I first came across Tom o’Bedlam via Kipling – in Stalky & Co., when Beetle (or was it M’Turk?) copies in his notebook the eerie and fantastical last verse:
With a host of furious fancies
Whereof I am commander,
With a burning spear and a horse of air,
To the wilderness I wander.
By a knight of ghosts and shadows
I summoned am to tourney
Ten leagues beyond the wide world’s end:
Methinks it is no journey.
Rant ahead, I warn you. A mild rant – but still.
So I took this MOOC – let’s name no names – about poetry. I don’t write poetry, but I greatly admire the skill of compressing meaning into a limited amount of words, structured and highly shimmering. I’ve always yearned to achieve at least a little of that focused effectiveness… And last year, in the spirit of “you won’t know until you try in earnest”, I’ve decided to stop yearning, and try instead. So I took a MOOC – and liked it a good deal. I’m not saying that I wrote good poetry, mind – but exploring the mechanism was absolutely fascinating. Continue reading
I think it’s safe to assume that we’ve all begged for one more minute as children: one more minute of play before bedtime, before going to do our homework, before being given an injection… As though that “one more minute” might somehow change things…
As we grow up, it takes small, everyday forms – such as the “snooze” button of the alarm clock, or lingering a little over a coffee break before that unpleasant meeting, or procrastination in general. Or else, in really bad moments, we revert to that kind of panicked, irrational craving for “one more minute”, just to stave off the bad things a little longer, to keep them away – no matter how little – to not have them happen just yet. Continue reading
I’ve been musing on first favourite poems – and, after some consideration, I’ve come to the conclusion that my first favourite poem must have been Giovanni Pascoli’s Alexandros. Which is a tad strange because, as a rule, I don’t enormously like Pascoli – a late 19th/early 20th century Italian poet with a rather pathetic vein, only saved, in my admittedly biased view, by a keen interest in history.
Narrative poems, you know. Stories – the usual obsession. Continue reading
This is not the post I had in mind for today – but we’re having a true snowfall for the fist time in… oh, I don’t know: years, I rather believe.
It started last night, just as I drove home – which was, if you ask me, absolutely perfect, as far as sentimental fallacy goes – and it’s been snowing through the whole night, and still snowing cats and dogs. Past beautiful, that’s what it is. Continue reading
I’ve always found the idea rather sad: commissioning a portrait, getting a wonder made by the right painter, having it admired and treasured through the centuries, ending in some world-renown gallery… as a masterpiece of the author – with the sitter unknown, and not terribly important, either.
Well, do you know what the saddest portrait of unknown is to me? Not a painting, but a word-portrait: the Fair Youth of the Sonnets… Continue reading
No, it isn’t snowing here. I wish… Well, perhaps not right now, tonight being “my” Canterville Ghost’s second first night* – but still.
Not that I have many hopes, actually: it never snows in my corner of the world. It used to, but it almost never does it anymore… I did catch a rather epic snowfall in Bologna a few weeks ago – but right here? It hasn’t happened in years, much less in December – when, by rights, tradition and sentimental fallacy, it should snow cats and dogs. Continue reading
So… some Shakespeare at the Globe, the Rose, a musical, the Museum of London, and then we’ll see. Continue reading