Welcome

“Let us read, and let us dance;
these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”

Friday, 29 April 2011

Blogalong The Fountainhead Part V

I made this: BookElf at 6:20 pm 0 comments Links to this post
Stephen Mallory





EEEEEEEEEEEEEEMMMMOOOOOOOOOOOO

Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead

Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 08 
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 07
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 06
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 05
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 04
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 03
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 02
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 01
 

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Blogalong The Foutainhead IV

I made this: BookElf at 1:10 pm 0 comments Links to this post
Part 2 Chapters Vi-X

In which rather a lot happens in a very short space of time...

In this post I want to talk about two things. There are many other things to talk about, but in order to stop myself from becoming too derailed I shall stick to two.

1) Roark and Dominique-what the hell is that all about?

2) Ellsworth Toohey-what a dickhead.


1


After the heart pounding lust fest that was Dominique and Roark's first encounter in the granite quarry/next to the marble fireplace, I was jumping up and down in excitement over the drinks party meeting-mostly at the Howard Roark-in-a-tux thing (fictional, Jess, fictional) but also cos I had this vision of eyes meet across crowed room full of insufferable boors 1940s black and white film noir style. And I was not disappointed. Although it all did turn a little 'What a swell party this is' with the New Yorkers trying to out-knob each other (it's a good job I don't get invited to that sort of party any more it really is) whilst Roark and Dominique are smouldering was really thrilling and well done.

When Dominique turns up at his flat and does the whole 'I want you' thing- snarf snarf. See, that could never ever ever happen in my life because I Have Self Respect, apparently, and according to The Law Of Now, turning up at a man you fancies house and being straight with him makes you some sort of pariah. In Rand world, being honest about how someone makes you feel, instead of making you look ridiculous, gets you laid. I'm starting to like Rand world.

I also love love love how honest they are with each other. Or at least how honest Dominique is with Roark, Roark doesn't really say that much apart from "Take Your Clothes Off" *le sigh*.

I'm not going to even pretend that I understand the dynamics of the relationship, but I'm fascinated by it. "I fancy you, but I hate you, and I want to sleep with you, but I also want to destroy you" I understand, but Dominique becomes almost possessed by her obsession for Roark. Don't get me wrong, I've been there, but only in an unrequited tiniest-violin-in-the-world way. To have someone on your mind that much and for them to want you back. Fuck me, that sounds like something I could be interested in. Oh yeah, it's fictional. Once again, the world spits on my dreams.

2


What a complete and utter knobend this man is. Apparently he's a 'socialist'. Now, I've met socialists like him before, usually talking at me at some lefty do. I cannot stand to be talked at ever, especially by self-promoting bell ends like Toohey, that use their natural gift for leadership and oratory skills to bend people to their will. You don't bring about equality by being famous, and making no sense, and talking long windedly about nothing at all, you bring about equality by opening up information access and education systems so that people may research themselves about the oppressions others experience, and form their own conclusions.

His childhood did not surprise me one iota, and props to Rand for creating a complete character. What is sad is that I recognise the 'Voice' of the lefty movement in so many modern 'Voices' that apparently represent me and my generation/viewpoint. There are a few people I now want to shout 'Toohey!' at, and might start to do so. It is good, as a lefty, to read books like this that caricature our leaders and our movement so we may learn how the world sees us, and how we can change.

As I leave them, Ellsworth has just manipulated a Decent Sort into giving Roark a commission, on some sort of vendetta of his own against Dominique, Keating has disappeared in a floundering pool of self love and Roark is gradually making his way- though would obviously be disgusted to see creating buildings as a 'way'- in the architectural world.


Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead

Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 08 
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 07
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 06
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 05
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 04
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 03
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 02
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 01
 

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Blogalong The Foutainhead Part III

I made this: BookElf at 10:42 am 0 comments Links to this post
End of Part I- Part II chapter V

Apologise in advance for ranty incoherent nature...

Oooo Dominique Francon. I kind of love Rand for creating such a lovely set up, you think the book's all about a couple of men's lives, one who follows the rules one who is morally obliged to break them, then suddenly she turns it all on it's head with the introduction of a single character.

