Impatient Apparition

I have been reading John Aubrey

recently, how it was common to

see visions, apparitions

and lions wandering as lightning strikes

in the Agora- or perhaps the seasons

are out of joint-out of synch.

 

And anyway you didn’t phone me

at home to tell me why

you were not coming today

as you do this day every week

early really at nine thirty

unpredictable irregularity

makes me quite shirty

 

No text or phone call by

ten past ten and then

I hope you are quite o.k.

Some good reason you did

not arrive today.

 

No post either-so feeling

somewhat put out and cut off

my unconscious seems to have ploughed

you up- so as I slammed

the door- it was you I saw-

 

Torso emerging in a forward frozen pose-

in some limbo-like

grey or perhaps bright red-

half alive but perhaps half dead

legs concealed beneath the tiled path

for ever immobile-

I am sorry to have left you

quite like that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Anthony Powell and John Aubrey

Recently the famous leftist, Perry Anderson, wrote two articles in the London Review of Books about Anthony Powell comparing his work with that of, amongst others, Proust.Additionally, Hilary Spurling has recently written an acclaimed biography https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/09/anthony-powell-gets-the-superb-new-biography-he-deserves/ I had quite recently read one of Powell’s early works “The Afternoon Men” I find Powell’s account in Dance to the Music of Time very interesting. The so-called upper classes offer the rest of us an opportunity for a certain very English form of voyeurism. The novels are also fascinatingly written with wry humour and the distance and curiosity of an evaluating psychoanalyst. The time at which I read them influenced my perception, particularly of social life in a way no other writer has managed. The prose is mandarin and the references to paintings add another appealing dimension.

Quite clearly, Powell’s socialist characters are treated fairly harshly and this vein comes through more strongly in his diaries. Working class people are reduced to the status of rude mechanicals. His portrayal of women is arguably stereotypical. None of which entirely detracts from the elegiac and reflective passages of these novels, nor their comedy either. For anyone interested in A.P. I strongly recommend reading John Aubrey about whom Powell wrote in May 1946 (John Aubrey and his Friends).Aubrey was, of course, a splendidly gossipy biographer and antiquarian and much else besides. I saw Roy Dotrice play Aubrey in a remarkable one man play in 1968 at the Criterion. Dotrice is now famous for his performance in Game of Thrones but his two and a half show at that time was truly brilliant. He would pretend to fall asleep motionless through the half-hour interval. This appears to be available on DVD http://www.cinemind.com/aubrey/ Image result for roy dotrice+John Aubrey Ruth Scurr has written an intriguing biography of Aubrey which has been reviewed by the Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/mar/13/john-aubrey-my-own-life-ruth-scurr-review-biography John Aubrey: My Own Life by [Scurr, Ruth]