Monday, September 30, 2013


We are surrounded by noise.  My definition of noise is catholic:  the noise of which I speak is both audible and visible.  Any electronic screen is noisy. Thus, for instance, a politician talking on a TV screen with the sound turned off is cacophonous.  And, at the risk of alienating some of you, dear readers, I'm afraid I have to say that electronic books (or whatever they're called) are visibly noisy as well.  To be consistent, I'm perfectly willing to admit that blogs are generators of noise.  (Although some of us hope that our noise is in the service of silence.)

I once read a book about the Renaissance which contained a chapter about how the day-to-day world of that era sounded.  The author included the chapter in order to provide an evocative sense of how vast the difference is between that time and our time.  Think of it.  No planes passing overhead. No cars.  Nobody talking on cell phones.  The most common recurring sound?  Church bells over the rooftops and the fields.

Mind you, I have no immediate plans to repair to a yurt on the Mongolian steppe.  Yes, I am a hypocrite.  I am a consumer and a purveyor of noise. But I prefer silence.

Richard Eurich, "Landscape with Chestnut Trees" (1968)


It was a time when wise men
Were not silent, but stifled
By vast noise.  They took refuge
In books that were not read.

Two counsellors had the ear
Of the public.  One cried 'Buy'
Day and night, and the other,
More plausibly, 'Sell your repose.'

R. S. Thomas, H'm (1972).

Richard Eurich, "Snow over Skyreholme" (1937)

                Golden Silences

There is silence that saith, 'Ah me!'
     There is silence that nothing saith;
          One the silence of life forlorn,
     One the silence of death;
One is, and the other shall be.

One we know and have known for long,
     One we know not, but we shall know,
          All we who have ever been born;
     Even so, be it so, --
There is silence, despite a song.

Sowing day is a silent day,
     Resting night is a silent night;
          But whoso reaps the ripened corn
     Shall shout in his delight,
While silences vanish away.

Christina Rossetti, A Pageant and Other Poems (1881).

Richard Eurich, "From Haworth, Yorkshire" (1965)

     The quietness;
A chestnut leaf sinks
     Through the clear water.

Shohaku (translated by R. H. Blyth), in R. H. Blyth, Haiku, Volume 3: Summer-Autumn (Hokuseido Press 1952), page 231.

This haiku provides a fine example of how lovely a haiku can sound in Japanese.  Here is the Romanized Japanese original:

     Shizukasa wa
kuri no ha shizumu
     shimizu kana

Shizukasa means "quietness" or "silence."  Wa is a particle that makes "quietness" the subject of the sentence (sort of).  Kuri is "chestnut."  Ha is "leaf."  No is a particle which makes the phrase kuri no ha mean "chestnut leaf."  Shizumu is a verb meaning "to sink."  Shimizu means "clear water." Kana is difficult to translate.  It usually means "I wonder" when used in everyday conversation.  However, when it is used at the end of a haiku, it expresses a sense of reflection combined with wonderment (or so it seems to this amateur):  perhaps something along the lines of "Ahhh . . ."

All of this leads to the following wonderful sequence:  shizukasa . . . shizumu . . . shimizu.  This is the sort of thing that gets "lost in translation."

Richard Eurich, "The Road to Grassington" (1971)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Autumn Moon

Is the moon different in autumn?  I have no hard evidence, only inklings.  I am one of those who is lucky enough to have fond childhood memories of the sight and smell of piles of raked-up burning leaves.  Am I deceiving myself, or did a large yellow-orange waxing moon rise each year through the bare branches of the oaks and elms as the leaves smoldered up and down the block?  In 1964, for instance, the moon reached its first quarter on October 13 and was full on October 21.  The time frame fits.  Might this be a tantalizing clue?  Perhaps I am not imagining things.

Samuel Palmer, "Moonlight, a Landscape with Sheep" (c. 1831)


A touch of cold in the Autumn night --
I walked abroad,
And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge
Like a red-faced farmer.
I did not stop to speak, but nodded,
And round about were the wistful stars
With white faces like town children.

T. E. Hulme, in A. R. Jones, The Life and Opinions of T. E. Hulme (1960).

As I have suggested before, wistfulness is an (the?) essential component of autumn.  Thus, "the wistful stars" (line 6) seems right.