As you may have gathered, I'm not that into Dominique. I have very little sympathy with the 'spoilt-little-rich-girl' type in general, and less still when their so bloody clever, manipulative, brutish and cruel. Don't tell me Dominique doesn't know exactly what she is doing to Peter Keating (who's anti-hero status I am getting shivers over it's so Shakespearean). She's a cow, I would have spotted her for what she was and hated her on sight in real life.

However....

The first chapter of Part II ( Ellsworth M. Toohey, who reminds me a bit of some of the political "maverick" intellectual types my Dad used to hang around with in the late eighties/ early nineties Labour Party stage. Bit of a bastard, and far too clever for his own good. In fact everyone in the book, except for Roark, is so up themselves they're licking their spleens. Its like what I would imagine some New Left parties are like after a rather successful 'promotest' these days. No you're so clever, no you're so clever, no you are, no no you are OH SHUT UP).

ANYWAY...

The first chapter of Part II. Oh the first chapter of Part II. After what has been quite a sexless book, the first chapter of Part II Blew Me Away. Damn Rand can write lust, can't she. Every single metaphor was there, from the ridiculously phallic drilling into granite, to the sensual placing of hands on rock, to the rather pathetic site of Dominique trying to crack open her marble fireplace which Roark smashes through...the contrast between the delicate Dominique and the grrrr Man Roark; have to confess I read this alone, in bed on a Saturday night and yes I did have to watch Disney's Enchanted/have a cold shower afterwards as was having a bit of a middle-aged-lady flustered moment which for woman of 26 was rather pathetic.

Now. The actual sex thing upset me, but only afterwards. During it was all snarff snarff but then thinking on he raped her. And this obviously instantly regrades him to the level of Bastard...but...this is when my feminist head and my stupid head start to split in two in the form of a hydra and begin to try to kill each other off. My feminist head now hates Roark, my stupid head fancies him even more. This is rubbish and sucky, but also the mark of a very good book in that it makes you think. And I love thinking.

And now we're back in New York, and Keating is Golden Boy 2.0, Catherine is still being remarkable blah, and Ellsworth is beginning to become even more unlikeably smug. Roark has just designed something that is dividing the city and its all a bit exciting, really. I still hate Dominique but, and this is when my stupid head starts talking, maybe she just needed a good shag?

Right, I'm now going to flagellate myself for even thinking that. Bad feminist. No points for you. Fish/bicycles etc etc grrrrr.

Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead

Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 08 
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 07
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 06
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 05
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 04
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 03
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 02
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 01
 

Monday, 25 April 2011

See you later alligator...

I made this: Avid Reader at 12:15 am 0 comments Links to this post
See you later, alligator.
Bye-bye, butterfly. 
Not too soon, you big baboon.
In a while, crocodile.

Out the door, dinosaur.
Give a hug, ladybug.
Take care, polar bear.
See you soon, raccoon.

To your house, little mouse.
In a blizzard, little lizard.
In a shake, garter snake.
Time to scoot, warty newt.

Don't meander, salamander.
Hit the road, hoppy toad.
Be sweet, parakeet.
See you soon, raccoon.

Stay well, gazelle
Not now brown cow
'Till then penguin
To your house, mouse

Manana Iguana
Take care, polar bear.
Give a kiss, jellyfish,
Take a bow, brown cow

So long, King Kong.
Toodle-oo, kangaroo.  
See you soon raccoon.
Toodaloo kangaroo.

In a line, porcupine.
To the bus octopus.
Just a word mocking bird.
 

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Last Poem for Lent - Easter Sunday

I made this: Avid Reader at 1:12 pm 0 comments Links to this post

Sunday Lent Poem 47

Please find below, the second of two poems sent to us by noted poet, playwright and author Alice Shapiro (@crackedpoems)

 

Desire

Alice Shapiro

 

A friend is a second self
--Aristotle

The cries of Lois
the dearth of shame
the help of brothers
the force of disdain
the books of poets
the poems of rain
     post meridiem

I cannot tell whether
diamonds appeared in his eyes
or mine
as the shine of adoration
became the icon
one values in history
a Byzantine sparkle
Medieval armor against all odds.

We stand on stages
act our play
sometimes alone in our heads
                (before the mating)
sometimes in platitudes and lies
                (after years together).
I recognize the dew
and the frost.

