“We had seen an advertisement of her, and we reached her down an enlarged rabbit-hole of a lane. At very first sight the Committee of Ways and Means [Mrs Kipling and himself]said ‘That’s her! The only She! Make an honest woman of her – quick!’. We entered and felt her Spirit – her Feng Shui – to be good. We went through every room and found no shadow of ancient regrets, stifled miseries, nor any menace though the ‘new’ end of her was three hundred years old…”
Rudyard Kipling on discovering Batemans, his future home.
Four hundred and nine years ago today, 2 May 2020, we had a New Bible. After seven years work, the King James Bible, a new version of the Christian holy book in English, is published for the first time in London. It was commissioned in 1604 and completed as well as published in 1611 under the sponsorship of James VI.
What is it about this island That makes it to all paradise? Is it the people, plants, places That bring smiles to all faces, And when on parting, tears to eyes That venture into this Heaven On Earth land? Grenada, Spice Isle!
Lighthousekeeping is rich and poetic. It’s about the relationship between orphaned Silver and mysterious and pragmatic lighthouse keeper Pew. And it’s about stories. Silver’s hunger for stories and Pew’s willingness to tell them. Stories about people and past lives. Every life has a story long after the physical body has gone. Oral stories passed down through the generations.
‘Tell me a story Jeanette’-
… you certainly told a magical one in Lighthousekeeping.
Although I can see him still. The freckled man who goes To a grey place on a hill In grey Connemara clothes At dawn to cast his flies, It’s long since I began To call up to the eyes This wise and simple man. All day I’d looked in the face What I had hoped ‘twould be To write for my own race And the reality; The living men that I hate, The dead man that I loved, The craven man in his seat, The insolent unreproved, And no knave brought to book Who has won a drunken cheer, The witty man and his joke Aimed at the commonest ear, The clever man who cries The catch-cries of the clown, The beating down of the wise And great Art beaten down.
Maybe a twelvemonth since Suddenly I began, In scorn of this audience, Imagining a man, And his sun-freckled face, And grey Connemara cloth, Climbing up to a place Where stone is dark under froth, And the down-turn of his wrist When the flies drop in the stream; A man who does not exist, A man who is but a dream; And cried, ‘Before I am old I shall have written him one poem maybe as cold And passionate as the dawn.’
“The Fisherman”, published in 1916, depicts Yeats’ considerations into the loss of Irish tradition through the persona of a fisherman.
This image, caught on my Eastbourne seafront run last Sunday morning, made me think of The Fisherman by W. B Yeats.
I missed this at O, A’ and Degree level, then recently read David Nicholls ‘Sweet Sorrow’ which finally inspired me to give Romeo and Juliette a go. I actually listened to it on audio- I struggle to read Shakespeare, but love to listen and let that beautiful language wash over me. Looking out for a Globe production now to complete the experience.