Saturday, 12 November 2011



I don't get much time to update this blog anymore - I do apologise.

If you'd like to keep an eye on what I'm upto I have 2 other blogs - Bringing Words To Life is mainly poetry with a hint of photography and my tumblr site is mainly photography with a hint of poetry.

I hope you get a few minutes to pop over and have a look around - comments are always much appreciated.

Thank you to everyone who has visited, commented and clicked a fun, cool or interesting while here.

See you on the other side hopefully :)


Saturday, 1 October 2011

Recent photos

Night Beach Walk


Bedford Embankment

Under Worthing Pier

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Recent Photos


Dunstable Downs

Sunset at Dunstable

Dunstable Downs Sunset

Monday, 4 July 2011

Thornborough Bridge, Bucks

Gate and Fence - Thornborough Bucks

Roman Bridge - Thornborough

Not so Roman brick repair

"What you doing down there ?"

"You still there ?"

"Mine's a rum - Lambs Navy please."


Thursday, 23 June 2011

Walkabout in Covent Garden and Camden Town

St Pancras Station
I recently took up photography after a break from it for a few years and decided I would take a trip into London on a Sunday morning to see if I could get some pictures of market traders setting up. A 6.30am start at Leagrave train station would get me into the Covent Garden area of London for about 7.30 but I hadn't banked on the rail replacement services after an overnight power failure on the line. So rather than a quick train ride into London I had a leisurely coach ride taking in the sites of north London before the coach dropped us off at St Pancras International Station. I needed a coffee by now so before hitting the tube to Covent Garden I stopped at one of my favourite coffee shops just outside the British Library and then headed for the tube.

"Apple Market"
Life was buzzing at Covent Garden when I got there - a leisurely Sunday morning had turned into an almost frantic need to get the camera ready and start taking pictures. Baristas were setting up for the morning breakfast trade, market traders were moving carts around and setting up their stalls with their product - all oblivious to an excited, back at it, photographer. This pair were having a chat while putting their trinkets out in Covent Gardens "Apple Market".

After taking a few pictures at Covent Garden I decided to go to Camden Town via Embankment Park where I had another coffee at the cafe just outside the park. It was more leisurely there with people having breakfast, one particularly guy was having a full english and checking meeting minutes - not my idea of a Sunday morning treat but what floats my boat probably doesn't float his. I didn't have the guts to ask him for a picture - he looked far too busy so I left him to his minutes and his sausages and beans.

Attitude (x2)
Camden Town allows for perfect photographic opportunities ! There are all your usual tourists - an awful lot of people carrying cameras and I decided to get a photograph of a young guy holding an advertising board for a tattoo parlour - this guy must have been very used to people asking for his picture because as soon as I got close to him, camera at the ready, he looked at me and just said "pound a photo" - once he posed I realised he indeed was very used to people asking him for a picture. I love the attitude in this picture - not just Mr Advertising Board but also the free attitude on the left of the picture.

The last picture is one I've had quite a lot of positive feedback from since I posted it on my other blog a few weeks ago and it will be appearing on the cover of a volume of Take-It-To-The-Streets-Poetry which will have one of my poems in and I will be handing out to someone I meet on the 1st July as part of the TITTSP Project - you can see a video of the first (this is the second) TITTSP project on youtube here.

Embankment Tube Station

Please feel free to leave a comment about anything here or post some of your own pictures on your blog and let me know - I'd love to see them.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

A big thank you to John Hegley !!

I’ve blogged in the past about how nervous I get when I stand up in front of people and talk – it’s here – and that I was hoping to continue going to the poetry group I started going to a few months ago and try to expel the demons. Well tonight was one of those nights: tonight was a workshop organised by Dick, our leader, and John Hegley was giving the workshop. John doesn’t just run workshops, he performs poetry with his little ukelele, makes everyone laugh and then gets us to write something. Tonight’s themes wereconfessions and then decisions but first we wrote a corporate poem – a line at a time passed around the table until we had a poem – beginning with and filling the blanks as here - I need you like a …….. needs a ………. . Then with the spin of his pen John chose the corporate reader  - which happened to be me. This went OK – still a bit nervous but I got through it – with a degree of blusher and sweat added mid-flow.
The evening carried on with John performing more of his poems and more laughs with all those that hadn’t read their I needs reading either their confession or decision poem. After everyone else had read there was a little bit of time left for the I need readers to read their poems – so that was it sink or swim – and I bloody well swam (well I did better than I’ve done in the past). I belted it out like I’ve never belted anything out to anyone while stood in front of them and I’m chuffed, over the moon and all of those feelings bundled into one. It’s not over, I know I haven’t all of a sudden become a performer but what I have done is leapt the first hurdle of a steeplechase – and I’m so glad I went tonight. Here is my Confessions poem for you:
I confess to the Lord Almighty -
I confess I don’t believe in the Lord Almighty -
I confess I’ve tried to believe but -
I confess I don’t believe in God.

