Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc (1870 – 1953) was an Anglo-French writer and historian and one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century. Belloc was also an orator, poet, sailor, satirist, writer of letters, soldier, and political activist.
The small green book nearest the candle is simply titled “Poems”, a volume of verse by John B Tabb. Each poem is on a single page and has been written in similar length to Twitter and Instagram. All the way from 1894—I had to share it with you!
There are 172 pages, one short poem per page, extolling nature, love, life and death. I guess Tabb wanted only his poetry to shine because there is nothing personal inside.
The first page has an important red logo with lilies and Latin written on it, not for the poet but the company insignia of Copeland and Day, Boston, MDCCCXCIV (1894)
The second page states “Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1894, by Copeland and Day, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.”
The back page reads “This first edition of poems by John B. Tabb is limited to five hundred copies, which have been printed during the autumn of 1894 by John Wilson and Son, Cambridge, Massachusetts.”
A slim volume which appears to have been well handled over many years, and the pale deckle parchment is showing its age—see below.
After the formality of the front pages comes a seven page index (in tiny print) which has intriguing titles listed under headings. I guess the first are general rhymes, the next Quatrains and then Sonnets.
Here are some of my favourites—
Hark! What his fellow-warblers heard And uttered in the light, Their phonograph, the mocking-bird, Repeats to them at night.
Here Fancy far outdoes the deed; So hath Eternity the need Of telling more than Time has taught To fill the boundaries of Thought.
With locks of gold to-day; To-morrow, silver gray; Then blossom bald. Behold, O man, thy fortune told!
Out of the dusk a shadow, Then, a spark; Out of the cloud a silence, Then, a lark; Out of the heart a rapture, Then, a pain; Out of the dead, cold ashes, Life again.
How many an acorn falls to die For one that makes a tree! How many a heart must pass me by For one that cleaves to me!
“We may use different words but emotions are eternal”
Who was this man John B Tabb? Well, his full name and title was Father John Banister Tabb (22 March 1845 – 19 November 1909) and he was an American poet, Roman Catholic priest, and professor of English Contents. He was born into a wealthy family in Amelia County, Virginia, was a blockade runner for the Confederacy during the Civil War, converted to the Roman Catholic Church in 1872, taught Greek and English at Saint Charles College (Ellicott City, Maryland) and was ordained as a priest in 1884. Among his other works, Father Tabb published eight poetry books and was widely published in prestigious magazines of the day including Harper’s Monthly and The Cosmopolitan. The Tabb Monument in Amelia County, Virginia, is dedicated to his memory. Source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_B._Tabb
“Bright Red Car” from The Last Night of the Earth Poems by Charles Bukowski, author poet (Black Sparrow Press 1992) and yes, I know the car illustration is yellow but this car jousting is, well… just read it…
I try to avoid speed duels on the freeway but the most curious thing
that all my speeding tickets are when I am quietly driving
when I am in a high speed duel, darting in and out of lane
at near 100 m.p.h.
the police are never
when I get tagged for speeding it is for cruising along,
day-dreaming, at a mere 70
I received 3 such nonsensical tickets in 3 weeks so
I laid low for some time — 2 years, in fact, but today
there was a fellow in a bright red car, I have no idea what
model or kind
and I have no idea of how it all started but I believe that
I started it:
I was in the fast lane going about 70
and I caught the flash of bright red in my rear view and
as he swung out to pass me on the right
he was doing 75
and there was time for him to pass
then cut into the fast lane ahead of me
but something made me hit the throttle and cut him
locking him in behind an old lady with a CHRIST
SAVES bumper sticker.
this seemed to piss him no end
and next I knew he had swung over on my bumper,
so close that his windshield and my taillights
this pissed me no end and I was being blocked by a
green Volks directly ahead
but I cut right through an opening and shot
bright red went wild, spotted the far lane open,
roared over and gunned it
after that, it was just me and bright red
jockeying for spots.
he would garner a lead, then with a crazy gamble
of lane change I would regain the
during this duel my destination was forgotten and I’m
sure his was
watching him, I couldn’t help but admire his driving
skill; he took a few more chances than I
but I had a little bit the better machine
just about evened out.
we were alone: a freak break in the traffic
had set us free together
and we really opened
he had a short lead but my machine slowly gained; I
inched up near him,
then I was at his side and I couldn’t help but
he was a young Japanese-American, maybe 18, 19
and I looked at him and
I saw him check me out.
he saw a 70 year old white man
with a face like
the young man took his foot off the throttle and
I let him go.