Hulme wrote only a handful of poems (40 or so, by my count).  He is best known for the influence of his aesthetic and philosophic thoughts and writings on budding "modernists" such as T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound.  On September 28, 1917, he was killed in Flanders by the blast from an artillery shell.  He was 34.

Samuel Palmer, "Shepherds under a Full Moon"

                    The Moon

There is such loneliness in that gold.
The moon of the nights is not the moon
Whom the first Adam saw.  The long centuries
Of human vigil have filled her
With ancient lament.  Look at her.  She is your mirror.

Jorge Luis Borges (translated by Willis Barnstone), Selected Poems (edited by Alexander Coleman) (Viking 1999).

Samuel Palmer, "Late Twilight"

As is often the case, Japanese and Chinese poets have a way of perfectly summing things up in a matter-of-fact and direct fashion.  But, as always, the calm surface covers deep depths.

     Down from the mountain,
The moon
     Accompanied me,
And when I opened the gate,
The moon too entered.

Okuma Kotomichi (1798-1868), in R. H. Blyth, Haiku, Volume 3: Summer-Autumn  (Hokuseido Press 1952), page 388.

The form of the poem is a tanka (often referred to nowadays as a waka), which consists of five phrases (usually rendered into separate lines in English translations), with a syllable count per line of 5-7-5-7-7.

Samuel Palmer, "Harvest Moon" (c. 1831)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Sky Of Autumn

Autumn sometimes provokes in me an urge to simplify, to pare things down.  Perhaps this is due to the sense of impending loss.  But "impending loss" sounds too dire:  this is, after all, my favorite season, and I always welcome its arrival.  Yet loss is at the heart of autumn's beauty, isn't it?

John Gittins, "Robin Hood's Stride, Harthill Moor, Derbyshire" (1981)

In the interest of paring things down, consider the following haiku by Buson (1716-1783):

     I go;
Thou stayest:
     Two autumns.

Buson (translated by R. H. Blyth), in R. H. Blyth, Haiku, Volume 4: Autumn-Winter (Hokuseido Press 1952).

Blyth's translation of the second phrase of the haiku is a bit formal and archaic.  (Not that I am opposed in principle to archaisms, mind you -- I generally welcome them.)  Another way of putting it (even sparer) might be:

     I go;
You stay:
     Two autumns.

Buson is speaking of autumn, but he is speaking of much more, of course. But we need not "explain" what he is getting at:  when it comes to haiku (and all poetry), one needs to learn to keep one's mouth shut.

John Haswell (1855-1925), "Whitnash Church"

This haiku is by Basho (1644-1694):

     A flower unknown
To bird and butterfly, --
     The sky of autumn.

Basho (translated by R. H. Blyth), Ibid.

As I have noted before, Blyth's four-volume Haiku is the place to start in order to learn about haiku.  As I have also noted, one of the wonderful things about Blyth is that he is as knowledgeable about English literature as he is about Japanese literature.  Thus, after his translation of the above haiku, he quotes (without comment) a sentence by Richard Jefferies:

"The rich blue of the unattainable flower of the sky drew my soul towards it, and there it rested, for pure colour is rest of heart."

Richard Jefferies, The Story of My Heart: My Autobiography (1883), pages 4-5 .

Very nice, isn't it? -- a Japanese poet of the 17th century and an English writer of the 19th century separately arriving at the same thought half a world away and two hundred years apart.

Robert Morson Hughes (1873-1953), "A Cornish Landscape"

Saturday, September 21, 2013


I ought to be better versed in the names of flowers.  I do know that the dahlias are still flourishing at this time of year.  But I am in no position to distinguish one variety from another.  On my walks this week, I have been admiring a lovely purple flower that appears to be a daisy.  Whether it is an African daisy or an aster I do not know.  But I am content in my ignorance. Looking is sufficient.

Yesterday, I noticed a single purple and yellow flower beside a driveway.  It seemed pansy-like.  Might it have been heartsease?  I'd be the last to know.

David Chatterton (1900-1963), "Vase with Yellow Chrysanthemums"

               "Balm in Gilead"

Heartsease I found, where Love-lies-bleeding
     Empurpled all the ground:
Whatever flowers I missed unheeding,
     Heartsease I found.

     Yet still my garden mound
Stood sore in need of watering, weeding,
     And binding growths unbound.