Can you come to me innocent
each day, each moment
where a diamond’s glint
appears as highlights
between your words
between our silences
as we lie down
in fields of smiles?



Lenten Poetry Challenge

Lenten Poetry - 11 - Well Done - Alice Shapiro
Lenten Poetry - 10 - Resurrection - Vladimir Holan
Lenten Poetry - 09 - Poems 41 - 44
Lenten Poetry - 08 - Poems 36 - 40
Lenten Poetry - 07 - Poems 31 - 35
Lenten Poetry - 06 - Poems 26 - 30
Lenten Poetry - 05 - Poems 21 - 25
Lenten Poetry - 04 - Poems 16 - 20
Lenten Poetry - 03 - Poems 11 - 15
Lenten Poetry - 02 - Poems 06 - 10
Lenten Poetry - 01 - Poems 01 - 05


Saturday, 23 April 2011

Poems for Lent - Saturday

I made this: Avid Reader at 11:48 am 1 comments Links to this post

Saturday Lent Poem 46

I cannot tell you how excited I am to be able to include this poem (and tomorrows!) on the blog.

Almost the day I started tweeting as LeedsBookClub, I was fortunate enough to become friends with Alice Shapiro (@CrackedPoems). Born in Georgia, USA, she is an accomplished poet, playwright and author. Mostly though, she’s really funny!

I let her know about my little Lenten project, and dropped some very subtle hints about how wonderful it would be to include a piece of her work. She managed to read between the lines and was generous enough to volunteer not one, but two poems.

 

Please find below a poem by Alice Shapiro, to be released in a new collection later this year (once I have details, I will post them).

 

Well Done

Alice Shapiro

 

I.

I – peruse past decades
I – have accomplished greatness
I – overcame
·         arcane banality
·         self-doubt
·         impetuous naiveté

Tender errors at ten and twenty
baked onto inner walls of an open mind
formed a calloused heart.

II.

Barefoot
walking sand-drenched sidewalks in the tropics
dazed, yet unfazed by a temporary lapse
in continuity

God – at my back

·         arcane banality – self-doubt
went up like smoke.

III.

Purified
wise wide innocence shares my easy chair
 I – consider grace.

Lenten Poetry Challenge

Lenten Poetry - 12 - Desire - Alice Shapiro
Lenten Poetry - 10 - Resurrection - Vladimir Holan
Lenten Poetry - 09 - Poems 41 - 44
Lenten Poetry - 08 - Poems 36 - 40
Lenten Poetry - 07 - Poems 31 - 35
Lenten Poetry - 06 - Poems 26 - 30
Lenten Poetry - 05 - Poems 21 - 25
Lenten Poetry - 04 - Poems 16 - 20
Lenten Poetry - 03 - Poems 11 - 15
Lenten Poetry - 02 - Poems 06 - 10
Lenten Poetry - 01 - Poems 01 - 05


Friday, 22 April 2011

Poem for Lent - Good Friday

I made this: Avid Reader at 8:30 am 1 comments Links to this post

Friday Lent Poem 45 22nd

 

A deeply personal choice, this poem is on the mass card for my grandmother. It perfectly captures how I feel about her. With every poem I’ve read in the last six weeks, I’ve been reminded constantly that ‘we read to know we are not alone’.

 

Resurrection

Vladimir Holan (Translated by George Theiner)

 

Is it true that after this life of ours
we shall one day be awakened by a
terrifying clamour of trumpets?
Forgive me, God,
but I console myself that the beginning
and resurrection of all of us dead
will simply be announced
by the crowing of a cock
After that we will remain
lying down a while
The first to get up
will be mother
We'll hear her, quietly
laying the fire, quietly putting
the kettle on the stove and
cosily taking the teapot out of the cupboard.
We'll be home once more.

