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Austen to Zafón

Reading widely since 1972.

Currently reading

A London Family, 1870-1900: A Trilogy
Molly Hughes
The Cellist of Sarajevo
Steven Galloway
Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher
Lewis Thomas
All the Names
José Saramago, Margaret Jull Costa
A History of the World in 100 Objects
Neil MacGregor
Down the Garden Path
Beverley Nichols
Virtue Betray'd, Or, Anna Bullen
John Banks
Year of Wonders
Geraldine Brooks
Swallows and Amazons
Arthur Ransome
Illusion in java
Gene Fowler

The Selected Poems of Janet Lewis

The Selected Poems of Janet Lewis - With a career of writing poems and fiction (her best known novel is "The Wife of Martin Guerre") from the 1920s to the 1990s, you'd think Lewis's work would vary more in quality, but she was quite good from the beginning to the end. She revisits many of the same themes over the decades: gardening, love, death, remembrance, solitude. I enjoyed seeing how her approach did or didn't change from her youth to old age. Here are some snippets.

From "Lines to a Kitten"

Morsel of suavity
Perched on my knee,
Furred silken beast, your golden eye
With its great crystal lens is bent
Upon a fly
Six feet away, and all your tiny life, intent,
Crouches and peers through the dark slitted vent.

From "Fossil, 1975"

Changed and not changed. Three million years.
This sunlight-summoned little fern
Closed in a cenotaph of silt
Lies in my hand, secret and safe.
In quiet dark transformed to stone,
Cell after cell to crystal grown,
the pattern stays, the substance gone.
Changed and not changed. Three million years.

From "For the Potter"

Remembered in bowls holding fruit,
The flare and curve of the clay, smoothed
To the color of jewels, or earth tones;

Remembered in plates, shadowed with leaves,
Eucalyptus, maple, fern, or the
Ancient ginkgo, holding the nourishment of a simple day;

Remembered, old friend, past your remembering,
When the chemistry of the brain had betrayed you
Into a long forgetfulness.