Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Passion, life's journey and a robust Biblical quote

I Look Into My Glass

I look into my glass,
And view my wasting skin,
And say, "Would God it came to pass
My heart had shrunk as thin!" 

For then I, undistrest
By hearts grown cold to me,
Could lonely wait my endless rest
With equanimity. 

But Time, to make me grieve,
Part steals, lets part abide;
And shakes this fragile frame at eve
With throbbings of noontide. 

Thomas Hardy

Andrew Motion reading his work last night said this poem struck through to his heart as a schoolboy - and made him want to be a poet.

Odd to think of a poem written near the end of  a life (Hardy's) to inspire a trajectory through life - a journey. (The Lloyds discocerting slogan 'For the journey' and its intimations of the journey's end).

Motion was poet laureate and I cannot bring to mind a single poem of his. He is soft spoken and his hands are shaking. He says at the end of the ten years he committed to, he could not write. The poems dried up. He is writing again now and looks full of life, tanned, healthy, just flown in from a Caribbean beach.

New poems with Images of the Baltic Sea and  a fight in a neighbouring hotel room - poems for the dead.  Emotion muted and hidden.

On the way out a stout elderly woman in a mauve sweater holds open the Ladies' Powder Room door for many to file past. Quite a task as it is on a heavy spring. Thank you, thank you, everyone mutters.

"I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of The Lord than to dwell in the tents of the heathen,"
she says robustly.

Commendable passion from the Psalms. Songs of fervour and longing: music for prayer and life eternal.

Reading and watching

  • Foot by Foot to Santiago de Compostela/Judy Foot
  • The Testament of Mary with Fiona Shaw at the Barbican
  • The Testament of Mary/Colm Toibin
  • Schwanengesang/Schubert - Tony Spence
  • Journals/Robert Falcon Scott
  • Fugitive Pieces/Ann Michaels
  • Unless/Carol Shields
  • Faust/Royal Opera House
  • The Art of Travel/Alain de Botton
  • Mad Men Series 6
  • A Week at The Airport/Alain de Botton
  • The Railway Man/Eric Lomax
  • Bright Lights, Big City/Jay McInerney
  • Stones of Venice/John Ruskin
  • The Sea, the Sea/Iris Murdoch
  • Childe Harold/Lord Byron
  • All The Pretty Horses/Cormac McCarthy
  • Extreme Rambling/Mark Thomas
  • Story of my Life/Jay McInerney
  • Venice Observed/Mary McCarthy