This week our Featured Poem, And You, Helen, comes from war poet Edward Thomas.
Our first edition of 2017 and a special Anniversary Issue to mark 20 years of The Reader magazine.
It’s a little disheartening after the recent spells of sunshine to look out of the window and find the rain splashing against it…not to mention that this week sees St Swithin’s Day arrive once more. We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled on Wednesday and hoping for sunshine to avoid forty days of solid showers – especially as we’ve got more outdoor theatre at Calderstones to look forward to in the coming weeks.
We’ll keep this poem from Edward Thomas aside for when the rain goes away, looking in particular for ‘little black fish’ at the roadsides and ‘uncountable crystals’ hanging from the trees. Most definitely a cheerier way to perceive a downpour.
The rain of a night and a day and a night
Stops at the light
Of this pale choked day. The peering sun
Sees what has been done.
The road under the trees has a border new
of purple hue
Inside the border of bright thin grass:
For all that has
Been left by November of leaves is torn
From hazel and thorn
And the greater trees. Throughout the copse
No dead leaf drops
On grey grass, green moss, burnt-orange fern,
At the wind’s return:
The leaflets out of the ash-tree shed
Are thinly spread
In the road, like little black fish, inlaid,
As if they played.
What hangs from the myriad branches down there
So hard and bare
Is twelve yellow apples lovely to see
On one crab-tree.
And on each twig of every tree in the dell
Crystals both dark and bright of the rain
That begins again.
Today (13th July) also sees the anniversary of Wordsworth finishing Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey in 1798. It’s one of our favourites, but running at an impressive 1,200 words it’s a tad too long to feature here. You can read it in its entirety here – something to enjoy over a rainy lunch break.
Nellibobs – a.k.a. Brian Nellist – is a busy man. When he’s not co-editing The Reader magazine, musing over the latest edition of Gardeners’ World, walking his beagle Argy or just making his way through a wealth of reading material, he can be found on YouTube with his special Friday Night Nellibobs videos, where he can be found pondering some of the greatest pieces of literature known to man (and indeed, woman).
If you’re an avid fan of the Godfather of The Reader Organisation, you’re in luck as he is about to host his latest Short Course for Serious Readers in Birkenhead. Far Places will embark on a journey of discovery through classic and contemporary literature to celebrate wanderlust as well as a sense of rootedness.
Far Places (Part 1) begins on Monday 29th September and runs every Monday from 10.30am-12.30pm at The Lauries Community Centre. The first part will focus especially on Homer’s Odyssey. Part 2 will be taking place in January 2015, discovering yet more great literature from authors including Shakespeare, Johnson, Graham Greene and Doris Lessing. Places on the course cost £65/£35 concessions (retired/student/unemployed/shared reading group member) – there’s a special 10% discount available if you sign up for both September and January courses at the same time.
For more information and to book your place on Far Places with Brian Nellist, contact Jenny: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0151 207 7207. Details of all our upcoming courses can also be found on our website: http://www.thereader.org.uk/courses
And as a special treat, here’s the latest edition of Friday Night with Nellibobs – here you’ll find Brian discussing two poems by Edward Thomas: