Treasure Island

Rhythm and Rhyme Workshop

Post a message
  • Ernestine Northover (12/7/2005 1:22:00 PM) Post reply | Read 3 replies Stage

    This poem is by Sir John Betjeman 1906 - 1984. He was our Poet Laureate.
    I think Mary would enjoy this one, but anyone else as well.

    Diary of a Church Mouse.

    Here among long-discarded cassocks,
    Damp stools, and half-split open hassocks,
    Here where the Vicar never looks,
    I nibble through old service books.
    Lean and alone I spend my days,
    Behind the Church of England baize.
    I share my dark forgotten room,
    With two oil lamps and half a broom.
    The cleaner never bothers me,
    So here I eat my frugal tea.
    My bread is sawdust mixed with straw,
    My jam is polish for the floor.
    Christmas and Easter may be feasts
    For congregations and for priests,
    And so may Whitsun. All the same,
    They do not fill my meagre frame.
    For me the only feast at all,
    Is Autumns Harvest Festival,
    When I can satisfy my want
    With ears of corn around the font.
    I climb the eagle's brazen head
    To burrow through a loaf of bread.
    I scramble up the pulpit stair
    And gnaw the marrows hanging there.
    It is enjoyable to taste
    These items ere they go towaste,
    But how annoying when one finds
    That other mice with pagan minds
    Come into church my food to share
    Who have no proper business there.
    Two field mice who have no desire
    To be baptized, invade the choir.
    A large and most unfriendly rat
    Comes in to see what we are at.
    He says he thinks there is no God
    And yet he's rather odd.
    This year he stole a sheaf of wheat
    (It screened our special preacher's seat) .
    And prosperous mice from fields away
    Come in to hear the organ play,
    And under cover of it's notes
    Eat through the altar's sheaf of oats.
    A Low Church mouse, who thinks that I
    Am too papistical, and High,
    Yet somehow doesn't think it wrong
    To munch through Harvest Evensong,
    While I, who starve the whole year through,
    Must share my food with rodents who
    Except at this time of the year
    Not once inside the church appear.
    Within the human world I know
    Such goings-on could not be so,
    For human being only do
    What their religion tells them to.
    They read the Bible every day,
    And always, night and morning pray,
    And just like me, the good church mouse,
    Worship each week in God's own house.
    But all the same it's strange to me
    How very full the church can be
    With people I don't see at all
    Except at Harvest Festival.

    I hope you all enjoy this read. Love Ernestine XXX

    Replies for this message:
    • Wayne Guy Butterfield (12/10/2005 2:14:00 AM) Post reply Stage

      Really fits the season, Ernestine! Thanks for sharing it. Best, Wayne

    • Mary Nagy (12/8/2005 9:24:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply Stage

      You're right..........I do love it Ernestine! I had never heard of him......I'll have to look him up. Great poem. Sincerely, Mary

    To read all of 3 replies click here
  • Mary Nagy (12/7/2005 11:04:00 AM) Post reply Stage

    Did everyone hear............

    THE BOOK IS READY! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

    Just go to and search for ''Poemhunter Anthology'' It costs under $7 u.s. dollars. :)

  • Ernestine Northover (12/5/2005 3:58:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies Stage

    I'm putting on here a poem that was featured in a piece on war poetry, you may well know it, but I think it's a very moving beautiful poem, It is by an anonymous writer, but was found in an envelope left for his parents, by Steven Cummins a soldier killed on active service in Northern Ireland, to be opened on the event of his death.

    Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep

    Do not stand at my grave and weep;
    I am not there. I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow.
    I am the diamond glints on snow.
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awaken in the morning's hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry;
    I an not there. I did not die.

    Another one which is I think a lovely poem by Christina Rossetti 1830-1894


    Remember me when I am gone away,
    Gone far away into the silent land;
    When you can no more hold me by the hand,
    Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
    Remember me when no more day by day
    You tell me of our future that you planned;
    Only remember me; you understand
    It will be late to counsel then or pray,
    Yet if you should forget me for a while
    And afterwards remember, do not grieve;
    For if darkness and corruption leave
    A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
    Better by far you should forget and smile
    Than that you should remember and be sad.

    Any thoughts on these two poems?


    Replies for this message:
    • Wayne Guy Butterfield (12/6/2005 11:12:00 PM) Post reply Stage

      Both full of lovely thoughts and images, Ernestine. If only the last line of the first could really be true for the many who've died so tragically.... Thanks for sharing them. Best, Wayne

    • Mary Nagy (12/6/2005 6:00:00 AM) Post reply Stage

      I think they are both beautiful Ernestine! The first one especially, I guess just due to the circumstances of them finding it. What great poems to have on hand when you've lost someone. Very nice. ... more

  • Ernestine Northover (12/3/2005 1:46:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies Stage

    Thanks Wayne for admitting you have bravely read all my long poems, but now, funnily enough, I find them somewhat hard to write, and have gone over to the shorter, punch line type poems. Finding new subjects can be a bit daunting, ones which one feels would be of interest to the majority of poem readers. It's writing a poem that holds the reader and stirs their imagination to say, yep that's a good one! How to be a nervous wreck in two words - WRITE POETRY! ! ! ! ! ! ! Love Ernestine XXX

    Replies for this message:
    • Wayne Guy Butterfield (12/7/2005 12:11:00 AM) Post reply Stage

      Longer poems always seem harder to me, Ernestine. But when you feel you've finally got it right, bet you'll agree..... it sorta makes you wanna..... WRITE POETRY! ! ! Best, Wayne

    • Mary Nagy (12/3/2005 8:13:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply Stage

      Hey! ! How come when sally types short poems it turns into a link? ? That's cool! Does it work if you type Long poems too? ?