His son – if he did in fact
come from the Lord Almighty -
I confess I believe in Him
and I believe He died for the Good of us.

I’ve confessed – the Catholic Way and
I confess I didn’t tell the truth -
I did what everybody else did and I wish
I could have confessed to Little Nicola Love – not the Catholic Way.

I wanted to finish with a laugh and I did get the laugh I was hoping for – so thank you all at Toddington Poetry Society, Dick, the visitors from Ware, Vere Poets and ID Poetry but most of all thank you to John Hegley for making the evening enjoyable and for me, a small personal triumph. Thank you very, very much.
John’s website is here if you’d like to find out more about him. He travels a lot, there’s a good chance he could be in a town near you very soon – go along I guarantee you’ll have a good evening !

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Early morning photography - but how did I get locked up ?

So I was at Gravesend for work early this morning: I usually get to where I'm going early, I hate sitting in M25 traffic and would rather get to where I need to be early and chill than sit nose to tail. I spotted a sign for the marina in Gravesend and headed for it thinking I'd get a few decent photographs on a still sunny morning - the camera now lives in the van.

There it was, in the sun, all calm and serene: so itching for a couple of decent photos I pulled into the car park and jumped out of the van, camera at the ready. I got a few shots, or at least they looked fairly decent so I walked back to the van - the van was never out of my sight throughout. What I didn't notice was the car park gate - yes I saw the sign that said "DO NOT OBSTRUCT THIS GATE" on the entrance to the jetty but in my excitement to get "a good shot" I didn't see the gate for the car park I was in. In the 10 minutes I was taking "the shot" someone had been and shut - and padlocked - the gate.

You know that feeling, the sinking feeling of realisation, when you know you've been a twat, and then the other feeling when you think you might be stuck here for some time. Council workers, passers-by and the phone number on the gate all got my inquisitive "Do you know how ... Have you got a key?" - until after about an hour of near panic - the morning was getting on - the first site would be open soon - a friendly boat owner, who'd probably seen me walking back and forth like a lost dog popped his head up from his boat hatch, rubbing his eyes with a key in hand. What a star, I was free and off to work I went, whistling as I went, of course. Anyway, here are a couple of "the shots", hope you like them ! Do leave a comment if you like them, or you, like me, have had a similar experience.


Tilbury - near Gravesend

View from Tilbury Docks

Gravesend Marina
Gravesend Marina

Friday, 27 May 2011

Me ~ Guest Blogger

Scott @meandmybigmouth requested for guest bloggers to fill a gap on his blog Me And My Big Mouth while he is busy completing his latest book. So after a bit of thought and the realisation I had an hour to spare I penned a piece about a mayday call the ship I was serving on whilst in the Royal Navy responded to - the story can be seen on Scott's blog today - click here to go to the story.

My thanks to Scott for allowing me to appear as guest blogger on his blog !

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Decisions, decisions - mind made up

I've decided to make this blog more of a photographic gallery blog - my other blog "bringing words to life" will concentrate more on poetry - the two may intermingle along the metamorphosis trail but generally speaking that's what I'm going to do ~ I love the colours in this shot !

Fungi at Stockgrove Park - often a good way for a
mind to grow -keep moist and in the dark

Friday, 20 May 2011

Recent Images: SJ Murphy

Lymington Ferry Terminal - IOW Ferry

Sewage Pipe - Ryde Beach IOW

Inside the - Time Tunnel - Ryde Beach IOW


Underneath Ryde Pier - IOW


Great Yarmouth Beach


Euston Road Great Yarmouth


"Residence" Great Yarmouth


For Your Convenience - Great Yarmouth


Thursday, 5 May 2011

Self Portrait and Haiku

Seen through my own eyes
One eye looking to the world
The other eye blind

Tea ...

... is a must first thing in the morning. Tea is my wake up blast of caffeine followed by coffee - normally latte via BP's Wild Bean Cafe while I'm out and about on the road.

