Monthly Archives: December 2012

The House Where I Grew Up: Francoise Hardy

Françoise Hardy here laments the passage of time in ‘La Maison ou j’ai grandi’. She is in good company – Lot’s wife, Pippa Pilgrim, me and how many others? Well, François Villon for one: Dictes moy ou n’en quel pays … Continue reading

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The Word ‘Intellectual’: W H Auden

To the man-in-the-street who, I’m sorry to say, Is a keen observer of life, The word intellectual suggests right away A man who’s untrue to his wife. W H Auden Collected Shorter Poems The illustration is ‘An intellectual near the … Continue reading

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Loving and Liking

We like someone because. We love someone although. Henri de Montherlant Many a man in love with a dimple makes the mistake of marrying the whole girl. Anon Platonic friendship is the gun you didn’t know was loaded. Anon The … Continue reading

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Hypothesis and Discovery

The irrational fullness of life has taught me never to discard anything, even when it goes against all our theories (so short-lived at best) or otherwise admits of no immediate explanation. It is of course disquieting, and one is not … Continue reading

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‘Leave Behind That Which You Were’: Pippa’s Progress

“In the sun at last, she stands in the oldest back door in the world, a rock arch smoothed by the passing of a billion years. And beneath her feet, there’s writing deep-carved in the stone. Lowering herself to her … Continue reading

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Domino: Patachou

I dedicate this song to my friend Dominique (Domino), who encouraged me to start this blog. I know she won’t take the demand for love too literally! Here is the Wikipedia entry – amazingly, this chanteuse from 1950s Paris is … Continue reading

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Beware of Desperate Steps

Beware of desperate steps. The darkest day Lived till tomorrow, will have passed away. William Cowper He battled with depression all his life, but remains one of Britain’s best-loved poets. The illustration is Wymondham grave yard by: Ben and Georgia Grewcock via Seedresources.

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How to Treat a Stinging Nettle

Tender-hearted, stroke a nettle And it stings you for your pains. Grasp it like a man of mettle And it soft as silk remains. Aaron Hill (not the baseball player, but further details not known) [The poem is intended metaphorically, … Continue reading

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The Ballad of Reading Gaol: Oscar Wilde

I never saw a man who looked With such a wistful eye Upon that little tent of blue Which prisoners call the sky, And at every wandering cloud that trailed Its ravelled fleeces by. He did not wring his hands, … Continue reading

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And the Moral is: It Does Not Pay To Be Too Good (Saki)

It was a hot afternoon, and the railway carriage was correspondingly sultry… The occupants of the carriage were a small girl, and a smaller girl, and a small boy.  An aunt belonging to the children occupied one corner seat, and … Continue reading

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