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Richard’s stories Tuesday, 22 December 2009

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I like carrying poems by different poets in my head for different moods, including (to simplify greatly): Donne for sex; Tennyson for beautiful lines and melancholy; Housman for more melancholy; Auden for thought; Burns for humour and humanity; T S Eliot for elegant precision; Wilfred Owen for empathy; Betjeman for the sense of belonging to a place; Kipling for daring to be different; Wendy Cope for her barbs of satire… That’s probably enough to be going on with 🙂

Christine’s story: Morte D’Arthur Wednesday, 25 November 2009

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A poem I carry in my head – well, bits of it – is ‘Morte D’Arthur’ by Tennyson.  We had to learn parts of it at school, for which I continue to be grateful.  It is such a wonderfully paced narrative, held together by the backbone of its iambic pentameter.  The somewhat exalted language matches the theme of the dying king and his gloriously mysterious sword.

So saying, from the ruin’d shrine he stept
And in the moon athwart the place of tombs,
Where lay the mighty bones of ancient men,
Old knights, and over them the sea-wind sang
Shrill, chill, with flakes of foam.  He, stepping down
By zig-zag paths, and juts of pointed rock,
Came on the shining levels of the lake.

Christine De Luca is a Shetlander, living in Edinburgh. She writes both in English and Shetlandic, her mother tongue. The Shetland Library published three poetry collections: Voes & Sounds in 1994, Wast Wi Da Valkyries in 1997 and Plain Song in 2002. The first two won the Shetland Literary Prize, since discontinued. More recently (2004), Hansel Cooperative Press has published a sequence of poems, ‘Drops in Time’s Ocean’. Luath Press has published her fourth collection, Parallel Worlds (2005).