Monday, 5 October 2020

I don't know any poems by Walt Whitman

Sadly, the only poems I know off by heart are very short. (I used to know 'Ozymandias', but I just checked, and... nope.)

Anyway, this morning I noticed that Edna St. Vincent Millay is probably unique in my head-space, in that I know precisely one poem off by heart by her, and one about her. 

The one by her is:
First Fig

My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends —
It gives a lovely light!
It's not my favourite of hers, though. My favourite, mostly because of the final couplet, is this one.
Sonnet IV

I shall forget you presently, my dear,
So make the most of this, your little day,
Your little month, your little half a year
Ere I forget, or die, or move away,
And we are done forever; by and by
I shall forget you, as I said, but now,
If you entreat me with your loveliest lie
I will protest you with my favorite vow.
I would indeed that love were longer-lived,
And vows were not so brittle as they are,
But so it is, and nature has contrived
To struggle on without a break thus far, —
Whether or not we find what we are seeking
Is idle, biologically speaking.
And the one I know about her - well, sort of - is I think by David Mamet. At least, he quotes it at the start of one of his plays, and Google doesn't turn up any other attribution for it.
The Reason I Like

The reason I like
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Is that her name.
Sounds like a basketball
     Falling
        Downstairs.

The reason I like
Walt Whitman
Is that his name
Sounds like
Edna St. Vincent Millay
       Falling
           Downstairs.









Saturday, 4 April 2020

News from Fitton

It occurs to me I really ought to have mentioned here that an old friend of mine has been borrowing my YouTube account recently to let his friends know how he's coping with self-isolation. (The answer, perhaps unsurprisingly, is 'pretty well').

Here's the first, of seven so far.




Friday, 31 January 2020

My own trumpet

 A lovely thing happened to me this month. The Writer's Guild of Great Britain gave me their Outstanding Contribution to Writing Award.




I find I can't write much about it without dissolving into a puddle of tiresome self-deprecation - I've already had to delete six or seven variations on 'for reasons known only to themselves' from the sentence above. But I will try to hold that off for long enough to say how sincerely honoured and grateful I am to the Guild, and to my dear friend David Tyler; who presented the award, and from whose lovely speech about me I have still not quite recovered. 

Here we both are, looking chuffed. (Just after this photo was taken, David took off his jacket and tie, and instantly became a floating head.)


Photo by Dave Bennett @davebennett