What is poetry town?

Poetry Town began in 2015 with a weekly poem displayed in the window of Kirkdale Bookshop. Following overwhelmingly positive responses from customers we have decided to partner with Sydenham Arts to build on the idea and fill Sydenham with poetry­ not just by famous poets but by local people, both young and old.
 
The Struggle Staggers Us 13/12/2017

Our birth and death are easy hours like sleep        and food and drink. The struggle staggers us for bread, for pride, for simple dignity.            And this is more…

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What I am for You 06/12/2017

A doe eating fragrant grass out of your hand.            A dog that follows everywhere in your footsteps.            A star twice as bright and sparkly just for you.            A spring rippling snake-like at your feet.            A flower whose honey and whose scent are yours alone. For you I’m all of these, I gave you my soul in all its guises. The doe, the dog, the heavenly body and the flower, the living water flowing at your feet.            My soul is all            for you, my            Love.

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To Waken an Old Lady 29/11/2017

Old age is a flight of small cheeping birds skimming bare trees above a snow glaze. Gaining and failing they are buffeted by a dark wind – But…

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Coffee Lips 22/11/2017

The guest who came in to the street people’s suppers last night, An elderly man with a lost smart little boy’s face and a look   As if…

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Mirrors 15/11/2017

The mirror is always slightly taller than I It laughs a moment after I laugh Turning red as a boiled crab I cut myself from the mirror with…

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Don’t Bother the Earth Spirit 08/11/2017

Don’t bother the earth spirit who lives here. She is working on a story. It is the oldest story in the world and it is delicate, changing. If…

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What I Learned from the Incredible Hulk 01/11/2017

When it comes to clothes, make an allowance for the unexpected. Be sure the spare in the trunk of your station wagon with wood paneling   isn’t in…

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Hoop Dance 25/10/2017

It’s hard to enter circling clockwise and counter clockwise moving no regard for time, metrics irrelevant to this dance where pain is the prime number and soft stepping…

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Two Women 18/10/2017

Please – please come in. Easy smile, pregnant with meanings                                   –  masks on the back wall –  this is an open house, my heart is open see all…

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Friday 11/10/2017

Quiet Friday  deserted Friday  Friday saddening like old alleys  Friday of lazy ailing thoughts  Friday of noisome sinuous stretches  Friday of no anticipation  Friday of submission.     Empty…

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Translation 04/10/2017

We trekked into a far country, My friend and I. Our deeper content was never spoken, But each knew all the other said. He told me how calm…

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If I Had Known 27/09/2017

If I had known   Two years ago how drear this life should be,   And crowd upon itself allstrangely sad,   Mayhap another song would burst from…

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Disregard 20/09/2017

Overhead, the match burns out, but the chunk of ice in the back seat keeps melting from imagined heat, while the old Hudson tiptoes up the slope. My…

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From Space to Time 13/09/2017

on a day when we were dark and not so full of light we met     what did we find? nothing. everything, when we closed our eyes which…

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What Is Poetry 06/09/2017

The medieval town, with frieze Of boy scouts from Nagoya? The snow   That came when we wanted it to snow? Beautiful images? Trying to avoid   Ideas,…

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Dusting 30/08/2017

Thank you for these tiny particles of ocean salt, pearl-necklace viruses, winged protozoans: for the infinite, intricate shapes of submicroscopic living things.   For algae spores and fungus…

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The Good Life 23/08/2017

When some people talk about money They speak as if it were a mysterious lover Who went out to buy milk and never Came back, and it makes…

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My Final Gift to Life 16/08/2017

Death would be my final gift to life. Then: if I must die, I must. Let the progeny of stars light my path to heaven. ‘Me’ will be…

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cutting greens 09/08/2017

curling them around i hold their bodies in obscene embrace thinking of everything but kinship. collards and kale strain against each strange other away from my kissmaking hand…

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My Woman’s Transparence 02/08/2017

my woman’s transparence has the whole sea as its mirror   my sea-spray is born of the salt of its peaks   my voice plays echo to its…

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The City a Wrecked Ship 26/07/2017

I feel I am alone tonight; and the city, with its ghosts and tall buildings, is a wrecked ship that pirates looted long ago and sent to the…