Lenten Poetry Challenge

Lenten Poetry - 12 - Desire - Alice Shapiro
Lenten Poetry - 11 - Well Done - Alice Shapiro
Lenten Poetry - 09 - Poems 41 - 44
Lenten Poetry - 08 - Poems 36 - 40
Lenten Poetry - 07 - Poems 31 - 35
Lenten Poetry - 06 - Poems 26 - 30
Lenten Poetry - 05 - Poems 21 - 25
Lenten Poetry - 04 - Poems 16 - 20
Lenten Poetry - 03 - Poems 11 - 15
Lenten Poetry - 02 - Poems 06 - 10
Lenten Poetry - 01 - Poems 01 - 05


Thursday, 21 April 2011

Blogalong The Foutainhead Part II

I made this: BookElf at 10:54 pm 3 comments Links to this post
Some Basic Rules

1) Do Not Read This Book Whilst Pissed

2) Do Not Shout At This Book After Reading This Book Whilst Pissed. It Is A Book. The Characters Cannot Hear You. They Are Fictional.


So yeah, Dominique's a cow-bag, isn't she? "Oh I'm going to make no fucking sense, I'm going to lead you round and round in ridiculous circles whilst crossing and uncrossing my perfect skinny ass legs, I'm going to drop priceless artifacts that some poor sod probably gave his LIFE rescuing from obscurity because I can. Worship me here." Knobber.

Also, Catherine, strap on a fucking pair already. Strong female characters my business class sized ass.

Nuff said.

Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead

Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 08 
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 07
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 06
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 05
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 04
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 03
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 02
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 01
 

Poems for Lent Nos 41-44

I made this: Avid Reader at 10:14 pm 0 comments Links to this post
Lenten Poetry Challenge


Well, I'm in the last stretch now, and I've enjoyed reading all these so much. I think my personal favourite (so far) is included here - On the back of a photograph. 

As always, please let me know your thoughts about the poems!

Thursday Lent Poem 44

Everyone Sang

Siegfried Sassoon

 

Everyone suddenly burst out singing;

And I was filled with such delight

As prisoned birds must find in freedom,

Winging wildly across the white

Orchards and dark-green fields; on – on – and out of sight.

 

Everyone’s voice was suddenly lifted;

And beauty came like the setting sun:

My heart was shaken with tears; and horror

Drifted away…O, but Everyone

Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never

                        be done

 

Wednesday Lent Poem 43

Mushrooms

Sylvia Plath

Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,

Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot's in the door.

 

Tuesday Lent Poem 42

On the back of a photograph

Janos Pilinszky (translated from the Hungarian by Peter Jay)

 

Hunched I make my way, uncertainly.

The other hand is only three years old.

An eighty-year-old hand and a three-year-old.

We hold each other. We hold each other tight.

 

Monday Lent Poem 41

Swans Mating

Michael Longley

 

Even now I wish that you had been there

Sitting beside me on the riverbank:

The cob and his pen sailing in rhythm

Until their small heads met and the final

Heraldic moment dissolved in ripples.

 

This was a marriage and a baptism,

A holding of breath, nearly a drowning,

Wings spread wide for balance where he trod,

Her feathers full of water and her neck

Under the water like a bar of light. 

Lenten Poetry Challenge

Lenten Poetry - 12 - Desire - Alice Shapiro
Lenten Poetry - 11 - Well Done - Alice Shapiro
Lenten Poetry - 10 - Resurrection - Vladimir Holan
Lenten Poetry - 08 - Poems 36 - 40
Lenten Poetry - 07 - Poems 31 - 35
Lenten Poetry - 06 - Poems 26 - 30
Lenten Poetry - 05 - Poems 21 - 25
Lenten Poetry - 04 - Poems 16 - 20
Lenten Poetry - 03 - Poems 11 - 15
Lenten Poetry - 02 - Poems 06 - 10
Lenten Poetry - 01 - Poems 01 - 05


Blogalong The Foutainhead Part 1

I made this: BookElf at 9:35 am 0 comments Links to this post
Introduction, and Chapters I-VIII

Not knowing that much about Ayn Rand apart from what I could find through google/wikipedia (no librarian points for Jess), I was surprised how much I found to empathise with in her introduction to The Fountainhead, written 25 years after its publication. One particular sentence stood out for me; when she is despondent about the failure to get published her husband convinces her

'one cannot give up the world to those one despises'.

Now I'm sure those that myself and Rand despise would be very different (though as an idealist, I know that people are a product of their social conditioning, no one is really 'bad' and that to despise someone for their political views makes no sense when you can educate and illuminate them into changing them), but the passion with which she conveys her opinion is something I can identify with respecting.

