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  1. Today
  2. I watched a couple of episodes and then gave up (I started a thread on it in the Film TV and Radio forum). As I already had the book, unread, I decided to read that instead - which proved to be a much better choice. I may or may not read The Likeness, it depends on whether or not I spot it being sold secondhand somewhere
  3. Sadly the recent TV version rather ruined both, it started off very well when it just focussed on the first books, but then they mixed in the storyline from The Likeness too, and the whole thing just seemed to collapse under too many storylines, and the second story wasn't very convincing and felt rather rushed - I think separate series would have been better, although it was well acted and well made. I have the third book lined up, I suspect that each book will be a bit different, as it's not a conventional crime series. Re Wolverine - agree about Hugh Jackman, I watched Logan recently and OMG it was violent! Made Game of Thrones look tame which is saying something.
  4. Yesterday
  5. I enjoyed this book very much. It's a while since I read anything that kept me going back to it evening after evening, intrigued by the various convolutions of the plot. It was certainly a change not to have the case come to a nice tidy conclusion, but probably more realistic to have compromises and a few untidy loose ends. Also an interesting conclusion to the relationship between the team of detectives - again untidy, as real life generally is. I had become resigned to the old case being left as a mystery - I think that any resolution, even if the author could have come up with something credible,, would have disappointed, At the moment I feel somewhat like Viccie - much as I enjoyed In The Woods I would not set out to read another of Tana French's books, but would probably do so if I happened upon one.
  6. My father, he was a mountaineer, His fist was a knotty hammer; He was quick on his feet as a running deer, And he spoke with a Yankee stammer. My mother, she was merry and brave, And so she came to her labor, With a tall green fir for her doctor grave And a stream for her comforting neighbor. And some are wrapped in the linen fine, And some like a godling's scion; But I was cradled on twigs of pine And the skin of a mountain lion. And some remember a white, starched lap And a ewer with silver handles; But I remember a coonskin cap And the smell of bayberry candles. The cabin logs, with the bark still rough, And my mother who laughed at trifles, And the tall, lank visitors, brown as snuff, With their long, straight squirrel-rifles. I can hear them dance, like a foggy song, Through the deepest one of my slumbers, The fiddle squeaking the boots along And my father calling the numbers. The quick feet shaking the puncheon-floor, And the fiddle squealing and squealing, Till the dried herbs rattled above the door And the dust went up to the ceiling. There are children lucky from dawn till dusk, But never a child so lucky! For I cut my teeth on "Money Musk" In the Bloody Ground of Kentucky! When I grew tall as the Indian corn, My father had little to lend me, But he gave me his great, old powder-horn And his woodsman's skill to befriend me. With a leather shirt to cover my back, And a redskin nose to unravel Each forest sign, I carried my pack As far as a scout could travel. Till I lost my boyhood and found my wife, A girl like a Salem clipper! A woman straight as a hunting-knife With as eyes as bright as the Dipper! We cleared our camp where the buffalo feed, Unheard-of streams were our flagons; And I sowed my sons like the apple-seed On the trail of the Western wagons. They were right, tight boys, never sulky or slow, A fruitful, a goodly muster. The eldest died at the Alamo. The youngest fell with Custer. The letter that told it burned my hand. Yet we smiled and said, "So be it!" But I could not live when they fenced the land, For it broke my heart to see it. I saddled a red, unbroken colt And rode him into the day there; And he threw me down like a thunderbolt And rolled on me as I lay there. The hunter's whistle hummed in my ear As the city-men tried to move me, And I died in my boots like a pioneer With the whole wide sky above me. Now I lie in the heart of the fat, black soil, Like the seed of a prairie-thistle; It has washed my bones with honey and oil And picked them clean as a whistle. And my youth returns, like the rains of Spring, And my sons, like the wild-geese flying; And I lie and hear the meadow-lark sing And have much content in my dying. Go play with the towns you have built of blocks, The towns where you would have bound me! I sleep in my earth like a tired fox, And my buffalo have found me. Stephen Vincent Benét - 'The Ballad of William Sycamore (1790-1871)'
