March poem

Just in time before the end of this month, a poem for March. I like this poem by the poet Stevie Smith very much.

Black March

I have a friend
At the end
Of the world.
His name is a breath

Of fresh air.
He is dressed in
Grey chiffon. At least
I think it is chiffon.
It has a
Peculiar look, like smoke.

It wraps him round
It blows out of place
It conceals him
I have not seen his face.

But I have seen his eyes, they are
As pretty and bright
As raindrops on black twigs
In March, and heard him say:

I am a breath
Of fresh air for you, a change
By and by.

Black March I call him
Because of his eyes
Being like March raindrops
On black twigs.

(Such a pretty time when the sky
Behind black twigs can be seen
Stretched out in one
Uninterrupted
Cambridge blue as cold as snow.)

But this friend
Whatever new names I give him
Is an old friend. He says:

Whatever names you give me
I am
A breath of fresh air,
A change for you.

 

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4: A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, arguably one of the most quintessential Christmas stories ever written. I love the old illustrations of the story, particularly this one of Jacob Marley’s ghost visiting Scrooge

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“Scrooge remembered to have heard that ghosts in haunted houses were described as dragging chains…..then he heard the noise much louder, on the floors below ; then coming up the stairs; then coming straight towards his door.
“It’s humbug still!” said Scrooge. ” I won’t believe it.”
His colour changed though, when, without a pause, it came on through the heavy door, and passed into the room before his eyes. Upon its coming in, the dying flame leapt up, as thought it cried, ” I know him! Marley’s Ghost!” and fell again.
The same face: the very same. Marley in his pigtail, usual waistcoat, tights and boots…..the chain he drew was clasped about his middle. It was long, and wound about him like a tail; and it was made (for Scrooge observed it closely) of cash boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds and heavy purses, wrought in steel.”

I love the atmosphere Dickens creates in this description of Marley’s ghost and his entrance; spooky,certainly, but one wants to know what will happen next!

Bookworm strikes again

I used to be an avid reader – always reading, interested in books and authors, and a frequent visitor to bookshops and the library. But a couple of years ago something made me stop; at the time I wasn’t sure why, but on reflection, it was a combination of way too much going on in my working life and an unsuccessful attempt at being in a book group – I discovered I don’t like reading to deadlines, it takes all the enjoyment out of the printed word for me. My head felt too cluttered for all those words and thoughts.  Something had to go and reading was the casualty. I didn’t stop completely but I’ve probably read 5 books in the last 2 and a half years – I was a pale imitation of my long-lost bookworm self.

But – this week I started reading again. A conversation with a friend about books was the trigger; I realised I missed the feel of the pages between my fingers and losing myself in a good story. Escaping into someone else’s words. All those great works of literature waiting to be read and re-read. All those books on the shelves I spent time choosing to buy. Prose and poetry, fact and fiction. We’re friends again, books and me.P1050008These are just for starters.

Happy to be a reader again.