Poetic Prose
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Author:  Marion Arnott [ Mon Feb 11, 2008 7:34 pm ]
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des2 wrote:
Marion Arnott wrote:
It appiers Des has a thing about piers!

I was conceived in a top floor flat overlooking Walton-on-Naze pier.

Aha! So that's how you came to be a pierson of note!

Author:  Mike A [ Thu Feb 14, 2008 6:37 pm ]
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Marion Arnott wrote:
curdled tides -wow!
Can you go to Brighton pier now? Didn't it burn down?

Missed this discussion! The Palace Pier (now known simply as 'Brighton Pier') is alive and well. It was the West Pier - the older, more elegant one - that was burned down by arsonists (though the skeleton still stands). A great shame as millions had been poured into renovating it (it was closed in the mid-1970s because the structure had become unsafe). I went on a tour of it a few years back when they were raising money for the renovation. There was an awful lot of bird poo! Suffice to say, locals suspect the Palace Pier owners were behind the arson. The town's just as seedy now as in Graham Greene's day!

Author:  Marion Arnott [ Thu Feb 14, 2008 8:08 pm ]
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Ah, mystery solved - thanks, Mike.

Author:  des2 [ Tue Apr 01, 2008 4:26 pm ]
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Below is a representative passage from MARTIN PIPPIN IN THE APPLE-ORCHARD by Eleanor Farjeon (1921).
This is a magical book that I read many years ago and, having now rediscovered it, establishing that it is still magical!
Can you smell this passage below? I can.

He kicked at the dying log on the hearth, and sent a fountain of sparks up the chimney. The child threw a dry leaf and saw it shrivel, and Young Gerard stirred the white ash and blew up the embers, and held a fan of bracken to them, till the fire ran up its veins like life in the veins of a man, and the frond that had already lived and died became a gleaming spirit, and then it too fell in ashes among the ash. Then Young Gerard took a handful of twigs and branches, and began to build upon the ash a castle of many sorts of wood, and the child helped him, laying hazel on his beech and fir upon his oak; and often before their turret was quite reared a spark would catch at the dry fringes on the fir, or the brown oak-leaves, and one twig or another would vanish from the castle.
'How quickly wood burns,' said the child.
'That's the lovely part of it,' said Young Gerard, 'the fire is always changing and doing different things with it.'
And they watched the fire together, and smelled its smoke, that had as many smells as there were sorts of wood. Sometimes it was like roast coffee, and sometimes like roast chestnuts, and sometimes like incense. And they saw the lichen on old stumps crinkle into golden ferns, or fire run up a dead tail of creeper in a red S, and vanish in mid-air like an Indian boy climbing a rope, or crawl right through the middle of a birch-twig, making hieroglyphics that glowed and faded between the gray scales of the bark. And then suddenly it caught the whole scaffolding of their castle, and blazed up through the fir and oak and spiny thorns and dead leaves, and the bits of old bark all over blue-gray-green rot, and the young sprigs almost budding, and hissing with sap. And for one moment they saw all the skeleton and soul of the castle without its body, before it fell in.

Author:  Marion Arnott [ Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:13 pm ]
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This passage reminds me of the bit in Lord of the Flies when the boys set the forest on fire, and Golding described the flames as live things.
Powerful stuff from both authors!

Author:  Marion Arnott [ Mon May 05, 2008 2:44 pm ]
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Fragments of this came into my head today and I went and looked it up. We had to larn it off by heart at school. Beautiful stuff, even for the non religious:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

1st Corinthians

Author:  Marion Arnott [ Wed Jul 16, 2008 6:58 pm ]
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I love this:

A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

James Joyce - The Dead

Author:  Marion Arnott [ Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:13 pm ]
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I have had hours of pleasure in the company of John Mortimer's old reprobate, Rumpole. Now there will be no more Rumpole, no more bloodstains at the bunglaow in Penge, no more delightful quotation of English literature at the appropriate moment.

From John Mortimer's 'WhereThere's A Will'.