  7. When the corn’s all cut and the bright stalks shine Like the burnished spears of a field of gold; When the field-mice rich on the nubbins dine, And the frost comes white and the wind blows cold; Then its heigho fellows and hi-diddle-diddle, For the time is ripe for the corn-stalk fiddle. And you take a stalk that is straight and long, With an expert eye to its worthy points, And you think of the bubbling strains of song That are bound between its pithy joints— Then you cut out strings, with a bridge in the middle, With a corn-stalk bow for a corn-stalk fiddle. Then the strains that grow as you draw the bow O’er the yielding strings with a practiced hand! And the music’s flow never loud but low Is the concert note of a fairy band. Oh, your dainty songs are a misty riddle To the simple sweets of the corn-stalk fiddle. When the eve comes on and our work is done And the sun drops down with a tender glance, With their hearts all prime for the harmless fun, Come the neighbor girls for the evening’s dance, And they wait for the well-known twist and twiddle, More time than tune—from the corn-stalk fiddle. Then brother Jabez takes the bow, While Ned stands off with Susan Bland, Then Henry stops by Milly Snow And John takes Nellie Jones’s hand, While I pair off with Mandy Biddle, And scrape, scrape, scrape goes the corn-stalk fiddle. “Salute your partners,” comes the call, “All join hands and circle round,” “Grand train back,” and “Balance all,” Footsteps lightly spurn the ground, “Take your lady and balance down the middle” To the merry strains of the corn-stalk fiddle. So the night goes on and the dance is o’er, And the merry girls are homeward gone, But I see it all in my sleep once more, And I dream till the very break of dawn Of an impish dance on a red-hot griddle To the screech and scrape of a corn-stalk fiddle. The Corn-Stalk Fiddle BY PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR
  8. Last week
  9. One thing I've noticed is that there's a spectrum when it comes to comfort levels with ambiguity as a plot device in horror. Some people prefer the very ambiguous, creeping, growing dread of existential horror like in Bird Box while others prefer the explicit, in-your-face, "I'm going to kill you right now with this knife I'm holding in my hand"-sort of unambiguous terror like in slashers and gore-fests. I fall almost completely on the side of the former; I don't want to see what the monster looks like or even know if there's really a monster there at all, I just want to be afraid that there could be a monster and believe it's probably horrible, if so. What about you?
  10. maggie and milly and molly and may went down to the beach (to play one day) and maggie discovered a shell that sang so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles, and milly befriended a stranded star whose rays five languid fingers were; and molly was chased by a horrible thing which raced sideways while blowing bubbles: and may came home with a smooth round stone as small as a world and as large as alone. For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it's always ourselves we find in the sea e.e.cummings - 'maggie and milly and molly and may'
  11. "Burn: Horror Stories" is a collection of dread-inducing, mind-twisting, existential horror stories inspired by The Twilight Zone and H.P. Lovecraft. It's now available on Amazon for 33 percent off until Nov. 13. A man's wife and business partner believe they killed him as part of an insurance scam, but then he reappears as if nothing happened. Two fugitives take shelter in an abandoned industrial facility, but what they find inside might be more dangerous than what pursues them. A tech guru's lifestyle is immersed in smart technology, but what if it's so smart, it's dangerous? The parents of an out-of-control child will do anything to curb her awful behavior, but at what cost? A woman awakens upside down in a totaled car with no recollection of how she got there. Will she be able to find help, or will something more sinister find her first? These stories and more await you in this collection of existential horror by James G. Boswell.
