Moonlit Apples by John Drinkwater

Not just a treasury but a very precious little treasure too. Published in 1947, the poems may no longer be quite so modern but they are still certainly beautiful. Here is one I particularly liked …. ‘deep is the silence.’

 

                     Moonlit Apples

At the top of the house the apples are laid in rows,
And the skylight lets the moonlight in, and those
Apples are deep-sea apples of green. There goes
A cloud on the moon in the autumn night.

A mouse in the wainscot scratches, and scratches, and then
There is no sound at the top of the house of men
Or mice; and the cloud is blown, and the moon again
Dapples the apples with deep-sea light.

They are lying in rows there, under the gloomy beams;
On the sagging floor; they gather the silver streams
Out of the moon, those moonlit apples of dreams,
And quiet is the steep stair under.

In the corridors under there is nothing but sleep.
And stiller than ever on orchard boughs they keep
Tryst with the moon, and deep is the silence, deep
On moon-washed apples of wonder.

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Self-Portrait at 38 BY JENNIFER TONGE

There are lots of ways in which I can relate to the speaker of this poem who thinks that Courbet ‘might capture’ her. I’d like to think he’d paint me as ‘L’origine du Monde’:A scandalous gift for someone important to keep hidden behind a green curtain.

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An unused portion of ‘L’origine du Monde’ by Gustav Courbet

Hair still Titian,
but Botticelli’s grip has loosened—

not now Rubenesque,
and probably never;

Ingres approaches,
but Courbet might capture me.

Could I be surreal?
It seems almost likely—

bells in my ears
and fortresses under;

cones have been set on my eyes.
My spring is gone

and summer’s upon me,
rude in its ripening.

I’m espaliered, strung wide and tied,
pinioned, and thus can I fly.

Love Letters

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Write me a letter
20 years ago,
It will sound like this.
My name will be etched forever onto your
Fading paper heart,
Then folded carefully into envelopes,
The ‘I love yous’ rolling out across the decades
As you count down every day, hour, minute, second
Until they find me
Still waiting,
Prettier than I once was,
Older than I was then,
Outside Geography
For your delivery.

Summit

You are too heavy for me to carry,
Yet carry you I do.
My arms ache from the strain
Of absence
My leaden heart weighs me down
With its load of love
So I can go nowhere,
Only stand
Rooted at the foot of this mountain
You have placed in my path
And cry.

You are too heavy for me to carry,
Yet carry you I must
Though love weighs too heavy on my mind,
Feet won’t find straight lines
And even breathing seems a struggle.

You are too heavy for me to carry
But carry you I will
Though this mountain seems unassailable.

And for a thousand years I might stand here,
At the foot of your mountain,
Carrying the weight of everything
Until your love can become my axe,
My fixed rope
For climbing to the summit
Where burden becomes
Light as the thinnest of air
I breathe you in and
Find I’ve carried you there.