I seem to have completed my will. None of the advice I've offered needs to be taken, none of the likes and dislikes I've displayed have to be shared. There is only one paragraph I'd underline, one truth I hold to be self-evident:
'The meaningful and rewarding moments aren't waiting for us beyond the grave, or to be found on distant battlefields where history's made. They can happen quite uexpectedly, in a garden perhaps, or walking through a beech wood in the middle of the afternoon.
If we are to have a religion, it should be one that recognises the true importance of a single moment in time, the instant when you are fully and completely alive.'

Author:  Marion Arnott [ Sat Aug 22, 2009 9:23 pm ]
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From Hilary Mantel's memoir, Giving Up The Ghost' (highly recommended):

'At 20 Brosscroft, the windows printed on our curtains are alight from within, their flowerpots spilling scarlet blooms, the candle flames swelling, flickering boldly against the fading northern afternoon. The table is laid, and the dead are peering at their place cards, and shuffling into their chairs, and shaking out their napkins, waiting, expectant, for whatever is next. Food or entertainment, it's all one to the eyeless, the shrivelled and the thin: to the ones who have crossed into the land where only the living can provide their light. I will always look after you, I want to say, however long you have been gone. I will always feed you and try to keep you entertained; and you must do the same for me. This is your daughter Ilary [sic] speaking, and this is her book.'

Author:  des2 [ Sat Sep 12, 2009 8:29 am ]
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They were glove puppets, and glove puppets were of the earth, earthy. They spring up from below, like underground beings, gnomes or dwarves, they belabour each other with cudgels and go back into the depths, of their booths, of our human consciousness. Marionettes, by contrast, are creatures of the upper air, like elves, like sylphs, who barely touch the ground. They dance in geometric perfection in a world more intense, less hobbledehoy, than our own. Heinrich von Kleist, in a suggestive and mysterious essay, claims daringly that these figures perform more perfectly than human actors. They exhibit the laws of movement; their limbs rise and fall in perfect arcs, according to the law of physics. They have – unlike human actors – no need to charm, or to exact sympathy. Kleist goes so far as to say that the puppet and God are two points on a circle.

-- from 'The Children's Book' (2009) by A.S. Byatt

Author:  Marion Arnott [ Sat Sep 12, 2009 8:53 am ]
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Good one, Des. Why does BB's Angel spring to mind?

Author:  des2 [ Sat Sep 12, 2009 5:18 pm ]
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Or some of the tasks?

Author:  Bob Lock [ Sun Sep 13, 2009 9:23 am ]
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I've always liked Dean Koontz's prose. Here's a link to the opening pages of Odd Thomas. I'd have copied and pasted but not sure on copyright laws on this :)

Author:  Marion Arnott [ Sat Oct 10, 2009 10:08 pm ]
Post subject: ... hort-story

Mantel's short story in the Gurdian today. I was just going to post the last para as an example of poetic prose, but what the heck - you all deserve a feast.

Author:  Marion Arnott [ Sat Oct 31, 2009 12:22 am ]
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Full moonlight drenched the sky and searched it; there was not a niche left to stand in. The effect was remorseless: London looked like the moon's capital - shallow, cratered, extinct. It was late, but not yet midnight; now the buses had stopped, the polished roads and streets in this region sent for minutes together a ghostly unbroken reflection up. The soaring new flats and the crouched old houses looked equally brittle under the moon, which blazed in windows that looked its way. The futility of the blackout became laughable: from the sky, presumably, you could see every slate in the roofs, every whited kerb, every contour of the naked winter flowerbeds in the park; and the lake, with its shining twists and tree-darkened islands would be a landmark for miles, yes, miles, overhead.
However, the sky, in whose glassiness floated no clouds but only opaque balloons, remained glassy- silent. The Germans no longer came by the full moon. Something more immaterial seemed to threaten, and to be keeping people at home. This day between days, this extra tax, was perhaps more than nerves and senses could bear. People stayed indoors with a fervour that could be felt: the buildings strained with battened -down human life, but not a beam, not a voice, not a note from a radio escaped. Now and then under streets and buildings the earth rumbled:the Underground sounded loudest at this time.

From 'Mysterious Kor' by Elizabeth Bowen

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