  12. If we were in infinity, we would be everywhere, even inside ourselves, as taste resides in the walnut, and the walnut resides in the shell. Then we would thrive inside the subjunctive, where nothing happens but dreams of being, as paradise dreams of its inferno, the inferno of cotton candy. If only the world had ripened, like a pear, it might have melted the mirror in me, delivering its softness to the hard road of the mind, sixty miles from town. And if our grammar were even to our heat, comma, conditional phrase, comma, we’d be addicted to the sentence, sentenced to an exile that sees, hears, and thinks, and is often mistaken for love. Trees are chronologies; every leaf shines, and in turning over it winks an eye: if, if, and then. The world is possible meaning; the world is possible, meaning: I might have been an elf, had I been elfin. But I am not an elf. I am a giant with tiny hands: would, could, and should. Had I been winged, I might have flown from industrial field to pastoral alley on great woollen wings, with the blue face of a bee. Then it would have been said, “He is repairing to his persona,” or “He is retiring to his future.” I’ll copy this by way of the stars, reflective. Get back to me by facsimile or dream of climbing a night ladder to the place of ideal size, near a town of simple affection. If we had been born, lived our lives, and died, we might have existed. On the side of darkness, infinity; on the other, a sixty watt bulb. Darkness of the Subjunctive By Paul Hoover
  13. To see a world in a grain of sand And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand And eternity in an hour. A robin redbreast in a cage Puts all heaven in a rage. A dove-house filled with doves and pigeons Shudders hell through all its regions. A dog starved at his master's gate Predicts the ruin of the state. A horse misused upon the road Calls to heaven for human blood. Each outcry of the hunted hare A fibre from the brain does tear. A skylark wounded in the wing, A cherubim does cease to sing. The game-cock clipped and armed for fight Does the rising sun affright. Every wolf's and lion's howl Raises from hell a human soul. The wild deer wandering here and there Keeps the human soul from care. The lamb misused breeds public strife, And yet forgives the butcher's knife. The bat that flits at close of eve Has left the brain that won't believe. The owl that calls upon the night Speaks the unbeliever's fright. He who shall hurt the little wren Shall never be beloved by men. He who the ox to wrath has moved Shall never be by woman loved. The wanton boy that kills the fly Shall feel the spider's enmity. He who torments the chafer's sprite Weaves a bower in endless night. The caterpillar on the leaf Repeats to thee thy mother's grief. Kill not the moth nor butterfly, For the Last Judgment draweth nigh. He who shall train the horse to war Shall never pass the polar bar. The beggar's dog and widow's cat, Feed them, and thou wilt grow fat. William Blake - from 'Augeries of Innocence'
  14. THE BALLAD OF READING GAOL By Oscar Wilde I He did not wear his scarlet coat, For blood and wine are red, And blood and wine were on his hands When they found him with the dead, The poor dead woman whom he loved, And murdered in her bed. He walked amongst the trial men In a suit of shabby grey; A cricket cap was on his head, And his step seemed light and gay; But I never saw a man who looked So wistfully at the day. I never saw a man who looked With such a wistful eye Upon that little tent of blue Which prisoners call the sky, And at every drifting cloud that went With sails of silver by. I walked, with other souls in pain, Within another ring, And was wondering if the man had done A great or little thing, When a voice behind me whispered low, "That fellow's got to swing." Dear Christ! the very prison walls Suddenly seemed to reel, And the sky above my head became Like a casque of scorching steel; And, though I was a soul in pain, My pain I could not feel. I only knew what hunted thought Quickened his step, and why He looked upon the garish day With such a wistful eye; The man had killed the thing he loved, And so he had to die. Yet each man kills the thing he loves, By each let this be heard, Some do it with a bitter look, Some with a flattering word, The coward does it with a kiss, The brave man with a sword! Some kill their love when they are young, And some when they are old; Some strangle with the hands of lust, Some with the hands of Gold: The kindest use a knife, because The dead so soon grow cold. Some love too little, some too long, Some sell, and others buy; Some do the deed with many tears, And some without a sigh: For each man kills the thing he loves, Yet each man does not die. He does not die a death of shame On a day of dark disgrace, Nor have a noose about his neck, Nor a cloth upon his face, Nor drop feet foremost through the floor Into an empty space. He does not sit with silent men Who watch him night and day; Who watch him when he tries to weep, And when he tries to pray; Who watch him lest himself should rob The prison of its prey. He does not wake at dawn to see Dread figures throng his room, The shivering