Poems on the Underground June 2022

This month we welcome the start of summer with poems that remind us of the beauty of the world around us through the changing seasons. We follow this with Poems of Exile and Return and Love poems. We end with some light-hearted poems followed by poems in much darker tones. 

Look out for our new set of Poems on the Underground, coming to London Underground tube carriages soon.

Summer Poems on the Underground

Adlestrop by Edward Thomas

Adlestrop by Edward Thomas (1878-1917 ) ' Yes. I remember Adlestrop -The name, because one afternoon Of heat the express-train drew up there Unwontedly. It was late June. The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat. No one left and no one came On the bare platform. What I saw Was Adlestrop - only the name And willows, willow-herb, and grass, And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry, No whit less still and lonely fair Than the high cloudlets in the sky. And for that minute a blackbird sang Close by, and round, mistier, Farther and farther, all the birds Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.' Poems on the Underground The British Council. The British Library (Zweig Programme). Designed by Tom Davidson.

Cut Grass by Philip Larkin

Cut Grass, Philip Larkin 'Cut grass lies frail: Brief is the breath Mown stalks exhale. Long, long the death It dies in the white hours Of young-leafed June With chestnut flowers, With hedges snowlike strewn, White lilac bowed, Lost lanes of Queen Anne's lace, And that high-builded cloud Moving at summer's pace.'

Sumer is icumen in , Anon

Sumer is icumen in, Anon 'Sumer is icumen in, Loud sing cuckoo! Groweth seed and bloweth mead And springeth the wood now. Sing cuckoo! Ewe bleateth after lamb, Cow loweth after calf, Bullock starteth, buck soundeth, Merry sing cuckoo! Cuckoo, cuckoo, well singest thou cuckoo, Nor cease thou never now! Sing cuckoo now, sing cuckoo! Sing cuckoo, sing cuckoo now! '

I Taste a Liquor never Brewed by Emily Dickinson

I Taste A Liquor Never Brewed by Emily Dickinson (1831-86) 'I taste a liquor never brewed - From Tankards scooped in Pearl - Not all the Vats upon the Rhine Yield such an Alcohol! Inebriate of Air - am I - And Debauchee of Dew - Reeling - thro endless summer days - From inns of Molten Blue - When "Landlords" turn the drunken Bee Out of the Foxglove's door - When Butterflies - renounce their "drams" - I shall but drink the more! Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats - And Saints - to windows run - To see the little Tippler Leaning against the - Sun - '

The Unpredicted by John Heath-Stubbs

The Unpredicted by John Heath - Stubbs (b.1918) ' The goddess Fortune be praised (on her toothed wheel I have been mincemeat these several years) Last night, for a whole night, the unpredictable Lay in my arms, in a tender and unquiet rest - (I perceived the irrelevance of my former tears) - Lay, and at dawn departed. I rose and walked the streets Where a whitsuntide wind blew fresh, and blackbirds Incontestably sang, and the people were beautiful. ' Reprinted by permission of the author from Selected Poems (OUP) © John Heath-Stubbs Poems on the Underground

Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare

Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616) Poems on the Underground 2012 'Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all to short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimmed; And every fair from fair sometimes declines, By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed; But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest, Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou growest; So long as men can breath, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. '

Poems of Exile and Return

A Picture for Tiantian’s fifth birthday by Bei Dao translated by Bonnie S McDougall and Chen Maiping

A Picture for Tiantian's fifth birthday by Bei Dao (b. 1949)Translated by Bonnie S. McDougall and Chen Maiping 'A Picture for Tiantian's fifth birthday Morning arrives in a sleeveless dress apples tumble all over the earth my daughter is drawing a picture how vast is a five-year-old sky your name has two windows one opens towards a sun with no clock-hands the other opens towards your father who has become a hedgehog in exile taking with him a few unintelligible characters and a bright red apple he has left your painting how vast is a five-year-old sky' Tiantian, the nickname given to the poet's daughter, is written with two characters which look like a pair of windows. Written in exile after Tienanmen Square Reprinted from Old Snow (Anvil, 1992)

