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About jfp

  • Birthday February 20


  • Biography
    jfp = John from Paris [where I've now been "from" for over 28 years]
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    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. QUEEN MARGARET What were you snarling all before I came, Ready to catch each other by the throat, And turn you all your hatred now on me? Did York's dread curse prevail so much with heaven? That Henry's death, my lovely Edward's death, Their kingdom's loss, my woful banishment, Could all but answer for that peevish brat? Can curses pierce the clouds and enter heaven? Why, then, give way, dull clouds, to my quick curses! If not by war, by surfeit die your king, As ours by murder, to make him a king! Edward thy son, which now is Prince of Wales, For Edward my son, which was Prince of Wales, Die in his youth by like untimely violence! Thyself a queen, for me that was a queen, Outlive thy glory, like my wretched self! Long mayst thou live to wail thy children's loss; And see another, as I see thee now, Deck'd in thy rights, as thou art stall'd in mine! Long die thy happy days before thy death; And, after many lengthen'd hours of grief, Die neither mother, wife, nor England's queen! Shakespeare - Richard III - I/iii
  2. Side by side, their faces blurred, The earl and countess lie in stone, Their proper habits vaguely shown As jointed armour, stiffened pleat, And that faint hint of the absurd — The little dogs under their feet. Such plainness of the pre-baroque Hardly involves the eye, until It meets his left-hand gauntlet, still Clasped empty in the other; and One sees, with a sharp tender shock, His hand withdrawn, holding her hand. They would not think to lie so long. Such faithfulness in effigy Was just a detail friends would see: A sculptor’s sweet commissioned grace Thrown off in helping to prolong The Latin names around the base. They would not guess how early in Their supine stationary voyage The air would change to soundless damage, Turn the old tenantry away; How soon succeeding eyes begin To look, not read. Rigidly they Persisted, linked, through lengths and breadths Of time. Snow fell, undated. Light Each summer thronged the glass. A bright Litter of birdcalls strewed the same Bone-riddled ground. And up the paths The endless altered people came, Washing at their identity. Now, helpless in the hollow of An unarmorial age, a trough Of smoke in slow suspended skeins Above their scrap of history, Only an attitude remains: Time has transfigured them into Untruth. The stone fidelity They hardly meant has come to be Their final blazon, and to prove Our almost-instinct almost true: What will survive of us is love. Philip Larkin - "An Arundel Tomb"
  3. My love is strengthend, though more weak in seeming; I love not less, though less the show appear. That love is merchandised, whose rich esteeming The owner's tongue doth publish everywhere. Our love was new and then but in the spring, When I was wont to greet it with my lays, As Philomel in summer's front doth sing, And stops her pipe in growth of riper days. Not that the summer is less pleasant now Than when her mournful hymns did hush the night; But that wild music burthens every bough And sweets grown common lose their dear delight: Therefore, like her, I sometime hold my tongue, Because I would not dull you with my song. Shakespeare - Sonnet 102
  4. The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea, The plowman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me. Now fades the glimm'ring landscape on the sight, And all the air a solemn stillness holds, Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight, And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds; Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r The moping owl does to the moon complain Of such, as wand'ring near her secret bow'r, Molest her ancient solitary reign. [...] Thomas GRAY - "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" (first three stanzas) [And stillness... but I don't want to appear over-zealous... when I read Meg's poem I instantly thought of the complete sixth line... solemn is a favourite word of mine. I don't know why...]
  5. Betwixt mine eye and heart a league is took, And each doth good turns now unto the other; When that mine eye is famished for a look, Or heart in love with sighs himself doth smother, With my love's picture then my eye doth feast, And to the painted banquet bids my heart; Another time mine eye is my heart's guest, And in his thoughts of love doth share a part. So either by thy picture or my love, Thyself away art present still with me: For thou no further than my thoughts canst move, And I am still with them, and they with thee; Or if they sleep, thy picture in my sight Awakes my heart to heart's and eye's delight. Shakespeare - Sonnet 47
  6. jfp

    Rest in Peace

    Meg, Thank you for supplying the link: I will add my condolences presently. I confess to having been saddened by some of the somewhat terse/laconic comments on this thread: "Sad"... "That's a shame"... "Oh no!" I was reminded of when my granddad died, back in 1985, and a friend I informed of his passing on the phone said "Oh sh*t!" Please forgive me if you find me excessively fussy about such things. I am what I am.