Chaplain robed in white, The Sheriff stern with gloom, And the Governor all in shiny black, With the yellow face of Doom. He does not rise in piteous haste To put on convict-clothes, While some coarse-mouthed Doctor gloats, and notes Each new and nerve-twitched pose, Fingering a watch whose little ticks Are like horrible hammer-blows. He does not know that sickening thirst That sands one's throat, before The hangman with his gardener's gloves Slips through the padded door, And binds one with three leather thongs, That the throat may thirst no more. He does not bend his head to hear The burial office read, Nor while the terror of his soul Tells him he is not dead, Cross his own coffin, as he moves Into the hideous shed. He does not stare upon the air Through a little roof of glass He does not pray with lips of clay For his agony to pass; Nor feel upon his shuddering cheek The kiss of Caiaphas. II Six weeks the guardsman walked the yard, In the suit of shabby grey His cricket cap was on his head, And his step seemed light and gay, But I never saw a man who looked So wistfully at the day. I never saw a man who looked With such a wistful eye Upon that little tent of blue Which prisoners call the sky, And at every wandering cloud that trailed Its ravelled fleeces by. He did not wring his hands, as do Those witless men who dare To try to rear the changeling hope In the cave of black despair He only looked upon the sun, And drank the morning air. He did not wring his hands nor weep, Nor did he peek or pine, But he drank the air as though it held Some healthful anodyne; With open mouth he drank the sun As though it had been wine! And I and all the souls in pain, Who tramped the other ring, Forgot if we ourselves had done A great or little thing, And watched with gaze of dull amaze The man who had to swing. For strange it was to see him pass With a step so light and gay, And strange it was to see him look So wistfully at the day, And strange it was to think that he Had such a debt to pay. For oak and elm have pleasant leaves That in the spring-time shoot: But grim to see is the gallows-tree, With its alder-bitten root, And, green or dry, a man must die Before it bears its fruit! The loftiest place is that seat of grace For which all worldlings try But who would stand in hempen band Upon a scaffold high, And through a murderer's collar take His last look at the sky? It is sweet to dance to violins When Love and Life are fair To dance to flutes, to dance to lutes Is delicate and rare But it is not sweet with nimble feet To dance upon the air! So with curious eyes and sick surmise We watched him day by day, And wondered if each one of us Would end the self-same way, For none can tell to what red Hell His sightless soul may stray. At last the dead man walked no more Amongst the trial men, And I knew that he was standing up In the black dock's dreadful pen, And that never would I see his face In God's sweet world again. Like two doomed ships that pass in storm We had crossed each other's way But we made no sign, we said no word, We had no word to say; For we did not meet in the holy night, But in the shameful day. A prison wall was round us both, Two outcast men we were The world had thrust us from its heart, And God from out His care And the iron gin that waits for Sin Had caught us in its snare. III In Debtors' Yard the stones are hard, And the dripping wall is high, So it was there he took the air Beneath the leaden sky, And by each side a Warder walked, For fear the man might die. Or else he sat with those who watched His anguish night and day; Who watched him when he rose to weep, And when he crouched to pray; Who watched him lest himself should rob Their scaffold of its prey. The Governor was strong upon The Regulations Act The Doctor said that death was but A scientific fact And twice a day the Chaplain called, And left a little tract. And twice a day he smoked his pipe, And drank his quart of beer His soul was resolute, and held No hiding-place for fear; He often said that he was glad The hangman's hands were near. But why he said so strange a thing No Warder dared to ask For he to whom a watcher's doom Is given as his task, Must set a lock upon his lips, And make his face a mask. Or else he might be moved, and try To comfort or console And what should Human Pity do Pent up in Murderer's Hole? What word of grace in such a place Could help a brother's soul? With slouch and swing around the ring We trod the Fools' Parade! We did not care: we knew we were The devil's own brigade And shaven head and feet of lead Make a merry masquerade. We tore the tarry rope to shreds With blunt and bleeding nails; We rubbed the doors, and scrubbed the floors, And cleaned the shining rails And, rank by rank, we soaped the plank, And clattered with the pails. We sewed the sacks, we broke the stones, We turned the dusty drill We banged the tins, and bawled the hymns, And sweated on the mill But in the heart of every man Terror was lying still. So still it lay that every day Crawled like a weed-clogged wave And we forgot the bitter lot That waits for fool and knave, Till once, as we tramped in from work, We passed an open grave. With