Poetry & other ‘things’!
This week on Facebook: Not that I am short of things to write about but sometimes even I get bored with myself and my tendency to rabbit on and on… Still, when I meet my ex-colleague for our monthly ‘pie and a pint’ we often discuss how little things have actually changed. Then we are both getting old and hold the geriatric view that the world is going to hell in a handcart.
Of course materially things have changed quite dramatically, particularly post WWII and especially for the following generations. Although I’m not sure that today Aaron Copland could call his piece Fanfare for the Common Man without raising a controversy. I’m sure that any such controversy would get a mention in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, unlike Copland’s sexuality. It seems that todays society has a predilection for declaring and writing about sexual orientation something that has yet to occur, at least in our conversation over a ‘pie and a pint’. But then it may all be part of a geriatric view that the world really is going to hell in a handcart.
Not so the epigram plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, which is probably familiar to most of my generation. However, some of my family may read my reflections so for their benefit I will add that it was a somewhat cynical remark by Alphonse Karr translated as, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”.
I don’t really know why I remember this poem (1), maybe it was the lead that it gave me into some history. I am surprised that that research into its origins are generally the same, although I do think that, “One in a velvet gown” is more likely to refer to William of Orange than to a tudor mendicant. However, this rhyme or poem predates even tudor mendicants and prompted my research into history of velvet.
It is noticeable that the types of velvets intended for clothing have changed dramatically over the centuries and across the world. When people (men, women and children) in Europe, for instance, wore velvet garments in the Renaissance period, these tended to be heavy, difficult to drape and decorated with large designs. The garments were intended to show off the designs and the expense involved in making and wearing such fabrics. Clothing and velvets
My poems at (2) did find the reference to the phrase, I am a bear of very little brain, and long words bother me, Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne is still a favourite of mine. Did you know that someone has written The Tao of Pooh? I’m not aware of anyone writing The Tao of Paddington bear!
The Tao of Paddington Bear
Cannot be found anywhere.
Perhaps it doesn’t exist.
In China, Xi would insist.
This reprise (3) appears to show how much I am indebted the now defunct My Telegraph. I am desperately trying to think of my parents role in my development. Nostalgia can be a wonderful thing, it’s what most of my generation spend their time indulging themselves in. My memories of my parents and especially my grandparents, are all questionable!
I’m sorry to say this but your many failures as an adult have caused you to recreate a mythical fantasy version of your past. That’s Not How I Remember It.
The poem at (4) reminds me of my grandmother who often recited the opening lines to me, although at the time I thought that the boy on the burning deck was involved in the battle of Jutland. Most of the time my grandma used to sing to me, especially Daisy, Daisy, Give me your answer do!. I now remember my grandma as portrayed by the cartoonist Giles, but mostly I remember grandma sitting in front the black-leaded grate (on which sat a ‘charred kettle’), eating Ryvita biscuits and ofttimes sending me to the local cobbler to place a bet on the horses.
It seems that I have (perhaps once had) a good memory and as I wrote, it was at school that I had to learn parts of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (5). For some reason the title of the poem Sorhab and Rustum by Mathew Arnold springs to mind. Another long poem that I had to learn verses from, poems which I didn’t understand at the time and are now almost forgotten (unlike the ‘Ancient Mariner’ and ‘Daffodils‘).
This at a time when English Literature was part of the curriculum and schools educated pupils for their ‘life ahead’. Although Oxbridge was still the ultimate goal, with ‘favoured’ pupil learning Latin, Greek and even Hebrew. That is apart from those grammar schools that taught actual football (now called soccer), instead of rugby football union.
My reference this week¹ includes three poems and non of the above (apart from links). The first by Walt Whitman and the second two by William Corbett, poems that have changed my mind about the type of verse I read, causing further reflections while I journey on my road less travelled.
1. Beggars are coming to town. (2014): Vagrancy became endemic as a largely self-sufficient, if often subsistent, rural culture effectively ended. The rural dispossessed swelled the bands of those regarded as idle vagabonds, who roamed the country plaguing all communities in England. Crime increased, as did the indigent population of English towns and cities.
2. Navel Gazing with Pooh Bear (2012): I’m an aficionado of Pooh Bear and reading a comment on the now defunct My Telegraph blog site implying that a fellow contributor was ‘navel gazing’ prompted me to write the following:
3. Philip Larkin meets the moderators (2014): More recently I added This be the verse, a poem written by Philip Larkin, to a comment. The results of automatic moderation, are shown in red italics, these were removed from the verse and a meaningless bastardised version of the poem left in place..
4. Casabianca (2012): It was then that the English sailors saw an amazing sight. There on that burning deck they saw a boy standing alone. He was Giacomo Jocante the young son of Louis De Casabianca Captain of L’Orient. Surrounded by flames and facing the astonished English foe, the boy perished when the whole ship erupted in a massive explosion.
5. Water, water, every where, (2012): A poem from which we had to learn verses when I was at school and which I have never forgotten, well – perhaps – partly remembered. Increasingly drawn to the view that the very deep does rot and that slimy things crawl with slimy legs upon this slimy sea: as my spirit slid this curmudgeon contemplated his hand in ‘the shooting of the albatross’.
Referenced Articles Books & Definitions:
- A bold text subscript above and preceding a title below (¹·²·³), refers to a book, pdf, podcast, video, slide show and a download url that is usually free.
- Brackets containing a number e.g. (1) reference a particular included article (1-5).
- A link (url), which usually includes the title, are to an included source.
- The intended context of words, idioms, phrases, have their links in italics.
- A long read url* (when used below) is followed by a superscript asterisk.
- Occasionally Open University (OU) free courses are cited.
- JSTOR lets you set up a free account allowing you to have 6 (interchangeable) books stored that you can read online.
¹Aasof on Poetry (2017): It’s only now that I have come to appreciate literature in its widest possible context, and that it may be due to the influence of the internet. Of course in English Literature the poets read were all long dead and the attraction of the film The Dead Poet’s Society had more to do with Robin Williams than the poetry and prose of long dead poets.
A.P. Herbert AI Albert Haddock Banks blog book books budget budget deficit C.S. Lewis censorship Charles Dickens China Civil Service constitution Crime CRT cryptocurrency CWG debt deficit democracy economics economy education ethics EU euro fiat money Film France freedom of expression gdp government history human-rights internet J M Keynes language Law Ludwig Von Mises Margaret Thatcher Matt morality music Musical national debt New Labour NHS opinion parody PFI poetry police Police & Crime Commissioners politics Quantitative Easing research school Screwtape Sir Ethelred Rutt K.C. social-media Social Media Social Welfare statistics T.E. Utley taxation terrorism Thatcher UK Unemployment USA Victor Hugo war war on terror
© Peter Barnett and Aasof’s Relections. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Aasof and Aasof’s reflections with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.