Quote Auden and Carry a Big Stick


I tend to save many many things -- names of intriguing books, links to interesting videos or podcasts, poems, images, words, etc. -- and then sometimes return to them, as my interests in certain fields wax and wane, and then other times I forget why I saved a particular item.

For example, the poem If I Could Tell You by W. H. Auden. It's been floating in an email of To Do items, but I can't remember what the connections are. Perhaps it's linked to the fact that I'd like to read at least one poem per day, but this doesn't always happen. Rather, I think part of it was quoted in a novel I read last year or the year before (possibly Josephine Tey or Agatha Christie). Anyhow, here is a quote:

If I Could Tell You


If we should weep when clowns put on their show,
If we should stumble when musicians play,
Time will say nothing but I told you so.


The winds must come from somewhere when they blow,
There must be reason why the leaves decay;
Time will say nothing but I told you so.


This seems especially relevant today, given the news about Anthony Martignetti (whose books I've blogged about before). Here is the stick reference:
"We used to talk about what would happen when he died. I worried about it. He's more than twenty years older than me. It seemed inevitable. I once asked him what I should do at his funeral, since probably I'd have to say something.
He gave this some thought. He said he'd like me to walk up to the front of the room, carrying a stick from a tree outside.
'Don't say anything,' he requested. 'Just hold that sucker up in the air, break it in half, and throw it on the floor.'
Everything breaks."

This is the last week of this round of ROW80. Very pleased to say I've finished the short story -- except for the last line -- tentatively entitled "One to Another", and am slowly editing it. The first line comes from the Word Factory Fables for a Modern World contest (which is only open to UK residents): "Long ago, in the days when there were still fish in the oceans and cars on the road, there lived a woman who was not afraid of governments."

I've also pre-ordered some books! I haven't bought any since the last book fair, in April. Almost two months! That must be some sort of record for me. Although, actually, it's a bit inaccurate, since I've purchased at least five for my Kindle app...

Here are the books due to arrive at the end of August
(The Story of Kullervo is actually by J. R. R. Tolkien, edited by Verlyn Flieger):

Which poems and stories have you been reading?


You have some reading ahead of you.
I guess everything does eventually break. Or die.
M Pax said…
Love what you shared from what you saved. Very profound and emotional.
Denise D. Young said…
Powerful words. Thanks for sharing. I love the idea of trying to read a poem a day. Though I write fiction these days, I still love poetry deeply and think it deserves a place of honor in our lives.

I admire you for going two months in between book purchases. It's been a while since I've gone that long, as evidenced by the many, many books I own. I just bought one today, actually (a free Kindle copy of Christina Rossetti's "The Goblin Market" and other works). I'll have to see how long I can go.

Great post!
Denise Covey said…
Happy editing, Deniz! The fun part of writing I think, but I know not everyone agrees. I'm a great poetry fan, and I have been enjoying reading regular poems by blogger friend Nilanjana Bose. Don't know if you know her. She writes about what she sees in the world today. I hosted her on my blog last week. Wish I could write poetry!

Heh,heh, I came across Sylvia Day who has a series out very Fifty Shades. Erotic,but enjoyable, not my usual fare,but made a nice change from the heavy books I usually prefer.

Denise :-)
Erin Z. said…
I love reading and writing poetry. I love the quote above. ;)

Reading a poem a day is a great idea.

Nice job on your goals this round.
Cindy Scott said…
That is some powerful words. Been following Amanda's travel lately, and actually got to meet her and Neil in Cambridge when The Art of Asking came out. While I didn't know much of Anthony outside of what Amanda spoke of, he seems/seemed a powerful soul.

It's been a little of everything with reading, writing, and some editing. Trying to keep is real and alive.

Peace Deniz! :-)
Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks everyone! I wanted to share the entire poem, but wasn't sure of the copyright.
I'd really recommend Anthony's books. I'm glad I "met" him through Amanda.
Lucky you got to meet her, Cindy! Neil did a reading and signing in Montreal that I got to attend, but haven't been able to see any of Amanda's shows yet...
Hi Deniz - gosh you mix and match ... and how interesting to read about Anthony Martignetti ... his book of memoirs sounds fascinating.

Well done on finishing the short story ... while the first line could well be so true - frightening.

More books ... lots more to enjoy .. while as you read, lots of new ideas will come to mind for more stories ...

Good luck with your summer reading by the long light evenings .. cheers Hilary
Click said…
I like the idea of reading a poem a day. I normally go ages without reading any poetry and thing binge read loads of it.

I've fallen a bit behind on my reading recently; I spent about ten days slowly plodding through Terry Pratchett's Raising Steam but now I'm reading Tess of the d'Urbervilles. I tried reading it many years ago, got part way through and stopped but I'm enjoying it this go around.

Cait @ Click's Clan
Nas said…
All the best with your editing Deniz. I've just finished one editing project and it turned into this 600 page huge story. Editing it was fun! And it's slotted for July 1st release.

But alas, my reading time dwindles to so little nowadays.
Cherie Reich said…
Those lines are powerful. I can see why you kept them.
S.P. Bowers said…
I have to admit my poetry reading is limited. I used to read a lot more, now I tend to stick to Sara Teasdale and Edna St Vincent Millay.I need to reconnect with a lot of my favorite Russian poets.
Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks all! Ooh, I should reread some Hardy and some Edna St Vincent Millay too. Haven't read nearly enough by either author.

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