T.A.E.W.L. 1: East Lothian

O soul-enchanting poesy,
Thou’st long been all the world with me

John Clare

Sir, did you please your skin
‘Neath Nunraw’s sylvan falls,
Or ease your boat within
Old Dunbar’s harbor walls,
& have you ever gazed
On Whittinghame’s strange yew
As morning’s chorus lazed,
Drunk on a haar’s fresh dew?

Sir, did you stroll the swerve
Serving Port Seton’s sands,
Invested with the verve
East Lothian demands,
Like pluckin’ young fungi
From Saltoun’s lofty wood,
Or gladly ambling by
The Younger’s handsome flood?

Sir, did you ever take
The views from Deuchrie Dod,
& in that moment make
A pact with Man & God,
To wander to & fro,
Record all seen & felt,
Until thy senses slow,
When mental trances melt.

To an Englishman with Liberty
Dost thou ken thy’s a bard?
“I do, sir, in my dreams!”
You do?
By land & sea
Ascend art’s boulevard,
Upbending via beams
Thro’ Heaven thickly starr’d!

T.A.E.W.L. 2: Celtica

Everything you can imagine is real
Pablo Picasso

*

Sir, did you ever take
These bright isles in a tour,
The pride of Scotland slake
On Hampden’s awesome roar;
& did you ever stun
The herd of Wicklow deer
Or strike a mountain run
On Snowdon sloping sheer?

Sir, have you spent a night
With Haggis Burns & song,
Or watch’d a ravensflight
From battle cairns at Kong,
& have you seen the sun
Oer Glencoe’s savagery,
Or seen Portmeirion In total privacy.

Sir, did you break your fast
Upon old Boney’s nose,
Then gaze down on Belfast
With all those terraced rows,
& have you ever stood
Atop the Isle of Man,
When weather fine & good,
& Britain like a fan?

To an Englishman with Liberty
Ye love thy Celtic fringe?
“I do so, & am proud!”
You are?
Then set life free
Go let your soul impinge
Into thy native crowd
Streaking a silver tinge

T.A.E.W.L. 3: England

The country is looking much more beautiful
Edith Holden

*

Sir, have you ever seen
Cumbria clad in snow,
Or Brighton’s beaches been
In summer’s easy glow,
& have you ever heard
The Cambridge matin bells,
Or felt your senses stirr’d
When England’s anthem swells?

Sir, did you drink the ale
Brew’d for the northern mills,
Or watch seafarers sail
From Whitby’s salty sills,
& did you ever feed
Your thirst in Cornish Springs
Or take the time to read
Thro’ histories of kings?

Sir, have you ever pass’d
An afternoon at Lords,
Or watch’d a happy cast
Treading Adelphi’s boards,
& have you ever cheer’d
The horses at Aintree,
Or as a bargeman steer’d
The waters of the Lea?

To an Englishman with liberty
What of these coy demands?
“These things, sir, I have known!”
You have?
Then let us fly
Beyond these fabled lands
The English call their own,
Set sail for Calais sands.

T.A.E.W.L. 4: Europa

The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Matthew Arnold

*

Sir, did you ever ride
The high-speed Gallic trains,
Or climb a mountainside
Kept by Croatian swains,
& did you ever try
The tramways of Zurich,
Or skiing full hilt fly
Upon an Alpine peak?

Sir, did you ever tour
The fields of Waterloo,
Or Rooney urge to score
Amidst a foreign crew,
& did you lap the flow
Of Castalian Spring,
Or seek a fireside glow
From Finland’s wintry sting?

Sir, did you take a dance
With maidens of Seville,
Or breathe the elegance
Of the Avantine Hill,
& did you surf the scree
Barefoot upon the Basque,
Or taste the brevity
Of the Venetian masque?

To an Englishman with Liberty
Italy has it all,
“It does, sir, & does well!”
Bene!
No finer place,
& forge a poet’s soul,
Tis here the muses dwell
& welcome one & all

T.A.E.W.L. 5: Italia

Paradise of Exiles
PB Shelley

*

Sir, did your pallet taste
Sepia’s sable sheen,
Or spread green pesto paste
On bread like margarine,
Did you Collodi climb
To read Pinnochio,
Or see day set sublime
Oer Pontevecchio.

Sir, did you pace the maze
Thro’ old Venetian lanes,
Or gulp down as you gaze
On Pompeii’s strange remains,
& did you ever take
The waters of Trieste,
Or swim Averno’s lake
Without a moment’s rest.

