Poetry is honey for the soul (7) – Dylan Thomas (and Jodie)

     Poetry is honey for the soul

I first “met”Jodie Roberts on Facebook as “Geranium Cat”; I loved the name and she was kind to the young beginner I was then. I discovered later that she was deeply committed to the life of her family, her region, her job, writing, reading, reviewing books, blogging, belonging to various orgnisations , her pets – cats and dogs – and “her girls” – her hens!

I feel very happy that she has reciprocated friendship with me. She has even been so confident in some of my capacities that she has allowed me to help her in one of her functions, concerning literature. Can you imagine a French girl working for a British organisation, under the wing of a British lady, about British literature? Well, Jodie made it!

For the occasion of “a poem a day”, she has chosen the following broadcast of Anthony Hopkins saying the famous villanelle “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas.

Do not go gentle into that good night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Poetry is honey for the soul (6) – Diane Reynolds

          acacia blos Poetry is honey for the soul


Diane Reynolds is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, and Publishers Weekly among other publications. She teaches literature and writing at the university level and also holds an MDiv from Earlham School of Religion. Her book, “The Doubled Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer” has been released last month.

I asked Diane if she might consider participating in “One poem a day: readers turned bloggers”. She accepted and gave me two suggestions: one is Johnson’s Creation (https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/creation). The other is a poem she wrote after cutting and arranging wild irises into a jug or pitcher. Diane also gave photos and ¨painting (irises by Van Gogh), underlining that they might illustrate both poems.

Of course, even if she says she is no poet, I chose her text.






in a pitcher

amid leaves and nature’s green wire spirals.

On the pitcher

blue and white glaze

Woman reading

Cat, tail curled upward

Sheep lying in a patch of shade.


Picked from a meadow

Abutting cut lawn.

Massed in a factory pot.

Against artifice nature etched.






I hope readers and readers-bloggers will not be angry with me if I choose a poem today with illustrations, and generally take back the helm of these “Sketches and Vignettes”.

There are still several contributors and contributions to come: I am both surprised by and happy of their numbers. They will be back tomorrow but today is a special day in France and at The Little Family’s. The last Sunday in May is Mother’s (or Mothering) Day. And The Girls and I wish to send our flowers to Mothers who are no more.

Tastes have always been simple: roses. But not your elaborate roses to be seen in flower shows. No. The flowers of brambles and blackberries, eglantines, briar roses, slightly more sophisticated climbing roses.

Silhouettes in the afternoon, bended, pushing back a  lock of hair escaped from the bun, wet and curling tendrils in the neck, back of a gloved hand on forehead, slight squint against the light and the sun when straightening up from a corner in the shade, a sigh, a straw hat sliding crazily.

Silhouettes in the morning, wicker baskets on arm, secateurs in the other hand, choosing the flower, the length of the stem, thinking about colour scheme, height of vases, width of flower dishes, lifting a face towards the early sun before the coming of the heat, dew on the grass and in the paths.

Silhouettes in the falling night, half lost, half indistinct, caressing the climbing roses while listening to the chatter of sister, husband, daughter, son, nephew, vaguely smiling surely, blue time of the dying evening, trailing with them a light but heading scent.


Then, home. Windows wide open over the June night. Books taken down from the shelves and discussions under the gentle but always professorial rule of Grand-Father, about old botanical plates. Waves of warm wind and white gauze-like curtains billowing as veils of a ship ready to leave. Last cup of tea. “No, not for me, thank you. I would prefer a lime infusion, or a lavender one. Sleep eludes me and I need to feel calm.” Nod. Smile.


Fading silhouettes. Faded silhouettes. There shall be no involuntarily brushing or caress anymore. There will be no kiss, no look, no smile, no laugh anymore. There shall be imagined silhouettes guessed in the shimmering light or the gathering dusk, by the corner of the eye. There shall be the illusion of a scent, of a gesture against the cheek, of a move, of a warmth around the shoulders..

Only silhouettes.

Do you remember these days in Arles? The end of August under a biting sun and more biting bugs? Do you remember the woman who was selling essential oils of lavender and lemon grass, geranium as well, against mosquitoes and bugs? And the long way among the sarcophagi towards Saint-Honorat church, with the trees that had not changed much since the time of Paul and Vincent? And the voice. The voice that was saying the words of the poem, slowly, as we were walking slowly. Sowly. Softly.

