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About jfp

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  • Birthday February 20


  • Biography
    jfp = John from Paris [where I've now been "from" for over 28 years]
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  • Interests
    Reading (mainly fiction, in English and French...); baritone in semi-professional choir; pianist.
  • How did you hear about this site?
    Thanks to my Aussie friend Kimberley

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  1. The eye can hardly pick them out From the cold shade they shelter in, Till wind distresses tail and mane; Then one crops grass, and moves about - The other seeming to look on - And stands anonymous again. Yet fifteen years ago, perhaps Two dozen distances sufficed To fable them : faint afternoons Of Cups and Stakes and Handicaps, Whereby their names were artificed To inlay faded, classic Junes - Silks at the start: against the sky Numbers and parasols : outside, Squadrons of empty cars, and heat, And littered grass: then the long cry Hanging unhushed till it subside To stop-press columns on the street. Do memories plague their ears like flies? They shake their heads. Dusk brims the shadows. Summer by summer all stole away, The starting-gates, the crowds and cries - All but the unmolesting meadows. Almanacked, their names live; they Have slipped their names, and stand at ease, Or gallop for what must be joy, And not a fieldglass sees them home, Or curious stop-watch prophesies : Only the grooms, and the grooms boy, With bridles in the evening come. Philip LARKIN - "At Grass"
  2. Reservoir 13

    (Shurely shome mishtake...? )
  3. One day, when from my lips a like complaint Had fallen in presence of a studious friend, He with a smile made answer, that in truth 'Twas going far to seek disquietude; But on the front of his reproof confessed That he himself had oftentimes given way To kindred hauntings. Whereupon I told, That once in the stillness of a summer's noon, While I was seated in a rocky cave By the sea-side, perusing, so it chanced, The famous history of the errant knight Recorded by Cervantes, these same thoughts Beset me, and to height unusual rose, While listlessly I sate, and, having closed The book, had turned my eyes toward the wide sea. From: William Wordsworth, The Prelude, Book Five
  4. Macavity’s a Mystery Cat: he’s called the Hidden Paw— For he’s the master criminal who can defy the Law. He’s the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad’s despair: For when they reach the scene of crime—Macavity’s not there! Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity, He's broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity. His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare, And when you reach the scene of crime—Macavity’s not there! You may seek him in the basement, you may look up in the air— But I tell you once and once again, Macavity’s not there! Macavity’s a ginger cat, he’s very tall and thin; You would know him if you saw him, for his eyes are sunken in. His brow is deeply lined with thought, his head is highly domed; His coat is dusty from neglect, his whiskers are uncombed. He sways his head from side to side, with movements like a snake; And when you think he’s half asleep, he's always wide awake. Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity, For he’s a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity. You may meet him in a by-street, you may see him in the square— But when a crime’s discovered, then Macavity’s not there! He’s outwardly respectable. (They say he cheats at cards.) And his footprints are not found in any file of Scotland Yard’s And when the larder’s looted, or the jewel-case is rifled, Or when the milk is missing, or another Peke’s been stifled, Or the greenhouse glass is broken, and the trellis past repair Ay, there’s the wonder of the thing! Macavity’s not there! And when the Foreign Office find a Treaty’s gone astray, Or the Admiralty lose some plans and drawings by the way, There may be a scrap of paper in the hall or on the stair— But it’s useless to investigate—Macavity’s not there! And when the loss has been disclosed, the Secret Service say: ‘It must have been Macavity!’—but he’s a mile away. You’ll be sure to find him resting, or a-licking of his thumb; Or engaged in doing complicated long division sums. Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity, There never was a Cat of such deceitfulness and suavity. He always has an alibi, and one or two to spare: At whatever time the deed took place—MACAVITY WASN’T THERE ! And they say that all the Cats whose wicked deeds are widely known (I might mention Mungojerrie, I might mention Griddlebone) Are nothing more than agents for the Cat who all the time Just controls their operations: the Napoleon of Crime! T.S.ELIOT - "Macavity: The Mystery Cat"
  5. Continuing to live — that is, repeat A habit formed to get necessaries — Is nearly always losing, or going without. It varies. This loss of interest, hair, and enterprise — Ah, if the game were poker, yes, You might discard them, draw a full house! But it's chess. And once you have walked the length of your mind, what You command is clear as a lading-list. Anything else must not, for you, be thought To exist. And what's the profit? Only that, in time, We half-identify the blind impress All our behavings bear, may trace it home. But to confess, On that green evening when our death begins, Just what it was, is hardly satisfying, Since it applied only to one man once, And that one dying. Philip LARKIN
  6. The wounded surgeon plies the steel That questions the distempered part; Beneath the bleeding hands we feel The sharp compassion of the healer's art Resolving the enigma of the fever chart. Our only health is the disease If we obey the dying nurse Whose constant care is not to please But to remind of our, and Adam's curse, And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse. The whole earth is our hospital Endowed by the ruined millionaire, Wherein, if we do well, we shall Die of the absolute paternal care That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere. The chill ascends from feet to knees, The fever sings in mental wires. If to be warmed, then I must freeze And quake in frigid purgatorial fires Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars. The dripping blood our only drink, The bloody flesh our only food: In spite of which we like to think That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood— Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good. T.S.ELIOT - Four Quarters: "East Coker", part IV
  7. Had it pleased heaven To try me with affliction; had they rain'd All kinds of sores and shames on my bare head. Steep'd me in poverty to the very lips, Given to captivity me and my utmost hopes, I should have found in some place of my soul A drop of patience: but, alas, to make me A fixed figure for the time of scorn To point his slow unmoving finger at! Yet could I bear that too; well, very well: But there, where I have garner'd up my heart, Where either I must live, or bear no life; The fountain from the which my current runs, Or else dries up; to be discarded thence! Or keep it as a cistern for foul toads To knot and gender in! Turn thy complexion there, Patience, thou young and rose-lipp'd cherubin,— Ay, there, look grim as hell! Shakespeare - Othello, IV/ii
  8. The twilight is sad and cloudy, The wind blows wild and free, And like the wings of sea-birds Flash the white caps of the sea. But in the fisherman's cottage There shines a ruddier light, And a little face at the window Peers out into the night. Close, close it is pressed to the window, As if those childish eyes Were looking into the darkness, To see some form arise. And a woman's waving shadow Is passing to and fro, Now rising to the ceiling, Now bowing and bending low. What tale do the roaring ocean, And the night-wind, bleak and wild, As they beat at the crazy casement, Tell to that little child? And why do the roaring ocean, And the night-wind, wild and bleak, As they beat at the heart of the mother, Drive the color from her cheek? H.W.Longfellow - "Twilight"
  9. It seemed that out of battle I escaped Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped Through granites which Titantic wars had groined. Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned, Too fast in thought or death to be bestirred. Then, as I probed them, one sprang up, and stared With piteous recognition in fixed eyes, Lifting distressful hands as if to bless. And by his smile, I knew that sullen hall; By his dead smile I knew we stood in Hell. With a thousand fears that vision’s face was grained; Yet no blood reached there from the upper ground, And no guns thumped, or down the flues made moan. “Strange friend,” I said, “here is no cause to mourn.” “None,” said the other, “save the undone years, The hopelessness. Whatever hope is yours, Was my life also; I went hunting wild After the wildest beauty in the world, Which lies not calm in eyes, or braided hair, But mocks the steady running of the hour, And if it grieves, grieves richlier than here. For by my glee might many men have laughed, And of my weeping something has been left, Which must die now. I mean the truth untold, The pity of war, the pity war distilled. Now men will go content with what we spoiled. Or, discontent, boil bloody, and be spilled. They will be swift with swiftness of the tigress, None will break ranks, though nations trek from progress. Courage was mine, and I had mystery; Wisdom was mine, and I had mastery; To miss the march of this retreating world Into vain citadels that are not walled. Then, when much blood had clogged their chariot-wheels I would go up and wash them from sweet wells, Even with truths that lie too deep for taint. I would have poured my spirit without stint But not through wounds; not on the cess of war. Foreheads of men have bled where no wounds were. I am the enemy you killed, my friend. I knew you in this dark; for so you frowned Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed. I parried; but my hands were loath and cold. Let us sleep now…” Wilfred OWEN, "Strange Meeting"
  10. I went out to the hazel wood, Because a fire was in my head, And cut and peeled a hazel wand, And hooked a berry to a thread; And when white moths were on the wing, And moth-like stars were flickering out, I dropped the berry in a stream And caught a little silver trout. When I had laid it on the floor I went to blow the fire a-flame, But something rustled on the floor, And someone called me by my name: It had become a glimmering girl With apple blossom in her hair Who called me by my name and ran And faded through the brightening air. Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done, The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun. W.B.YEATS - "The Song of Wandering Aengus"
  11. Book Lists 2018