Can't beat a lovely cup of tea ~ followed by a lovely latte later on


I know - I sound like an old tea wife - I'll try and update with a poem later.


And here it is - just a little fun piece;

Take the little things away and you cease being you. You can
Take the boy out of England but England remains.
Take the tea from my lips and my heart misses a beat.

Everyday routine fallen into not shaped.
Everyday without fail – without thinking.

Arisen from sleep the best of the day.


I'm off for a cuppa :)

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Poem: The Profile and The Craic: SJ Murphy

I’m 5ft 9 with too many pounds,
I get miffed when people miss their round,
My feet are set, firmly on the ground,
My bank account? Never enough pounds.
Film beginnings, many I’ve seen,
Ice cream ? Yes please, with praline!
My car, my van, neither pristine,
If only I’d caught, the final scene.
Reggae, classic, metal and rock,
All are loud, even gridlock.
Read lots of Larkin but don’t know Pollock,
Couldn’t spot a piece of Baroque.
A pint of Best, never a half,
Most important, I like to laugh,
You’ll never see me, wearing a scarf,
Winter warmth afront the hearth.
Never one, the fun to spoil,
Life’s too short for many a roil,
Murphy, oh mur-ik-oo, Seac and Somhairle,
Handsome chaps, easy to spoil.
Don’t ask for money, I seldom lend,
Money I’ve said, is there to spend,
Never been one to set the trend,
So I guess for now, that’s the end.
1. oh mur-ik-oo is the pronunciation of the Irish Gaelic translation of Murphy – O Murchu
2. Somhairle [somoil] and Seac [shawk] are the Irish Gaelic translations of my son’s names [Samuel and Jack]

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Villanelle - For Steve by Ruth Grimsley

I had a lovely surprise during the week and received a villanelle written, for me [big smile], by my lovely friend Ruth Grimsley. Ruth and I met via The Red Baron who's blog I started to follow a few months ago, Norman Ross aka The Red Baron, put us in touch from across the pond in Florida. Ruth and I have been exchanging emails and reading each others poetry, we like the way each other writes: our chance meeting inspired Ruth to write this poem. Ruth has invited me up to Sheffield to read at one of Words and Things group meetings, which I am really looking forward to - if a little nervous [I very seldom get up in front of groups of people so it's kind of unnatural for me but I really am looking forward to it !].

Here is Ruth's villanelle and thank you so much Ruth, I was over the moon to read it, I was over the moon you have taken the time to write, about me and us meeting, I really don't have the right words to express my feelings, thank you;

If there had never been the Internet
Though both of us write skilful poetry
Most likely you and I would not have met

We owe a quite immeasurable debt
To someone’s blog in Florida so free
If there had never been the Internet –

Keats’ unseen wings of poesy now set
Into a beautiful reality –
Most likely you and I would not have met

Electrically we’re now tete-a-tete
The net thrown out has caught both you and me.
If there had never been the Internet

There never would have been our sweet duet
Of consonance and luminosity:
Most likely you and I would not have met

And that would have been cause of great regret
Since we are quite near in geography.
If there had never been the Internet
Most likely you and I would not have met

The viewless wings of poesy” – from one of Keats’ odes. “Ode to a Nightingale,” I think. “Viewless “ doesn’t really mean “unseen” now: nowadays it’s a word you’d only apply to a crap hotel room. Perhaps it never really did mean “unseen,” and Keats was exercising a bit of poetic licence. He did mean “unseen,” however. That’s clear from the poem, whichever one it was.

Copyright (c) Ruth Grimsley

Friday, 8 April 2011

Red Kite [villanelle]: SJ Murphy

I sit and look and watch the sky,
A Red Kite glides in search of prey,
I ask the question, how and why,
Do you hunt and poach in town? You do not fly
Or hunt your prey, where once you may:
I sit and look and watch the sky.
Be gone to rural hunts and say goodbye,
Go hunt your kill not here, but far away.
I ask the question, how and why,
Do you glide with so much ease? Now high
Above the rooftops searching: awaiting melee,
I sit and look and watch the sky:
A single beat you use to amplify
Your height in search of prey.
I ask the question, how and why,
How long before you see, you spy
your kill, then swoop and eat your prey?
I sit and look and watch the sky,
I ask the question, how and why?

