Friday, 9 February 2018

A lifetime of words

When I was a teenager I used to take a handwritten or hand-typed copy of pieces of literature that struck a chord with me. I did it as a child, too, but didn't keep those pieces. The teenage years are in a ring-binder and I found it at the back of a cupboard the other day. I had copied Kathleen Raine, Ted Hughes, Kalil Gibran, Seamus Heaney, e e cummings, Charles beatty and lots of others. Even a smidgen of Wordsworth, but probably not the one everyone knows -

For why? Because the good old rule
Sufficeth them; the simple plan,
That they should take who have the power,
and they should keep who can.

There are odd snippets like this one by someone called Tamburas:
Stand still, O Time.
I shall never know why,
You white wall, I love you
Like a woman I never saw before.
The blue of the sky reflects the Nile.

I love you, Men-nefru,
For in the magic of your streets
And in the orange-coloured moon
Of your night
Dwells the breath of the gods.

From poetry I ventured into prose and there are chunks from T H White, Rosemary Sutcliff, and an author I have noted down as M Savage. From there I deviated into all sorts of odd things - the breeding line of Nijinsky and Mill Reef, for example and scrapbooks on the JFK assassination, and Nureyev's defection to the west. Some of this collection stemmed from the fact that I worked in ICI where several daily papers and magazines were received and processed into the library - if I saw anything interesting I could snip it (once the item had ben processed) and read or copy it at my leisure. Reading through the pieces I kept still gives me pleasure today, but I'm mot sure that I still have those scrapbooks, but it is possible. Maybe I'll turn into a hoarder in later life!




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