yawning mouth the yellow hole Gaped for a living thing; The very mud cried out for blood To the thirsty asphalt ring And we knew that ere one dawn grew fair Some prisoner had to swing. Right in we went, with soul intent On Death and Dread and Doom The hangman, with his little bag, Went shuffling through the gloom And each man trembled as he crept Into his numbered tomb. That night the empty corridors Were full of forms of fear, And up and down the iron town Stole feet we could not hear, And through the bars that hide the stars White faces seemed to peer. He lay as one who lies and dreams In a pleasant meadow-land, The watchers watched him as he slept, And could not understand How one could sleep so sweet a sleep With a hangman close at hand. But there is no sleep when men must weep Who never yet have wept So we—the fool, the fraud, the knave— That endless vigil kept, And through each brain on hands of pain Another's terror crept. Alas! it is a fearful thing To feel another's guilt! For, right within, the sword of Sin Pierced to its poisoned hilt, And as molten lead were the tears we shed For the blood we had not spilt. The Warders with their shoes of felt Crept by each padlocked door, And peeped and saw, with eyes of awe, Gray figures on the floor, And wondered why men knelt to pray Who never prayed before. All through the night we knelt and prayed, Mad mourners of a corse! The troubled plumes of midnight were The plumes upon a hearse And bitter wine upon a sponge Was the savour of remorse. The grey cock crew, the red cock crew, But never came the day And crooked shapes of Terror crouched, In the corners where we lay And each evil sprite that walks by night Before us seemed to play. They glided past, they glided fast, Like travellers through a mist They mocked the moon in a rigadoon Of delicate turn and twist, And with formal pace and loathsome grace The phantoms kept their tryst. With mop and mow, we saw them go, Slim shadows hand in hand About, about, in ghostly rout They trod a saraband And damned grotesques made arabesques, Like the wind upon the sand! With the pirouettes of marionettes, They tripped on pointed tread But with flutes of fear they filled the ear, As their grisly masque they led, And loud they sang, and long they sang, For they sang to wake the dead. "Oho!" they cried, "the world is wide, But fettered limbs go lame! And once, or twice, to throw the dice Is a gentlemanly game, But he does not win who plays with Sin In the Secret House of Shame." No things of air these antics were, That frolicked with such glee To men whose lives were held in gyves, And whose feet might not go free, Ah! wounds of Christ! they were living things, Most terrible to see. Around, around, they waltzed and wound; Some wheeled in smirking pairs; With the mincing step of a demirep Some sidled up the stairs And with subtle sneer, and fawning leer, Each helped us at our prayers. The morning wind began to moan, But still the night went on Through its giant loom the web of gloom Crept till each thread was spun: And, as we prayed, we grew afraid Of the Justice of the Sun. The moaning wind went wandering round The weeping prison-wall Till like a wheel of turning steel We felt the minutes crawl O moaning wind! what had we done To have such a seneschal? At last I saw the shadowed bars, Like a lattice wrought in lead, Move right across the whitewashed wall That faced my three-plank bed, And I knew that somewhere in the world God's dreadful dawn was red. At six o'clock we cleaned our cells, At seven all was still, But the sough and swing of a mighty wing The prison seemed to fill, For the Lord of Death with icy breath Had entered in to kill. He did not pass in purple pomp, Nor ride a moon-white steed. Three yards of cord and a sliding board Are all the gallows' need So with rope of shame the Herald came To do the secret deed. We were as men who through a fen Of filthy darkness grope We did not dare to breathe a prayer, Or to give our anguish scope Something was dead in each of us, And what was dead was Hope. For Man's grim Justice goes its way And will not swerve aside It slays the weak, it slays the strong, It has a deadly stride With iron heel it slays the strong, The monstrous parricide! We waited for the stroke of eight Each tongue was thick with thirst For the stroke of eight is the stroke of Fate That makes a man accursed, And Fate will use a running noose For the best man and the worst. We had no other thing to do, Save to wait for the sign to come So, like things of stone in a valley lone, Quiet we sat and dumb But each man's heart beat thick and quick, Like a madman on a drum! With sudden shock the prison-clock Smote on the shivering air, And from all the gaol rose up a wail Of impotent despair, Like the sound the frightened marshes hear From some leper in his lair. And as one sees most fearful things In the crystal of a dream, We saw the greasy hempen rope Hooked to the blackened beam, And heard the prayer the hangman's snare Strangled into a scream. And all the woe that moved him so That he gave that bitter cry, And the wild regrets, and the bloody sweats, None knew so well as I For he who lives more lives than one