Thursday, 7 April 2011

To go or not to go ? That is the question

I've started a new blog over at Wordpress and I like the slick look and feel of it. I'm wondering whether to move over there or stay where I am - any comments would be much appreciated.



Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Fleeing Blackbird [Haiku]: SJ Murphy


Eye to eye it lands
Blackbird shrieks it's warning call
Fleeing for safety


Monday, 4 April 2011

Remember: SJ Murphy

Remember the ghosts,
That haunted rooms,
Where memories strayed.

Remember the joys,
That left you breathless,
Where nothing else could fill that void.

Remember the things,
That make you breathe,
And blood pump through your veins.

Remember these things,
That they may never be there again,
And that is why you grab, hold tight, and don't let go.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Iota Magazine - Rejection

I got a response from Iota Magazine during last week: I submitted 6 poems to Iota on 10th January [I'm pretty good with dates - don't forget many birthdays] and was expecting a response sometime soon: a letter was on the doorstep when I came in from work on Wednesday I think it was, I looked at the handwritten envelope and thought I like that handwriting and then realised it was mine, that was quite cool, I like my own handwriting. So I worked out it must have been from Iota - I don't send many letters to myself - and opened expecting to see the words sorry but on this occasion you have been unsuccessful. As a very funny man I've known of for many years [Kevin "Bloody" Wilson] would say in his broad Australian Accent, it was the nicest "get fucked" letter I've ever received and that's pretty much how I feel about it. I was not expecting to get my first submissions to any poetry magazine published, it would have been lovely of course, but hey ho, such is life.

I'm writing when I get the time and have even started experimenting with poetic forms, so who knows, the next batch of beauties I submit to a poetry magazine might stand more of a chance. I was reading some Christopher Reid poems in a bookshop the other day and an awful lot of the poems started with verbs which gripped me straight from the off, so I'll make a point of doing that over the next few weeks and see what I come up with.

I'd be interested in other people's rejections - maybe start a Nicest Rejection Letter Club or some hashtag on twitter #nicestrejectionletter - I'll put a few quid on that not trending :)

The rejection thing is pretty much the reason I went on and published my own book through Lulu, maybe a publisher would have liked them, maybe they wouldn't and I'm a pretty impatient sort of character so waiting 3 months for publishers to reject and then submit and wait for the next publisher was not an option for book 1: now I've got a book in print out of my system I think I'll be a bit more patient next time and what with the, dare I say it, studying of poetic form I'm doing at the minute maybe they will stand a chance.

Anyway, any rejections you'ld like to share please don't hesitate to comment below.

Onwards and upwards !!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Fingertips [Haiku]: SJ Murphy


Sand falls through fingers
Looking for reality
Gone without a hope


Sunday, 27 March 2011

Haikus: SJ Murphy


I would be like him
If I made you laugh and cry
I'd be my father


You departed life
Was eleven years ago
Please just one more word


Whoever would guess?
But they say we look alike
It's hard to believe

The Rialto - Poetry Magazine

I haven't subscribed to a magazine for many years but after receiving the latest copy of The Rialto [Number 71] on Friday [a nice surprise when I got home from work], reading it from cover to cover and not wanting to miss the next issue, that has to be a good enough reason to subscribe. I thought I would add a few lines that really caught my eye here: [(c) Copyright belongs to the authors]



A radio hums
low under the cat's cradle
of conversation.

I love the description of conversation while working as a "cat's cradle" - conjures up images of words and sentences cutting across each other just how lively and animated conversations work.


POEMS: Laura Scott

Maybe they're like fish
swimming inside you,
waiting for someone
to tap the glass.

I know the feeling only too well of poems inside you desperate to get out just waiting for the bowl to be tapped and look you in the eye until they are there, on paper [or on screen] and complete.


Looking forward to the next issue, number 72.

Monday, 21 March 2011

The Man Who Forgot: Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

One of my favourite poems posted for World Poetry Day 2011;

At a lonely cross where bye-roads met
I sat upon a gate;
I saw the sun decline and set,
And still was fain to wait.

A trotting boy passed up the way
And roused me from my thought;
I called to him, and showed where lay
A spot I shyly sought.

"A summer-house fair stands hidden where
You see the moonlight thrown;
Go, tell me if within it there
A lady sits alone."

He half demurred, but took the track,
And silence held the scene;
I saw his figure rambling back;
I asked him if he had been.