In Arle, where rest the Alyscams,

When shadows are red, under roses,

And the weather clear,

Beware the sweetness of things,

When you feel your too heavy heart

Beat without cause;

And silent are the doves;

Wisper, if it be love,

Besides the graves.



The poem is by Paul-Jean Toulet

and as no translation seems to exist in English

(at least available to me)

I have made a very free and awkward translation.

Les Alyscams

Dans Arle, où sont les Alyscams,

Quand l’ombre est rouge, sous les roses,

Et clair le temps,

Prends garde à la douceur des choses

Quand tu sens battre sans cause 

Ton coeur trop lourd;

Et que se taisent les colombes;

Parle tout bas, si c’est d’amour,

Au bord des tombes.

Poetry is honey for the soul (5) – Federica Galetto, Federica Nightingale … and Federica!

     Poetry is honey for the soul



Federica invites us to come into her world today, as Federica Galetto with her poem that she has translated from Italian into English, and as Federica Nightingale with the digital collage that introduces the text.

More at the end of the post.



I am like a stone under your tongue

 I am the bride’s veil

and the drop of salt  into an ocean

 I am an empty jug and the lost water

your arm and your wrist in a land of sounds

 I am the hole you have filled

and the coat that you need



gold and soul

 I am the descent you walk right through

And the desert you’ll obey

 I am everything

And now I am gone

 (ghost in your mind)

(I am)


Io sono come pietra sotto la tua lingua

 Io sono il velo della sposa

E la goccia di sale in un oceano

 Io sono una brocca vuota e l’acqua persa

Il tuo braccio e il tuo polso in una terra di suoni

 Io sono il buco che hai riempito

e il cappotto di cui hai bisogno



Oro e anima

 Io sono la discesa nella quale ti addentri

e il deserto  a cui ubbidisci

 Io sono tutto

E ora me ne sono andata

 (spettro nella tua mente)

(Io sono)


Testi di Federica Galetto

Federica Galetto is a contemporary Italian poet, writer, and artist who has already published part of her work. As an artist, she makes digital collages under the name of Federica Nightingale. She also uses photos as medium for her art. This is the link to her blog (at the page she gives me the authorization to cite today):


She also has a Facebook page (mostly in English):

Federica Nightingale

As she says of herself and her work:

Sono una poetessa, una scrittrice, una traduttrice, un’artista collagista. Sono ciò che ho sempre voluto essere. (“I am a poet, a writer, a translator, an artist who makes collages. I am the one I have always wanted to be”)

“La Poesia va diffusa. I mezzi che si utilizzano per farlo non sono importanti, ma importante è che cresca una coscienza poetica dalle radici umane al Cielo. Allora, come diceva un grande giardiniere inglese di nome Geoff Hamilton : “Il Cielo è il limite.” (“Poetry shoud be spread. The means that are used to make it are not important. What is important is that a poetical conscience be born from the human roots up to the Heavens. Then, as a great British gardener, named Geoff Hamilton, used to say: ‘Sky is the limit'”).

(All work by Federica Galetto / Federica Nightingale protected by the laws of copyright). Hazardous translation of her words is mine and she may well correct me!

Poetry is honey for the soul (4) – Robert Frost (and Phillip)

Poetry is honey for the soul

Phillip invites us to discover or re-discover the apparent simplicity and clarity of his favourite poet Robert Frost. Silence is best (although this reminds me of Schubert) but there is a lot to think.


Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village, though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer 

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake. 

The only other sounds the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep, 

And miles to go before I sleep.



Illustration by Eric Ravilious




Phillip has no blog but works a lot on Facebook on his page but also on several groups, artistic, historic, about women and their history, about photography. He is well-known and sows joy and pleasure wherever he goes. Ah! One last word: he is a great cat lover and his photos of his favourite friends are always here to comfort his human friends.

Phillip has helped me through difficult patches with a quote, a painting, a little something I have found on my Facebook page when I opened it. I know he does the same with all his friends but will almost grumble if mentioned…

Poetry is honey for the soul (3) – Anna Akharmatova (and Kaggsy – with a suggestion from Olga)

      Poetry is honey for the soul

Yesterday, Olga proposed to read the 130th sonnet by Shakespeare, and, mainly, to listen to it read by Alan Rickman. Today, poetry is shown as a part of the universal as Kaggsy (who is wel known by her blog


proposes one of Anna Akhamatova’ poems.