Ah, when shades fell to light succeeding
     I scarcely dared look round:
"Love-lies-bleeding" was all my pleading,
     Heartsease I found.

Christina Rossetti, Verses (1893).

This is one of those poems by Rossetti that might be a religious poem (as suggested by the title), but might well be a tale of romantic heartbreak.  But I shouldn't sell her short:  it is entirely possible that it is both.

Charles Ginner, "Dahlias and Cornflowers" (1929)

According to the OED, "heart's ease" is "peace of mind; freedom from care or worry; contentment."  A thing rarely happened upon?

               The Heartsease

Do you remember that hour
In a nook of the flowing uplands
When you found for me, at the cornfield's edge,
A golden and purple flower?
Heartsease, you said.  I thought it might be
A token that love meant well by you and me.

I shall not find it again
With you no more to guide me.
I could not bear to find it now
With anyone else beside me.
And the heartsease is far less rare
Than what it is named for, what I can feel nowhere.

Once again it is summer:
Wildflowers beflag the lane
That takes me away from our golden uplands,
Heart-wrung and alone.
The best I can look for, by vale or hill,
A herb they tell me is common enough -- self-heal.

C. Day Lewis, Poems 1943-1947 (1948).

Adam Bruce Thomson, "Still Life at a Window" (c. 1944)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"Green Now, Grey Now, Gone Anon"

When not bemoaning the state of their love life, Elizabethan poets were wont to be worrying another sore tooth:  the transience of our time on earth.  Christina Rossetti's lines "To think that this meaningless thing was ever a rose,/Scentless, colorless, this!" go well with the following untitled poem, which was set to music by Orlando Gibbons.

Fair is the rose, yet fades with heat or cold.
Sweet are the violets, yet soon grow old.
The lily is white, yet in one day 'tis done.
White is the snow, yet melts against the sun.
So white, so sweet was my fair mistress' face,
Yet altered quite in one short hour's space.
So short-lived beauty a vain gloss doth borrow,
Breathing delight to-day, but none to-morrow.

Anonymous, in Norman Ault (editor), Elizabethan Lyrics (1949).  The poem was first published in 1612 in Gibbons's Madrigals and Motets.

Kenneth Rowntree, "Old Toll Bar House, Ashopton" (1940)

With autumn nearly upon us, this is apt:


When the leaves in autumn wither
     With a tawny tanned face,
Warped and wrinkled up together,
     The year's late beauty to disgrace;
There thy life's glass may'st thou find thee:
     Green now, grey now, gone anon,
     Leaving, worldling, of thine own
Neither fruit nor leaf behind thee.

Joshua Sylvester, in Norman Ault, Elizabethan Lyrics (1949).  The poem was written prior to 1618, and was first published in 1621.  "Worldling" (line 7) is a lovely word (both in the context of this poem and in general). It deserves wider currency, I think.  It helps us to keep things in perspective.

Kenneth Rowntree, "Bridge End Farm, Derwent Village" (1940)

Finally, here is a wider view of things.

                              To Time

Eternal Time, that wastest without waste,
     That art and art not, diest, and livest still;
Most slow of all, and yet of greatest haste;
     Both ill and good, and neither good nor ill:
          How can I justly praise thee, or dispraise?
          Dark are thy nights, but bright and clear thy days.

Both free and scarce, thou giv'st and tak'st again;
     Thy womb that all doth breed, is tomb to all;
What so by thee hath life, by thee is slain;
     From thee do all things rise, by thee they fall:
          Constant, inconstant, moving, standing still;
          Was, Is, Shall be, do thee both breed and kill.

I lose thee, while I seek to find thee out;
     The farther off, the more I follow thee;
The faster hold, the greater cause of doubt;
     Was, Is, I know; but Shall, I cannot see.
          All things by thee are measured; thou, by none:
          All are in thee; thou, in thyself alone.

"A. W.", in Norman Ault (editor), Elizabethan Lyrics (1949).   The poem first appeared in 1602 in an anthology titled A Poetical Rhapsody, which was edited by Francis Davison.  To my knowledge, the identity of "A. W." has never been discovered, although there has been much scholarly speculation as to who it may be.  I've grown to like the fact that the writers of some of the best Elizabethan poems remain anonymous:  it puts the focus on the poetry, where it ought to be.

