Together, before daylight is delivered,
we run in October’s transforming dark.
Sleepily, but as devoted as automatons,
we misread our pace in this shadowless otherworld.
The familiar road is reconstructed in our memories;
our footfalls become unsure, imprecise –
eyes widen and we are suddenly alien-like!
The river prattles, the birds not yet in flight.
Indistinguishable phantoms arch and curve ahead.
Though bright miles are measured,
darkness remains our homeland.
We are together, we are running, we are virtuous.
Hey moon the colour of spoon!
It is time you were redecorated!
We Earthlings perched on this little wet and dry planet
are tired of your unbroken silveriness,
we need cheering up!
So it is time to paint the deep levels of your craters
a bold, intrepid aquamarine.
Your saucery rimrocks shall be streaked with white,
(not a dreadful fog-white but a divine frost-white).
We shall swing high on scaffolding and paint your
slanting mountains in the rowdy colours of wild horses.
Canyons and chasms, rifts and ravines will remain dark,
dark as bark.
Your drab, flat seas will be tinted grassland green;
your battered rocks and boulders a fiery prairie red.
Hand-sized stones will carry the colours of wine and plums;
lilac for all small pebbles.
And your dust, your powdery, gauzy, cheerless dust
we shall also paint. Each speck will be hand-tinted –
each a richer colour than the one before,
and each a finer colour than the one after.
And when, sweetly in the middlenight, we Earthlings
look up to view you bustling across
that muddled, star-thrown sky, you will appear
to us as some majestic eastern emperor might,
bejewelled with scintillating gemstones,
adorned with shimmering pearls.
And you, silver desert, will be the most dazzling,
the most vivid, the most alluring,
the most miraculous chunk of rock in our startling solar system.
And of the sun?
Ah, the sun in her gassy mass of sallow yellow
will be green with envy!
I have a hand of metal,
I have a hand of clay,
I have two arms of granite
and a song for every day.
I have a foot of damson,
I have a foot of corn,
I have two legs of leaf-stalk
and a dance for every morn.
I have a dream of water,
I have a dream of snow,
I have a thought of wildfire
and a harp-string long and low.
I have an eye of silver,
I have an eye of gold,
I have a tongue of reed-grass
and a story to be told.
Copyright John Rice, 2014
This is one of my favourite poems. It has appeared in lots of anthologies and has been set to music and recorded by the wonderful Irish singer Padraigin Ni Uallachain on her CD called 'When I was Young: Children’s Songs from Ireland'. It’s a poem that tries to capture the essence of the Celtic cultural spirit as it mentions song, dance, storytelling and music.
Poetry Is Important: Very young babies adore nursery rhymes because they are rhythmic and repetitive.
As children get older, they begin to become fascinated by words and how they look and how they sound different from each other...words become quite attractive and interesting little machines!
Poetry allows us to experiment with rhythm and sound and also allows us to investigate language and meaning. Poetry is good for children just as porridge was good for Robert Burns!
What Makes Poetry So Cool?