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Dyeing 19/07/2017

Weave for me beautiful patterns and skeins of silver thread and gossamer. I shall sit a while longer at your loom while you thread together the scissored shreds…

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Her Lips Are Copper Wire 12/07/2017

whisper of yellow globes gleaming on lamp-posts that sway like bootleg licker drinkers in the fog and let your breath be moist against me like bright beads on…

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I Have a Rendezvous with Life 04/07/2017

I have a rendezvous with Life, In days I hope will come, Ere youth has sped, and strength of mind, Ere voices sweet grow dumb. I have a…

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Desire 28/06/2017

My desire is always the same; wherever Life deposits me: I want to stick my toe & soon my whole body into the water. I want to shake…

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London Is The Place for Me 21/06/2017

London is the place for me London this lovely city You can go to France or America, India, Asia or Australia But you must come back to London…

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Nina’s Blues 14/06/2017

Your body, hard vowels  In a soft dress, is still.    What you can’t know  is that after you died  All the black poets  In New York City …

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And I Have You 07/06/2017

Rain has drops  Sun has shine  Moon has beams  That make you mine Rivers have banks  Sands for shores  Hearts have heartbeats  That make me yours Needles have…

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An Anglo-Saxon Riddle 31/05/2017

Mec on þissum dagum      deadne ofgeafun fæder on modor;      ne wæs me feorh þa gen, ealdor in innan.      Þa mec an ongon, welhold mege,      wedum þeccan, heold ond…

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On Another’s Sorrow 24/05/2017

Can I see another’s woe, And not be in sorrow too? Can I see another’s grief, And not seek for kind relief?   Can I see a falling…

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The Sunlight on the Garden 17/05/2017

The sunlight on the garden Hardens and grows cold, We cannot cage the minute Within its nets of gold; When all is told We cannot beg for pardon….

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Flirtation 10/05/2017

After all, there’s no need  to say anything    at first. An orange, peeled  and quartered, flares    like a tulip on a Wedgwood plate  Anything can happen. …

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When Ecstasy Is Inconvenient 03/05/2017

Feign a great calm; all gay transport soon ends. Chant: who knows— flight’s end or flight’s beginning for the resting gull?   Heart, be still. Say there is…

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Haiku 26/04/2017

さまざまの事おもひ出す櫻かな Samazama no  koto omoidasu  sakura kana   How many, many things They call to mind These cherry-blossoms!

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Pleasures 19/04/2017

First look from morning’s window The rediscovered book Fascinated faces Snow, the change of the seasons The newspaper The dog Dialectics Showering, swimming Old music Comfortable shoes Comprehension…

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Requiem for a Nest 12/04/2017

the winged thang built her dream palace amid the fine green eyes of a sheltering bough she did not know it was urban turf disguised as serenely delusionally…

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The Spring 05/04/2017

Spring has returned! Everything has returned! The earth, just like a schoolgirl, memorizes Poems, so many poems. … Look, she has learned So many famous poems, she has…

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In Memory of W. B. Yeats (final section) 29/03/2017

Let the Irish vessel lie Emptied of its poetry. In the nightmare of the dark All the dogs of Europe bark, And the living nations wait, Each sequestered…

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The Eyes of My Regret 22/03/2017

Always at dusk, the same tearless experience, The same dragging of feet up the same well-worn path To the same well-worn rock; The same crimson or gold dropping…

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The house was quiet and the world was calm 15/03/2017

The house was quiet and the world was calm. The reader became the book; and summer night   Was like the conscious being of the book. The house…

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Two Women 08/03/2017

I know two women, and one is chaste And cold as the snows on a winters waste, Stainless ever I act and thought (As a man, born dumb,…

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To Keep a True Lent 01/03/2017

Is this a fast, to keep                 The larder lean ?                              And clean  From fat of veals and sheep ?  Is it to quit the dish                  Of flesh, yet still …

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I Build an Orange Church 22/02/2017

I build an orange church and put inside it a little orange minister in a pulpit that’s dandelion yellow. I make a ceiling of intensest blue. The seats…

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Invitation to Love 15/02/2017