The Exiles by Iain Crichton Smith

The Exiles translated from the author's own Gaelic by Iain Crichton Smith (b.1928) ' The many ships that left our country with white wings for Canada. They are like handkerchiefs in our memories and the brine like tears and in their masts sailors singing like birds on branches. That sea of May running in such blue, a moon at night, a sun at daytime, and the moon like a yellow fruit, like a plate on a wall to which they raise their hands like a silver magnet with piercing rays streaming into the heart. ' Reprinted by permission of Carcanet from Selected Poems (1985) Poems on the Underground 1995 The British Council. The British Library (Zweig Programme). Designed by Tom Davidson.

Green the Land of my Poem by Mahmoud Darwish translated by Rema Hammami and John Berger

Green the land of my poem, Mahmoud Darwish ‘Green the land of my poem is green and high Slowly I tell it slowly with the grace of a seagull riding the waves on the book of water I bequeath it written down to the one who asks to whom shall we sing when salt poisons the dew?’

Indian Cooking by Moniza Alvi

Indian Cooking, Moniza Alvi ' The bottom of the pan was a palette - paprika, cayenne, dhania haldi, heaped like powder - paints. Melted ghee made lakes, golden rivers. The keema frying, my mother waited for the fat to bubble to the surface. Friends brought silver - leaf .I dropped it on khir - special rice pudding for parties. I tasted the landscape, customs of my father's country - its fever on biting a chilli.'

Bam Chi Chi La La London, 1969 by Lorna Goodison

Bam Chi Chi La La London, 1969, Lorna Goodison ‘In Jamaica she was a teacher. Here, she is charwoman at night in the West End. She eats a cold midnight meal carried from home’

A Private Life by John Burnside

A Private Life by John Burnside ' I want to drive home in the dusk of some late afternoon, the journey slow, the tractors spilling hay, the land immense and bright, like memory, the pit towns smudges of graphite, their names scratched out for good: Lumphinnans; Kelty. I want to see the darkened rooms, the cups and wireless sets, the crimson lamps across the playing fields, the soft men walking home through streets and parks, and quiet women, coming to their doors, then turning away, their struck lives gathered around them.'

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry by Walt Whitman

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry by Walt Whitman (1819-92) 'Flood-tide below me! I see you face to face! Clouds of the west - sun there half an hour high - I see you also face to face. Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes, how curious you are to me! On the ferry boats, the hundreds and hundreds that cross, returning home, are more curious to me that you suppose, And you that shall cross from shore to shore years hence are more to me, and more in my meditations, than you might suppose... ' POETRY IN MOTION Poems on the Underground The Transit Authority. Going Your way. In cooperation with the Poetry Society of America London/New York Poetry Exchange

Love poems on the Underground

The Good Morrow by John Donne

The Good Morrow by John Donne (1572-1631) ' I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I Did, till we loved? were we not weaned till then, But sucked on country pleasures, childishly? Or snorted we in the seven sleepers' den? 'Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be. If ever any beauty I did see, Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee. And now good morrow to our waking souls, Which watch not one another out of fear; For love, all love of other sights controls, And makes one little room, an everywhere. Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone, Let maps to others, worlds on worlds have shown, Let us possess our world; each hath one, and is one. My face in thine eyes, thine in mine appears, And true plain hearts do in the faces rest; Where can we find two better hemispheres, Without sharp North, without declining West? Whatever dies, was not mixed equally; If our two loves be one, or thou and I Love so alike that none do slacken, none can die. ' Poems on the Underground The British Council. The British Library (Zweig Programme). Designed by Tom Davidson