  7. DUCHESS OF YORK Hadst thou groan'd for him As I have done, thou wouldst be more pitiful. But now I know thy mind; thou dost suspect That I have been disloyal to thy bed, And that he is a bastard, not thy son: Sweet York, sweet husband, be not of that mind: He is as like thee as a man may be, Not like to me, or any of my kin, And yet I love him. Shakespeare - Richard II - V/ii
  8. The fire is ash: the early morning sun Outlines the patterns on the curtains, drawn The night before. The milk's been on the step, The Guardian in the letter-box, since dawn. Upstairs, the beds have not been touched, and thence Builders' estates and the main road are seen, With labourers, petrol-pumps, a Green Line bus, And plots of cabbages set in between. But the living-room is ruby: there upon Cushions from Harrods, strewn in tumbled heaps Around the floor, smelling of smoke and wine, Rosemary sits. Her hands are clasped. She weeps. She stares about her: round the decent walls (The ribbon lost, her pale gold hair falls down) Sees books and photos: 'Dance'; 'The Rhythmic Life'; Miss Rachel Wilson in a cap and gown. Stretched out before her, Rachel curls and curves, Eyelids and lips apart, her glances filled With satisfied ferocity; she smiles, As beasts smile on the prey they have just killed. The marble clock has stopped. The curtained sun Burns on: the room grows hot. There, it appears, A vase of flowers has spilt, and soaked away. The only sound heard is the sound of tears. Philip Larkin - "Femmes Damnées"
  9. “A cold coming we had of it, Just the worst time of the year For a journey, and such a long journey: The ways deep and the weather sharp, The very dead of winter.” And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory, Lying down in the melting snow. There were times we regretted The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces, And the silken girls bringing sherbet. Then the camel men cursing and grumbling And running away, and wanting their liquor and women, And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters, And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly And the villages dirty and charging high prices: A hard time we had of it. At the end we preferred to travel all night, Sleeping in snatches, With the voices singing in our ears, saying That this was all folly. Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley, Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation; With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness, And three trees on the low sky, And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow. Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel, Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver, And feet kicking the empty wine-skins. But there was no information, and so we continued And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory. All this was a long time ago, I remember, And I would do it again, but set down This set down This: were we led all that way for Birth or Death? There was a birth, certainly, We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death, But had thought they were different; this Birth was Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death. We returned to our places, these Kingdoms, But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation, With an alien people clutching their gods. I should be glad of another death. T.S.Eliot, "The Journey of the Magi"
  10. "Whenever I plunge my arm, like this, In a basin of water, I never miss The sweet sharp sense of a fugitive day Fetched back from the thickening shroud of grey.     Hence the only prime     And real love-rhyme     That I know by heart     And that leaves no smart, Is the purl of a little valley fall About three spans wide and two spans tall Over a table of solid rock And into a scoop of the self-same block; The purl of a runlet that never ceases In stir of kingdoms, in wars, in peaces; With a hollow, boiling voice it speaks And has spoken since hills were turfless peaks." "And why gives this the only prime Idea to you of a real love-rhyme? And why does plunging your arm in a bowl Full of spring water, bring throbs to your soul?" "Well, under the fall, in a crease of the stone, Though where precisely none ever has known, Jammed darkly, nothing to show how prized, And by now with its smoothness opalised,     Is a drinking-glass:     For, down that pass,     My love and I     Walked under a sky Of blue with a leaf-wove awning of green, In the burn of August, to paint the scene, And we placed our basket of fruit and wine By the runlet's rim, where we sat to dine; And when we had drunk from the glass together, Arched by the oak-copse from the weather, I held the vessel to rinse in the fall, Where it slipped, and sank, and was past recall, Though we stooped and plumbed the little abyss With long bared arms. There the glass still is. And, as said, if I thrust my arm below Cold water in basin or bowl, a throe From the past awakens a sense of that time, And the glass we used, and the cascade's rhyme. The basin seems the pool, and its edge The hard smooth face of the brook-side ledge, And the leafy pattern of china-ware The hanging plants that were bathing there. "By night, by day, when it shines or lours, There lies intact that chalice of ours, And its presence adds to the rhyme of love Persistently sung by the fall above. No lip has touched it since his and mine In turn therefrom sipped lovers' wine." Thomas Hardy - "Under The Waterfall"
