“Poetry Afternoon”

Sorry its so late, to anyone that happens to look in.  Trying to get a Christmas Tree up and cope with some bad pain at the moment, anyone who has Osteoarthritis, I am sure you will understand.

Todays poem is by John Skelton, and the poem comes from a lovely book I acquired from the late poet Rod Mckuen,s personal Library – thanks to my youngest Son.  The book is old and called “A Treasury of Great Poems” English and American and by Louis Untermeyer.

“To Mistress Margaret Hussey”


Merry Margaret,

As midsummer flower,

Gentle as falcon

Or hawk of the tower;

With solace and gladness,

Much mirth and no madness,

All good and no badness;

So joyously,

So maidenly,

So womanly,

Her demeaning;

In every thing

Far far passing

That I can indite

Or suffice to write

Of merry Margaret

As midsummer flower,

Gentle as falcon

Or hawk of the tower.



As patient and as still,

And as full of good will,

As the fair Isyphill,


Sweet pomander,

Good Cassander,

Steadfast of thought,

Well made, well wrought,

Far may be sought

Ere than ye can find

So courteous, so kind,

As merry Margaret,

This midsummer flower. Gentle as falcon

Or hawk of the tower.


John Skelton  Born 1460?   Died  1529

The lively and erratic work of John Skelton acted as a “bridge” between the medieval solemnity and Tudor sprightliness.  Skelton was born about 1460, was applauded and attacked during his time, was forgotten shortly after and had to wait four hundred years to be rediscovered.  His life was a series of contradictions.  He had an impudent brain and a loose tongue; yet he received the official  laurel from Louvain, Cambridge and Oxford and the universities created him “poet laureate”.  He was outspoken to the point of lese majesty; yet he was tutor to Prince Henry, and became court poet when the Prince ascended the Throne as Henry VIII.  He was admitted to holy orders in 1498 and occupied a parsonage in Norfolk; yet he attacked the powerful Cardinal Wolsey and as a result was forced to take sanctuary in Westminster Abbey, where he died in 1529. He was secretly married to the woman who kept house for him and who had his children.  He was known to be unashamedly tender in his poetry.

Extracts from the Poetry book.


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