One Russian lady, suggesting a British poet, and one British Lady, suggesting a Russian then USSR “avant-garde poet”.

And each choosing one’s vision of a painting that might illustrate this poem.

Kaggsy says: “I love this poem – short, effective and evocative.”



The roads to the past have long been closed
and what is the past to me now?
What is there? Bloody slabs,
or a bricked up door,
or an echo that still could not
keep quiet, although I ask so…
The same thing happened with the echo
as with what I carry in my heart

Anna Aharmatova


(translated by Richard McKane)


Olga gives us the original and agrees that that the translation is very close to it, while being beautiful on its own.


В прошлое давно пути закрыты,

И на что мне прошлое теперь?

Что там? — окровавленные плиты,

Или замурованная дверь,

Или эхо, что еще не может

Замолчать, хотя я так прошу…

С этим эхом приключилось то же,

Что и с тем, что в сердце я ношу.



This is the painting with which Kaggsy would see as illustration of “Echo”

“Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge” (by El Lissitzky-1919)


And it is Olga‘s suggestion

Alexandr Shevchenko (“Radiant composition”, 1914)


In fact, Olga comments ” I think about the so-called “radiant painting” – the abstract way of painting which was “invented” at the beginning of the XX century (M.Larionov, N. Goncharova etc.) Although the poem Echo was written in 1960 (“ottepel” in the soviet history) this way of painting illustrates very well the thoughts of Akhmatova.”


Thank you to both ladies for their collaboration and their look on painting art as far as this poem is concerned!

Thank you

Thank you.

When, on a whim, I thought about “a poem a day” by readers and not by bloggers, I thought, it might be read by a few persons and fewer would send me send something. I had already prepared some of my favourite poems to fill in the gaps!

And you have sent me ideas, actual poems, poems that are said by great voices, poems and paintings to illustrate them, poems and music, poems from your countries translated into English, poems from other countries you love as well… Bloggers do the same. We may end the week…

In fact, if you agree, we might turn it into a poem a week, after this one. And I shall go on linking blog and FB page because you do not all belong to the two media.

Blogger friends, it all started on Facebook and went on to the blog. I have contacted a few of yours. But I have not been able to reach each of you personally. Will you excuse me? If you do, please, I would be very happy to have you contribute. There is no prize, no give away, nothing, just a link to your blog. There is only poetry to share. There are poets among you as well… And you certainly like at least ONE poem?

 Would you contribute, please?

So. You may be the poets or the readers of poets. But this is yours.

Thank you.
My e-mail blogger address is:

Poetry is honey for the soul (2) – William Shakespeare (and Olga)

           Poetry is honey for the soul

Today, we skip back in time. This is a privilege to go back and forth in poetry! From a contemporary American poet to a 16th/17th British poet. THE British poet, would some say. The poet or ONE OF THE poets, Anyway, I do not think Shakespeare needs an introduction. But, yet, there is a twist here again.

Olga offers us her choice of the 130th sonnet

as read by Alan Rickman.


My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damask, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go;

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.


And why would we leave Shakespeare and Dowland? In memoriam Alan Rickman:

poetry, music and voices.

Poetry is honey for the soul (1) – Mark Strand (and Geoff)

     Poetry is honey for the soul

I was so happy to see that my idea about “One poem a day” was being received with kindness by friends on Facebook, on this blog, and through answers to emails that I sent rashly to other friends, that I forgot some essentials when I posted the first contribution, on Sunday. I was not able to come back to my project before today, but here it is with it little logo of acacia flowers from which some honey will be made.

And from a discussion with Geoff,  here is a link he gave me about Mark Strand (who, for the French was mentioned with the Surréalistes – which I did not understand):

I see there that Strand has been compared with music and painters, among them Hopper. I would not have able to illustrate the presence/absence and wholeness that the poem evokes. So, I beg pardon to our contributor and keep Turner who is “a whole” himself. And I publish again, this time less in a daze but still with joy,

Geoff , first reader turned blogger today,

for our poetry week.


In a field

I am the absence
of field.

This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body’s been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.


Mark Strand


A week for poetry



Geoff’s choice

In a field
I am the absence
of field.

This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body’s been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

Mark Strand

Sunrise with Sea Monsters circa 1845 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851