Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Have you heard the one about the rector and the physician who walked into the mausoleum?

One of those deliciously awkward moments that only Barbara Pym can make completely hilarious. From A Few Green Leaves.

Even though the interior of the mausoleum was not to Tom's taste, there was something attractive about the idea of chilly marble on a hot summer day, and he pushed aside the velvet curtain and went in.

'Ah, rector...'

Tom had not expected a greeting and was startled when he saw that Dr. G. was already inside the mausoleum. Tom had sometimes wondered why Dr. G. should, like himself, have a key to the mausoleum. Its inhabitants were surely beyond his help now.

There was something slightly ridiculous about the two men confronting each other in this way and in such a place, and after the doctor's first 'Ah, rector...' and Tom's response of, 'Well, Dr. G...' they stood smiling at each other, Tom's hand resting, almost in blessing, on a cool marble head, and the doctor appearing to be examining the contours of a marble limb as if he were probing for signs of a fracture.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Turning on the Radio to Rachmaninoff’s 18th Variation on a Theme of Pagannini

You can’t expect, always,
to find a ten
or a presidential pardon
in a forgotten pocket.
But you might, on occasion,
turn on the radio
to find Rachmaninoff rising
one moment out of madness
into lucidity
as lovely as a butterfly
lighting on your hand.

Published on December 18, 2017, in Poetry Breakfast. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Evening Walk, 11-30-17

The trees face the falling light
and fracture it.
A thousand perfect shards. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Barbara Pym references Jane Austen

Reading Barbara Pym is sometimes akin to prepping for graduate studies in English literature. Here is one literary reference that I caught immediately. The first quote is taken from Pym's A Few Green Leaves.

"'Two eggs?' Emma asked. 'And how do you like them?'

'Oh, just as they come.'

'Boiled eggs don't exactly do that.' On the hard side, then, she thought, five minutes. A too-soft-boiled egg would be awkward to manage, slithering all over the place in the way they did. Not to be coped with by a person in an emotional state, though Mr. Woodhouse in that novel about her namesake had claimed that it was not unwholesome.

'I'll have some toast too,' she said, 'to keep you company.'"

And now the source material:

"'Mrs. Bates, let me propose your venturing on one of these eggs. An egg boiled very soft is not unwholesome. Serle understands boiling an egg better than anybody. I would not recommend an egg boiled by anybody else--but you need not be afraid, they are very small, you see--one of our small eggs will not hurt you."
--Mr. Woodhouse from Jane Austen's Emma.