Kenneth Rowntree, "Bridge to Cox's Farm, Ashopton" (1940)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September: "Lovely With Dream And Faint, Faint, Faint"

September has a high wistfulness quotient.  Summer is hanging on, but your emotions tell you otherwise.  Things seem vaguely unsettling -- like having one foot in the rowboat and one foot on the dock.  "Now it is September and the web is woven. /The web is woven and you have to wear it."  So writes Wallace Stevens in "The Dwarf."

For instance:  this week could have passed for high summer.  Then, as I turned a corner on a sunny afternoon walk, I saw in the distance a row of trees whose upper leaves had turned red and orange and yellow.  The bright boughs swayed against the sky-blue sky.

                  "Summer Is Ended"

To think that this meaningless thing was ever a rose,
            Scentless, colourless, this!
      Will it ever be thus (who knows?)
               Thus with our bliss,
         If we wait till the close?

Tho' we care not to wait for the end, there comes the end
            Sooner, later, at last,
      Which nothing can mar, nothing mend:
               An end locked fast,
         Bent we cannot re-bend.

Christina Rossetti, A Pageant and Other Poems (1881).

Sine MacKinnon (1901-1996), "Vent D'est in Early Autumn in Provence"


She walketh like a ghost,
     Lovely and gray
And faint, faint, faint . . .
     Ere Autumn's host
Of colours gay
     Breaks on the year, September
Comes sighing her soft plaint,

Remember what?  All fair
     Warm loves now wan:
All fleet, fleet, fleet
     Flowers in the hair
Of Summers gone!
     Though fruit break rosy, of these
Are her most sweet
     Sad memories.

Most faint and tender
     Music awaketh,
Sighing, sighing, sighing,
     A voice to lend her.
Surely it breaketh
    Even Death's heart, as he goes
To gather in Summer's long-dying
     Last rose.

So drifting like a ghost,
     Lovely with dream
And faint, faint, faint,
     Sighing 'remember,' almost
September did seem
     My gray soul's image, as she
Whispered over that plaint
     So musically!

F. W. Harvey, September and Other Poems (1925).

Sine MacKinnon, "Mending Nets, St. Tropez"


When in still air and still in summertime
A leaf has had enough of this, it seems
To make up its mind to go; fine as a sage
Its drifting in detachment down the road.

Howard Nemerov, Gnomes & Occasions (1973).

Sine MacKinnon, "The Old Houses of the Fishing Village"

Thursday, September 12, 2013


September and -- strange to say -- it is 90 degrees and clear in the Land of Mist and Moss.  It seems an odd time to be thinking of wolves.  Such thoughts seem better suited to a bleak mid-winter night.  But I have been mulling over the first stanza of Patrick Kavanagh's "To a Child," which appeared in my previous post:

Child, do not go
Into the dark places of soul,
For there the grey wolves whine,
The lean grey wolves.

The wolves are inside as well as outside.  They have a way of finding us out, don't they?  Are you craven?  Vain?  Disingenuous?  Hypocritical?  The wolves know.  And no amount of rationalizing and speechifying can save you.

Peter Graham, "Along the Cliffs" (1868)

                  The Grey Wolf

The grey wolf comes again:  I had made fast
The door with chains; how has the grey wolf passed
My threshold?  I have nothing left to give;
Go from me now, grey wolf, and let me live!
I have fed you once, given all you would, given all
I had to give.  I have been prodigal;
I am poor now, the table is but spread
With water and a little wheaten bread;
You have taken all I ever had from me:
Go from me now, grey wolf, and let me be!

The grey wolf, crouching by the bolted door,
Waits, watching for his food upon the floor;
I see the old hunger and the old thirst of blood
Rise up, under his eyelids, like a flood;
What shall I do that the grey wolf may go?
This time, I have no store of meat to throw;
He waits; but I have nothing, and I stand
Helpless, and his eyes fasten on my hand.
O grey wolf, grey wolf, will you not depart,
This time, unless I feed you with my heart?

Arthur Symons, The Loom of Dreams (1901).

Peter Graham, "A Spate in the Highlands" (1866)

"Wolves," which has appeared here before, is one of Louis MacNeice's best-known poems.  But I prefer this:

                              The Riddle

'What is it that goes round and round the house'
The riddle began.  A wolf, we thought, or a ghost?
Our cold backs turned to the chink in the kitchen shutter,
The range made our small scared faces warm as toast.