The book opens with possibly the most off putting first paragraphs I've ever read. I had to re-read it several times to understand, and then I realised something; I was reading it too quickly. Instead of reading this book like a fast-paced feminist tract, like I did with The Golden Notebook, for example, I have to let the language wash over me, wallow in it. Because you can say what you like about the content, this is a beautifully written book, so far at least.

Roark and Keating, two apparent opposites, both leave Stanton Institute of Technology; Roark as a dismissed maverick, Keating as a graduating Golden Boy. Both wind up in New York City, both working in architecture.

Keating is everything you're 'supposed' to be. He pushes himself to be in with the most important people, or at least those his capitalistic world view deems as important. Deep down Keating hates himself, he recognises what he is; a smarmy little Yes-Man, who will do anything to get to where he wants to be. The product of a pushy mother (my inner feminist is screaming 'he's living her life for her, she was denied this life by token of her gender and class'), Keating uses people, including(is naive the right word? More hero-worshippingly thick)Catherine, the niece of the great art critic Ellsworth Toohey (great name!).

Keating however still relies heavily on the talents of Roark. At the start of the book, I though Roark perhaps a little emotionally unintelligent, however, he isn't he is just one of those people who is 'right'. Because he is 'right' he will not do things he considers 'wrong', no matter how much this leads him away from the line of what you're 'supposed' to do. He ends up renting a room with no roof, for example, rather than work for a firm who produces work he does not agree with.

Keating is more socially powerful that Roark, in so much as he has the power to get him a job with the firm of Francon and Hayer (Francon! How much to I hate Francon! What a knob!) but Keating also relies of Roark's creativity (though I'm sure he'd hate it to be described as such) as he has so very little of his own.

Initial thoughts- love it. It's really well written and apart from the first paragraph (I wonder how many other people that has put off) easy to read. I hate Keating, but also feel very sorry for him. Roark I kind of love in the same way I loved Henry in The Secret History-he would annoy the shit out of me in real life but as a character is fascinating. I also identify with his principles-before-personal-gain philosophy as its one I try to live my life by (without that much success to be fair, but still...).

Catherine is a bit of a tit, but the rest of the cast of characters represent nearly every part of human nature going. I especially loved the relationship between Roark and Cameron, the renegade architect who ends up employing Roark. Considering I've only read 100 pages Rand has managed a complete story, and I'm really looking forward to continuing.

I also love her constant crapping on classical architecture. Now I love my flouncy tat, marble/plaster cherubs etc but sometimes it is all a bit too much. The Parthenon as a metaphor for all that is staid and unexciting is a very brave, but well executed move. To say that I know nothing at all about the history of architecture or building, I'm following it all quite well. I think.

Parts are also hilariously funny. When Roark applies for the job looking for something 'new' and 'new' means a grain silo crossed with the Parthenon I did do a little chuckle, and the fact I got that made me feel all intellectual, which made me do an even bigger chuckle cos I'm not.

I'm also spending a lot of time going 'Mad Men! Mad Men!', (of which I have seen one season, but thought marvellous) especially comparing Keating to Pete Campbell. Talks on twitter with Mad Men geeks have revealed that they used Rand as an influence a lot in making the show. Again, my figuring this out all by my self made me do a little smile.

As I left them, Keating is now a high-up in Francon's office, and Roark is unemployed. This seemed a natural place to pause. I shall carry on this evening. Tally ho!

BookElf xxx

Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead

Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 08 
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 07
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 06
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 05
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 04
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 03
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 02
Blog-Along-The-Fountainhead - Part 01
 

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Books to Watch The Boys Go By...

I made this: BookElf at 11:52 am 0 comments Links to this post
I realise by writing this I am loose all claims to credibility/many many feminist point, but hey, it’s the truth how I live it baby…


What's good enough for Bennet is good enough for me...


Now that being geeky is ‘cool’ and ‘hip’, librarian chic is a actual fad talked about on Glee, and reading not only is sexy, but promoted on television by actual celebrities rather than aged nun-types mouldering away in some dark recess of the Bodleian somewhere wanking over F Scott Fitzgerald and sobbing, the phrase ‘so what books are you into’ has officially become a bit of a Line.

