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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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    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. Out walking in the frozen swamp one gray day, I paused and said, 'I will turn back from here. No, I will go on farther—and we shall see.' The hard snow held me, save where now and then One foot went through. The view was all in lines Straight up and down of tall slim trees Too much alike to mark or name a place by So as to say for certain I was here Or somewhere else: I was just far from home. A small bird flew before me. He was careful To put a tree between us when he lighted, And say
  2. When night slinks, like a puma, down the sky, And the bare, windy streets echo with silence, Street lamps come out, and lean at corners, awry, Casting black shadows, oblique and intense; So they burn on, impersonal, through the night, Hearing the hours slowly topple past Like cold drops from a glistening stalactite, Until grey planes splinter the gloom at last; Then they go out. I think I noticed once - T'was morning - one sole street lamp still bright-lit, Which, with a senile
  3. I The winter evening settles down With smell of steaks in passageways. Six o’clock. The burnt-out ends of smoky days. And now a gusty shower wraps The grimy scraps Of withered leaves about your feet And newspapers from vacant lots; The showers beat On broken blinds and chimney-pots, And at the corner of the street A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps. And then the lighting of the lamps. T.S.Eliot - from: "Preludes"
  4. CAESAR I could be well moved, if I were as you: If I could pray to move, prayers would move me: But I am constant as the northern star, Of whose true-fix'd and resting quality There is no fellow in the firmament. The skies are painted with unnumber'd sparks, They are all fire and every one doth shine, But there's but one in all doth hold his place: So in the world; 'tis furnish'd well with men, And men are flesh and blood, and apprehensive; Yet in the number I do know but one That unassailable holds on his rank, Unshaked of motion: and that I am he, Let me a litt
  5. Hail to thee, blithe Spirit! Bird thou never wert, That from Heaven, or near it, Pourest thy full heart In profuse strains of unpremeditated art. Higher still and higher From the earth thou springest Like a cloud of fire; The blue deep thou wingest, And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest. In the golden lightning Of the sunken sun, O'er which clouds are bright'ning, Thou dost float and run; Like an unbodied joy whos
  6. Autumn resumes the land, ruffles the woods with smoky wings, entangles them. Trees shine out from their leaves, rocks mildew to moss-green; the avenues are spread with brittle floods. Platonic England, house of solitudes, rests in its laurels and its injured stone, replete with complex fortunes that are gone, beset by dynasties of moods and clouds. It stands, as though at ease with its own world, the mannerly extortions, languid praise, all that devotion long since bought and sold, the rooms of cedar and soft-th
  7. It is summer, and we are in a house That is not ours, sitting at a table Enjoying minutes of a rented silence, The upstairs people gone. The pigeons lull To sleep the under-tens and invalids, The tree shakes out its shadows to the grass, The roses rove through the wilds of my neglect. Our lives flap, and we have no hope of better Happiness than this, not much to show for love But how we are, and how this evening is, Unpeopled, silent, and where we are alive In a domestic love, seemingly alone, All other lives worn down to trees and sunlight, Looking forward to a visit
  8. A couple of things: if ever I were a guest on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, I would be quite happy to accept the deal and take The Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare, and one other book (never sure what that would be...) I wouldn't try and exchange the Bible for something else... When I listed The Bible as "clearly" the most overrated book, I perhaps interpreted "overrated" in the wrong way. The parts of it I have read are often parts I have been marked by. I think I meant that it's the most famous book in the western world, and overshadows others. (And of course, as is o
  9. HAMLET How all occasions do inform against me And spur my dull revenge! What is a man, If his chief good and market of his time Be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more. Sure he that made us with such large discourse, Looking before and after, gave us not That capability and godlike reason To fust in us unus'd. Now, whether it be Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple Of thinking too precisely on th' event,- A thought which, quarter'd, hath but one part wisdom And ever three parts coward,- I do not know Why yet I live to say 'This thing's to do,' Sith I have cau
  10. If grief could burn out Like a sunken coal, The heart would rest quiet, The unrent soul Be still as a veil; But I have watched all night The fire grow silent, The grey ash soft: And I stir the stubborn flint The flames have left, And grief stirs, and the deft Heart lies impotent. Philip LARKIN (from The North Ship)
  11. A few thoughts on this: • "Classic Poetry vs Modern Poetry"? These are not clear-cut categories. Where is the dividing-line? Modern English, like Modern History, begins with the Renaissance, and thus with Shakespeare (and others of his era, of course). • Different periods in the history of poetry have different conventions, which are constantly questioned and/or adapted later on. • Poetry is not necessarily written in verse: in other words, it is not always identifiable thanks to an underlying rhythm, or the use of rhyme. • There are prose poems: prose can be highly
  12. PROSPERO Then, as my gift and thine own acquisition Worthily purchased take my daughter: but If thou dost break her virgin-knot before All sanctimonious ceremonies may With full and holy rite be minister'd, No sweet aspersion shall the heavens let fall To make this contract grow: but barren hate, Sour-eyed disdain and discord shall bestrew The union of your bed with weeds so loathly That you shall hate it both: therefore take heed, As Hymen's lamps shall light you. FERDINAND As I hope For quiet days, fair
  13. JOHN OF GAUNT I thank my liege, that in regard of me He shortens four years of my son's exile: But little vantage shall I reap thereby; For, ere the six years that he hath to spend Can change their moons and bring their times about, My oil-dried lamp and time-bewasted light Shall be extinct with age and endless night; My inch of taper will be burnt and done, And blindfold death not let me see my son. Shakespeare - Richard II I/iii Endless NIght became the title of an Agatha Christie novel...
  14. FRIAR LAURENCE The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night, Chequering the eastern clouds with streaks of light, And flecked darkness like a drunkard reels From forth day's path and Titan's fiery wheels: Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye, The day to cheer and night's dank dew to dry, I must up-fill this osier cage of ours With baleful weeds and precious-juiced flowers. The earth that's nature's mother is her tomb; What is her burying grave that is her womb, And from her womb children of divers kind We sucking on her natural bosom find, Many for many virt
  15. It seemed that out of battle I escaped Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped Through granites which titanic 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 uppe
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