  11. All right, it's a song, but it's a poetic song... I've added some punctuation. Merry Christmas to all: eight days to go...! They said there'll be snow at Christmas, They said there'll be peace on earth; But instead it just kept on raining, A veil of tears for the virgin birth; I remember one Christmas morning, A winter's light and a distant choir, And the peal of a bell, and that Christmas tree smell, And eyes full of tinsel and fire. They sold me a dream of Christmas, They sold me a silent night, And they told me a fairy story, 'Till I believed in the Israelite. And I believed in Father Christmas, And I looked to the sky with excited eyes, Till I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn, And I saw him and through his disguise. I wish you a hopeful Christmas, I wish you a brave New Year; All anguish, pain and sadness Leave your heart, and let your road be clear. They said there'll be snow at Christmas, They said there'll be peace on earth; Hallelujah, Noel, be it heaven or hell, The Christmas we get we deserve. Peter Sinfield & Greg Lake; set to music by Greg Lake
  12. The kings they came from out the south, All dressed in ermine fine; They bore Him gold and chrysoprase, And gifts of precious wine. The shepherds came from out the north, Their coats were brown and old; They brought Him little new-born lambs— They had not any gold. The wise men came from out the east, And they were wrapped in white; The star that led them all the way Did glorify the night. The angels came from heaven high, And they were clad with wings; And lo, they brought a joyful song The host of heaven sings. The kings they knocked upon the door, The wise men entered in, The shepherds followed after them To hear the song begin. The angels sang through all the night Until the rising sun, But little Jesus fell asleep Before the song was done. Sara TEASDALE, "Christmas Carol"
  13. In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone; Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow, In the bleak midwinter, long ago. Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain; Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign. In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ. Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day, Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay; Enough for Him, whom angels fall before, The ox and ass and camel which adore. Angels and archangels may have gathered there, Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air; But His mother only, in her maiden bliss, Worshipped the beloved with a kiss. What can I give Him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part; Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart. Christina ROSSETTI
  14. FAUSTUS Ah, Faustus, Now hast thou but one bare hour to live, And then thou must be damn’d perpetually! Stand still, you ever-moving spheres of Heaven, That time may cease, and midnight never come; Fair Nature’s eye, rise, rise again and make Perpetual day; or let this hour be but A year, a month, a week, a natural day, That Faustus may repent and save his soul! O lente, lente currite, noctis equi! The stars move still, time runs, the clock will strike, The Devil will come, and Faustus must be damn’d. O, I’ll leap up to my God! Who pulls me down? See, see where Christ’s blood streams in the firmament! One drop would save my soul—half a drop: ah, my Christ! Ah, rend not my heart for naming of my Christ! Yet will I call on him: O spare me, Lucifer!— Where is it now? ’Tis gone; and see where God Stretcheth out his arm, and bends his ireful brows! Mountain and hills come, come and fall on me, And hide me from the heavy wrath of God! Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus, scene xiv
  15. Suspended lion face Spilling at the centre Of an unfurnished sky How still you stand, And how unaided Single stalkless flower You pour unrecompensed. The eye sees you Simplified by distance Into an origin, Your petalled head of flames Continuously exploding. Heat is the echo of your Gold. Coined there among Lonely horizontals You exist openly. Our needs hourly Climb and return like angels. Unclosing like a hand, You give for ever. Philip Larkin, "Solar"
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