Housman on The First of May

THE FIRST. O F ΜΑΥ The orchards half the wayFrom home to Ludlow fairFlowered on the first of MayIn Mays when I was there;And seen from stile or turningThe plume of smoke would showWhere fires were burningThat went out long ago. The plum broke forth in green,The pear stood high and snowed,My friends and I… Continue reading Housman on The First of May

The Mad Pomegranate Tree

I had recently been perusing Cavafy – particularly reading the essay on him written by that doyen of Dons, Maurice Bowra in his book, The Creative Experiment. Bowra, of whom it has been said, ” …..either the most distinguished or the most notorious Oxford don of the early twentieth century. Classicist, poet, wit, raconteur extraordinary, and… Continue reading The Mad Pomegranate Tree

Lawrence Durrell and his Coconuts

Many people will have seen the excellent portrayal of Larry Durrell by Josh O’Connor in the TV Series “Meet the Durrells“. However, my personal encounter with this fellow was at least 50 years ago when I read “The Alexandria Quartet“. I probably was not sufficiently well read at the time to make much sense of… Continue reading Lawrence Durrell and his Coconuts

Musings on Catullus, Housman and Stoppard

From Catullus 64 Peliaco quondam prognatae uertice pinusdicuntur liquidas Neptuni nasse per undasPhasidos ad fluctus et fines Aeetaeos,cum lecti iuuenes, Argiuae robora pubis,auratam optantes Colchis auertere pellemausi sunt uada salsa cita decurrere puppi,caerula uerrentes abiegnis aequora palmis.diua quibus retinens in summis urbibus arces,ipsa leui fecit uolitantem flamine currum,pinea coniungens inflexae texta carinae.illa rudem cursu prima… Continue reading Musings on Catullus, Housman and Stoppard

World Poetry Day-Ovid in Exile -from Tristia Book 3

Barbarian Incursions If such waters had once been yours, Leander, those straits would not be guilty of your death. Since the dolphins can’t hurl themselves into the air, harsh winter holds them back if they try: and though Boreas roars and thrashes his wings, there’s no wave on the besieged waters. The ships stand locked in frozen marble, and no… Continue reading World Poetry Day-Ovid in Exile -from Tristia Book 3

Lament for Cornish Cafe Society

Perhaps it exists only in the imagination. I remember visiting the Cafe Central in Vienna with its wide variety of journals and literary magazines, gorgeous variety of coffees and its habitués. Mostly tourists when I visited but there were the ghosts of writers and revolutionists from Krauss to Trotsky. Then naturally the confectionary of all… Continue reading Lament for Cornish Cafe Society

Listening to Reid

Well, perhaps I have had too much time on my hands and a surfeit of Government adverts on Classic F.M. The latter causing my blood pressure to rise despite the compensating soothing by a combination of the symphonies and the smooth and slightly manic A.A. (Alexander Armstrong). Despite the irritations of the lockdown the discovery… Continue reading Listening to Reid

Reading and Pondering Reid

Once again, magically and without official notification, it was the time of the year for the pale-blue butterflies to arrive. From Reid’s Collection “Katerina Brac“ Well indeed, the weather has picked up and the magnolia is in blossom in the gardens. I have just been reading the new collection of poems by Christopher Reid entitled… Continue reading Reading and Pondering Reid

“Nostalgia” a poem by Boris Pasternak

To give this book a dedicationThe desert sickened,And lions roared, and dawns of tigersTook hold of Kipling. A dried-up well of dreadful longingWas gaping, yawning.They swayed and shivered, rubbing shoulders,Sleek-skinned and tawny. Since then continuing foreverTheir sway in scansion,They stroll in mist through dewy meadowsDreamt up by the Ganges. Creeping at dawn in pits and… Continue reading “Nostalgia” a poem by Boris Pasternak