Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Alfred Austin (1835 - 1913)

Many congratulations to Carol Ann Duffy on her appointment as our new Poet Laureate, and very many thanks to Andrew Motion for all his hard work and dedication during the last ten years, and all he has done for poetry in this country. Not all poets laureate have been huge successes - Alfred Austin is generally regarded with less than admiration (if you have heard of him at all). However, he did write this: SONNET WRITTEN IN MID-CHANNEL Now upon English soil I soon shall stand, Homeward from climes than fancy deems more fair; And well I know that there will greet me there No soft foam falling upon smiling strand, No scent of orange-groves, no zephyrs bland, But Amazonian March, with breast half-bare And sleety arrows whistling through the air, Will be my welcome from that burly land. Yet he who boasts his birthplace yonder lies, Owns in his heart a mood akin to scorn For sensuous slopes that bask 'neath Southern skies, Teeming with wine, and prodigal of corn, And, gazing through the mist with misty eyes, Blesses the brave, bleak land where he was born.

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