… into the deep heart of English country, with country noises brushing the surface of a deeper silence. John Betjeman, ‘Back to the Railway Carriage’ A new sonnet, in celebration of both National Poetry Day just past and the everyday miracles surrounding me in my sequestered patch of Eden.
There are certain half-dreaming moods of mind in which we naturally steal away from noise and glare, and seek some quiet haunt where we may indulge our reveries and build our air castles undisturbed. Washington Irving From a favourite corner of my Sussex Garden, a daydream of 7001 Nights:
Hypnotized by the wings of the butterfly, and awed by the discovery of a terrible possibility in life, she sat for some time longer. When the butterfly flew away, she rose, and with her two books beneath her arm returned again, much as a soldier prepares for battle. Virginia Would, The Voyage Out I am
Through the sweltering and seemingly endless heatwave, and now in the cool, damp aftermath, I’ve been reading the short stories of Somerset Maugham, set in the South Sea islands. One of them, curiously you might think, put me in my mind of the Bradford of my boyhood. Hence this little film: I was struck, too,
To me a dancer’s life is an amalgam of three crucial elements. The impossible and the spiritual, all wrapped up with a ribbon of passion. Gillian Lynne, A Dancer in Wartime Gillian Lynne – Dame Gillian as she latterly became – rang me up out of the blue a year or two back. Her beloved
I felt it was for this I had come: to wake at dawn on a hillside and look out on a world for which I had no words, to start at the beginning … Laurie Lee, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning A reprise of my poem about the blackbird and a new sonnet
What connexion can there have been between many people in the innumerable histories of this world, who, from opposite sides of great gulfs, have, nevertheless, been very curiously brought together! Charles Dickens, Bleak House Often I find that BBC Radio 4’s early-morning offerings chime serendipitously with my present preoccupations, or connect and coincide with things
Actor John Stride – Stoppard’s original Rosencrantz to my Guildesntern – passed away last Friday, 20th April, at the age of 81. ‘Derek Goldby’s production’, Peter Lewis announced, ‘comes out of the dark like a spotlit jewel, full of vibrations.’ ‘In their scenes together they behave as if they had been stuck beside one another throughout