I turned the radio
I was 18 miles past my destination but it
it was a beautiful sunny day.
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Charles Bukowski (August 1920 – March 1994) a German American author, an influential, prolific and transgressive 20th century poet, short story writer, and novelist.
Multi-talented storyteller, author and freelancer Chris Hall of luna’s on line says “Basically, I love writing in all its forms. I tell stories – short fiction pieces, even poetry – maybe from a writing prompt or a piece of artwork I’ve seen, or maybe something topical which I’ve read. For the past few months I’ve been writing serials on my blog e.g. Sinead’s Final Quest and Alys and Sparky.”
Pablo Neruda (1904–1973) born Parral, Chile.
Attended Chile University and became a poet, politician, activist, diplomat.
National Prize for Literature Chile (1945)
International Peace Prize (1950)
Lenin Peace Prize (1953)
American Academy of Arts and Letters (Foreign Honorary ∙ Literature ∙ 1968)
Nobel Prize in Literature (1971)
Golden Wreath (1972)
Australian traditional music has a dearth of love songs, but here is one from our home state of Queensland. The English folk singer and collector A.L. Lloyd wrote about this song—
“Throughout the fifty years from 1820 to 1870, broadside printers in London, Newcastle, Dublin and elsewhere did a good trade with the stall-ballad called ‘Banks of the Nile’, a song from the Napoleonic Wars. The song spread to America and Australia, and in Queensland it became parodied as ‘The Banks of the Condamine’, with the hero no longer a soldier but a horse-breaker or a shearer. It has turned up in sundry shapes, to various tunes, many times over, mostly in Queensland.”
This bush ballad was first published under another name in The Queenslander, the literary edition of the Brisbane Courier in 1894.
The Condamine River in southeast Queensland is 657 kilometres long and starts below Cons Plain and ends at the Balonne River.
It was named in honour of Lieut. Thomas De La Condamine (1797-1873) the A.D.C. to Governor Ralph Darling who also has a river named after him. But the Darling River has been known as the Baaka by the Barkindji people for thousands of years.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condamine_River
Kate Llewellyn is a hidden treasure. I had not read any of her works before today but she is reaching the age of legend status and should be acknowledged for her beautiful poetry now rather than in retrospect.
Kate Llewellyn expresses wonder in the capacity of nature for regeneration in the face of disaster, and nature’s opportunism. In ‘Magpies’ she defines the summer heat and leaving a garden sprinkler on while a bushfire rages:
It had been hot for days,
the garden sprawled-–
hit like a cricketer.
I left a hose on,
hanging in the apple tree,
and went indoors and slept.
Magpies found this fountain
and stalked around.
They made a midsummer opera
and gargled water-–
it became their song.
They sang as if to praise
the fountain in the tree.
While all this was happening
a hundred fires swept the State.
Great trees exploded,
birds and animals caught fire.
People died and houses burnt,
yet still these magpies sang
around the fountain in the tree.
Australia is the driest inhabited continent on the planet. It is natural that drought and the regeneration which comes from bushfires and drought-breaking rains are timeless subjects in our poetry and evocatively captured by Kate Llewellyn.
Kate Llewellyn is an award-winning Australian poet, author, diarist and travel writer. She is the author of twenty-four books comprising eight of poetry, five of travel, journals, memoir ‘The Dressmaker’s Daughter’, letters and essays. “Kate Llewellyn is naturally poetic, naturally personal, and uniquely generous with it.” writes Australian Book Review’s South Australian State Editor Peter Goldsworthy. Further reading Poetry Library.
Sunday 1st March 2020 the Wales Readathon and Dewithon20 begins! To get fired up, read Gareth Evans emotive poem, one of many he penned on a trek across Wales.
