Love Songs

February 12, 2016


I have remembered beauty in the night,
Against black silences I waked to see
A shower of sunlight over Italy
And green Ravello dreaming on her height;
I have remembered music in the dark,
The clean swift brightness of a fugue of Bach’s,
And running water singing on the rocks
When once in English woods I heard a lark.

But all remembered beauty is no more
Than a vague prelude to the thought of you –
You are the rarest soul I ever knew,
Lover of beauty, knightliest and best;
My thoughts seek you as waves that seek the shore,
And when I think of you, I am at rest.

Sara Teasdale

The Nitro

February 12, 2016

A mountain trip

I wanted sky. That was my ambition. And now I’m being tugged
Up a small steel mountain,

A burly chain beneath the car hauling my weight
And a trail of my fellow aspirants. Poised at the top, we waver.

Then the slow turn downward,
The gathering speed, hurtling

Toward the earth from which, with a paste of mud and spit,
In that one foreboding

Story, the god
Made the man.

Upward again, turning and writhing in air, my body become a space
Where, as in love,

The great forces stream through:
Space, wind, light, the seconds blurring by like years.

O my god, I hear the cries of those around me as we are borne up and
Down and up and down,

Our breath three
Tubular steel

Hills back.
Let this not end, my body says and, at the same time, Let it be done,

As with a sudden jerk, a brake
Catches, the train slows, we arrive

At the platform milling with the shades
Called the living. Down the ramp. Back to a frail rain

Glossing popcorn stands, the carousel’s splintered mirrors, and
Hey! It’s some dude

Dressed as Sinestro from the Legion of Doom, his power ring strobing,
Scattering the crowd.

Clare Rossini

Loving Chloë

February 12, 2016


(after Gwen John’s portrait of Chloë Boughton-Leigh)

(‘Three weeks in Paris! Will you sit for me?’)

There’s buried treasure in you
that I want to excavate,

I want to paint you the way Vermeer
painted women: to show you
still and silent in your blue-grey dress
holding a letter and your thoughts elsewhere

I want to show your gently heavy hands
the thin line of your collarbone
I want to paint the markings of your veins
the flecks of white in your hazel eyes

and then, like Vermeer
the tiny milky globes of pearls
and the gleam on the links of your necklace
bright as goldleaf

as Bronze-age torques or Roman amulets
discovered under earth

(Elizabeth Burns has published Ophelia and other poems (Polygon) and The Gift of Light (Diehard). A sequence, Poems from the life and art of Gwen John, was published by Galdragon Press in November 2003. The Lantern Bearers appeared in 2007, and Held, her fourth full length collection was published in 2010. Her website may be found HERE).

Very Good Advice…

February 12, 2016



Reading today

February 12, 2016


Looking for ghosts

February 12, 2016

looking for ghosts.indd

TFI Friday…

February 12, 2016

H R Giger Leipzig Exhibition Grande, beautiful, bizarre

H R Giger
Leipzig Exhibition
Grande, beautiful, bizarre

H R Giger Deathbearingmachine

H R Giger

H R Giger Begoetterung

H R Giger


February 12, 2016


The first thing we heard of Ernest Hemingway’s death was a call from the London Daily Mail, asking me to comment on it. And quite privately, although something of this sort might be expected, I find it shocking. He had only one theme — only one. A man contends with the forces of the world, called fate, and meets them with courage. Surely a man has a right to remove his own life but you’ll find no such possibility in any of H’s heroes. The sad thing is that I think he would have hated accident much more than suicide. He was an incredibly vain man. An accident while cleaning a gun would have violated everything he was vain about. To shoot yourself with a shotgun in the head is almost impossible unless it is planned. Most such deaths happen when a gun falls, and then the wound is usually in the abdomen. A practiced man does not load a gun while cleaning it. Indeed a hunting man would never have a loaded gun in the house. There are shotguns over my mantle but the shells are standing on the shelf below. The guns are cleaned when they are brought in and you have to unload a gun to clean it. H had a contempt for mugs. And only a mug would have such an accident. On the other hand, from what I’ve read, he seems to have undergone a personality change in the last year or so. Certainly his last summer in Spain and the resulting reporting in Life were not in his old manner. Perhaps, as Paul de Kruif told me, he had had a series of strokes. That would account for the change.

But apart from all that — he has had the most profound effect on writing — more than anyone I can think of. He has not a vestige of humour. It’s a strange life. Always he tried to prove something. And you only try to prove what you aren’t sure of. He was the critics’ darling because he never changed style, theme nor story. He made no experiments in thinking nor in emotion. A little like Capa, he created an ideal image of himself and then tried to live it. I am saddened at his death. I never knew him well, met him a very few times and he was always pleasant and kind to me although I am told that privately he spoke very disparagingly of my efforts. But then he thought of other living writers not as contemporaries but as antagonists. He really cared about his immortality as though he weren’t sure of it. And there’s little doubt that he has it.

One thing interests me very much. For a number of years he has talked about a big book he was writing and then about several books written and put away for future publication. I have never believed these books exist and will be astonished if they do. A writer’s first impulse is to let someone read it. Of course I may be wrong and he may be the exception. For the London Daily Express, I have two lines by a better writer than either of us. They go, “He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again.”

And since he was called Papa — the lines are doubly applicable.

John Ernst Steinbeck

Journal of a Novel


February 12, 2016