May 2014


A lady might pretend to fix her face,
but scan the room inside her compact mirror –

so gentlemen would scrutinize this glass
to gaze on Windermere or Rydale Water

and pick their way along the clifftop tracks
intent upon the romance in the box,

keeping untamed nature at their backs,
and some would come to grief upon the rocks.

Don’t look so smug. Don’t think you’re any safer
as you blunder forward through your years

straining to recall some aching pleasure,
or blinded by some private scrim of tears

I know. My world’s encircled by this prop,
though all my life I’ve tried to force it shut. (more…)

i.m. Mike Donaghy

More instruments ring these walls than raised a roof
for God througout all medieval Christendom;
stone arcades spring like dancers from the Minster floor,
keyed to their lord’s calling-on song ‘Da Mihi Manum’. (more…)

Now that a revolution really is needed, those who were fervent are quite cool.

While a country murdered and raped calls for help from the Europe which it had trusted, they yawn. (more…)

Since we agreed to let the road between us
Fall to disuse,
And bricked our gates up, planted trees to screen us,
And turned all time’s eroding agents loose,
Silence, and space, and strangers – our neglect
Has not had much effect. (more…)

There was a Young Lady of Hull,
Who was chased by a virulent bull;
But she seized on a spade,
And called out, ‘Who’s afraid?’
Which distracted that virulent bull.

It is two years now since he went away. I don’t know where he is or what he is doing. Perhaps he is meditating somewhere in the Himalayas, or wandering by the banks of the Ganges with an orange robe and a begging bowl; or perhaps he is just living in another town, trying to start a newspaper or a school. Sometimes I ask myself: can there really have been such a man? But it is not a question to which I require any answer.

Note. RPJ was born in Germany of Polish parents and came to England in 1939 aged 12. Marrying an Indian Architect C.S.H. Jhabvala she lived in India from 1951 to 1975. This piece is taken from her Selected Stories, Out of India.

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