the poetic pre-nightfall: Sean Thomas Dougherty, Pam Ayres, Jeff Buckley and Noel Coward.


you’ll know why the title caught our eye – but the poem made us stay and listen for a while and we wanted to leave it here, for you to see it, whenever you dropped by to visit, perhaps while we’re asleep ————-[it’s 23:00 hours on This Coast and we really should apply night cream and remove the mascara, and not in that order either]

Dear Tiara
by Sean Thomas Dougherty

I dreamed I was a mannequin in the pawnshop window
of your conjectures.

I dreamed I was a chant in the mouth of a monk, saffron-robed
syllables in the religion of You.

I dreamed I was a lament to hear the deep sorrow places
of your lungs.

I dreamed I was your bad instincts.

I dreamed I was a hummingbird sipping from the tulip of your ear.

I dreamed I was your ex-boyfriend stored in the basement
with your old baggage.

I dreamed I was a jukebox where every song sang your name.

I dreamed I was in an elevator, rising in the air shaft
of your misgivings.

I dreamed I was a library fine, I’ve checked you out
too long so many times.

I dreamed you were a lake and I was a little fish leaping
through the thin reeds of your throaty humming.

I must’ve dreamed I was a nail, because I woke beside you still

I dreamed I was a tooth to fill the absences of your old age.

I dreamed I was a Christmas cactus, blooming in the desert
of my stupidity.

I dreamed I was a saint’s hair-shirt, sewn with the thread
of your saliva.

I dreamed I was an All Night Movie Theater, showing the
flickering black reel of my nights before I met you.

I must’ve dreamed I was gravity, I’ve fallen for you so damn hard.

Sean Thomas Dougherty

don’t you love to hear poets read their own work?

or sing.

Screen shot 2013-03-05 at 10.40.25 PM

actually anything written by the dark and brooding and wonderful Mr. Cohen is poetry in motion.

too melancholic?

let’s have an uplifting moment of Pam then.

Don’t lay me in some gloomy churchyard shaded by a wall
Where the dust of ancient bones has spread a dryness over all,
Lay me in some leafy loam where, sheltered from the cold
Little seeds investigate and tender leaves unfold.
There kindly and affectionately, plant a native tree
To grow resplendent before God and hold some part of me.
The roots will not disturb me as they wend their peaceful way
To build the fine and bountiful, from closure and decay.
To seek their small requirements so that when their work is done
I’ll be tall and standing strongly in the beauty of the sun.

or Edna

Cold wind of autumn, blowing loud
At dawn, a fortnight overdue,
Jostling the doors, and tearing  through
My bedroom to rejoin the cloud,
I know—for I can hear the hiss
And scrape of leaves along the floor—
How may boughs, lashed bare by this,
Will rake the cluttered sky once more.
Tardy, and somewhat south of east,
The sun will rise at length, made known
More by the meagre light increased
Than by  a disk in splendour shown;
When, having but to turn my head,
Through the stripped maple I shall see,
Bleak and remembered, patched with red,
The hill all summer hid from me.

another Pastoral moment, this time from Mary Oliver:

At Great Pond

 At Great Pond
the sun, rising,
scrapes his orange breast
on the thick pines,
and down tumble
a few orange feathers into
the dark water.
On the far shore
a white bird is standing
like a white candle —
or a man, in the distance,
in the clasp of some meditation —
while all around me the lilies
are breaking open again
from the black cave
of the night.
Later, I will consider
what I have seen —
what it could signify —
what words of adoration I might
make of it, and to do this
I will go indoors to my desk —
I will sit in my chair —
I will look back
into the lost morning
in which I am moving, now,
like a swimmer,
so smoothly,
so peacefully,
I am almost the lily —
almost the bird vanishing over the water
on its sleeves of night.

– Mary Oliver

but we will leave you with Noel.

a true poet in our eyes.

Life today is hectic.
Our world is running away.
Only the wise can recognize
The process of decay.
All our dialectic
Is quite unable to say
Whether we’re on the beam or not,
Whether we’ll rise supreme or not,
Whether this new regime or not
Is leading us astray.

We all have Frigidaires, radios,
Television and movie shows
To shield us from the ultimate abyss.
We have our daily bread neatly cut,
Every modern convenience but
The question that confronts us all is this:

What’s going to happen to the children
When there aren’t any more grown-ups?
Having been injected with some rather peculiar glands
Darling Mum’s gone platinum
And dances to all the rumba bands.
The songs that she sings at twilight
Would certainly be the highlight
For some of those claques that Elsa Maxwell
Takes around in yachts.
Rockabye, rockabye, rockabye my darlings,
Mother requires a few more shots.
Does it amuse the tiny mites
To see their parents high as kites?
What’s, what’s, what’s going to happen to the tots?