“In the summer of 2003, Gareth Evans walked the length of Wales from Cardiff to Holyhead, taking 28 days to cover over 500km and 18000m of ascent. Twenty-eight poems were inspired by the journey. Some are humorous, some are philosophical, some are descriptive and all are the product of quiet, solitary observation. Join Welshman Garethas he probes deep into the heart of Wales.”
Here is one of his poems—
“The Dragon’s Back”
Turned to motionless stone by a great Welsh wizard
His red scaly back turned to a silvery grey
The most powerful dragon that ever lived
Is harnessed by a mysterious, magical spell
His elongated head peers down on the Llanberis lakes
His massive body full of spikes is a fearsome sight
His rock-studded spine slumped high above Ogwen
Gashes line his steep sides like old war wounds shooting down to Idwal
Gullies and arêtes form the webs of his folded wings
A bristly tail drops down suddenly, decorated by spectacular pinnacles
Before flicking up again with one last majestic sweep
To its triple-pronged tip soaring towards the heavens
The roar that once filled the valleys preserved forever
In the howl of the wind and the scream of the jets in Nant Ffrancon
His beauty is held in the eagles that now circle above him
He lives on in the spirit of the people of Wales
Courage and passion are mirrored in their eyes
And his fire still burns in the depths of their hearts
Edna St. Vincent Millay was born in Rockland, Maine USA, on 22 February 1892. Edna’s poetry and playwright collections include The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver (Flying Cloud Press 1922) winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and Renascence and Other Poems (Harper 1917)
Edna won a scholarship to Vassar College and became famous during her lifetime for her poetry with its passionate, formal lyrics, her flame-red hair, outspoken political views and unconventional lifestyle. She died on 18 October, 1950, in Austerlitz, New York.
From that shallow-silvery wine-glass on a short stem
This rolling, dropping, heavy globule?
I am thinking, of course, of the peach before I ate it.
Why so velvety, why so voluptuous heavy?
Why hanging with such inordinate weight?
Why so indented?
Why the groove?
Why the lovely, bivalve roundnesses?
Why the ripple down the sphere?
Why the suggestion of incision?
Why was not my peach round and finished like a billiard ball?
It would have been if man had made it.
Though I’ve eaten it now.
But it wasn’t round and finished like a billiard ball;
And because I say so, you would like to throw something at me.
Here, you can have my peach stone.
San Gervasio D. H. Lawrence (1923)
* * * * *
David Herbert Lawrence, English author, poet, literary critic (1885–1930) is regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century.
Lawrence’s hard working-class upbringing shaped his life, and he wrote extensively about the experience of growing up in the poor mining town of Eastwood, Nottinghamshire. “Whatever I forget,” he said, “I shall not forget the Haggs, a tiny red brick farm on the edge of the wood, where I got my first incentive to write.”
A prolific writer and traveller, Lawrence earned fame for his earthy novels (some banned) and short stories, and subsequently received acclaim for his personal letters in which he detailed a range of emotions, from exhilaration to depression to ruminating on life and death.
… Wordsworth as he tossed and turned and counted sheep, perhaps after a rollicking New Year’s Eve party. Hope you got some sleep once the brand new decade had dawned. Maybe reciting William’s poem can give you “fresh thoughts and joyous health!” in 2020.
William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by
One after one; the sound of rain, and bees
Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,
Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky;—
Audre Geraldine Lorde was born on February 1934 in New York City, and went on to become a leading African-American poet and essayist who gave voice to issues of race, gender and sexuality.
Lorde’s love of poetry started at a young age, and she began writing as a teenager. She attended Hunter College, working to support herself through school. After graduating in 1959, she went on to get a master’s degree in library science from Columbia University in 1961 and was head librarian at Town School Library in New York City.
‘The Black Unicorn’ (1978), a volume in which Lorde explored her African heritage, is considered one of her greatest works by many critics. In addition to poetry, Lorde was a powerful essayist and writer.
In terms of her nonfiction work, Lorde is best remembered for ‘The Cancer Journals’ (1980) in which she documents her own struggle with breast cancer. She died November 1992 on the US island of St. Croix.