Sir, did you cheer the riffs
As Ligabue rocks,
Walk Cinque Terran cliffs,
Or bought Le Scale box,
& did you deck the sails
Round Ponza’s pirate isle,
Or study Tuscan tayles
In Dante’s sweet new style.

To an Englishman with Liberty
Art thou adventurous?
“I am sir, life is good!”
It is?
Then reach this sea
The gods named glorious,
Let freedom clasp thy hood,
& cross the Bosphorous.

T.A.E.W.L. 6: Global

In view and opposite two cities stood
Christopher Marlowe

*

Sir, did you feel the heat
Of searing Rajhastan,
Or clad kimono greet
Fair geishas of Japan,
& did you ever wear
Th’Atlantic’s mistral miles,
Or dreams of Zion share
About Samoan isles?

Sir, did you ever ride
The Vladivostok rail,
Or watch the proud Roos hide
From harsh Van Diemen hail,
& did you ever climb
The Islandwhanan rock,
Or hear the lilting chime
Of Ganzhou’s epic clock?

Sir, did you note the chill
Of the Saharan night,
Or felt your senses thrill
With Rio neath your flight,
& did you ever smell
The waifs of Singapore,
Or share a living hell
When nations go to war?

To an Englishman with Liberty
With spirit cavalier,
For you the world grows dull?
“It does!”
Then come with me
A fresher course to steer,
Launch from Canaveral
To chase the stratosphere.

T.A.E.W.L. 7: Solaris

Their lives for the cause
Astronauts Memorial

*

Sir, did you foot the floor
Of dusty lunar seas,
Or spread your mind & soar
Upon the solar breeze,
& did you ever sail
Betwixt the Saturn rings,
Or catch a comets tail
& tie it to your wings?

Sir, did you abseil down
Craters of Mercury,
Or wander rusting towns
Of Martian history,
& did you pierce the clouds
‘Twixt Ceres & Trojan,
Or hide beneath the clouds
Of rains Venusian?

Sir, did you feel winds form
On Neptune’s azure reed,
Or watch the great red storm
From twinkling Ganymede,
& did you once observe
The green Urasian glow,
Then with Colombus verve
Pass fringes of Pluto?

To an Englishman with Liberty
Have you these pleasures sought?
“I have sir, & have felt!”
You Have!
God bless astronomy!
Relax, come let us float,
Beyond the Kuiper belt,
Upon our blazing boat.

T.A.E.W.L. 8: Sedna

Everywhere I go I find a poet
Sigmund Freud

*

Sir, have you ever gone
Beyond the icy Quaoar,
Or paused at Ixion,
Core of an ancyent star,
& did you scan the skies
Lovely, from Varuna,
Or set your naked eyes
On sanguinous Sedna?

Sir, come with us & spin
Upon this scarlet sphere,
Thro’ head of tiny pin
Watch our vast sun appear,
Here ye shall find no guide,
Nor shall ye hear a sound,
From Sedna’s swirling side
A rocky moon slips round.

Sir, watch the goddess sit,
Voluptuous & fair,
Beloved Enuit,
With starfish-dappl’d hair,
Whom by her husband cruel
Purg’d of all vanities,
Now sits she as the jewel
Of the infinities…

To an Englishman with Liberty
What brings ye to this place?
“She called me from her stone!”
She did?
Then cross this sea
She calls the stretch of space,
Continue, sir, alone
A vapour without trace.

T.A.E.W.L. 9: Galaxia

Rapturous flowers of the soul
Sri Aurobindo

*

Sir, feel each sphere that forms
As if life’s hallow’d birth,
Faint, incandescent storms
Enough to swallow Earth,
& we shall delve among
Distances none conceive,
Some durable among
Extremes none dare believe.

So many rocks like ours,
Some more Peg Fifty-One,
Whom in a hundred hours
Hurtles around her sun,
Stars flicker firefly
By supernovae gongs,
While choirs of nebulae
Court angels with sad songs;

Sir, witness Icarus,
A single stable star,
Whose supergiant dress
Our furthest light by far,
Here nature helter-skelts,
Here cosmos skirls askew,
Here conscious motion melts
In pools of pearly blue;

To an Englishman with Liberty
Freed feel thee from this cage?
“I do, Sir, like a bird!”
You are?
Then let us flee,
Forever on this page,
Untether’d from the herd,
A jester on the stage.