"I went just where you said, but found
No summer-house was there:
Beyond the slope 'tis all bare ground;
Nothing stands anywhere.

"A man asked what my brains were worth;
The house, he said, grew rotten,
And was pulled down before my birth,
And is almost forgotten!"

My right mind woke, and I stood dumb;
Forty years' frost and flower
Had fleeted since I'd used to come
To meet her in that bower.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

World Poetry Day: 21st March 2011

So tomorrow [21/03/11] is World Poetry Day as recognised by UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation], brilliant ! I'll have to do my bit for this tomorrow, as always I'm caught out at the last minute with these things but I'm sure I'll come up with something, even if it's posting a few of my favourite poems on the blog, or pushing out the "said" poems on twitter, whatever it is, I'm determined to mark it in some way, shape or form. Good on you UNESCO, you rock !!

So I'll point you towards one of my all time favourite poems I posted here on my blog back in January this year. For me, it can only be Rudyard Kipling's If. I can't remember when I first read it but I do remember it being above a doorway at a leadership school I attended while I was in the Royal Navy: some stirring lines here;

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master,
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim,

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools

and of course the last four lines;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

But for the whole poem have a look here.

Friday, 18 March 2011

My England: SJ Murphy

Just a glimpse of the sun,
Between rooftop apexes,
Mid March, mid afternoon,
Amid winter's fallen leaves,
Muldoon, the poet, in one,
Yorkshire extra strong, the other:

This, my England.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Poems 1968-1998: Paul Muldoon

After Monday night's reading at King's College I had to get hold of Paul's "Poems 1968-1998" and see what he'd written before the earliest of his stuff I'd read in Quoof. The book arrived yesterday afternoon and I was able to have a quick look through it and thought I'd share a thought provoking poem with you;


I guessed the letter
   Must be yours. I recognized
The cuttle ink,
   The serif on
The P. I read the postmark and the date,
   Impatience held
By a paperweight.
   I took your letter at eleven
To the garden
   With my tea.
And suddenly the yellow gum secreted
The damson bush
   Had grown a shell.
I let those scentless pages fall
   And took it
In my feckless hand. I turned it over
   On its back
To watch your mouth
   Withdraw. Making a lean white fist
Out of my freckled hand.

The description of his now apparent ex as the damson bush who had grown a tough outer shell, and the scentless pages where before those pages might have had a squirt of perfume to remind him, of her: these lines, for me, make this poem what it is, the receipt of a Dear John letter and the pain that comes with it. The receipt of similar news delivered face-to-face or by phone, and the same intense feeling of helplessness for a few terrifying seconds can be just as painful, but the air of being alone "I took the letter at eleven to the garden with my tea" and having the pages and the ability to screw them up with a "lean white fist" makes the scene very dramatic.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Paul Muldoon: King's College London

Well what an evening that was! As always when I go to an evening like that I was blown away, I really must become more blase about these things.

Paul was late, but hey, he's allowed to be, he'd flown in from New Jersey today and this was his first appointment while in the UK: and anyway I'm being flippant, it was only a few minutes and I wasn't clock watching and people were still turning up so it's no big deal, really, no really, it's no big deal.

Introduced by the evening's compere, Hannah [surname gone - sorry], Paul looked a bit embarrassed by all the accolades and acknowledgements Hannah made to various awards Paul has won during his, quite lengthy, poetic career. Up he got to speak and with his quite soft, Northern Irish accent, went on to read from Maggot [his latest collection] and I think it was his 1968-1998 collection he was reading from, a yellow Faber & Faber. I had known he was not one of your usual brash Northern Irish speakers, I'd heard him read a poem on the internet and knew he wouldn't be your Reverend Ian Paisley type of ball-breaking Irishman: but something is always present with the Irish [although now I mention it I could never, hand on heart, say this of the Reverend just mentioned] the humour was there. A wink and a nod often more than enough to set the audience ablaze with laughter.

Paul's explanation of Quoof and it's meaning within his own family [the Muldoon family name for a hot water bottle] was quite difficult for him, as you could tell, he all the time knew in the back of his mind the literal meaning of the word: the farty noise a penis makes, similar to that of the female anatomy, following sexual intercourse.

My copy of Maggot signed and a quick chat with Paul and the evening was done. Paul did ask, after me telling him my name so he could put it in the book, if I was a poet, to which I replied I have been known to put pen to paper. I think I'll send him a copy of my book, the worst that can happen is he can throw it in the bin or reply and tell me not to bother anymore. I'll send him a copy !

