Herman Melville: you won’t get the better of me


Moby Dick. Moby sodding Dick. I started this leviathan of a book (see what I did there?) back in March, and shared some thoughts about it in a post a few weeks ago. I’d set myself the target of finishing it “by the summer”. So much for that. I’ve barely managed another 30 pages since then, and it’s June the day after tomorrow, which is summer by anybody’s reckoning. I’m getting nowhere fast.

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Song Lyric Sunday: Memorial Day

One of the things I love about Helen’s weekly prompt to share a song is the glimpse it gives me into the lives of people in different countries. This week’s theme – a song about the armed forces – is inspired by the fact that it’s Memorial Day in the United States. I’d never heard of this before, but thanks to Helen and Wikipedia I now know that it’s a federal holiday at the end of May to honour those who died while serving in the armed forces.   Continue reading

Herman Melville: nice alliteration, shame about the word count

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I started reading Moby Dick recently.  So far I can’t decide whether I’m gripped by it or just overwhelmed. Melville’s style is like nothing I’ve ever encountered before, and it’s certainly not particularly accessible, but every few pages he blows me away with the strange, rugged beauty of his writing. Take this for example – how many alliterative pairs does he throw into this sentence? And yet it works. Continue reading

They Went to Sea in a Sieve

Edward Lear was born on this day in 1812.  In case you didn’t know, he’s the writer of what has been called “the nation’s favourite poem”, The Owl and the Pussycat. (I presume in this case “the nation” in question is England, rather than the UK, as I can’t imagine that the Scots would choose Lear over Burns, or the Welsh rate him ahead of Dylan Thomas, but that’s another matter).

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The Girls In My Backyard (alternate version)

My blogger friend Peter of Peter’s Ponderings recommended this blog to me – I clicked on the link and found this lovely poem, which made me cry so I’m sharing it!

No Talent For Certainty

Sprinkler

The girls in my back yard
Are running to and fro:
They’re dashing through a sprinkler,
And laughing as they go

The grass is green and rich,
The fence is high and far;
There’s brewing tea out in the sun
Inside a big glass jar

My wife is at my side,
We’re watching the “stampede” –
We see the world, and it is good.
There’s nothing left to need

The girls in my back yard:
My God, I love them so,
Though they grew up and moved away
So many years ago

Yes, long ago they laughed,
Along with my late wife —
From this back door, I hear, and feel
What used to be

My life

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