More deaths than one must die. IV There is no chapel on the day On which they hang a man The Chaplain's heart is far too sick, Or his face is far too wan, Or there is that written in his eyes Which none should look upon. So they kept us close till nigh on noon, And then they rang the bell, And the Warders with their jingling keys Opened each listening cell, And down the iron stair we tramped, Each from his separate Hell. Out into God's sweet air we went, But not in wonted way, For this man's face was white with fear, And that man's face was grey, And I never saw sad men who looked So wistfully at the day. I never saw sad men who looked With such a wistful eye Upon that little tent of blue We prisoners called the sky, And at every careless cloud that passed In happy freedom by. But there were those amongst us all Who walked with downcast head, And knew that, had each got his due, They should have died instead He had but killed a thing that lived, Whilst they had killed the dead. For he who sins a second time Wakes a dead soul to pain, And draws it from its spotted shroud, And makes it bleed again, And makes it bleed great gouts of blood, And makes it bleed in vain! Like ape or clown, in monstrous garb With crooked arrows starred, Silently we went round and round The slippery asphalt yard; Silently we went round and round, And no man spoke a word. Silently we went round and round, And through each hollow mind The memory of dreadful things Rushed like a dreadful wind, And Horror stalked before each man, And Terror crept behind. The warders strutted up and down, And kept their herd of brutes, Their uniforms were spick and span, And they wore their Sunday suits, But we knew the work they had been at, By the quicklime on their boots. For where a grave had opened wide, There was no grave at all Only a stretch of mud and sand By the hideous prison-wall, And a little heap of burning lime, That the man should have his pall. For he has a pall, this wretched man, Such as few men can claim Deep down below a prison-yard, Naked for greater shame, He lies, with fetters on each foot, Wrapt in a sheet of flame! And all the while the burning lime Eats flesh and bone away, It eats the brittle bone by night, And the soft flesh by day, It eats the flesh and bone by turns, But it eats the heart always. For three long years they will not sow Or root or seedling there For three long years the unblessed spot Will sterile be and bare, And look upon the wondering sky With unreproachful stare. They think a murderer's heart would taint Each simple seed they sow. It is not true! God's kindly earth Is kindlier than men know, And the red rose would but glow more red, The white rose whiter blow. Out of his mouth a red, red rose! Out of his heart a white! For who can say by what strange way, Christ brings His will to light, Since the barren staff the pilgrim bore Bloomed in the great Pope's sight? But neither milk-white rose nor red May bloom in prison air; The shard, the pebble, and the flint, Are what they give us there For flowers have been known to heal A common man's despair. So never will wine-red rose or white, Petal by petal, fall On that stretch of mud and sand that lies By the hideous prison-wall, To tell the men who tramp the yard That God's Son died for all. Yet though the hideous prison-wall Still hems him round and round, And a spirit may not walk by night That is with fetters bound, And a spirit may but weep that lies In such unholy ground, He is at peace—this wretched man— At peace, or will be soon There is no thing to make him mad, Nor does Terror walk at noon, For the lampless Earth in which he lies Has neither Sun nor Moon. They hanged him as a beast is hanged: They did not even toll A requiem that might have brought Rest to his startled soul, But hurriedly they took him out, And hid him in a hole. They stripped him of his canvas clothes, And gave him to the flies: They mocked the swollen purple throat, And the stark and staring eyes: And with laughter loud they heaped the shroud In which their convict lies. The Chaplain would not kneel to pray By his dishonoured grave Nor mark it with that blessed Cross That Christ for sinners gave, Because the man was one of those Whom Christ came down to save. Yet all is well; he has but passed To Life's appointed bourne And alien tears will fill for him Pity's long-broken urn, For his mourners will be outcast men, And outcasts always mourn. V I know not whether Laws be right, Or whether Laws be wrong All that we know who lie in gaol Is that the wall is strong And that each day is like a year, A year whose days are long. But this I know, that every Law That men have made for Man, Since first Man took his brother's life, And the sad world began, But straws the wheat and saves the chaff With a most evil fan. This too I know—and wise it were If each could know the same— That every prison that men build Is built with bricks of shame, And bound with bars lest Christ should see How men their brothers maim. With bars they blur the gracious moon, And blind the goodly sun And they do well to hide their Hell, For in it things are done That Son of God nor son of Man Ever should look upon! The vilest