Poem of the week: Fiametta by John Peale Bishop

There is real music to this understated tribute to a young woman’s beauty by a poet who has been unjustly neglected

Fiametta
Fiametta walks under the quincebuds
In a gown the color of flowers;
Her small breasts shine through the silken stuff
Like raindrops after showers.
The green hem of her dress is silk, but duller
Than her eye’s green color.

Her shadow restores the grass’s green
Where the sun had gilded it;
The air has given her copper hair
The sanguine that was requisite.
Whatever her flaws, my lady
Has no fault in her young body.

She leans with her long slender arms
To pull down morning upon her
Fragrance of quince, white light and falling cloud.
The day shall have lacked due honor
Until I shall have rightly praised
Her standing thus with slight arms upraised.

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Poem of the week: The Housewife by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

At the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act that paved the way for universal suffrage, this ringing, turn-of-the-century denunciation of domestic servitude has not lost its bite

The Housewife
Here is the House to hold me – cradle of all the race;
Here is my lord and my love, here are my children dear–
Here is the House enclosing, the dear-loved dwelling place;
Why should I ever weary for aught that I find not here?

Here for the hours of the day and the hours of the night;
Bound with the bands of Duty, rivetted tight;
Duty older than Adam – Duty that saw
Acceptance utter and hopeless in the eyes of the serving squaw.

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Poem of the week: How Are The Children Robin by WS Graham

A complex story springs from the shared parental experience of seeing offspring leave home

How Are The Children Robin
For Robin Skelton

It does not matter how are you how are
The children flying leaving home so early?
The song is lost asleep, the blackthorn breaks
Into its white flourish. The poet walks
At all odd times hoping the road is empty.
I mean me walking hoping the road is empty.

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Poem of the week: Moving On by Robyn Bolam

Reflecting on the traumatic changes that have transformed the city of Newcastle, a poet casts a steady gaze at its past and present

Moving On

In the Haymarket a bus station has been transformed
from cattle crush to airport lounge. I no longer miss
Marlborough Crescent, open to weather. From there, I’d rush
for the trolley bus to school while the abattoir let
blood flow unchecked along the gutter, stinking through fumes
as drivers climbed in their cabs and, one by one, engines
vibrated, buses pulled into stands. I’d leap across,
never connecting that red stream with the death it meant
or managing to link this to cattle sometimes glimpsed.
Our city made blood, tanks and ships. It still stood on coal.

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