Hello poets and poetry folk. Happy New Year (we say this till Burns Night in Scotland and today is the very date). Happy to announce Keep Poems Alive will continue this year but there will only be one or two issues a month unless submissions come quickly and often. I can do the postings weekly, as I did them for a year through August 2015 – 16, but I cannot also spend time soliciting your poems.

If you like Keep Poems Alive, and I know that some of you do, please help by sending, and also informing your poetry friends. You can submit several poems at once which will be spread out over various issues. You can even send me a book published over 3 years ago with the option to reprint from it. Anything, in fact, to keep this feasible. I will post near the beginning of each month and hopefully near the end of each month too. You can email me at sally evans 35 at gmail dot com. Postal address available via email.

Let us ease ourselves back. The Leaping Hare by Neil Leadbeater brings us into the year. Maureen Weldon’s poem is zany, but very sad, so we must face up to the sadness. Then Mavis Gulliver’s poem, set in winter, brings unexpected colours into a seashore sunrise. And – it is way out of copyright so why don’t we finish with a poem by our own Robert Burns.  Let us be brave and have the Address to the Deil.

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Neil Leadbeater
The Leaping Hare

In open country
chances are he’ll be running.
Knowing the sound of every wind-shift
he’ll cradle his life in the rock-a- bye corn sticks
hind legs bunched for the big bolt forward
to spring over runaway ground.
Today, in the photograph
which I have called “Hare Leaping”,
he will take forever to complete one bound.

“The Leaping Hare” was first published in Red Herring (2001) – a magazine that was produced in Northumberland but has long since ceased publication.

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Maureen Weldon
Mabel the Chewing Gum Girl

Born 1866, died 1870. Buried, Overleigh Cemetery, Chester.

In a place among the yew trees,
she lies,
always in her ruffle-neck nightie,
always on her head-ducked- dinting pillow.
I was a naughty girl
when I was four;
caught chewing, chewing gum;
ran to my nanny
who chased me round the rocking horse.
Until
I, swallowed it.

Grief. Horror.
She did not remember
their tears.
Nor the four black horses
and top hatted men.
Nor the church bell tolling,
and all saying,
Sad, so sad.
And, What a shame.

Now far, far away
she dances with moonbeams,
and in the dawn,
laughs with the birds.

Published 2001 by ‘Never Bury Poetry’ Magazine. UK
Included in her Pamphlet ‘Earth Tides’, 2002. Published by Poetry
Monthly Press.

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Mavis Gulliver

Winter sunrise

The sun, before it rises,
lights the sky.
A watercolour wash
of vibrant shades
suffuses clouds with red
and orange –
dyes the sea
to match.
Bound by the spell
but blinded
by increasing brightness
I turn to the west
where grass and trees
are blushing
and across the surprised sky
pink gulls

are flying.

 

In Earthlove 2008

 

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Robert Burns
Address to the Deil
 
O thou! whatever title suit thee,—
Auld Hornie, Satan, Nick, or Clootie!
Wha in yon cavern, grim an’ sootie,
       Clos’d under hatches,
Spairges about the brunstane cootie

       To scaud poor wretches!

Hear me, Auld Hangie, for a wee,
An’ let poor damned bodies be;
I’m sure sma’ pleasure it can gie,
       E’en to a deil,
To skelp an’ scaud poor dogs like me,

       An’ hear us squeel!

Great is thy pow’r, an’ great thy fame;
Far ken’d an’ noted is thy name;
An’ tho’ yon lowin heugh’s thy hame,
       Thou travels far;
An’ faith! thou’s neither lag nor lame,
       Nor blate nor scaur.

Whyles, ranging like a roarin lion,
For prey a’ holes an’ corners tryin;
Whyles, on the strong-wing’d tempest flyin,
       Tirlin’ the kirks;
Whyles, in the human bosom pryin,

       Unseen thou lurks.

I’ve heard my rev’rend graunie say,
In lanely glens ye like to stray;
Or whare auld ruin’d castles gray
       Nod to the moon,
Ye fright the nightly wand’rer’s way

       Wi’ eldritch croon.

When twilight did my graunie summon
To say her pray’rs, douce honest woman!
Aft yont the dike she’s heard you bummin,
       Wi’ eerie drone;
Or, rustlin thro’ the boortrees comin,

       Wi’ heavy groan.

Ae dreary, windy, winter night,
The stars shot down wi’ sklentin light,
Wi’ you mysel I gat a fright,
       Ayont the lough;
Ye like a rash-buss stood in sight,

       Wi’ waving sough.

The cudgel in my nieve did shake,
Each bristl’d hair stood like a stake,
When wi’ an eldritch, stoor “Quaick, quaick,”
       Amang the springs,
Awa ye squatter’d like a drake,

       On whistling wings.

Let warlocks grim an’ wither’d hags
Tell how wi’ you on ragweed nags
They skim the muirs an’ dizzy crags
       Wi’ wicked speed;
And in kirk-yards renew their leagues,

       Owre howket dead.

Thence, countra wives wi’ toil an’ pain
May plunge an’ plunge the kirn in vain;
For oh! the yellow treasure’s taen
       By witchin skill;
An’ dawtet, twal-pint hawkie’s gaen

       As yell’s the bill.

Thence, mystic knots mak great abuse,
On young guidmen, fond, keen, an’ croose;
When the best wark-lume i’ the house,
       By cantraip wit,
Is instant made no worth a louse,

       Just at the bit.

When thowes dissolve the snawy hoord,
An’ float the jinglin icy-boord,
Then water-kelpies haunt the foord
       By your direction,
An’ nighted trav’lers are allur’d

       To their destruction.

And aft your moss-traversing spunkies
Decoy the wight that late an drunk is:
The bleezin, curst, mischievous monkeys
       Delude his eyes,
Till in some miry slough he sunk is,

       Ne’er mair to rise.

When Masons’ mystic word an grip
In storms an’ tempests raise you up,
Some cock or cat your rage maun stop,
       Or, strange to tell!
The youngest brither ye wad whip

       Aff straught to hell!

Lang syne, in Eden’d bonie yard,
When youthfu’ lovers first were pair’d,
An all the soul of love they shar’d,
       The raptur’d hour,
Sweet on the fragrant flow’ry swaird,

       In shady bow’r;

Then you, ye auld snick-drawin dog!
Ye cam to Paradise incog,
And play’d on man a cursed brogue,
       (Black be your fa’!)
An gied the infant warld a shog,

       Maist ruin’d a’.

D’ye mind that day, when in a bizz,
Wi’ reeket duds an reestet gizz,
Ye did present your smoutie phiz
       Mang better folk,
An’ sklented on the man of Uz

       Your spitefu’ joke?

An’ how ye gat him i’ your thrall,
An’ brak him out o’ house and hal’,
While scabs and blotches did him gall,
       Wi’ bitter claw,
An’ lows’d his ill-tongued, wicked scaul,

       Was warst ava?

But a’ your doings to rehearse,
Your wily snares an’ fechtin fierce,
Sin’ that day Michael did you pierce,
       Down to this time,
Wad ding a Lallan tongue, or Erse,

       In prose or rhyme.

An’ now, Auld Cloots, I ken ye’re thinkin,
A certain Bardie’s rantin, drinkin,
Some luckless hour will send him linkin,
       To your black pit;
But faith! he’ll turn a corner jinkin,

       An’ cheat you yet.

But fare you weel, Auld Nickie-ben!
O wad ye tak a thought an’ men’!
Ye aiblins might—I dinna ken—
       Still hae a stake:
I’m wae to think upo’ yon den,

       Ev’n for your sake!

1784 I think
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