deeds like poison weeds Bloom well in prison-air It is only what is good in Man That wastes and withers there Pale anguish keeps the heavy gate, And the warder is despair. For they starve the little frightened child Till it weeps both night and day And they scourge the weak, and flog the fool, And gibe the old and grey, And some grow mad, and all grow bad, And none a word may say. Each narrow cell in which we dwell Is a foul and dark latrine, And the fetid breath of living Death Chokes up each grated screen, And all, but Lust, is turned to dust In humanity's machine. The brackish water that we drink Creeps with a loathsome slime, And the bitter bread they weigh in scales Is full of chalk and lime, And Sleep will not lie down, but walks Wild-eyed, and cries to time. But though lean hunger and green thirst Like asp with adder fight, We have little care of prison fare, For what chills and kills outright Is that every stone one lifts by day Becomes one's heart by night. With midnight always in one's heart, And twilight in one's cell, We turn the crank, or tear the rope, Each in his separate Hell, And the silence is more awful far Than the sound of a brazen bell. And never a human voice comes near To speak a gentle word And the eye that watches through the door Is pitiless and hard And by all forgot, we rot and rot, With soul and body marred. And thus we rust Life's iron chain Degraded and alone And some men curse, and some men weep, And some men make no moan But God's eternal Laws are kind And break the heart of stone. And every human heart that breaks, In prison-cell or yard, Is as that broken box that gave Its treasure to the Lord, And filled the unclean leper's house With the scent of costliest nard. Ah! happy they whose hearts can break And peace of pardon win! How else may man make straight his plan And cleanse his soul from Sin? How else but through a broken heart May Lord Christ enter in? And he of the swollen purple throat, And the stark and staring eyes, Waits for the holy hands that took The thief to paradise; And a broken and a contrite heart The Lord will not despise. The man in red who reads the law Gave him three weeks of life, Three little weeks in which to heal His soul of his soul's strife, And cleanse from every blot of blood The hand that held the knife. And with tears of blood he cleansed the hand, The hand that held the steel For only blood can wipe out blood, And only tears can heal And the crimson stain that was of Cain Became Christ's snow-white seal. VI In Reading gaol by Reading town There is a pit of shame, And in it lies a wretched man Eaten by teeth of flame, In a burning winding-sheet he lies, And his grave has got no name. And there, till Christ call forth the dead, In silence let him lie No need to waste the foolish tear, Or heave the windy sigh The man had killed the thing he loved, And so he had to die. And all men kill the thing they love, By all let this be heard, Some do it with a bitter look, Some with a flattering word, The coward does it with a kiss, The brave man with a sword.
  15. Earlier
  16. We're foot—slog—slog—slog—sloggin’ over Africa! Foot—foot—foot—foot—sloggin’ over Africa— (Boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up and down again!) There’s no discharge in the war! Seven—six—eleven—five—nine-an’-twenty mile to-day— Four—eleven—seventeen—thirty-two the day before— (Boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up and down again!) There’s no discharge in the war! Don’t—don’t—don’t—don’t—look at what’s in front of you. (Boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up an’ down again!) Men—men—men—men—men go mad with watchin’ ’em, And there’s no discharge in the war! Try—try—try—try—to think o’ something different— Oh—my—God—keep—me from goin’ lunatic! (Boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up an’ down again!) There’s no discharge in the war! Count—count—count—count—the bullets in the bandoliers. If—your—eyes—drop—they will get atop o’ you (Boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up and down again!) There’s no discharge in the war! We—can—stick—out—’unger, thirst, an’ weariness, But—not—not—not—not the chronic sight of ’em— Boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up an’ down again! An’ there’s no discharge in the war! ’Tain’t—so—bad—by—day because o’ company, But—night—brings—long—strings—o’ forty thousand million Boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up an’ down again. There’s no discharge in the war! I—’ave—marched—six—weeks in ’Ell an’ certify It—is—not—fire—devils—dark or anything, But boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up an’ down again, An’ there’s no discharge in the war! Rudyard Kipling - 'Boots'
  17. Yes, it has been just shocking to see the damage. The City has does a great job of getting things as back to normal as they can. There were extremely inconvenient road closures, but that enabled them to get their services in and out without a problem (and gawkers, which I find repugnant). I bought my house because of the beautiful trees as did a friend of mine who lives just south of me. Mine were untouched. Hers were destroyed. All very sad.
