Friday, November 14, 2008


Current work: Medical, chapter 2
Listening to: Kathryn Williams and Neill MacColl
Reading: next on TBR pile

Spent yesterday with Dad so didn’t get anywhere near as much work done as I’d intended. Had a text from my stepmum at lunchtime to tell me I was in the paper re opening the library at Wicklewood school. It’s also in the local weekly paper – there’s a link here.

Thanks to everyone who has either responded here or emailed me about cats. I have much food for thought!

Now, polarising? It was something that occurred to me yesterday, as I was driving through gorgeous autumnal scenes. I tend to wear dark glasses a lot of the time (on my optician’s advice) and I noticed how bright the colours of the leaves were. Deep gold, rich copper and ruby. But without the glasses, they were an anaemic yellow, dull brown and a nondescript reddish colour. Ditto the sky: the depth of blue changes, depending on whether or not you’re wearing polarising glasses.

And it struck me that this is akin to seeing life through the pages of a romantic novel. Everything’s more intense on the page, and just that little bit brighter than real life. Polarising glasses, rather than rose-tinted, perhaps.

Anyway. Here we have the copper beeches by the RC church down the road from me. I couldn’t resist taking a snap, yesterday morning. (But I plan to experiment – using my sunglasses as a lens filter – to see if I can get the same effect that I see. Because this pic really doesn't show off the glorious copper of the leaves.)

And here’s one of the trees at the bottom of the hill leading to school. The whole path is covered with leaves, and it’s like this all the way up the hill – crunching my way up is thoroughly enjoyable. I love this time in autumn, especially when there’s enough of a chill in the air to make me catch my breath.

Later, when most of the leaves have fallen, this particular tree always reminds me of my favourite Shakespeare sonnet (#73).

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

Fabulous. I think Shakespeare definitely foreshadowed the Metaphysical Poets – and his sonnet #71 (‘No longer mourn for me when I am dead’) is almost as beautifully OTT as Donne. (It’s the ‘vilest worms’ bit. Delicious. But if you’re looking for really OTT on the same subject, try Donne’s ‘A Nocturnall Upon St Lucie’s Day’. Donne definitely out-Shakespeares Shakespeare.)

Donne is in a class of his own. My favourite poet. His use of language and metaphor leave me quivering. I have a CD of Richard Burton reading some of Donne’s poems: it’s a wonderful treat. I would also rather like to hear Alan Rickman reading Donne’s love poetry. Or Sam West (he has a beautiful voice – though I think if I heard him reading Wilfred Owen I’d be in floods of tears). Or Antonio Banderas reading Donne’s Elegy #20. (OK, OK. I need a cold shower, now.)

Which actor would you like to hear reading poetry – and which poem would you choose?


Biddy said...

*thunk* Sam West and Donne... I think I just had a heart attack. Donne is probably my favourite poet too. And you know how I feel abut Mr West *faints at the thought of hims reading the Elegy 20 on His Mistress Going to Bed*
Although Alan Rickman reading them would be very swoonsome.
I do love a poem called 'A Blade of Grass' by Brian Patten now if Sam read that I would be happy :)

Michelle Styles said...

Hooray on being in the paper and what a great article.

The whole polarising thing reminded me of the Claude glasses thawere popular in the Regency/Victorian times. They came with a variety of tints so you could view the scene in different ways...

And I agree that Donne is a brill poet.

carolwarham said...

Lovely article and photo,all those happy faces.
Such beautiful poetry, I'm ready to sit down and read and absorb some more....better wait until I get home from work though. Have a good weeken.

Nell said...

I have a thing about men with nice voices. I could probably listen to Alan Rickman reading the label off a soup can.