2015年6月29日 星期一

The beautiful, sensual, clever and passionate poetry of John Donne

BBC Radio 4

I scarce believe my love to be so pure
As I had thought it was,
Because it doth endure
Vicissitude, and season, as the grass;
Methinks I lied all winter, when I swore
My love was infinite, if spring make’ it more...

The dark side of nursery rhymes

The dark side of nursery rhymes

Goosey Goosey Gander may be about religious persecution, while Lucy Locket is about 18th Century prostitutes, writes Clemency Burton-Hill.



Doesn't sound like Sam? But it does: the lines are from a poem of his.


why not merely the despaired of
occasion of

is it not better abort than be barren

the hours after you are gone are so leaden
they will always start dragging too soon
the grapples clawing blindly the bed of want
bringing up the bones the old loves
sockets filled once with eyes like yours
all always is it better too soon than never
the black want splashing their faces
saying again nine days never floated the loved
nor nine months
nor nine lives


saying again
if you do not teach me I shall not learn
saying again there is a last
even of last times
last times of begging
last times of loving
of knowing not knowing pretending
a last even of last times of saying
if you do not love me I shall not be loved
if I do not love you I shall not love

the churn of stale words in the heart again
love love love thud of the old plunger
pestling the unalterable
whey of words

terrified again
of not loving
of loving and not you
of being loved and not by you
of knowing not knowing pretending

I and all the others that will love you
if they love you


unless they love you

2015年6月20日 星期六

Your 10 favourite TS Eliot lines

These were chosen by you.

This June we celebrate the centenary of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

Thomas Stearns Eliot
The American-British poet Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888 –1965) is today regarded as one of the 20th Century's major poets. In 1948 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his incredible contribution to literature. In 1915 The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock was published in the June issue of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse at the instigation of Ezra Pound. In honour of the centenary of its publication, BBC Culture asked readers to celebrate the timeless poetry of TS Eliot by sharing their favourite lines. (Credit: Alamy)

2015年6月12日 星期五

AMPLE make this bed in Sophie’s Choice

William Styron, born today in 1925, helped start “The Paris Review.” His 1979 novel, “Sophie’s Choice,” has ascended into idiom, as Wikipedia and Urban Dictionary have acknowledged.

One measure of a book’s influence is the mark it leaves on the vernacular. In this sense, many plaudits must go to William Styron, born today in 1925, who helped start The Paris Review and served as an advisory editor. His...

80 年代初看過的電影Sophie’s Choice,幾乎都忘了。當初也許只知道AMPLE make this bed此詩"有情",卻是30年前之後才稍微清楚。

After Nathan discharges a firearm over the telephone in a violent rage, Sophie and Stingo flee to a hotel. She reveals to him that, upon arrival at Auschwitz, she was forced to choose which one of her two children would be gassed and which would proceed to the labor camp. To avoid having both children killed, she chose her son, Jan, to be sent to the children's camp, and her daughter, Eva, to be sent to her death.
Sophie and Stingo make love, but while Stingo is sleeping, Sophie returns to Nathan. Sophie and Nathan commit suicide by taking cyanide. Stingo recites the poem "Ample Make This Bed" by Emily Dickinson—the American poet Sophie was fond of reading.

  1. Sophie's Choice - "Ample Make This Bed" - YouTube

    Jun 6, 2008 - Uploaded by FilmPoems
    Stingo reads Emily Dickinson's poem "Ample Make This Bed." Visit my channel for more films that quote ...

Emily Dickinson (1830–86).  Complete Poems.  1924.

Part Four: Time and Eternity


AMPLE make this bed.
Make this bed with awe;
In it wait till judgment break
Excellent and fair.
Be its mattress straight,        5
Be its pillow round;
Let no sunrise’ yellow noise
Interrupt this ground.

2015年6月4日 星期四

Stephen Fry delivers Oscar Wilde lecture at Reading Town Hall


Stephen Fry delivers Oscar Wilde lecture at Reading Town Hall

From the section Berkshire
Stephen Fry is honorary patron of the Oscar Wilde Society

Stephen Fry has delivered a lecture in honour of Oscar Wilde at Reading Town Hall.

The actor and TV presenter gave the inaugural lecture at the venue organised by the University of Reading.

Oscar Wilde was incarcerated in Reading Gaol in the 1890s, which inspired his epic poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol.

Fry is honorary patron of the Oscar Wilde Society and played the title role in the 1997 biopic about the poet and playwright.

Vice-chancellor Sir David Bell said: "The closure of Reading Prison in December 2013 was a reminder of its iconic role in the town's history.

