Tag Archives: Books

In Memory of Violet May, Order and Method and a Lesser Known Poet.

I have a compulsion to rearrange our books, I would not go as far as to say it was a disorder but it is a desire to bring some sort of order to what has all the appearance of chaos.

The dilemma I have is do I catalogue them in alphabetical order, by author or should Dorothy L Sayers creation Lord Peter Wimsey sit dust jacket to dust jacket next to Agatha Christie’s Poirot.

Now there is a thought I could follow the great Belgian detective’s principles and arrange them in order of size.

If this all seems rather indecisive I am not completely without resolve in that I have separated the poets, not on the top shelve as some would wish, on the understanding that poetry is one of the highest forms of art but on a dedicated shelve next to the fire-place, ideal for the likes of Dante’s Inferno.

There are always some surprises in familiar stanzas by Wordsworth, Keats or Clare and even more in less familiar  as Auden, Spender or Smith.

As I placed each with the care owing on its rightful shelve position I came across a newspaper cutting from the early nineteen eighties nestled between Dryden and Eliot. It was written in nineteen seventy nine in memory of a lovely lady who was called to meet her maker in May of that year and was written by the author of these ramblings.

MAY TWENTY FITHH
I looked at you today,
And cursed the evil pen
That wrltes with twisted hand
The lines of pain upon your face.
Sleep on, druggrd sleep.
I know you think of those
Even through your pain,
That never had the time to share
From their seasonal warmth.
Sleep on.
But merciful is the Lord,
The flame you carried high,
Was from His lamp.
Sleep on today,
Tomorrow we will meet,
Sleep on today.
MAY THIRTIETH

J. P. Miller


Dylan Thomas, A Different Generation and An Illusion to be Cherished

Kersey From Church Hill

I am slowly coming to the realisation that what appears to be reality is no more than an illusion, a trick of the senses and as much a figment of the imagination that our school and teenage years were the best days of our life.

Although when comparisons are made between the present ethics and attitudes to that of over 30 years ago, it has to be concluded that morality, respect and even religious expression are all measured against a different template.

It is unreasonable to expect that the youth of today, should live the lives that a different generation experienced but on the same token when we reach that certain age where the illusion that our school and teenage years were the best days of our life becomes a reality, we should be allowed to cultivate the realisation and live the life that our own generation cherished.

There is nothing more depressing than being afraid to grow old in grace and wisdom but hastened to add I am also not adverse to the sentiments expressed by a welsh poet;

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”


 

The Mysteries of Udolpho and A Modern Banking Principal.

Oxburgh Hall

Oxburgh Hall, Oxburgh Village, Norfolk, England

It is not that I have been procrastinating but my defence is that I have been immersed in the gothic world or should that be domain of Mrs Radcliffe.

I have left our heroine Emily and her Aunt‚ Madame Montoni in the power of the villain of the piece who is holding them in his castle with no ready means of escape. Monsieur Valancourt is with his army comrades and is unaware that Emily is being repressed and that Montoni’s intentions are less than honourable.

It is therefore with an element of regret that I have had to close the pages of this 18th century masterpiece but it is more by necessity than willingness to live in the real world.

We have been having trouble contacting our bank, it appears that everything in this 21st century has to be done through a call centre and the old-fashioned idea of speaking to your branch direct seems to be a thing of the past. Why is it that if call centres are peopled (politically correct terminology) that you have to select numbers on your phone on the instructions of a machine before ever hearing the dulcet tones of a homosappine stating that for training purposes this call my be recorded.

I am sure this is not an original rant as I can not be the only one in this enlightened age that has an aversion to automated services, canned music and call centres whither they are in a far continent or based in the homeland.

In the end the archaic concept of meeting face to face at the branch, although time-consuming did solve the problem and provided a certain amount of experience to return to the ghostly apparitions in the castle of  Udolpho when returning to the enthralling pages of  Mrs Ann Radcliffe.


 

Perfection, Perfectionist and a Genius called Mozart.

I have an empathy with those who seek perfection but not those who are perfectionist. There is a virtue in perfection as long as you keep before you the fact that the ideals you hold dear will not always be achieved, not meeting the mark should not be considered as a failure but a set back and a catalyst to try again, like the legend of Robert and his cave companion.

The difficulty I have with perfectionist is not their evangelical fervour to obtain perfection for themselves but it is their ardent belief that it should apply first and foremost to others and they have prerogative to compile or amend the tablets of stone. Perhaps it does not apply to all perfectionists but it has been my experience to date.

Therefore it probably is more desirable to endeavour to set your own standards and try to treat people as you would like to be treated yourself and enjoy the perfection that is a piece of  Music by Mozart, a work of art by Titian or a poem by T.S Elliot.

I hasten to add this list is not meant to be comprehensive, if anything we are spoiled for choice and fortunately it has to always be a personal preference, so if you wish to include The Beatles, David Hockney or Henry James I have no objection, so go on list away.


Picture: Lyveden New Bield, National Trust, Northamptonshire.

Blame it on the Reading List

Normally I would dismiss any suggestion or even the slightest hint of Nostalgia as it is tends to coat the past in a warm pinkish glow, it strengthens the view that childhood was the best years of our lives and neglects to remember the scraped knees and elbows, not to mention the internal injuries we all sustain in the course of reaching our angst teenage years.

Now what has caused all this you may ask, it is the fact that I have been reading Boswell’s Edinburgh Journal, although it was written during the Scottish enlightenment, the names and places are so recognizable that it brings back faint memories of a past life. I may hasten to add to those who have read the Great Biographers Journal that it is only the place and not the life style that is familiar but I am sure that goes without saying, if we compare today with our past we soon discover that there is an enormous chasm and what we remember are shadows and ghosts of a different age.

Although the past cannot be recreated, it is still a pleasant place to spend quality time in the minds eye and consequently I have added to the reading list, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Edinburgh Picturesque Notes to eventually add to the crammed full bookshelves.

Picture:

View From Talla Reservoir, Tweedsmuir The Scottish Borders, Scotland


 

Traveling In The Realms Of Gold

I have not been counting the days or the months since I last tried to perform the art of blogging, not that I have been living for the moment which in itself is a laudable philosophy but have been trying to render our bookshelves obsolete or should I say traversing in the realms of gold.

I am discovering that I am still a mere amateur when it comes to clearing space as there seems to be more books and authors crying out for attention than when I began, Scott, Hogg, Byron and Radcliff to mention a few, maybe I should at this point also list Homer as I have quoted or should it be misquoted from Keats, but as this is a truthful account I cannot honestly say that Homer has ever been on my reading list, well not at present.

Now perhaps that is where I am going wrong as there are more books on my reading list as there are on our bookshelves, so once I have completed another tome it only makes room for a further purchase to reduce the reading list so it all becomes self perpetuating or maybe the basis for a thesis on the benefits of public libraries.

The Picture Shows:

The spire of the beautiful 13th century church of St Mary’s Bluntisham. The literary connection is that Dorothy L Sayers creator of the
Lord Peter Wimsey Father was Rector.