I did write something while I was waiting to go into the college, I called it;

Who is Tom?

Waterloo Bridge to my right,
King's College left,
London Eye beyond
Thames Clippers:
Upon a terrace I sit, a placard,
"Warning sheer drop!"
The hum, back and fore,
On the Embankment.

Waterloo headed, buses, all red,
Feral Pigeons below, gulls up above,
Neon light advertising National Theatre,
Across on the distant South Bank:
Tom's Kitchen, Tom's Deli inside,
I'm sitting, on the terrace,
Of Somerset House,
But who the hell is Tom?

A very good evening and more to come I hope.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

I love black and white photography

Love; old buildings in black and white;
the arches; and the way the tram
lines draw you into the picture
Another "townscape" with old advertising
in the foreground and lovers
in the background
The eyes and each wrinkle have
thousands of stories to tell
Pure and simple - sex appeal

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Soggy Wet Boots: SJ Murphy

I didn't know, I still don't know,
Where I was going that day,
Along Somewhere Street and Nowhere Way,
With soggy wet boots, winter's sleet and snow.

But walk I did, and carried on walking,
Where I was going, no-one knows,
Along Random Road, into Casual Close,
Wandering along, not seeing or talking.

And still I went, for t'was a worthy trip,
And then I found it, hidden, within a hazy hue,
In Hit-or-Miss Mews or was it, The Avenue?
I saw it hiding, and grasped! Didn't let slip!

It was hidden good, oh t'was hidden well,
For, t'was love, t'was hidden in that hazy hue,
Not Hit-or-Miss Mews but The Avenue,
T'was love, t'was hidden so good, so swell.

Where I was headed that day, I'll never know,
But I found love, through the hazy hue,
When I ended up, at The Avenue,
With soggy wet boots, winter's sleet and snow.

I would really like to know what people think of my poetry, if this has moved you in any way, I'd really like to know; great, crap, fun, whatever your words, they're your words, as mine are mine and *all* should be appreciated, thanks for coming by, cup of tea next time ?


First Spider of Spring: SJ Murphy

First spider of Spring,
Has surfaced in the bath,
To torment and bring,
An arachnophobes wrath.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Epitaph for an Unknown Soldier: WH Auden (1907-1973)

To save your world, you asked this man to die:
Would this man, could he see you now, ask why?

What a lovely poem this is: in the guise of Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brooke almost, who both died very young as a consequence of the First World War. What would have become of these two poets if they had not died so young? What would we, as poetry lovers, have had the privilege to read? Like others in history who died at very young ages; Buddy Holly, James Dean, Jimi Hendrix, Janice Joplin; there was so much more to offer from each and every one of these performers, but to love what they left, for what it is, is a gift in itself.

You can tell from these two short lines of poetry that Auden was a controversial character. I know very little about him - "Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, ... " is one of Auden's, the one in Four Weddings and a Funeral - "He was my North, my South, my East and West, my working week and my Sunday rest," words read so evocatively by Matthew [John Hannah] at Gareth's [Simon Callow] funeral. Auden was homosexual, as were Matthew and Gareth, which made it fitting for Matthew to read the poem at Gareth's funeral.

Just reading through some of Auden's work today, the first thing that struck me was his superb use of form: rhyming in unusual form added to the beauty of the poems I read today and has made Auden a definite on my list to read more of.


Tuesday, 1 March 2011

I sit, listen, and stare: SJ Murphy (short poem)

Waiting for life,
To take me somewhere,
Morning birdsong,
I sit, listen, and stare.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

This Be The Verse: Philip Larkin (1922-1985)

Philip Larkin seemed to live his life by the theme of this poem. A very insular, shy and awkward man who never married and never had any children. Sometimes thought to be homosexual because he never married but in fact he was quite a ladies' man and throughout his life had at least 3 long term relationships with members of the opposite sex: often these relationships overlapped. The exact nature of these relationships is not certain, and is thought that his relationship with his secretary, Betty Mackareth, was nothing more than a professional one. But whatever relationships with the females in his life, it is fact that he never sired any children: this poem and his often dour work would seem he blames a lot of his [own] perceived inadequacies on his parents. Having said all that, this is one of my favourite poems, so if you haven't read it before I hope you enjoy it.

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
 They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
 And add some extras, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
 By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
 And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
 It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
 And don't have any kids yourself.