If I Could Tell you by W. H. Auden

If I could tell you by W. H. Auden (1907 - 73) ' Time will say nothing but I told you so, Time only knows the price we have to pay; If I could tell you I would let you know. If we should weep when clowns put on their show, If we should stumble when musicians play, Time will say nothing but I told you so. There are no fortunes to be told, although, Because I love you more than I can say, If I could tell you I would let you know. The winds must come from somewhere when they blow, There must be reasons why the leaves decay; Time will say nothing but I told you so. Perhaps the roses really want to grow, The vision seriously intends to stay; If I could tell you I would let you know. Suppose the lions all get up and , And all the brooks and soldiers run away; Will Time say nothing but I told you so? If I could tell you I would let you know. '

To My Dear and Loving Husband by Anne Bradstreet

To My Dear & Loving Husband by Anne Bradstreet (1612-72) ' If ever two were one, then surely we. If ever man were loved by wife, then thee; If ever wife was happy in a man Compare with me ye women if you can. I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold, Or all the riches that the East doth hold. My love is such that rivers cannot quench, Nor ought but love from thee give recompence. Thy love is such I can no way repay, The heavens reward thee manifold I pray. Then while we live, in love let's so persever, That when we live no more, we may live ever. ' Poems on the Underground The British Library (Zweig Programme) London Arts Board Design Tom Davidson

Saturday Morning by Hugo Williams

Saturday Morning by Hugo Williams (b.1942) 'Everyone who made love the night before was walking around with flashing red lights on top of their heads - a white-haired old gentleman, a red-faced schoolboy, a pregnant woman who smiled at me from across the street and gave a little secret shrug, as if the flashing red light on her head was a small price to pay for what she knew. ' Reprinted by permission of Faber from Dock Leaves (1994) Poems on the Underground The British Library (Zweig Programme) London Arts Board. Design Tom Davidson.

The Passionate Shepherd to his Love by Christopher Marlowe

The Passionate Shepherd to his Love by Christopher Marlowe (1564-93) Lute accompaniment by William Corkine Second Booke of Ayres (1612) ' Come live with me, and be my love, And we will all the pleasures prove, That valleys, groves, hills and fields, Woods, or steepy mountain yields. And we will sit upon the rocks, Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks, By shallow rivers, to whose falls, Melodious birds sing madrigals. And I will make thee beds of roses, And a thousand fragrant posies, A cap of flowers, and a kirtle, Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle. A belt of straw, and ivy buds, With coral clasps and amber studs, And if these pleasures may thee move, Then live with me, and be my love.'

Since there’s no help, come let us kiss and part by Michael Drayton

SINCE there's no help, come let us kiss and part by Michael Drayton (1563-1631) 'Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part Nay, I have done: you get no more of me, And I am glad, yea glad with all my heart, That thus so cleanly I myself can free, Shake hands forever, cancel all our vows, And when we meet at any time again, Be it not seen in either of our brows That we one jot of former love retain. Now at the last gasp of love's latest breath, When his pulse failing, passion speechless lies, When faith is kneeling by his bed of death, And innocence is closing up his eyes, Now if thou wouldst, when all have given him over, From death to life thou mightst him yet recover. '

This is Just to Say

This Is Just To Say by William Carlos Williams

This Is Just To Say , William Carlos Williams Poems on the Underground Poster 1992 'I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox and which you were probably saving for breakfast Forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold'

The Flaw in Paganism by Dorothy Parker

The Flaw in Paganism by Dorothy Parker ( 1893-1967) ' Drink and dance and laugh and lie, Love, the reeling midnight through, For tomorrow we shall die! (But, alas, we never do.)'

Secret Lives by Siân Hughes

Secret Lives by Siân Hughes Prizewinner The TLS Poems on the Underground Poetry Competition ' Sometimes when your dressing gown unhooks and slides out under the garden door, with three aces up his sleeve. He flies in the face of next door's dog, and backflips down the middle of the street, opening himself and humming. Something in pink nylon flutters at him from a bedroom window. He twirls his cord to beckon her outside. They're heading for a club they know where the dress code is relaxed midweek and the music is strictly soul. '

