Thursday, 3 April 2014

Poem of the ... how long has it been?

The Silent One
Ivor Gurney

Who died on the wires, and hung there, one of two -
Who for his hours of life had chattered through
Infinite lovely chatter of Bucks accent:
Yet faced unbroken wires; stepped over, and went
A noble fool, faithful to his stripes - and ended.
But I weak, hungry, and willing only for the chance
Of line- to fight in the line, lay down under unbroken
Wires, and saw the flashes and kept unshaken,
Till the politest voice - a finicking accent, said:
‘Do you think you might crawl through there: there's a hole.'
Darkness shot at: I smiled, as politely replied –
‘I'm afraid not, Sir.' There was no hole, no way to be seen
Nothing but chance of death, after tearing of clothes.
Kept flat, and watched the darkness, hearing bullets whizzing –
And thought of music - and swore deep heart's oaths
(Polite to God) and retreated and came on again,
Again retreated a second time, faced the screen.

Saturday, 29 March 2014


Automatic message on the P12 last night:

"There are more seats available upstairs".

Thursday, 6 March 2014


Harry Venning in the Grauniad yesterday, surfing the zeitgeist.

Clare in the Community does the Movie of the Moment.


Saturday, 1 March 2014

Sunday, 26 January 2014


Well, yesterday was a bit spacey.

First on the terrible R4 programme, the inheritance tracks of Chris Hadfield.  Including 'Where Have all the Flowers Gone?'.  Mind you, although he wanted to hand on a song we certainly hadn't heard of, we all know what it s he's really passed on...

Then yesterday afternoon through the driving rain to the Odeon Greenwich - which looks a little space agey, to see Gravity.  Which was enjoyed, I must say.  Lots of references to other space movies, and only the odd faux pas.

And so to home, and as it was a clear night we set up the telescope and looked at Jupiter.
A clear orangey disk, and all four Galilean satellites clearly visible.


Saturday, 21 December 2013


So Thursday's cryptic in the Guardian was a nice effort by Paul celebrating the Centenary of the Crossword. Lots of the greats identified by clue and solution, Araucaria, of course, but also Ximenes, Torquemada, Engma(tist) and others.  All rather jolly.

So, for those in London I'm off to 'Sloggers and Betters' at the Penderel's Oak in Holborn.  Should be fun if rather fannish, I fear.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Poem of the Week

A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy's Day

'Tis the year's midnight, and it is the day's,
Lucy's, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks;
         The sun is spent, and now his flasks
         Send forth light squibs, no constant rays;
                The world's whole sap is sunk;
The general balm th' hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed's feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interr'd; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compar'd with me, who am their epitaph.

Study me then, you who shall lovers be
At the next world, that is, at the next spring;
         For I am every dead thing,
         In whom Love wrought new alchemy.
                For his art did express
A quintessence even from nothingness,
From dull privations, and lean emptiness;
He ruin'd me, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darkness, death: things which are not.

All others, from all things, draw all that's good,
Life, soul, form, spirit, whence they being have;
         I, by Love's limbec, am the grave
         Of all that's nothing. Oft a flood
                Have we two wept, and so
Drown'd the whole world, us two; oft did we grow
To be two chaoses, when we did show
Care to aught else; and often absences
Withdrew our souls, and made us carcasses.

But I am by her death (which word wrongs her)
Of the first nothing the elixir grown;
         Were I a man, that I were one
         I needs must know; I should prefer,
                If I were any beast,
Some ends, some means; yea plants, yea stones detest,
And love; all, all some properties invest;
If I an ordinary nothing were,
As shadow, a light and body must be here.

But I am none; nor will my sun renew.
You lovers, for whose sake the lesser sun
         At this time to the Goat is run
         To fetch new lust, and give it you,
                Enjoy your summer all;
Since she enjoys her long night's festival,
Let me prepare towards her, and let me call
This hour her vigil, and her eve, since this
Both the year's, and the day's deep midnight is.