Jottings Logo - John Fraser

A New Book of Verse



Tom o’ Bedlam’s Song

Whipping Cheare (“Come you fatal Sisters three”)

An Excellent New Medley (“When Philomel begins to sing”)

Théophile de Viau (1590–1626)

A raven croaks ahead of me / Un corbeau avant moy croasse.

Claude Le Petit (1638–1662)

To the Curious Reader / Au Lecteur Curieux (“Last night, after a debauch on the Faubourg Saint-Germain” / ”Estant hier en debauche au Faubourg Saint-Germain”)


Ignotum per Ignotius, or a Furious Hodge-Podge of Nonsense.

A Pindaric (“Or yield or die’s the word, what could he mean”)


I’ll sail upon the dog-star

Here are people and sports

The Nurse’s Song


Ane Litle Interlude of the Droichs (“Hirry, hary, hobbilschow”)

A Brash of Wooing (“In secret Place this hinder Nicht”)

William Blake (1757–1827)

William Bond (“I wonder whether the Girls are mad”)


The Demon Lover (“O where have ye been, my long, long love”)

The Twa Corbies (“As I was walking all alane,”)

Lamkin (“It’s Lamkin was a mason good”)

Samuel Coleridge (1772–1834)

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (“It is an ancient Mariner”)

Robert Southey (1774–1843)

The Inchcape Rock (“No stir in the air, no stir in the sea”)


Johnny, I hardly knew ye (“While going the road to sweet Athy”)

Nell Flaherty’s Drake (“My name it is Nell, quite candid I tell”)

Ann Taylor (1782–1866)

The Maniac’s Song (“Bring Me a Garland, Bring Me a Wreath”)

Edward Lear (1812–1888)

Mr. and Mrs. Discobbolos (“Mr. and Mrs. Discobbolos”)

Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882)

The Woodspurge (“The wind flapped loose, the wind was still”)

Emily Dickinson (1830–1886)

Bring me the sunset in a cup.

I felt a funeral in my brain

She lay as if at play

’Twas warm, at first, like us

I started early, took my dog.

I’ve dropped my brain, my soul is numb

Lewis Carroll (1832–1898)

The Mad Gardener’s Song (“He thought he saw an Elephant”)

Gerard Hopkins (1844–1889)

That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire (“Cloud-puffball, torn tufts, tossed pillows flaunt forth, then chevy on an air-”)

Tristan Corbière (1845–1875)

Cry of the Blind Man / Cris d’Aveugle (“L’oeil tué n’est pas mort”/ The slain eye isn’t dead)

William Henley (1849–1903)

Villon’s Straight Tip to All Cross Coves (“Suppose you screeve, or go cheap-jack”)

Arthur Rimbaud (1854–1891)

Drop / Larme (“Loin des oiseaux, des troupeaux, des villageoises”/ “Far from the birds, the flocks, the village girls”)

The Stolen Heart / Le Coeur Volé (“Mon Coeur triste bave à la poupe,”/ “My sad heart slobbers at the stern,”)

Jules Laforgue (1860–1887)

The Coming Winter / L’Hiver qui vient (“Blocus sentimentale. Messagerie du Levant!” / “Sentimental Blockade! Express from the rising Sun.”)

John Gray (1866–1934)

Mishka (‘Mishka is poet among the beasts’)

Rainer Rilke (1875–1926)

A tree ascended there. O pure transcendence / Da stieg ein Baum. O reine Ubersteigung (Sonnets to Orpheus, I/1)

And a girl, almost, grew and came forth / Und fast ein Mädchen wars und ging hervor (Sonnets to Orpheus, I/2)

Plump apple, smooth banana, melon, peach / Voller Apfel, Birne und Banane (Sonnets to Orpheus, I/13)

You few, my long-ago childhood playmates / Wenige ihr, der einstigen Kindheit Gespielen (Sonnets to Orpheus, II/8)

Bessie Smith (1894–1937)

Spider Man Blues (“Early in the mornin’ when it’s dark and dreary outdoors”)

More Blues

Thomas A. Dorsey (Jane Lucas?) (1899–1993)

