Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Sweetness
 
Just when it has seemed I couldn’t bear   
   one more friend   
waking with a tumor, one more maniac   


with a perfect reason, often a sweetness   
   has come   
and changed nothing in the world   


except the way I stumbled through it,   
   for a while lost   
in the ignorance of loving   


someone or something, the world shrunk   
   to mouth-size,   
hand-size, and never seeming small.   


I acknowledge there is no sweetness   
   that doesn’t leave a stain,   
no sweetness that’s ever sufficiently sweet ....   


Tonight a friend called to say his lover   
   was killed in a car   
he was driving. His voice was low   


and guttural, he repeated what he needed   
   to repeat, and I repeated   
the one or two words we have for such grief   


until we were speaking only in tones.   
   Often a sweetness comes   
as if on loan, stays just long enough   


to make sense of what it means to be alive,   
   then returns to its dark   
source. As for me, I don’t care   


where it’s been, or what bitter road   
   it’s traveled   
to come so far, to taste so good.
 
(Sweetness, by Stephen Dunn)

Thursday, 30 October 2014

More exciting cultural forays this week for Radio 4's Saturday Review


Here's what we're reviewing:
  • Tis Pity She's a Whore - playwright John Ford, 1633, Sam Wannamaker Playhouse, The Globe
  • Nightcrawler - Jake Gyllenhaal movie, directed by Dan Gilroy
  • Let Me Be Frank With You - collection of 4 novellas by Richard Ford
  • The Passing Bells - BBC1 World War One TV drama
  • Information Age Gallery at the Science Museum
I can't divulge my views on them yet - tune in Radio 4, Sat 1st November, 7.15pm.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04mb160
 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

On Dylan Thomas' 100th birthday, a beautiful poem...

Fern Hill

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace,

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.
honoured to share October 27th birthday with Dylan Thomas and Sylvia Plath! beautiful sunshine in London all day & special birthday flowers

 

Friday, 17 October 2014

Mysticism for Beginners (Adam Zagajewski)
 
The day was mild, the light was generous.
The German on the café terrace
held a small book on his lap.
I caught sight of the title:
Mysticism for Beginners.
Suddenly I understood that the swallows
patrolling the streets of Montepulciano
with their shrill whistles,
and the hushed talk of timid travellers
from Eastern, so-called Central Europe,
and the white herons standing -yesterday? the day before? -
like nuns in fields of rice,
and the dusk, slow and systematic,
erasing the outlines of medieval houses,
and olive trees on little hills,
abandoned to the wind and heat,
and the head of the Unknown Princess
that I saw and admired in the Louvre,
and stained-glass windows like butterfly wings
sprinkled with pollen,
and the little nightingale practicing
its speech beside the highway,
and any journey, any kind of trip,
are only mysticism for beginners,
the elementary course, prelude
to a test that’s been 
postponed. 

Monday, 13 October 2014

more John Osborne inspiration...

“How I long for a little ordinary human enthusiasm. Just enthusiasm - that's all. I want to hear a warm, thrilling voice cry out hallelujah! Hallelujah! I'm alive! I've an idea. Why don't we have a little game? Let's pretend that we're human beings, and that we're actually alive. Just for a while. What do you say? Let's pretend we're human.”
 
Look Back in Anger