Come when the nights are bright with stars Or come when the moon is mellow;  Come when the sun his golden bars  Drops on the hay-field yellow.  Come…

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Sonnet 43 08/02/2017

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of…

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Mirror in February 02/02/2017

Mirror in February, by Thomas Kinsella (b. 1928) The day dawns, with scent of must and rain, Of opened soil, dark trees, dry bedroom air. Under the fading…

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Afternoon Tea 25/01/2017

Afternoon Tea, by Charlotte Mew (1869 – 1928)   Please you, excuse me, good five-o’clock people, I’ve lost my last hatful of words, And my heart’s in the…

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I Look at the World 18/01/2017

I look at the world From awakening eyes in a black face— And this is what I see: This fenced-off narrow space Assigned to me. I look then…

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I Passed by His Garden 11/01/2017

I passed by his garden, and marked with one eye, How the Owl and the Panther were sharing a pie; The Panther took pie-crust, and gravy, and meat,…

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New Year’s Day 04/01/2017

New Year’s Day— Everything is in blossom! I feel about average.

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In Memoriam 21/12/2016

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky, The flying cloud, the frosty light: The year is dying in the night; Ring out, wild bells, and let him…

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Christmas Eve: My Mother Dressing 14/12/2016

My mother was not impressed with her beauty; once a year she put it on like a costume, plaited her black hair, slick as cornsilk, down past her…

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The List of Famous Hats 07/12/2016

Napoleon’s hat is an obvious choice I guess to list as a famous hat, but that’s not the hat I have in mind. That was his hat for…

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Frogs Eat Butterflies. Snakes Eat Frogs. Hogs Eat Snakes. Men Eat Hogs. 30/11/2016

It is true that the rivers went nosing like swine, Tugging at banks, until they seemed Bland belly-sounds in somnolent troughs, That the air was heavy with the…

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Hot Cake 23/11/2016

Winter has come; fierce is the cold; In the sharp morning air new-risen we meet. Rheum freezes in the nose; Frost hangs about the chin. For hollow bellies,…

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The Bean Eaters 16/11/2016

They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair. Dinner is a casual affair. Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood, Tin flatware. Two who are Mostly Good….

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The Second Coming 09/11/2016

Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The…

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Shinto 02/11/2016

When sorrow lays us low For a second we are saved By humble windfalls Of mindfulness or memory: The taste of a fruit, the taste of water, That…

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Après le Bain 28/10/2016

I gotta buy me a new girdle. (I’ll buy you one) O.K. (I wish you’d wig- gle that way for me, I’d be a happy man) I GOTTA…

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The Persian 19/10/2016

The gas fire Seemed quite a friend Such a funny little humming noise it made And it had a name too, carved on it you know, “The Persian”….

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Report from the Grass Roots 12/10/2016

I am a little ant. A quiet falls upon the paths and the great evening starts to darken in the woods. All the sensible old wood-ants must be…

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Ulysses 05/10/2016

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail; There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners, Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me— That…

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Drinking Alone by Moonlight 28/09/2016

花間一壺酒。   A cup of wine, under the flowering trees; 獨酌無相親。   I drink alone, for no friend is near. 舉杯邀明月。   Raising my cup I beckon the bright moon, 對影成三人。   For he, with my…

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Say that the Gift Was Given 21/09/2016

Say that the gift was given long ago- the little cat that by the roadside cried so piteously till lifted up and saved and that was love; say…

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Silence 31/08/2016

My father used to say, “Superior people never make long visits, have to be shown Longfellow’s grave or the glass flowers at Harvard. Self-reliant like the cat— that…

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Business Men 24/08/2016

Business men boast of their skill and cunning But in philosophy they are like little children. Bragging to each other of successful depredations They neglect to consider the…

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The Pine Forest 17/08/2016

Let us go now into the forest. Trees will pass by your face, and I will stop and offer you to them, but they cannot bend down. The…

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On Astrild, Honing His Arrows 10/08/2016

The grindstone can never cut; but it sharpens arrows and axes; of similar nature is my beloved; she sharpens and hones great love in my breast; herself she…

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Electric Slide Boogie 03/08/2016

New Year’s Day 1:16 AM and my body is weary beyond time to withdraw and rest ample room allowed me in everyone’s head but community calls right over…