But now the cook is dead and the cooking, no doubt, electric,
No room for draught or dream, for child or mouse,
Though we, in another place, still put ourselves the question:
What is it that goes round and round the house?

Louis MacNeice, Solstices (Faber and Faber 1961).

Peter Graham, "Wandering Shadows" (1878)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Stars And Wolves

Patrick Kavanagh's "My Room," which appeared in my previous post, closes with the following stanza:

My room is a musty attic,
But its little window
Lets in the stars.

The reference to the stars reminds me of another early poem by Kavanagh. I have never quite "figured out" this poem (there are plenty of poems that fall within that category!), but I'm not troubled.  I'm happy with it as it is. Mystery is preferable to explanation.

George Price Boyce, "A Girl by a Beech Tree in a Landscape" (1857) 

          To a Child

Child, do not go
Into the dark places of soul,
For there the grey wolves whine,
The lean grey wolves.

I have been down
Among the unholy ones who tear
Beauty's white robe and clothe her
In rags of prayer.

Child, there is light somewhere
Under a star.
Sometime it will be for you
A window that looks
Inward to God.

Patrick Kavanagh, Ploughman and Other Poems (1936).

I find it interesting that Kavanagh writes "Into the dark places of soul" in line 2 rather than "Into the dark places of the soul."  Perhaps it's just me, but "the soul" seems to be more expected, especially in a poem with a religious undercurrent.  As in, for instance, "the dark night of the soul." Just a thought.

Apart from his misbegotten detours into Irish culture and politics, a consistent thread runs through Kavanagh's poetry from beginning to end: a call both to himself and to us to pay attention to the world around us, particularly those things we might think of as "the everyday" or "the commonplace."  Like the star in "To a Child," everything out there is a window inward (and/or outward).

James Clarke Hook, "Home with the Tide" (1880)

With regard to our relationship with stars (but without "lean grey wolves"), the final stanza of the following poem comes to mind.

             "I Am the One"

I am the one whom ringdoves see
          Through chinks in boughs
          When they do not rouse
          In sudden dread,
But stay on cooing, as if they said:
          'Oh; it's only he.'

I am the passer when up-eared hares,
          Stirred as they eat
          The new-sprung wheat,
          Their munch resume
As if they thought:  'He is one for whom
          Nobody cares.'

Wet-eyed mourners glance at me
          As in train they pass
          Along the grass
          To a hollowed spot,
And think:  'No matter; he quizzes not
          Our misery.'

I hear above:  'We stars must lend
          No fierce regard
          To his gaze, so hard
          Bent on us thus, --
Must scathe him not.  He is one with us
          Beginning and end.'

Thomas Hardy, Winter Words in Various Moods and Metres (1928).

Unlike Kavanagh, Hardy was not wont to bring God into these matters. "Purblind Doomsters," yes, but not God.  (See "Hap.")  Still, one senses that there is something behind those talking stars, and that we and the stars are in this together.

James Robertson Reid, "Toil and Pleasure" (1879)

The final stanza is a sort of coda to -- or a restatement of -- an earlier conversation between Hardy and a star.  The conversation is quite reassuring, actually.

        Waiting Both

A star looks down at me,
And says:  'Here I and you
Stand, each in our degree:
What do you mean to do, --
          Mean to do?'

I say:  'For all I know,
Wait, and let Time go by,
Till my change come.' -- 'Just so,'
The star says:  'So mean I: --
          So mean I.'

Thomas Hardy, Human Shows, Far Phantasies, Songs and Trifles (1925).

Charles Napier Hemy, "Evening Gray" (c. 1866)

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Proper Place, Part Five: "My Room Is A Musty Attic, But Its Little Window Lets In The Stars"

I don't believe that living in a garret leads to wisdom or contentment.  That being said, I do harbor a daydream of living in a monk's cell in San Marco in Florence during the quattrocento.  This daydream is, however, subject to one condition:  I must be assigned to one of the cells which contains a fresco painted by Fra Angelico.  But I'm not picky.

On the other hand, as I have suggested in my "No Escape" series of posts, we are well advised to abandon the notion that an ideal place awaits us somewhere -- a place in which everything will sort itself out.  Alas, I suppose that that applies to my daydream cell in San Marco, doesn't it?

