Friday, 6 August 2010

Somewhere over the Rainbow

Since I wrote about Hopkins the other week, I've seen or heard references to him everywhere. My aunt wrote to tell me how much she loved him, and sent me a link to a naturalists' blog (strangely, called The Butterfly Diary) with pictures of 'pied beauty' in nature, and then Jarvis Cocker read out Pied Beauty on his BBC6 show... and it's been on my mind like a pop song, somehow merging into E.E. Cummings' 'i thank you god for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirit of trees, and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes' (I paraphrase) a bit like that lovely Hawaiian version of Somewhere over the Rainbow turning into What a Wonderful World. Thinking of how E.E. was able to write that - 'i who have died am alive again today' - after his time in the bloody mud of Flanders is spine-tinglingly moving.

I'm always vowing to memorize more poetry, and weeks like the one I've just had, permeated by words I love, make me realise anew how much pleasure a mental library can bring. The only one I actually managed to learn last time around, I think when I was pregnant the first time, was Yeats's Leda and the Swan (we have an Eric Gill print of a sinuous Leda embracing an elegant swan, so it seemed a good one to have ready to quote) but I hope I'll get back round to it. The next one was going to be Sylvia Plath, You're clownlike, happiest on your hands, for the baby. But naturally the babies preclude much memorising.

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