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An Anglo-Saxon Charm 27/07/2016

O wen, O wen, O little wennikins, Here shall you build not, here have no abode, But you shall northwards to the nearby hill, For there, O wretched…

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Jenny Yeo’s Bowl 20/07/2016

Your bowl is shimmering even in this grey afternoon light – Pulsing outward, seductive. Its perfect strength sending messages In music, In rhythm, It vibrates in silence sending…

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Ball 13/07/2016

A scroll of blue, an exquisite thought Moves upwards in a secret accord And the gentle pink explosion the shade filters Drowns a woman’s perfume in a heavy…

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Sonnet 07/07/2016

O shady vales, O fair enriched meads,
 O sacred woods, sweet fields, and rising mountains,
 O painted flowers, green herbs, where Flora treads, Refreshed by wanton winds and…

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Ghazal 29/06/2016

I want to tune in to the surface, beside the mayfly listen to how she holds her decorum on the skin of the pond. I want to sequester…

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Men Loved Wholly Beyond Wisdom 22/06/2016

Men loved wholly beyond wisdom Have the staff without the banner. Like a fire in a dry thicket Rising within women’s eyes Is the love men must return….

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On the Birth of his Son 08/06/2016

Families, when a child is born Want it to be intelligent. I, through intelligence Having wrecked my whole life, Only hope the baby will prove Ignorant and stupid….

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Osso Buco 01/06/2016

I love the sound of the bone against the plate and the fortress-like look of it lying before me in a moat of risotto, the meat soft as…

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The Absence 25/05/2016

It is this great absence that is like a presence, that compels me to address it without hope of a reply. It is a room I enter from…

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For George Seferis, Greek Poet 18/05/2016

I learnt his ancient language when at school And in long dreams could see the Parthenon And the Acropolis. His poems fill Me with the sense of sea,…

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Shadows 11/05/2016

Are they shadows that we see? And can shadows pleasure give? Pleasures only shadows be, Cast by bodies we conceive, And are made the things we deem In…

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Everyone Sang 03/05/2016

Everyone suddenly burst out singing; And I was filled with such delight As prisoned birds must find in freedom Winging wildly across the white Orchards and dark-green fields;…

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He For Whose Sake 27/04/2016

He for whose sake this ambiguity leads me by wilderness and quiet waters towards my dear resurrection, still maintains forever my watching breath stilled for his coming. My…

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Love After Love 20/04/2016

The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror, and each will smile at the other’s welcome,…

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Common Wish 13/04/2016

Love plays in the sun, Sickens, droops and is done. A spider’s thread Rolls up, binds up her dead.   There is too much For us between a…

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Phoenix 30/03/2016

Are you willing to be sponged out, erased, cancelled, made nothing? Are you willing to be made nothing? dipped into oblivion? If not, you will never really change….

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A Miracle for Breakfast 23/03/2016

At six o’clock we were waiting for coffee, waiting for coffee and the charitable crumb that was going to be served from a certain balcony – like kings…

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Spring, the Sweet Spring 16/03/2016

Spring, the sweet spring, is the year’s pleasant king, Them blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring, Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing:…

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Woman Ironing 09/03/2016

I thought I knew what was coming when he said, He wanted to do my likeness at the ironing. I live in the city, people tell you things….

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On his Baldness 02/03/2016

At dawn I sighed to see my hairs fall; At dusk I sighed to see my hairs fall. For I dreaded the time when the last lock should…

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For The Anniversary Of John Keats’ Death 23/02/2016

At midnight when the moonlit cypress trees Have woven round his grave a magic shade, Still weeping the unfinished hymn he made, There moves fresh Maia like a…

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Candles 17/02/2016

The days of the future stand in front of us Like a line of candles all alight—- Golden and warm and lively little candles. The days that are…

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The Indian Serenade 10/02/2016

   I arise from dreams of thee In the first sweet sleep of night, When the winds are breathing low, And the stars are shining bright: I arise from…

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The Time of Poetry Has Come 02/02/2016

The time of Poetry has come I feel it within myself Somehow waiting to be said Worlds are hidden And feel ready to come into being- The time…

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