Consolations of Confinement

October 9, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | LIFE, Poetry |

(In the Plague Year 2020) We lingered palely, house-bound, deadly tired, Blue flames from tripods hectored, then expired, The sickness hot, the master quit for fear, His office, and he left no staffer there. In the rooms the plague-scare came and went, Breathless about the window and the vent, Pressing talk of destruction and pandemic And the pressing need to ‘not to panic’. From wise mouths we’d heard so much about: Pedantry and oppression, shrill calling-out Of the heterodox. We strove to find the silver lining, The voice of the Swedish-Doom-Goblin, declining. Planetary plague, hung o’er a high-viced city, Poison in…

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The Art of Plague by cOvid

May 19, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Poetry |

Arnold Böcklin, "Plague," (1898)

cOvid wants attention; cOvid just wants love. He went AWOL, attached himself As a hand into a glove; Banished by his Masters, Self-distanced, not alone, Conceived on the wing – loitering, At the window’s secure zone. Bat-munching barbarians Will take official blame; When Dr Who comes calling, Suspects all look the same. Wash the razor with a hose, Sluice the wastage down the drain; Fresh mops and a butcher’s pail Will carry away the stain. Nothing to do with us; We smile, and calculate: The number the next beast into The crock pot shall decimate.

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Homage to Catullus

May 9, 2019 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | HISTORY, Poetry |

A rumination: Farts foreshadow faeces, Poppers presage poo; When they start, and carry on There’s little else to do But find yourself a toilet And sit yourself right down, Unless your suiting will assume A savage shade of brown.  

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Les Murray

17 October 1938 – 29 April 2019 A canonical poet, Murray couldn’t be bothered either to hide his faults or his reactionary tendencies. As Peter Porter wrote of him: “A skewer of polemic runs through his work. His brilliant manipulation of language, his ability to turn words into installations of reality, is often forced to hang on an embarrassing moral sharpness. The parts we love – the Donne-like baroque – live side by side with sentiments we don’t: his increasingly automatic opposition to liberalism and intellectuality.” And in fact, his vast body of work is somewhat uneven and even, at…

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T.S. Eliot in the Library

September 26, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Poetry, WRITING & LITERATURE |

"In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo"...Eliot photographed by Lady Ottoline Morrell

26 September 1888: Thomas Stearns Eliot born in St Louis, Missouri. In its long piece on Old Possum, Poetry Foundation [https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/t-s-eliot] said: “When T. S. Eliot died, wrote Robert Giroux, “the world became a lesser place.” Certainly the most imposing poet of his time, Eliot was revered by Igor Stravinsky “not only as a great sorcerer of words but as the very key keeper of the language.” For Alfred Kazin he was “the mana known as ‘T. S. Eliot,’ the model poet of our time, the most cited poet and incarnation of literary correctness in the English-speaking world.” Northrop Frye simply states: “A…

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