Terrible Operation Blues (“Get up on this table pull off that gown”)

Blind Lemon Jefferson (1893–1929)

Maltese Cat Blues (“Rats is mean in my kitchen”)

Robert Johnson (1911–1938)

Terraplane Blues (“Well I feel so lonesome”)

Blind Willie McTell (1898–1959)

Talking to Myself Blues (“Good Lord good Lord”)


Grey Goose (“Last Sunday morning, Lawd, Lawd, Lawd”)

Bertolt Brecht (1898–1956)

Pirate Jenny / Die Seeräuber-Jenny (“Meine Herren, heute sehen Sie mich Gläser abwaschen”/ “Gentlemen, today you see me washing glasses”)

Hart Crane (1899–1932)

Cutty Sark (“I met a man in South street—tall”)

Stevie Smith (1902–1971)

Pretty (“Why is the word pretty so underrated?”)

Raymond Queneau (1903–1976)

I’m not so scared of that / Je crains pas ça tellement (“Je crains pas ça tellement la mort de mes entrailles”/ “ I’m not so scared about my guts dying”)

Wystan Auden (1907–1973)

As I Walked Out One Evening (“As I walked out one evening”)

Louis MacNeice (1907–1963)

Meeting Point (“Time was away and somewhere else’”)

Alec Hope (1907–2000)

Conquistador (“I sing of the decline of Henry Clay”)

Elizabeth Bishop (1911–1979)

Sestina (“September rain falls on the house”)

James Cunningham (1911–1985)

An Interview with Doctor Drink (“I have a fifth of therapy”)

George Johnston (1913–2004)

Music on the Water (“Saturday night she comes in her little boat”)

The Queen of Lop (“She works all day at a big machine that lops and lops and lops”)

Dust (“Old Mrs. McWhirter is musty dusty old”)

Joan LaBombard (1920–

If We Were Water Voice (“We were the instrument. The waves and water”)

Richard Wilbur (1921–

This Pleasing Anxious Being (“In no time you are back where safety was”)

Denise Levertov (1923–1997)

Casselden Road, N.W.10 (“The wind would fan the life-green fires that smouldered”)

James Baxter (1926–1972)

Ballad of Campbell and the Preaching Fish (“A sailor grabbing late”)

Christopher Middleton (1926–

The Moon from a Box of Lokum (“In a country garden outside Rome”)

A Ballad of Arthur Rimbaud (“”That time of year comes round again,”)

Henri Coulette (1927–1988)

Evening in the Park (“The children have packed up the light”)

Frederick Seidel (1936–

That Fall (“The body on the bed is made of china,”)

The Blue-Eyed Doe (“I look at Broadway in the bitter cold,”)

X.J. Kennedy (1929–

In a Prominent Bar in Secaucus One Day (“In a prominent bar in Secaucus one day”)

A Curse on a Thief {“Paul Dempster had a handsome tackle box”)

Richard Outram (1930–2005)

The Hunter is Delirious with an Infected Wound (“Must I relinquish what I must revere?”)

What Do Poets Want? (“It’s the ants’ pants, it’s the bees’ knees”)

Les Murray (1938–

Bagman O’Reilly’s Curse (“I daresay that’s the custom in your church”)

John Whitworth (1945–

Criminal Damage (“A rumour round the village—something horrid”)

Reading the Bones (“The tiny bones of children in a cupboard”)

R.S. Gwynn (1948–

Lament for the Names Lang Syne ( “Bootie, Cootie, Hootie, and Red”)

Bruce Taylor (1960–

The Slough (“What’s under the pudding skin, down in the slough”)

W.N. Herbert (1961–

Cabaret McGonagall (“Come as ye dottilt, brain-deid hunks”)

Ballad of the House of Fear (“Eh’ve bideit in thi House o Fear”)

A.E. Stallings (1968–

Bad News Blues (“When Bad News comes to town, hold on to your heart.”)

Erica Dawson (1979–

High Heel (“I was born, Mom says, bull’s eye”)

Parallax (“Icicles plummet from the porch and sow”)


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