Sunday, August 7, 2011
It has recently become clear to me that Paul is at least as sentimental as I am: He has a real feeling for things of the past. So I thought that he would enjoy it if I introduced him to canonical English poetry -- which, sadly, is almost totally neglected in the schools these days.
So we got together for a curry dinner at my place, with Susan and Anne very kindly going to fetch the curry for us from my usual curry place.
The canon is of course enormous -- probably best defined by Arthur Quiller Couch's 1912 "Oxford book of English verse" -- which OUP have recently brought back into print after futile efforts to revise it -- sadly for the rare book trade.
So what I tried to do was pick out just a few personal favourites: Wordsworth's Daffodils; Donne's Death; Coleridge's Ancient Mariner; Grey's Elegy; Hunt's Abou ben Adhem; Blakes's Tiger etc. -- and of course the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.
It was almost entirely new to Paul and Susan but they both got a heap out of it and I enjoyed reading it to the assembled company. A relevant picture below. Note my Namatjiras in the background!
At my request Susan made us a Spotted Dick for dessert, and produced a gourmet version of it, of course. Last time I heard Paul was on his third helping! Those who know Paul will not be surprised by that.
Ode to a tablecloth
This is undoubtedly a bit mad but I thought I should mention the role of my "miracle tablecloth" in our dinners at my place. It is a very fancy white lacy tablecloth made of some synthetic material of Chinese origin. And it is IMPERVIOUS to curry stains -- which can be pretty serious stains. And by the time of my poetry night everybody was quite used to it. So while there were quite a few curry spills onto the tablecloth on the night, nobody paid that any heed. They knew that I just toss the cloth in the washing machine and it comes out as bright as ever. Susan tried to buy one like it but could not so it is a bit of a rarity.