Poem of the Week: The Swing, Robert Louis Stevenson

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How do you like to go up in a swing,
   Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
   Ever a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall,
   Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
   Over the countryside—
Till I look down on the garden green,
   Down on the roof so brown—
Up in the air I go flying again,
   Up in the air and down!
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Don’t Leave

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Hey, it’s me.

I’m searching for the words to make it right;  these are all I have.

Can you stay? One more minute?

Because when you leave, when you close that door, you know you can’t come back, right? There’s no handle on the other side to let you back through.

No that I don’t want you to.

Believe me, I do.

Please; let’s make this easy.

You are so vital, so essential, with so much love to give.

Won’t you stay? Just a little longer?

Because when you go, a thousand stars will go out in the sky and I don’t know how I’ll ever remember what it is to breathe.

Without you, how will I know what to believe?

I’m begging with you, pleading; please don’t leave.

Please. Don’t leave us. We don’t want to be free.

Don’t give up when there’s so much more life to live.

I beg you. Please listen. Please stay and hear me, just one more minute.

The world will swallow up in darkness and sadness if you make this choice.

There will be too much silence without your voice.

Please. Please. Don’t leave.

 

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Favourite Poets: Wilfred Owen – Dulce et decorum est

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Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.
Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

First, if you’ve never seen it, I strongly recommend that you watch this.

And if your heart isn’t moved then I think perhaps war poetry might be lost on you.
No matter the performer of this poem or the amount of times I read it myself, I have the same reaction. My throat seizes up halfway through the second line of the first stanza, and then I’m trapped, breath held and heart pulsing increasingly fast until the poem’s conclusion. The agony, fear, and torture in every word of this poem is grusomely vivid, and to be honest I don’t think we should shy away from what these soldiers experienced. Whilst I’m against the idea of war, I have nothing but respect for those who serve in the various militaries that do their all to protect us; I just wish we could learn lessons from words like Owen’s, that his and his counterparts efforts won’t be in vain because of our constant need to keep fighting. A naive view, perhaps, but if there ever comes a day when we are free of war I’ll not be complaining.

Sport

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Take your favourite, noisiest sport.

It doesn’t matter which, so long as there’s a crowd –

The bigger, the brasher, the better.

If there’s hooligans, they’re welcome too. Now,

Shrink them down. Make them miniscule,

Microscopic, yet still speaking at full volume, seeing red.

Gather them up together like you’re collecting frogspawn

And deposit them all inside my head.

On the loudest days, they’re all in there.

And all of their hate and rage and taunting is turned on me.

I am the reason their team didn’t win.

I am the offside the ref didn’t see.

It’s not your understanding I’m looking for.

I’d settle for something resembling respect.

It feels like we’ve just traded shirts

For fixtures that haven’t even happened yet.

 

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