15th century depiction of exiled queen Albina disembarking in Britain‘Morning in England’ and Other Poetry by Ian Williams The Society December 4, 2019 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 3 Comments Morning in England Morning in England: web and dew. The county matters not in name, nor distant city hid from view, for this is Albion in her fame; Who—whether solitary lane, or verge astride the emerald rows, transplants herself from northern rain to southern downs—the whole land knows. Such land of corners, rounded long anon by strife and peace; defined by silence, or the folk-known songs illuminating pub and sign. The dust of ages sticks to her— and not a filthy layer, nor cloy blanket of years to smudge and blur, but centuries past in toil, in joy. A sleeping joy, a blaring pride; her countenance has many hues, each glancing quickly as they ride on past in long-laid, ancient queues. An England now: whose quiet demand for shades of industry, set free, stands lost and weeping on the strand; asks clearer pools, in which to see. An England future: precipice unknown, misunderstood; between an urban fire and rural bliss— or a long sleep, cold and mean. The reins of heaven are not amok; the herd may yet be steered for home; what weathering of storms, what pluck delivered her from rain and foam? What rang in Agincourt, the blast of trumpet signals to retreat? What fell on stoic ears, at last, near Crecy, Poitiers? Names so sweet! What heavy blow in Zululand, what haunting blare on Dunkirk beach? What, though she fall to tyrant’s hand? What was her vow, stood in the breech? To stand forlorn, if left alone, to sleep and yet to seem awake; to build for timber, thatch, and stone; to watch the wold, the oak, the lake. Evening in England: dust and black. Her deathless voices from the days long gone; to be; and now. Come back, O spirits! Heroes wait your blaze. Autumnal Orb Autumnal Orb! In sunset lands the beams of eventide—though noon is hardly past— remind the soul of misty childish dreams, when swirling leaves of memory did fast unlock the heart’s true joy, ‘neath sapphire skies of many-coloured robes, of leafy sighs. Bid “fare thee well,” arboreal friends, the year; grand showing of the season’s wardrobe, done; remove this weary, out-of-fashion gear, exchanging rich for clothing humbler spun, and in such great disrobing, lend the earth her swaddling-clothes for Winter’s coming birth. Ian Williams is a 30-year-old resident of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) 3 Responses Joseph S. Salemi December 4, 2019 About “Morning in England” — there are people all over the world (including me) who have not a drop of English blood in their veins, but who are nevertheless profoundly Anglophilic. England is one of the most beautiful places on earth. And the English race is, next to the ancient Greeks, the fairest bud that ever blossomed on the human tree. Reply C.B. Anderson December 4, 2019 I agree with Joseph Salemi’s observations and with the sentiment behind them. Though I possess a bit of English blood in my heritage (Birdsall, to be specific, which is the reason for the “B” in my name), I am also born of Irish (McCarthy), Scottish (Anderson) and German (Schumann) stock. It is what it is, but as for the poem, I found some of the lines a bit muddy, e.g.: nor cloy/ blanket of years to smudge and blur and What was her vow, stood in the breach? If I had to generalize, I would say that you concatenated sentence fragments for the sole purpose of connecting rhymes. I usually get the meaning, but your expression of the meaning is less than sharp. Reply Monty December 7, 2019 I thought the first poem was fairly well written, Ian: but I agree with the above commenter that the diction has slightly suffered at some stages to accommodate a rhyme. As well as the two examples shown above, I feel that the following segments also show similar aspects: a/ “..for this is Albion in her fame; who the whole land knows.” We don’t have to be told that the whole land KNOWS Albion if the whole land IS Albion. Of course they know of Albion if they’re IN Albion. It’s akin to saying everyone in America knows America. b/ S3: “..rounded long anon by strife and peace..” . . given that ‘anon’ means ‘soon’ or ‘shortly’, I can’t make sense of ’rounded long soon’. (In that same stanza: it’s a shame that the rhymes deviate from what is otherwise a generally well-rhymed poem.) c/ S5: “..has many hues, each glancing quickly..” . . hues can’t glance. They can be glanced at, but they can’t glance. d/ S6: The word ‘strand’ seems redundant. e/ S7: I wonder what is meant by “a mean sleep”. f/ S12: “Heroes wait your blaze”? Going back to S2: I feel the word ‘transplants’ is awkward. Not the word itself, but the fact that it ends with an ‘s’.. which makes it sound like it follows on from the earlier word ‘who’ (who transplants herself from..). I feel that a word ending in ‘ing’ would be better (shifting?); this would safely keep the ‘who’ dangling until ‘the whole world knows’. Regarding the second piece: I think it’s a quality poem. It contains a beautiful use of our language; and it flows fluidly from start to finish. Nothing seems forced. I especially admire the last four lines; they’re high-class poetry . . and “clothing humbler spun” is pure quality. You’ve got a natural gift with words. You’re lucky! Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.