. On Death and Life not by John Milton Ere Death’s foul fetters drag me to my tombAs fodder for the very maw of hell,Should not my weary, failing soul rebelAnd seek release from sin’s eternal doom? For didst not Eden’s God deign to presumeTo breathe eternal life into the shellOf mortal dust in which our spirits dwell?And by His Son prepare for us a room? O Death defied! Thou shall not have thy way!For by the blood of Heaven’s sinless LambThe curse of Adam has been set aside,And I, redeemed by He who is I AM,Shall be reborn and led by He who diedFrom endless night into eternal day. . , Loughrigg Fell not by William Wordsworth How often have I faced the bitter chillOf winter wind amidst the barren hillsThat rise above the shadowed, sheltered grovesAnd brackened glens where whispered memoriesOf summers past still echo in the splashAnd dance of springs whose waters once refreshedThe lips of lovers who, in secret trystsSought sweet delights unseen by displeased eyes. Yet even in the frosted, moorland heathThe thought of chimney smoke and fire withinA humble cottage built from thatch and stoneBreathes life into my numb and frozen soul.For what we seek to find at heaven’s gateOr on the throne of patriarchs and queensMay well be found behind a rough-hewn cottage doorThat we have passed, unseen, a thousand times before. . , Forgive Me, Little Bird not by William McGonagall Forgive me, little bird, for I have sinned.The hedge in which you built your house, I trimmed;And saw the sparrow’s nest you neatly woveAnd five dappled eggs—too small to be a dove’s. I tried to cover it with severed twigsAnd various assorted leaves and sprigsFrom other plants I cut that grew nearbyBecause I did not want the eggs to die. But you, O grieving mother never came,And to my disappointment, guilt and shame,That after I have watched two full weeks pass,The five-still unhatched eggs remain, alas! It must be hard to be a bird, I think;To lay up eggs and nests and have them sink. . , Port Nam Mairtear not by T.S. Eliot With sleeves unrolled we leaveIndented silhouettes of laced__and leathered feetUpon the shell-strewn, wind-swept shore. With feigned indifference we closeOur eyes to memories__of dying monksWho, felled by sword and spear,Intoned their final, silent prayers upon__these stones. Their ancient blood cries outAs screeching seagulls squawk__Pater dimitte illisThinking that their voices are their own. But we know better,As Te absolvsos echo in the winding stair__that leads usTo the final door which opensTo a blinding, dim unknown. . , James A. Tweedie is a retired pastor living in Long Beach, Washington. He has written and published six novels, one collection of short stories, and three collections of poetry including Mostly Sonnets, all with Dunecrest Press. His poems have been published nationally and internationally in The Lyric, Poetry Salzburg (Austria) Review, California Quarterly, Asses of Parnassus, Lighten Up Online, Better than Starbucks, WestWard Quarterly, Society of Classical Poets, and The Chained Muse.