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Poetry Magnum Opus

Books We Read (Part One)


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Since children’s tales were read to me

and my early encounters with Winnie-the-Pooh,

I have never stopped reading books.

I devoured the Victorian dramas of GA Henty

and that chap (Beau Geste?) who joined the Foreign Legion,

and taught the Froggies how to fight,

before moving sort of backwards

to ‘Ivanhoe’ and the delights of Stevenson.

I loved and still love Stevenson!

Then came Kipling and the British Raj,

which urged me in later life to live in India,

among a strange mix of the past and the modern.

Growing older, less susceptible to romantic themes,

I discovered the anti-Semitic Louis Ferdinand Celine,

whose early works burned a hole in my brain:

“Journey to the End of the Night”

O my God, out-feckin-rageous – attraction and repulsion

in the course of a single sentence!

I soothed out with the crabby Evelyn Waugh,

whose comic novels even today are incomparable,

and thus fell in love with the 1930s,

which led to “The Dance of the Music of Time”

and other bodice-ripping thrillers of the period,

such as Graham Greene and Eric Ambler.


I have to stop here since I am meeting a few friends for lunch. Chances are I will come back with an update from the 30s.

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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I hope so. In night's middle, I need to follow a familiar path.

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