    06 Julian Barnes, The Only Story 05 Karim Kattan, Préliminaires pour un verger futur (in French) 04 Lydie Salvayre, Tout homme est une nuit (in French) 03 Abdellah Taïa, Celui qui est digne d'être aimé (in French) 02 George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo 01 Abdellah Taïa, Un pays pour mourir (in French) RR Alan Hollinghurst, The Folding Star
  12. [...] And indeed there will be time For the yellow smoke that slides along the street, Rubbing its back upon the window-panes; There will be time, there will be time To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet; There will be time to murder and create, And time for all the works and days of hands That lift and drop a question on your plate; Time for you and time for me, And time yet for a hundred indecisions, And for a hundred visions and revisions, Before the taking of a toast and tea. [...] From T.S.ELIOT, "The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock"
  13. OTHELLO Never, Iago: like to the Pontic sea, Whose icy current and compulsive course Ne'er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on To the Propontic and the Hellespont, Even so my bloody thoughts, with violent pace, Shall ne'er look back, ne'er ebb to humble love, Till that a capable and wide revenge Swallow them up. Now, by yond marble heaven, In the due reverence of a sacred vow I here engage my words. Shakespeare - Othello III/iii
  14. I saw three ships go sailing by, Over the sea, the lifting sea, And the wind rose in the morning sky, And one was rigged for a long journey. The first ship turned towards the west, Over the sea, the running sea, And by the wind was all possessed And carried to a rich country. The second ship turned towards the east, Over the sea, the quaking sea, And the wind hunted it like a beast To anchor in captivity. The third ship drove towards the north, Over the sea, the darkening sea, But no breath of wind came forth, And the decks shone frostily. The northern sky rose high and black Over the proud unfruitful sea, East and west the ships came back Happily or unhappily: But the third went wide and far Into an unforgiving sea Under a fire-spilling star, And it was rigged for a long journey. Philip LARKIN, "The North Ship"
  15. Hi Meg: The problem is that certain words which used to rhyme in Shakespeare's time no longer do, over four hundred years on. I think that "wind" and "kind" would have been pronounced something like "weaned" and "keened", and that "warp" would have had the same vowel sound as "sharp" has today... So the rhyme scheme is, or at least used to be: AAB CCB DDDD EEF GGF, and thus regular enough. I think the only logical thing to do today is to speak the words with their contemporary pronunciation, thus without the rhyme.