Where does that leave us?  I'm afraid we are fated to dwell in our head and in our heart -- and in the evanescent and indeterminate space which encompasses them both.  What might that space be?  The soul.  Animula. Or, animula vagula blandula.

The soul can find contentment in a small space.  Say an attic room.  With stars.

David Tindle, "Door Slightly Open" (1978)

          My Room

10 by 12
And a low roof,
If I stand by the side wall
My head feels the reproof.

Five holy pictures
Hang on the walls --
The Virgin and Child,
St Anthony of Padua,
St Patrick our own,
And the Little Flower.

My bed in the centre,
So many things to me --
A dining table,
A writing desk,
A couch,
And a slumber palace.

My room is a musty attic,
But its little window
Lets in the stars.

Patrick Kavanagh, Collected Poems (edited by Antoinette Quinn) (Penguin 2004).  The poem was first published in The Dublin Magazine in 1933.

David Tindle, "Mural Panel" (1978)

               The Attic

Under the night window
     A dockyard fluorescence,
Muse-light on the city --
     A world of heightened sense.

At work in your attic
     Up here under the roof --
Listen, can you hear me
     Turning over a new leaf?

Silent by ticking lamplight
     I stare at the blank spaces,
Reflecting the composure
     Of patient surfaces --

I who know nothing
     Scribbling on the off-chance,
Darkening the white page,
     Cultivating my ignorance.

Derek Mahon, Poems 1962-1978 (Oxford University Press 1979).

David Tindle, "Back Room" (1987)

Finally, a poem that has appeared here before, but which is worth revisiting in this context.


No one knows, no one cares --
An old soul
In a narrow cottage,
A parlour,
A kitchen,
And upstairs
A narrow bedroom,
A narrow bed --
A particle of immemorial life.

James Reeves, Poems and Paraphrases (Heinemann 1972).

David Tindle, "Balloon Race, Clipston" (1980)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Blackbirds: In Memory Of Seamus Heaney

Sometimes the fact that a certain person is simply there in the world -- as a presence, an example, an inspiration -- is a matter of great significance. We often take their presence for granted.  And then they are gone.

But Seamus Heaney will never be gone from the world, will he?

               The Blackbird

One morning in the month of June
I was coming out of this door
And found myself in a garden,
A sanctuary of light and air
Transplanted from the Hesperides,
No sound of machinery anywhere,
When from a bramble bush a hidden
Blackbird suddenly gave tongue,
Its diffident, resilient song
Breaking the silence of the seas.

Derek Mahon, Poems 1962-1978 (Oxford University Press 1979).

Stephen McKenna, "Foliage" (1983)

     To a Blackbird

O pagan poet, you
And I are one
In this -- we lose our god
At set of sun.

And we are kindred when
The hill wind shakes
Sweet song like blossoms on
The calm green lakes.

We dream while Earth's sad children
Go slowly by
Pleading for our conversion
With the Most High.

Patrick Kavanagh, Ploughman and Other Poems (1936).

Michael Garton (1935-2004), "Woodland Clearing"

         The Bangor Blackbird
from the Old Irish (9th century),

Just audible over the waves
a blackbird among leaves
whistling to the bleak
lough from her whin beak.

Derek Mahon, Adaptations (The Gallery Press 2006).

The poem translated by Mahon in "The Bangor Blackbird" was also translated by John Hewitt in the first stanza of his "Gloss, on the Difficulties of Translation" (which I have previously posted):

Across Loch Laig
the yellow-billed blackbird
whistles from the blossomed whin.

Dane Maw, "Woolverton and Peart Woods" (1970)

                       The Peninsula

When you have nothing more to say, just drive
For a day all round the peninsula.
The sky is tall as over a runway,
The land without marks, so you will not arrive

But pass through, though always skirting landfall.
At dusk, horizons drink down sea and hill,
The ploughed field swallows the whitewashed gable
And you're in the dark again.  Now recall

The glazed foreshore and silhouetted log,
That rock where breakers shredded into rags,
The leggy birds stilted on their own legs,
Islands riding themselves out into the fog,

And drive back home, still with nothing to say
Except that now you will uncode all landscapes
By this:  things founded clean on their own shapes,
Water and ground in their extremity.

Seamus Heaney, Door into the Dark (Faber and Faber 1969).

Harold Jones, "The Black Door" (c. 1935)