Freight Song by Judith Kazantzis

Freight song by Judith Kazantzis (b.1940) ' We were lying, the two of us on a freight lift platform which four angels were hoisting up, their haloes journeying little by little up to blue sky. And you were stacked next to me And I was stacked alongside you like two symbiotic suitcases with labels reading: The Twilit Sky. Our sleepy lift attendants were the stars of heaven. And we were the goods- ' Reprinted by permission of Enitharmon from Swimming Through the Grand Hotel (1997)

Moonwise by Jean Binta Breeze

Jean Binta Breeze, Moonwise Moonwise (for my children, all) sometimes you know the moon is not a perfect circle and the master Painter makes a passing brush touch with a cloud don't worry we've passed the dark side all you children rest easy now we are born moonwise'

Acquainted with the Night

Acquainted with the Night by Robert Frost

Acquainted with the Night by Robert Frost ( 1874-1963) ' I have been one acquainted with the night. I have walked out in rain - and back in rain. I have outwalked the furthest city light. I have looked down the saddest city lane. I have passed by the watchman on his beat And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain. I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet When far away an interrupted cry Came over houses from another street, But not to call me back or say good-by; And further still at an unearthly height One luminary clock against the sky Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right. I have been one acquainted with the night. ' Poems on the Underground The British Council. The British Library (Zweig Programme). Designed by Tom Davidson

The Poet by George Mackay Brown

The Poet by George Mackay Brown (1921-1996) ' Therefore he no more troubled the pool of silence. But put on mask and cloak, Strung a guitar And moved among the folk. Dancing they cries, "Ah", how our sober islands Are gay again, since this blind lyrical tramp Invaded the Fair!' Under the last dead lamp When all the dancers and masks had gone inside His cold stare Returned to its true task, interrogation of silence. ' Reprinted by permission of John Murray from Selected Poems 1954-1983 (1991)

I Am by John Clare

I Am by john Clare ( 1793-1864) ' I am—yet what I am none cares or knows; My friends forsake me like a memory lost: I am the self-consumer of my woes, They rise and vanish in oblivious host, Like shades in love and death's oblivion lost, And yet I am- and live, with shadows tossed Into the nothingness of scorn and noise, Into the living sea of waking dreams, Where there is neither sense of life nor joys, But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems; And e'en the dearest , that I loved the best, Are strange—nay, rather stranger than the rest. I long for scenes where man has never trod, A place where woman never smiled or wept, There to abide with my creator, God, And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept, Untroubling and untroubled where I lie; The grass below—above the vaulted sky.'

On Himself by David Wright

ON HIMSELF by David Wright (b.1920) ' Abstracted by silence from the age of seven, Deafened and penned by as black calamity As twice to be born, I cannot without pity Contemplate myself as an infant; Or fail to speak of silence as a priestess Calling to serve in the temple of a skull Her innocent choice. It is barely possible/ Not to be affected by such a distress. '

Dolor by Theodore Roethke

DOLOR by Theodore Roethke (1908 - 1963) ' I have known the inexorable sadness of pencils, Neat in their boxes, dolor of pad and paper-weight, All the misery of manilla folders and mucilage, Desolation in immaculate public places, Lonely reception room, lavatory, switchboard, The unalterable pathos of basin and pitcher, Ritual of multigraph, paper-clip, comma, Endless duplication of lives and objects. And I have seen dust from the walls of institutions, Finer than flour, alive, more dangerous than silica, Sift, almost invisible, through long afternoons of tedium, Dropping a fine film on nails and delicate eyebrows, Glazing the pale hair, the duplicate grey standard faces. '

One Art by Elizabeth Bishop

ONE ART by Elizabeth Bishop (1911-79) 'The art of losing isn't hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster. Lose something every day. Accept the fluster of lost door keys, the hour badly spent. The art of losing isn't hard to master. Then practice losing farther, losing faster: places, and names, and where it was you meant to travel. None of these will bring disaster. I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or next-to-last, of three loved houses went. The art of losing isn't hard to master. I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster, some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent. I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster. - Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident the art of losing's not too hard to master though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster. '

You can see our poems from May 2022 here