Tuesday, 5 January 2010

i have recently been attempting to construct a bishop.

I started this blog to be a record of my time at university, but am so absolutely dreadful at keeping it up-to-date that, whenever I think about this little patch of the internets I like to call my own, I feel a profound sense of shame. I've thought for a while that what I might be in need of is a little bit of structure, and now I know what it should be.

Firstly, I am an English student (single honours, although looking into becoming joint with history; irrelevent, but sort of worth noting) and secondly, I half-heartedly keep a commonplace book. I say 'half-hearted' because I'm absolutely as rotten at that as I am at blogging, but I have a lot of love for the whole concept of commonplace books and you will be hearing more from me on this subject at some point.

ANYWAY. For this reason, writing that is Not My Own is a very big influence on my life and my brain, so I've decided that every Monday I am going to post something here, like a poem or an extract from something, but not necessarily either of these things, that I enjoyed. I might talk about why I like it or it moved me, or I might not, but it seems like...it seems like a nice e-rendering of my headspace. A sort of cyberspace version of the beautiful commonplace book I left in Liverpool (and miss), a present from my flatmates.

I know that it's techincally Tuesday now, being 2am and all, but I care not! This week's piece of writing is These Boys Have Never Really Grown into Men by Brian Patten:

These boys have never really grown into men,
despite their disguises, despite their adult ways,
their sophistication, the camouflage of their kindly smiles.
They are still up to their old tricks,
still at the wing-plucking stage. Only now
their prey answers to women's names.
And the girls, likewise, despite their disguises,
despite their adult ways, their camouflage of need,
still twist love till its failure seems not of their making.
Something grotesque migrates hourly
between our different needs,
and is in us all like a poison.
How strange I've not understood so clearly before
how liars and misers, the cruel and the arrogant
lie down and make love like all the others,
how nothing is ever as expected, nothing is ever as stated.
Behind doors and windows nothing is ever as wanted.
The good have no monopoly on love.
All drink from it. All wear its absence like a shroud.

I decided to start with this one because the poet comes from Liverpool - he went to school on the Smithdown Road, apparently - and is, in fact, part of a movement called the Liverpool Poets. That's right. He used to pal about with people like Roger McGough, but I hadn't heard of him until I read this, AND he apparently received some kind of encouragement from Philip Larkin - one of my favourite writers.

The reason I like it, I suppose, is complex, and I don't want to deconstruct it on here (not tonight, anyway), because I don't think that would be dreadfully interesting. But it can be summed up with a quote from an Alan Bennett play:
"The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - that you'd thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you've never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it's as if a hand has come out, and taken yours."

Two for the price of one, this week. And now to bed.


  1. I love Alan Bennett's quote! That's deep [Mr Parris], deep deep!

    What a fantastic idea for your blog. Suits you sir-ette.

    Oh how I long for a theme.
    Oh how I long for a grapefruit.

  2. Aw, cheers mister! I'm glad you like it.

    Perhaps you could work on some kind of grapefruit theme and combine the two? x

  3. i really love the poetry idea. i have so much respect for those who can read poetry. i mean, i love english, i love books but they all seem rather easy in comparison with poetry. it can have the effect of making me feel rather stoopid.

    i too LOVE that alan bennett quote. i have been reading a book called "the consolations of philosophy" and there is a whole beautiful paragraph about how you think your thoughts and feelings are entirely your own, they are beyond language and expression and then BOOM, some beautiful philosopher comes along and just writes them. pops them right on the page and its something really wonderful and it's like you've become bestest friends.

    and so what is nice is that alan bennett has written down what i thought about what other people had written down about what i thought.

    lovely stuff ms. moony, i really love reading this :) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx