September 2022

This month as the seasons change we feature Autumn poems and a selection of poems by Australian poets. We follow this with poems of youth and age, poems that remind us of the beauty of the natural world and end with poems on a lighter note.

Autumn Poems on the Underground

Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare

Song by Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop Song 'Summer is over upon the sea. The pleasure yacht, the social being, that danced on the endless polished floor, stepped and side-stepped like Fred Astaire, is gone, is gone, docked somewhere ashore. The friends have left, the sea is bare that was strewn with floating, fresh green weeds. Only the rusty-sided freighters go past the moon's marketless craters and the stars are the only ships of pleasure.'

from To Autumn by John Keats

from To Autumn, John Keats ' Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and bless With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees, And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, And still more, later flowers for the bees, Until they think warm days will never cease, For Summer has o’er-brimmed their clammy cells.'

from Autumn Journal by Louis MacNeice

from Autumn Journal, Louis MacNeice ‘September has come, it is hers Whose vitality leaps in the autumn, Whose nature prefers Trees without leaves and a fire in the fireplace . . .’

Symphony in Yellow by Oscar Wilde

Symphony in Yellow by Oscar Wilde, 1998 Poems on the Underground poster 'An omnibus across the bridge Crawls like a yellow butterfly, And, here and there, a passer-by Shows like a little restless midge. Big barges full of yellow hay Are moored against the shadowy wharf, And, like a yellow silken scarf, The thick fog hangs along the quay. The yellow leaves begin to fade And flutter from the Temple elms, And at my feet the pale green Thames Lies like a rod of rippled jade.'

Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3 ,1802 by William Wordsworth

Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 ,William Wordsworth 2009 Poems on the Underground poster 'Earth has not anything to show more fair: Dull would he be of soul who could pass by A sight so touching in its majesty; This City now doth, like a garment, wear The beauty of the morning; silent, bare, Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie Open unto the fields, and to the sky; All bright and glittering in the smokeless air. Never did sun more beautifully steep In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill; Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep! The river glideth at his own sweet will: Dear God! the very houses seem asleep; And all that mighty heart is lying still!'

Australian Poems on the Underground

Sunrise Sequence Mudbara Tribe from The Dulngulg Song cycle translated by Ronald M. Berndt

Sunrise Sequence from The Dulngulg Song cycle translated by Ronald M. Berndt 'The day breaks - the first rays of the rising Sun, stretching her arms. Daylight breaking, as the Sun rises to her feet. Sun rising, scattering the darkness; lighting up the land ... With disc shining, bringing daylight, as the birds whistle and call ... People are moving about, talking, feeling the warmth. Burning through the Gorge, she rises, walking westwards, Wearing her waist-band of human hair. She shines on the blossoming coolibah-tree, with its sprawling roots, Its shady branches spreading ... '

Mountain by Judith Wright

Mountain by Judith Wright (b.1915) ' Eastward, Mount Budawang deliberately releases stars, moon and sun upward by night or day, one following one; or rolls out nightly and daily back again a scroll and screen of cloud. By dawn or twilight it cuts a fine dark figure on the sky - a lengthened strip of black calligraphy.' Crocodile Dreaming by James Iyuna 1997 from the Commonwealth Institute's Collection Judith Wright (b.1915) from Phantom Dwelling (1985) © Judith Wright 1985 Australian Poems on the Underground

Nasturtium Scanned by Judith Rodriguez

Nasturtium Scanned by Judith Rodriguez (b.1936) ' Ropey, lippy, loopy, scribbly over a brick's edge, she's a riot, straggly as random and tricky as a diet, tiddly, wobbly, oddly nibbly and flashy as a landmine on her vine-meandrine Alexandrine tangle-scanned line. 'Crocodile Dreaming by James Iyuna 1997 from the Commonwealth Institute's Collection Judith Rodriguez (b.1936) from New and Selected Poems University of Queensland Press 1988 Australian Poems on the Underground

The Lesson by Tracy Ryan

The Lesson ( an anti-pastoral), Tracy Ryan 'The small schoolgirl on her way down grey Portugal Lane late for class who brushes a careless hand against the one green nettle that had to sprout from yards of concrete can't believe there's no dock leaf to cancel it out'

Late Summer Fires by Les Murray

Late Summer Fires, Les Murray ' The paddocks shave black with a foam of smoke that stays, welling out of red-black wounds. In the white of a drought this happens. The hardcourt game. Logs that fume are mostly cattle, inverted, stubby. Tree stumps are kilns. Walloped, wiped, hand-pumped, even this day rolls over, slowly. At dusk, a family drives sheep out through the yellow of the Aboriginal flag.'