  • Wayne Guy Butterfield (12/3/2005 4:38:00 AM) Post reply | Read 2 replies Stage

    I'm with you re 4 or 5 stanzas, Mary. Maybe even less... especially where the poem seems just plain obscure to me. I might stick with it a bit longer, though, if the rhythm and rhyme are interesting. Still, I think I actually like 'long' poems most when they do work for me. But that seems to require more complex thoughts and images, and a structure that supports their development at greater length. And again for me at least, a more complicated (but well integrated) system of rhythm and rhyme seems to help a lot in creating such a structure, hence lending support to the development of more complex thoughts and images. Score one for rhythm and rhyme?

    Replies for this message:
    • Mary Nagy (12/3/2005 4:07:00 PM) Post reply Stage

      I think when the poem is written well you don't even notice if it seems extra long........some poems are so well written you hate to see them end. It is never clear-cut one way or another. I guess t ... more

    • Herbert Nehrlich1 (12/3/2005 6:07:00 AM) Post reply | Read 3 replies Stage

      Wayne, you came to the right poet......I have plenty of LONG poems on this site. Help yourself. Some of them even work very well. Best H

  • Wayne Guy Butterfield (12/3/2005 4:37:00 AM) Post reply Stage

    Interesting thoughts about both rhyming and length, Ernestine. I've actually read all of your longer poems on PH, and very much enjoyed them! Strange, though... for me, I've gotten _more_ hits on my longest poem, Songkhla, than any other, and hardly anyone's read my shortest, Cycle. Of course, could be folks were just curious about the title, Songkhla, or wanted to see the photos... maybe they didn't really read the whole poem... which'd certainly be sad for me, since they'd miss the whole point.... Takes us back to Mary's comments about tastes... perhaps some folks simply have _short tastes_? ? ? :)

  • Ernestine Northover (12/2/2005 4:39:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies Stage

    I think it's good to be able to write in both rhyming and unrhyming, it gives one a variation and a wider scope. Also it's good to have humourous ones, mood type ones, dramatic ones, and love, unrequited love ones, character ones, and not be stuck in a 'one type poem' rut. One thing bothers me though, it is that when one writes 'long' poems say more than 8-10 verses, or should I say stanzas, do people on PH actually take the time to read them or do they prefer shorter writes. I have quite a few long ones on PH and somehow they don't seem to attract comments or votes, and yet I feel they are fairly reasonable to read.(Tongue in cheek) ! ! ! ! ! What do you all think? Love Ernestine XXX

    Replies for this message:
    • Herbert Nehrlich1 (12/3/2005 6:05:00 AM) Post reply | Read 2 replies Stage

      I ask you madam' can you spare a dime? And would you take in turn a lovely rhyme? I'd make the rhyme for you to match your smile look at the bird that flew in perfect style. All creatures bi ... more

    • Mary Nagy (12/2/2005 9:06:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply Stage

      To be totally honest.....I like shorter poems better. It's got to really grab me to keep me reading more than 4 or 5 stanzas. If it's good, I'll read even more though!

  • Wayne Guy Butterfield (12/1/2005 6:38:00 AM) Post reply Stage

    Thanks so much for the input, Mary, and so pleased you enjoyed the poem. You really do a great job of describing how tastes can indeed differ. I'm with you in appreciating both rhymed and free verse. And I feel lucky to enjoy writing in both styles, because some thoughts and images seem to work better for me with rhyme, and some without. Your poems show you are clearly at home with both, but I wonder about those PH members who only write in free verse or rhyme. Would they also see it as just a matter of taste - or something more? It'd be interesting to hear from any who care to respond. And if you or Ernestine or others know of any particular members who seem like good examples, perhaps we could invite them to share a bit of their perspective? ? ?

  • Mary Nagy (11/30/2005 2:43:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply Stage

    Hi Wayne! I think you've said it when you said it's a matter of taste. You will get some people that think any rhyme is forced and unnatural while on the same poem others will think the rhyme seemed to flow so naturally that it almost seemed effortless. To each their own I say. I'm not a big believer in strict rules of any type when it comes to poetry. I think we risk losing something very special when we start limiting what's accepted. Personally I prefer a rhyming poem and the rhythm just seems to go along with it. I think that's when it really 'sings' to me as poetry should. I have found many poets here that write without rhyme and not only have I found myself enjoying it, but I've also found myself inspired to try some free verse of my own. So, as for your poem.......I love it! I think the last words in each line just add that little touch of drama that brings it to life! I enjoyed this poem very much Wayne. Thanks for posting it. :) Sincerely, Mary

    Replies for this message:
  • Ernestine Northover (11/30/2005 1:05:00 PM) Post reply Stage

    Thanks to Wayne for posting onto the Rhythm and Rhyme workshop, great stuff, anyone else going to get the ball rolling? Aren't we a shy lot! ! ! ! ! Love Ernestine XXX

[Hata Bildir]