Tuesday, 17 March 2015

from the archives

We're in the process of sorting and redesigning our website(s) which involves trawling through the archives, so I'll post here some best bits - like Toby Jones reading William Blake.


FILMED ON NATIONAL POETRY DAY 2008 BY SASHA HOARE

The Chimney Sweeper



When my mother died I was very young,
And my father sold me while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry ‘weep, weep, weep, weep,’
So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep.

There’s little Tom Dacre who cried when his head,

That curl’d like a lamb’s back, was shav’d: so I said,

‘Hush, Tom, never mind it, for when your head’s bare,
You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair.’

And so he was quiet, & that very night,

As Tom was a sleeping, he had such a sight,

That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned & Jack,

Were all of them lock’d up in coffins of black.

And by came an Angel who had a bright key,

And he open’d the coffins & set them all free;

Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing, they run,

And wash in a river, and shine in the Sun.

Then naked & white, all their bags left behind,

They rise upon clouds, and sport in the wind;
And the Angel told Tom, if he’d be a good boy,

He’d have God for his father & never want joy.

And so Tom awoke, and we rose in the dark,

And got with our bags & our brushes to work.

Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy & warm;

So if all do their duty they need not fear harm.

The Chimney Sweeper



A little black thing among the snow,
Crying ‘weep, weep,’ in notes of woe!
‘Where are thy father & mother,  say?’
‘They are both gone up to the church to pray.

‘Because I was happy upon the heath,

And smil’d among the winter’s snow,

They clothed me in the clothes of death,

And taught me to sing the notes of woe.

‘And because I am happy, & dance & sing,

They think they have done me no injury,

And are gone to praise God & His Priest & King,

Who make up a heaven of our misery.’



                  Holy Thursday



Is this a holy thing to see
In a rich and fruitful land,
Babes reduc’d to misery,
Fed with cold and usurous hand?

Is that trembling cry a song?

Can it be a song of joy?

And so many children poor?

It is a land of poverty!

And their sun does never shine,

And their fields are bleak & bare,

And their ways are fill’d with thorns:
It is eternal winter there.

For where’er the sun does shine,

And where’er the rain does fall,

Babe can never hunger there,

Nor poverty the mind appall.


London



I wander thro’ each charter’d street
Near where the charter’d Thames does flow,
A mark in every face I meet,
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,

In every Infant’s cry of fear,

In every voice, in every ban,

The mind-forg’d manacles I hear.

How the Chimney-sweeper’s cry

Every black’ning Church appalls,

And the hapless Soldier’s sigh

Runs in blood down Palace walls.

But most thro’ midnight streets I hear

How the youthful Harlot’s curse

Blasts the new born Infant’s tear,

And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse.

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