Poems of Youth and Age

Cradle Song by Thomas Dekker

Cradle song by Thomas Dekker (1570 - 1632) 'Golden slumbers kiss your eyes, Smiles awake you when you rise; Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry, And I will sing a lullaby, Rock them, rock them, lullaby. Care is heavy, therefore sleep you, You are care, and care must keep you; Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry, And I will sing a lullaby Rock them, rock them, lullaby. '

To My Daughter by Stephen Spender

To My Daughter by Stephen Spender (1909-95) ' Bright clasp of her whole hand around my finger My daughter, as we walk together now. All my life I'll feel a ring invisibly Circle this bone with shining: when she is grown Far from today as her eyes are far already. ' Reprinted by permission of Faber from Collected Poems 1928-1985 Poems on the Underground 1,000 Years of Poetry in English

from Poem to Her Daughter by Mwana Kupona binti Msham

African Poems on the Underground: from Poem to Her Daughter Mwana Kupona binti Msham. Daughter, take this amulet, tie it with cord and caring,

Prayer for My Father as a Child by Miriam Nash

My Children by Choman Hardi

My children by Choman Hardi I can hear them talking, my children fluent English and broken Kurdish. And whenever I disagree with them they will comfort each other by saying: Don't worry about mum, she's Kurdish. Will I be the foreigner in my own home? '

Approaching Fifty by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra

Approaching Fifty, Arvind Krishna Mehrotra ' Sometimes, In unwiped bathroom mirrors He sees all three faces Looking at him: His own, The grey-haired man's Whose life policy has matured, And the mocking youth's Who paid the first premium. '

And if I speak of Paradise by Roger Robinson

And if I speak of Paradise, Roger Robinson ‘And if I speak of Paradise then I’m speaking of my grandmother who told me to carry it always on my person, concealed, so no one else would know but me.’

Poems for the Life of this Planet

For the Life of This Planet, Grace Nichols ‘ The way the red sun surrenders its wholeness to curving ocean bit by bit. The way curving ocean gives birth to the birth of stars in the growing darkness, wearing everything in its path to cosmic smoothness’

Inversnaid by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Inversnaid by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89) Poems on the Underground 1995 ' This darksome burn, horseback brown, His rollrock highroad roaring down, In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam Flutes and low to the lake falls home. A windpuff-bonnet of fawn-froth Turns and twindles over the broth Of a pool so pitchblack, fell-frowning ,It rounds and rounds Despair to drowning. Degged with dew, dappled with dew Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through, Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern, And the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn. What would the world be, once bereft Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left, O let them be left, wildness and wet; Long live the weeds and wilderness yet.' Poems on the Underground The British Library (Zweig Programme) London Arts Board .Design Tom Davidson.

Small Brown Job by Gwyneth Lewis

Small Brown Job, Gwyneth Lewis ‘May you be led on all your walks By an unidentified bird Flitting ahead, at least one branch, The tease, between you And it. Is that an eyeStripe? Epaulette? Your desire For a name grows stronger.’

from Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas

From Fern Hill, Dylan Thomas ‘Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,’

Season by Wole Soyinka

African Poems on the Underground: Season, Wole Soyinka. Rust is ripeness, rust And the wilted corn- plume

Fulcrum/Writing a World by David Morley

Poems on a Lighter Note

Gray goose and gander by Anonymous

Gray goose and gander, Anon 'Gray goose and gander, Waft your wings together; And carry the good king's daughter Over the one strand river.'

A Riddle by John the Giant Killer

A Riddle by John the Giant Killer 'Legs I have got, yet seldom do I walk; I backbite many, yet I never talk: In secret places most I seek to hide me, For he who feeds me never can abide me. '

Riddle-Me Ree by Liz Lochhead

Riddle –Me-Ree, Liz Lochead 'My first is in life (not contained within heart) My second's in whole but never in part. My third's in forever but also in vain. My last's in ending, why not in pain?'

There was an Old Man with a beard by Edward Lear

There was an Old Man with a Beard , Edward Lear 'There was an Old Man with a beard, Who said, "It is just as I feared!— Two Owls and a Hen, Four Larks and a Wren, Have all built their nests in my beard." '

Celia Celia by Adrian Mitchell

Celia Celia, Adrian Mitchell ' When I am sad and weary When I think all hope has gone When I walk along High Holborn I think of you with nothing on'

The Sloth by Theodore Roethke

The Sloth, Theodore Roethke ‘In moving-slow he has no Peer. You ask him something in his Ear, He thinks about it for a Year;’

You can see our poems from August 2022 here