"Oscar Wilde and his relationship with the prison therefore seemed a fitting topic to have as our inaugural Town Hall lecture."

Oscar Wilde was sentenced to two years of hard labour in prison for gross indecency after his affair with Alfred Douglas was exposed in 1895.

The Ballad of Reading Gaol was inspired by his experiences and reflected the brutality of the Victorian prison system.

Following his release from prison in 1897, Wilde campaigned against the imprisonment of children and those with mental illnesses.

2015年6月3日 星期三

"Watching The Needleboats At San Sabba" by James Joyce

10小時 · 

"Watching The Needleboats At San Sabba" by James Joyce

I heard their young hearts crying
Loveward above the glancing oar
And heard the prairie grasses sighing:
No more, return no more!

O hearts, O sighing grasses,
Vainly your loveblown bannerets mourn!
No more will the wild wind that passes
Return, no more return.


This selection of the major poems James Joyce published in his lifetime is accompanied by his only surviving play, Exiles. Joyce is most celebrated for his remarkable novel Ulysses, and yet he was also a highly accomplished poet. Chamber Music is his debut collection of lyrical love poems, which he intended to be set to music; in it, he enlivens the styles of the Celtic Revival with his own brand of playful irony. Pomes Penyeach, a collection written while Joyce was working on A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, sounds intimately autobiographical notes of passion and betrayal that would go on to resonate throughout the rest of his work. Joyce’s other poems include the moving “Ecce Puer,” written on the occasion of the birth of his grandson, and his fiery satires “The Holy Office” and “Gas from a Burner.” Exiles was written after Joyce had left Ireland, never to return; it is a richly nuanced drama that reflects a grappling with the state of his own marriage and career as he was about to embark on the writing of Ulysses. In its tale of an unconventional couple involved in a love triangle, Exiles engages Joycean themes of envy and jealousy, freedom and love, men and women, and the complicated relationship between an artist and his homeland.

D. H. Lawrence, How Beastly the Bourgeois Is


How Beastly the Bourgeois Is

D. H. Lawrence1885 - 1930

How beastly the bourgeois is
especially the male of the species--

Presentable, eminently presentable--
shall I make you a present of him?

Isn’t he handsome?  Isn’t he healthy?  Isn’t he a fine specimen?
Doesn’t he look the fresh clean Englishman, outside?
Isn’t it God’s own image? tramping his thirty miles a day
after partridges, or a little rubber ball?
wouldn’t you like to be like that, well off, and quite the

Oh, but wait!
Let him meet a new emotion, let him be faced with another
   man’s need,
let him come home to a bit of moral difficulty, let life
  face him with a new demand on his understanding
and then watch him go soggy, like a wet meringue.
Watch him turn into a mess, either a fool or a bully.
Just watch the display of him, confronted with a new
   demand on his intelligence,
a new life-demand.

How beastly the bourgeois is
especially the male of the species--

Nicely groomed, like a mushroom
standing there so sleek and erect and eyeable--
and like a fungus, living on the remains of a bygone life
sucking his life out of the dead leaves of greater life
   than his own.

And even so, he’s stale, he’s been there too long.
Touch him, and you’ll find he’s all gone inside
just like an old mushroom, all wormy inside, and hollow
under a smooth skin and an upright appearance.

Full of seething, wormy, hollow feelings
rather nasty--
How beastly the bourgeois is!

Standing in their thousands, these appearances, in damp
what a pity they can’t all be kicked over
like sickening toadstools, and left to melt back, swiftly
into the soil of England.

勞倫斯一首比較規矩的詩《布爾喬亞,真他媽的—— 》





 噢,且慢! 讓他碰上新感情,遇到另一個人的需求,
 讓他回家碰上一點道德上的小麻煩,讓生活向他的 頭腦提出新要求, 
布爾喬亞,***的, 特別是那些男人們—— 



相當卑污—— 布爾喬亞,***的! 




The central theme in "How Beastly the Bourgeois Is" addresses hypocrisy and corruption.  D. H. Lawrence criticizes the "male of the species" for having the appearance of goodness and the substance of a "toadstool."  According to Lawrence, the bourgeois male flourishes in simple times when life is successful and pleasant, when he can "go tramping thirty miles a day after partridges, or a little rubber ball"  (7-8).  Yet according to Lawrence, the bourgeois male cannot stand up to difficulty, and Lawrence's poem adopts an extremely critical tone to criticize these shortcomings, comparing the bourgeois to a floppy "wet meringue" with no substance. 
"How Beastly the Bourgeois Is" attacks the lack of substance found within this particular group.  Lawrence's poem criticizes their appearance of strength and goodness which so easily falls away to being a  "mess, either a fool or a bully" (15).