the spinal stair
and at the top
a bone-white corridor
the blood tide swung
me swung me to a room
whose walls shuddered
with the shuddering womb.
Under the sheet
wave after wave, wave
after wave beat
on the bone coast, bringing
minted, my bright farthing!
Coined by our love, stamped with
our images, how you
enrich us! Both
you make one. Welcome
to your white sheet,
my best poem!


At seven-thirty
the visitors’ bell
scissored the calm
of the corridors.
The doctor walked with me
to the slicing doors.
His hand upon my arm,
his voice–I have to tell
–set another bell

beating in my head:
your son is a mongol
the doctor said.


How easily the word went in–
clean as a bullet
leaving no mark on the skin,
stopping the heart within it.

This was my first death.
The “I” ascending on a slow
last thermal breath
studied the man below

as a pilot treading air might
the buckled shell of his plane–
boot, glove and helmet
feeling no pain

from the snapped wires’ radiant ends.
Looking down from a thousand feet
I held four walls in the lens
of an eye; wall, window, the street

a torrent of windscreens, my own
car under its almond tree,
and the almond waving me down.
I wrestled against gravity,

but light was melting and the gulf
cracked open. Unfamiliar
the body of my late self
I carried to the car.


The hospital–its heavy freight
lashed down ship-shape ward over ward–
steamed into the night with some on board
soon to be lost if the desperate

charts were known. Others would come
altered to land or find the land
altered. At their voyage’s end
some would be added to, some

diminished. In a numbered cot
my son sailed from me; never to come
ashore into my kingdom
speaking my language. Better not

look that way. The almond tree
was beautiful in labor. Blood-
dark, quickening, bud after bud
split, flower after flower shook free.

On the darkening wind a pale
face floated. Out of reach. Only when
the buds, all the buds, were broken
would the tree be in full sail.

In labor the tree was becoming
itself. I, too, rooted in earth
and ringed by darkness, from the death
of myself saw myself blossoming,

wrenched from the caul of my thirty
years’ growing, fathered by my son,
unkindly in a kind season
by love shattered and set free.


Few did more to celebrate and inform the poetic landscape of the UK than Jon Stallworthy.  You can find many of the collections and anthologies he edited here.

Today is World Down’s Syndrome Day.  Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week runs until the 25th March and people are being asked to wear odd socks.  To find out why, click here

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