Poetry is honey for the soul (12) – Ellen Moody

Poetry is honey for the soul

Ellen has already contributed to this collection of poems chosen by blogger readers for other blogger readers. Her first choice was this poem by Judith Wright:

Today she suggests two poems linked by the same theme of birds. The first is well-known as it is “The Ode to a Nightingale” by Keats, read by Stephen Fry.

The second is less known. It has been written by Fleur Adcock, originally a writer from New -Zealand. Here is her biography and bibliography:


After the celebration and joy, there has come the reality check.

“The Way Out”

 (by Fleur Adcock)

The other option’s to become a bird.

That’s kindly done, to guess from how they sing,

decently independent of the word

as we are not; and how they use the air

to sail as we might soaring on a swing

higher and higher; but the rope’s not there,

it’s free fall upward, out into the sky;

or if the arc veer downwad, then it’s planned:

a bird can loiter, skimming just as high

as lets him supervise the hazel copse,

the turnip field, the orchard, and then land

on just the twig he’s chosen. Down he drops

to feed, if so it be: a pretty killer,

a keen-eyed stomach weighted like a dart.

He feels no pity for the caterpillar,

that moistly munching hoop of innocent green.

It is such tender lapses twist the heart.

A bird’s heart is a tight little red bean,

untwistable. His beak is made of bone,

his feet apparently of stainless wire;

his coat’s impermeable; his nest’s his own.

The clogging multiplicity of things

amongst whch other creatures, battling, tire

can be evaded by a pair of wings.

The point is, most of it occurs below,

earthed at the levels of the grovelling wood

and gritty buildings. Up’s the way to go.

If it’s escapist, if it’s like a dream

the dream’s prolonged until it ends for good.

I see no disadvantage in the scheme.


4 thoughts on “Poetry is honey for the soul (12) – Ellen Moody

    1. I did not want too many of them at the same time: I like tasting. But I knew I would post them all. “Waiting for the Barbarians”, the previous Greek poem made me think of “Ode on a Greecian Urn” so it was natural to have “Ode to a Nightingale” and Fleur Adcock to end the series by something “more realistic”. I added some illustrations and some elements of biography and bibliography.


  1. Hello Camille, I’m so enjoying this poetry sharing. So far have just had time to read but today I would like to contribute the following – one of my many favourites. I have others if you are interested.
    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.
    “Invictus” is a short Victorian poem by the English poet William Ernest Henley (1849–1903)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am always glad to have contributors! The idea is to give a space for bloggers (or friends who are not bloggers) where to xpress themslves with poems, haiku, whatever they choose akin to poetry, written, said, and illustrated, explained with a short introduction or some words to tell the reason of the choice of this poem, for instance. Or a comment. So, here is my blogger’s email:
      camillede fleurville1@gmail.com
      Please, tell me if you want to add something to this poem, and if you have an idea about illustrations. And the, I’ll make a special post of it!
      Thank you for liking this, telling it and participating, Robyn! 🙂


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