Buggingham Palace: Pandemic poetry in lockdown
MLK went for a hike.
January 31, 2021
Satchel on hip / the postman goes / from doorstep to doorstep / and stooping sows // each letterbox / with seed. His right / hand all the morning makes / the same half circle. White // seed he scatters / a fistful of / featureless letters / pregnant with ruin or love... 'The Postman' Jon Stallworthy (1980)Deep in winter, the relentless rains temporarily stopped and once again Oxford turned into a large flood plain under a dark sky. Unable to follow the river as planned, our Sunday walk instead took us north to Old Marston in search of solace from the pandemic. Some of the discoverers of penicillin would have taken the same route as they hurried home from the long hours spent in the lab in the Oxford science area in the midst of the second world war. Largely thanks to the ingenuity of Dr Norman Heatley, Lord Florey's team was eventually able to synthesise and purify penicillin in sufficiently large doses to help mankind. We stopped outside the small cottage on 12 Oxford Road, where the largely unsung, gentle gardener Heatley lived with his family for over 50 years. We then walked to the much larger family home of Florey on 4 Elsfield Rd. Despite being an avowed atheist, Florey is commemorated by a plaque inside the entry to the St Nicholas Church. Perhaps one day we will commemorate the Oxford Vaccine team too? On one of my other walks, nearby I came across the grave of the great poet Jon Stallworthy (1935-2014). He was Professor of English at the University of Oxford and wrote a wonderful biography of the great war poet Wilfred Owen. I couldn't help think how this pandemic often feels like a war too, with a featureless virus scattering ruin and very little love, primarily to the old and frail. Yet Wilfred Owen's powerful poem rings all too true:Anthem for Doomed Youth What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?. — Only the monstrous anger of the guns.. Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattleCan patter out their hasty orisons.No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells; . Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;. And bugles calling for them from sad shires.What candles may be held to speed them all?. Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyesShall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.. The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
Thank you for the beautiful, poetic photo tour!
February 1, 2021
Thank you! I find that poetry helps in these dark times
ohh .. yesaa .. absolutely! and otherwise👏
Buggingham Palace..🤣🤣🤣... including classy suites for Beatles...🤔🤔🤔......📷🔝🤩
February 9, 2021