Unfortunately, booky types are usually for the most part atrocious at starting conversations. Approaching strangers is permanently uncool and only to be tried if you’re into really arty nonsense style books; squealing ‘ooo I lurved the new Shardlake!’ isn’t going to get you anywhere. Trust me.

However, as The Best Website In The World ‘Hot Guys Reading Books’(click on title link) demonstrates admirably, there is literally nothing sexier than a fittie reading (apart from a fittie eating a fried breakfast but that’s an over share of a fetish we are not going into…).

So. You need to be reading, in public (quiet pubs are best, though bus stops/beaches/park benches/doctors waiting rooms work just as well), looking fabulous obviously (because this is a quick flirt we’re looking for here, guys). With a snare. The snare is the book that makes the Other go ‘oooo’ and look at your fabulousness in a whole new light. The book must draw them in, either through common ground or remembrance. It also must attract the right sort. Reading Andy McNab’s Slaughterthon War Fests ain’t gonna bring the most sensitive of sorts to your yard, lets be honest.

Hunter S Thompson obviously works a treat, but (draws breath) Hunter S Thompson is done. As is Jack Kerouac/William Burroughs/Bret Easton Ellis/Aldous Huxley. Not that these aren’t all amazing writers I could talk about for days, but seriously, if I have to have another semi flirtatious conversation about Naked Lunch and what it all means I’m going to Eat My Own Hand.

No no no they need to be books that they remember, books that take them back, books that lead on to bigger conversations rather than going round and round in circles about times you didn’t participate in, just read about afterwards.

The Phantom Tollbooth is a great one. Written by Norton Juster in 1961, this is the Alice of Wonderland of Maths. If you haven’t already, find a copy and prepare to laugh your trousers off as you follow Milo (hideous child) to Dictionopolis, and the Kingdom of Wisdom. The fight between numbers and letters that Milo finds himself stuck in the middle of is hilarious, but also educational. This is also a classic book that not many people still have copies of and so you’re owning of it leads nicely to the whole ‘I remember that as a kid’, ‘well you can borrow it if you like’… conversation.

Another nice trick is The One That They Haven’t Read Yet. Everyone loves George Orwell, right? Well have you read ‘A Clergyman’s Daughter’? No? Well, you should, because it is excellent, but more to the point neither will they…

Or you could try The Battered Old Copy which just happens to fall apart, where upon you bring out the magic tape from your bag, the premise being that anyone who has sticky back plastic in their bag is bound to be interesting. Or ‘This is Your Brain On Music’ by Daniel Levitin, which is just really cool. Or anything that’s really old looking. Or anything by a former member of a 90s rock band. Or anything that makes you laugh out loud.

In fact, you should just read more in public really, sod pulling, who needs a partner anyway. Reading makes you far far more interesting and wonderful than everybody else anyway and if they’re not falling at your feet in droves then, hey, at least you know I think you rock.

Happy Reading!
BookElf xxx

Poems for lent Nos 36-40

I made this: Avid Reader at 10:49 am 0 comments Links to this post
Lenten Poetry Challenge

Sunday Lent Poem 40 17th
Sadness of a Star
Guillaume Apollinaire

Minerva stepped out calmly from my head
And I will be forever crowned with blood
There is reason within and sky above my skull
Where Goddess you were buckling on your arms
Of my misfortunes this is not the worst
This almost mortal wound became a star
The secret sorrow which is my despair
Is more than any other soul could hide

I bear with me a suffering of fire
Just as a glow-worm bears his body’s flame
As in a soldier’s heart France is on fire
Just as rich pollen fills the lily’s heart

Un belle Minerve est l’enfant de ma tête
Une étoile de sang me couronne à jamais
La raison est au fond et le ciel est au faîte
Du chef où dès longtemps Déesse tu t’armais

C’est pourquoi de mes maux ce n’était pas le pire
Ce trou presque mortel et qui s’est étoilé
Mais le secret malheur qui nourrit mon délire
Est bien plus grand qu’aucune âme ait jamais celé

Et je porte moi cette ardente souffrance
Comme le ver luisant tient son corps enflammé
Comme au coeur du soldat il palpite la France
Et comme au coeur du lys le pollen parfumé

Saturday Lent Poem 39
Love in a Life
Robert Browning

Room after room,
I hunt the house through
We inhabit together.
Heart, fear nothing, for, heart, thou shalt find her—
Next time, herself!—not the trouble behind her
Left in the curtain, the couch’s perfume!
As she brushed it, the cornice-wreath blossomed anew;
Yon looking-glass gleamed at the wave of her feather.

Yet as the day wears,
And door succeeds door;
I try the fresh fortune—
Range the wide house from the wing to the centre.
Still the same chance! she goes out as I enter.
Spend my whole day in the quest,—who cares?
But ‘tis twilight, you see,—with such suites to explore,
Such closets to search, such alcoves to importune!

Friday Lent Poem 38
The Purist
Ogden Nash

I give you now Professor Twist,
A conscientious scientist.
Trustees exclaimed, “He never bungles!”
And sent him off to distant jungles.
Camped on a tropic riverside,
One day he missed his loving bride.
She had, the guide informed him later
Been eaten by an alligator.
Profesor Twist could not but smile.
“You mean,” he said, “a crocodile.”



Thursday Lent Poem 37
The Frog Song
Stevie Smith 1966

I am a frog
I live under a spell
I live at the bottom
Of a green well
And here I must wait
Until a maiden places me
On her royal pillow
And kisses me
In her father’s palace

The story is familiar
Everybody knows it well
But do other enchanted people feel as nervous
As I do? The stories do not tell,
Ask if they will be happier
When the changes come
As already they are fairly happy
In a frog’s doom?

I have been a frog now
For a hundred years
And in all this time
I have not shed many tears,
I am happy, I like the life,
Can swim for many a mile
(When I have hopped to the river)
And am for ever agile.
And the quietness,
Yes, I like to be quiet
I am habituated
To a quiet life,
But always when I think these thoughts
As I sit in my well
Another thought comes to me and says:
It is part of the spell

To be happy
To work up contentment
To make much of being a frog
To fear disenchantment

Says, It will be heavenly
To be so free,
Cries Heavenly the girl who disenchants
And the royal times, heavenly,
And I think it will be.

Come then, royal girl and royal times,
Come quickly,
I can be happy until you come
But I cannot be heavenly,
Only disenchanted people
Can be heavenly.



Wednesday Lent Poem 36

The Siren Song
Margaret Atwood 1965-1975

This is the one song everyone
would like to learn: the song
that is irresistible:


the song that forces men
to leap overboard in squadrons
even though they see beached skulls


the song nobody knows
because anyone who had heard it
is dead, and the others can’t remember.

Shall I tell you the secret
and if I do, will you get me
out of this bird suit?
I don’t enjoy it here
squatting on this island
looking picturesque and mythical
with these two feathery maniacs,
I don’t enjoy singing
this trio, fatal and valuable.

I will tell the secret to you,
to you, only to you.
Come closer. This song

is a cry for help: Help me!
Only you, only you can,
you are unique
at last. Alas
it is a boring song
but it works every time.

A huge fan of her novels - particularly The Robber Bride, Cat's Eye and Alias Grace - this was my first Margaret Atwood poem. I love the simplicity of the language, and the unexpected bite at the conclusion!

Lenten Poetry Challenge

Lenten Poetry - 12 - Desire - Alice Shapiro
Lenten Poetry - 11 - Well Done - Alice Shapiro
Lenten Poetry - 10 - Resurrection - Vladimir Holan
Lenten Poetry - 09 - Poems 41 - 44
Lenten Poetry - 07 - Poems 31 - 35
Lenten Poetry - 06 - Poems 26 - 30
Lenten Poetry - 05 - Poems 21 - 25
Lenten Poetry - 04 - Poems 16 - 20
Lenten Poetry - 03 - Poems 11 - 15
Lenten Poetry - 02 - Poems 06 - 10
Lenten Poetry - 01 - Poems 01 - 05


* * * * *

 

Leeds Book Club Copyright © 2010 Designed by Ipietoon Blogger Template Sponsored by Online Shop Vector by Artshare