Category Archives: musings

The Wet Churchyard Earth

The wet churchyard earth
Speaks of nature’s rebirth.
The graveyard grass smells fresh.
I see life and death.

My Clock’s Old Chime

My clock’s old chime
Is out of time
With this modern age.
But I must engage
For I know
That the clock
Will not stop
Though I wish
It would do so.

Four Last Songs: the poems that comprise the final song cycle by Richard Strauss

My thanks to my friend Brian for introducing me to these poems by Hermann Hesse and Joseph Karl Benedikt Freiherr von Eichendorff, which where set to music by Richard Strauss https://intranslation.brooklynrail.org/german/four-last-songs-the-poems-that-comprise-the-final-song-cycle-by-richard-strauss/.

My favourite is, I think September by Hermann Hesse.

Dissociation

I pass
People behind
Opaque glass.
I find
They say
Words, half-heard
As I, caught behind
My own cracked glass,
Half lose my mind.
A child’s laugh
Can bring me back.
But fragile glass
So easily cracks.

Trigger Warnings

“Universities are accused of ‘mollycoddling’ and ‘patronising’ students as books are removed from reading lists over ‘challenging’ content and trigger warnings are slapped on 1,000 texts including works by Dickens, Shakespeare, and Chaucer”.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11098359/Universities-accused-mollycoddling-students-challenging-books-removed-reading-lists.html

I won’t comment other than to say that treating adults as children is patronising in the extreme. If someone is going to be “triggered” by a book they should seriously consider whether English Literature is the right course for them.

Real life is often unpleasant and there are, obviously no “trigger warnings” on the real world. Part of growing up entails becoming exposed to the world (warts and all) whether via interactions with living beings, or through reading works of fiction, watching films Etc.

I Heard A Leaf Fall

I heard a leaf fall.
It fell, dry and dead,
And rested there
On greying head.
And brought a thought
Of the passing kind
Into my so mortal mind …

Larkin Revisited

I am currently listening to Larkin Revisited on BBC Radio 4. The BBC’s website describes the 10 part series as follows:
“Across ten programmes and ten Philip Larkin poems, Simon Armitage, the poet laureate, finds out what happens when he revisits and unpicks Larkin’s work”.

I am a fan of Larkin’s poetry and I’m enjoying listening to Armitage discuss the poet’s work.

In the latest episode, which was broadcast on Wednesday 10 August, the Poet Laureate Simon Armitage discusses Larkin’s poem Talking in Bed. As with much of Larkin’s poetry Talking in Bed offers a world weary view of love. Anyone looking for a poem about ever lasting romance, flowers and chocolates will be sadly disappointed!

In the latest programme Armitage discusses Talking in Bed with a famous group of performing poets, one of whom expresses admiration for Larkin’s work but states that the group would probably not give a platform to the poet (where he still living) due to his views on race and the working class. (Larkin in his private letters wrote disparagingly of both).

I have always been of the view that one should (so far as is possible) separate the poet from his or her work. I am, therefore not a supporter of no platforming poets or other writers. No platforming leads to an illiberal and intolerant situation in which only those who hold “acceptable” or “correct” views are allowed to perform. Furthermore it has the potential to stifle creativity.

Interestingly the advocate of no platforming admitted that where Talking in Bed to have been written by a poet other than Philip Larkin she would have no problem in allowing the poet to perform. This smacks of Alice in Wonderland logic to me.

You can listen to Larkin Revisited on the BBC’s website here https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0019yy2, or on BBC Radio 4. In order to listen to previous episodes you will need to have an account with the BBC’s Iplayer.