  18. One of my tour guests yesterday comes from Dallas and he shopped in that street too. He was dexcribing how one side of the street was untouched, the other flattened. I hadn't realised what a hnarrow path of havoc a tornado creats.
  19. I have not seen the Jeff Bridges version and I'm sure it's good. I think I'll read the book too
  20. Luna, True Grit is an excellent book, more like Lonesome Dove than anything else. The John Wayne movie was filmed in California, which doesn't look anything like where the book is set. The more recent version (with Jeff Bridges) is more approrpiately sited and very true to the book. I thought it was excellent.
  21. I did not know that True Grit (cowboy film starring John Wayne) is a book
  22. Officer Brigitte McCray led the small, pale woman into the interrogation room. She pulled out a chair for her at the table, then sat down on the other side. She used a pen to write the woman’s name, Allison Derby, and her address on a notepad. Then, with a blank look on her face, she said, “Tell me again why you’re here.” “I killed three people and I’m afraid I’ll kill again. You need to arrest me right now,” Allison said.
  23. I'm afraid I agree with the critics, I read both novels earlier this year - loved the first one, thought the second one was OK but too long - and although I think the first two episodes were excellent, it all started going wrong for me around episode 4, when they started to bring in the Lexie storyline. When I heard that they were merging the two novels I thought oh-oh, and sadly it's all turning into a bit of a mess, too many storylines. The road building is in the book, but the first book concentrates solely on the Katy Devlin murder and the earlier disappearance of the other children, whereas the 2nd book is only about the Lexie case apart from a few brief references to earlier incidents. If you'd watched the 2nd episode it would have made more sense, I don't think you can watch a serial like this in alternate episodes, but the first few episodes were quite steady and did stick pretty closely to the first book before it all started to go haywire.
  24. Anyone watching this? I don't like serials that are shown as two episodes a week, as I am not prepared to use up two evenings to one drama, but I did watch episodes one and three. I found it a bit confusing, and couldn't figure out where the road building fitted into the plot, then when the doppelganger element was added I realised that I was never going to follow it in alternate episodes and gave up. The drama is a mash-up of two of Tana French's novels, and the critics don't seem to think it worked. I would be interested in the opinions of those who have read the two novels and have seen the drama (last two episodes this week). I had bought In The Wood some years ago, on the strength of Hazel's review, so when Mm posted a review of The Wych Elm last month I pulled it off the shelf and, having given up on the TV version have started reading it. I am gripped so far.
  25. This novel was the Times Crime Book of the Month, but it's not, as I found out, a traditional crime book since from near the start, you know whodunnit but just not why. It's more of a character based novel, though there is the traditional detective and investigation. It focuses on the aftermath of a mass shooting and the experience of the shooter's mother and the mother of one of the victims. It just left me a bit flat. It belongs to the sub genre of crime which focuses on the death of a child and the suffering of the parent; there seems to be a lot of this around in TV and film as well as books. The writing is good, but it is slow, and there's just a lot of scenes of women being miserable and grief stricken without this moving the story on in any way. It felt overwritten; there were lots of conversations without real drama or interest, and I got bored and started skimming. I don't understand why it has met with so much praise.
  26. Alfred Döblin, Berlin Alexanderplatz
  27. I read LotF at school. I did like it but can't remember why now and I don't remember much about the story either. I had no idea that Golding had written other books simply because it never occurred to me to look. To Kill A Mockingbird was (at that point) the only book Harper Lee wrote so I just assumed that Golding had only written LotF. I have read The Spire, which I thought was a amazing and I've read The Paper Men which I also love. I have just finished The Inheritors and wasn't that keen on it, I'm not sure why.
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