Thursday, July 21, 2011

NIGHT LIGHT

Charles Dickens in 'Night Walks'...

The wild moon and clouds were as restless as an evil conscience in a tumbled bed.


'Night Walks' was originally published in the weekly magazine edited by Dickens, All the Year Round, and was later reprinted in the collection of essays and sketches, The Uncommercial Traveller.

This evocative portrait of London after dark as viewed during Dickens' wanderings as an insomniac can now be found in volume 88 of Penguin Books' Great Ideas series,
Charles Dickens – Night Walks.

Image: 'Hawaiian Moon' by Elizabeth Hoskinson

Friday, July 08, 2011

UPON MY GOLDEN BACKBONE


Upon my golden backbone

I float like any cork,
That hasn't yet been washed ashore
Or swallowed by a shark.

I never seem to want to snarl
In jungles all day long–
I've been so much upon my back
My legs aren't very strong.

It's all because a Pelican
I didn't eat one day,
Decided to look after me
That I behave this way.

And so, while Other Tigers slink
From tree... to tree... to tree,
I lie upon my back and blink,
In Aqueous Ecstasy.


From Rhymes Without Reason, Verses and Drawings by Mervyn Peake, first published in 1944.

The poems from that volume are currently included in Mervyn Peake – Complete Nonsense

Poem and illustration: Estate of Mervyn Peake


Monday, July 04, 2011

MIRACLES

On American Independence Day, I wanted to share just a handful of wonderfully wise words from one of my favourite American poets, Walt Whitman.

There was a day when, as a young man, I picked up and flicked through a copy of Leaves of Grass in my local library and then carried it home and, in the solitary silence of my bedroom late at night, read verses in which I met myself.

Ever since, I have been wandering to and fro, back and forth among those whispering leaves...

This is Whitman's 'Miracles' read by the self-styled Tom o' Bedlam...