Life today’s neurotic, a ceaseless battle we wage;
Millions are spent to circumvent
The march of middle age.
The fact that we grab each new narcotic
Can only prove in the end

Whether our hormones gel or not
Whether our cells rebel or not,
Whether we’re blown to hell or not,
We’ll all be round the bend
From taking Benzedrine, Dexamyl,
Every possible sleeping pill
To knock us out or knock us into shape.
We all have shots for this, shots for that,
Shots for making us thin or fat,
But there’s one problem that we can’t escape.

What’s going to happen to the children
When there aren’t any more grown-ups?
Thanks to plastic surgery and uncle’s abrupt demise,
Dear Aunt Rose has changed her nose
But doesn’t appear to realize
The pleasures that once were heaven
Look silly at sixty-seven,
And youthful allure you can’t procure
In terms of perms and pots.
So lullaby, lullaby, lullaby my darlings,
Try not to scratch those large red spots,
Think of the shock when mummie’s face
Is lifted from its proper place,
What’s, what’s, what’s going to happen to the tots?

What’s going to happen to the children
When there aren’t any more grown-ups?
It’s bizarre when grandmamma, without getting out of breath
Starts to jive at eighty-five and frightens the little ones to death.
The police had to send a squad car
When daddy got fried on vodka
And tied a tweed coat round mummie’s throat
In several sailor’s knots.
Hushabye, hushabye, hushabye my darlings,
Try not to fret and wet your cots.
One day you’ll clench your tiny fists
And murder your psychiatrists.
What’s, what’s, what’s going to happen to the tots?

it’s really superb to Listen to Noel sing it himself, darlings.

Screen shot 2013-03-05 at 10.59.04 PMisn’t he just deliciously brilliant?

we used to play that track while driving a large minivan (sigh, So Not Glam) of little darlings around [during the dotcom crash aka “Our Sabbatical”we became something of a Mary Poppins figure to Troubled Teens] – they loved it – we all sang along merrily.

their parents were Most surprised after they finished their time in residential care.

a good education is Never Wasted.

Poetry, haunting music and the lyrical personages of our day are the true soul-enhancers of society – discuss.


night, darlings.


12 thoughts on “the poetic pre-nightfall: Sean Thomas Dougherty, Pam Ayres, Jeff Buckley and Noel Coward.

  1. i just fell in love with sean thomas dougherty reading “we are so illegal”.
    *in love*

    normally, i find it exhausting to listen to writers read their own stuff, i must confess. i guess, that has something to do with my own job because i am very easily distracted by someone not “using his/her voice properly or by an accent or simply by the lack of expression.

    but in this case, oh, how beautiful!

    thank you for this inspiring post.

    blowing kisses from this side of the ocean,

  2. Yes, he is deliciously brilliant. Thank you for the poetry. And yes, I agree, the poets are our soul-enhancers. Beautifully put. Have you read “Savage Beauty” — the biography of Edna? One of the best biographies I have read. What a charming blog you have! So happy to have found it.

  3. *excuse me for a moment as I pick my jaw up off the floor after taking in notausgangs new photo*
    While I can’t quite say the same because it would be like picking a favorite child (and view the state the tots are in…) I must say those six minutes of listening, leaning against the wall, eyes closed, were quite a gift, bow undone.

    And I have a friend who encouraged me to write, so I did, a little poem. And while not even able to swing from the bottom rung of those here, a girl has to start somewhere. N’est-ce-pas?

    Hope that you had fine dreams and have a shining day ahead…

    1. ooooo, poetry is an excellent thing to write – can you share?

      and yes. Jeff Buckley is hauntingly beautiful.

      we once had a step-mother who introduced us to Tim Buckley and we wept, aged 15.

      1. Oh my, it is awkward those 15 year old meetings. I still have them, unfortunately.

        And I did share, sweet pea, which, frankly, made me all a jitters:

        Why is it that I can’t remember if you read the formidable writer Suze on Subliminal Coffee.? She has issued a challenge for haikus. Something tells me you would be up for this, while I am swimmingly at a loss.

        Have a beautiful day…
        Gros Bisous…

  4. So very inspiring… Soul-enhancers, that’s what we need. Maybe there are more of those than we are made to believe.

    And despite the amazing competition: Mr Cohen wins my <3, always!

          1. “station to station” is one of my favourite albums since I watched the movie with 14 (I know it’s a 16+ but my dad allowed me to see it, probalby thinking ‘what can derange this kid anyway’) – and one day I’ll share my thomas newton look (complete with hairdo, haircolour, and coat) with you guys :D

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