treasure-4

Last leg of the labour of love. How these doughty souls who did the ‘Blog-a-day-for-a-month’ marathon did it and maintained their sanity will remain a mystery. Hats off to, among others, Josephine Corcoran and Anthony Wilson…who manged not only to write them, but to write interestingly. Applause, please!!!

While we’re on the subject of blogs and bloggers, thanks to all of you who follow the great fogginzo’s cobweb. We’ve not been together all that long, but today we’re in distinguished company. Thank you, Matthew Stewart at Rogue Strands  for choosing us as one of the UK Poetry Blogs of the Year 2016.  You can see the full list by following this link.    The Best U.K. Poetry Blogs of 2016

Right…your last set of clues to track down my quick picks of the multitude of stunning moments that U A Fanthorpe gives and goes on giving. Actually, before that, another small matter. I hadn’t anticipated getting requests as well as arguments through the Comments link. Still, a request is a request, and this one from Nigel King of the Albert Poets sent me hunting for a poem I hadn’t got to yet. He writes that he asks his psychology students at the University of Huddersfield to read The passing of Alfred. So here you are, Nigel. My favourite ‘moment’ from that:

“… the dead followed them, as they do us,

Tenderly through darkness,

But fade when we turn to look in the upper air.”

And now I shall very simply, and randomly, share moments that identify themselves as fine poetry, that memorise themselves even as we read them.

” Here battle was. Here the king bled to death,

the martyr hung in chains. And once we know

the grand heraldic cruelties, we sense

enormous suffering behind each hedge.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

“Tomorrow we shall do these things

which are required of us. Today

is a day not ours……”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

“On the dig’s last day, the god’s head,

decapitated, dirty, alien, moving.

……the people came unflagging

to queue, as war had taught them, to see

something outlandish, risen from London earth,

wearing their waiting like medals.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

“O for a tongue-tied muse to celebrate

the steadfast dumbness of dissidents under torture,

the hangdog faces of children who won’t perform,

Quakers, clever as fish in a soundless dimension ”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

“They’ve thought up a disinfected vocabulary

in Rwanda, Lebanon, Bosnia, Ireland, here.

I know the anodyne lexicon: Ethnic Cleansing..

……..with a nice feeling

for euphemisms, you can get away with murder”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

“Here lies the bunch-back’d toad, the bottled spider,

the hell-hound, the abortive rooting hog,

God’s enemy and England’s bloody scourge.

FIne language is one way of being remembered.

This is the best we have. This is Shakespeare.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

“Her armchair’s horizon is global.

In it she waits for her tiny Doomsday.

Her drawers are tidied fior good, and then

untidied again. Life keeps on being picked up,

like a tedious piece of knitting.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

” We must respect the anonymity

we decent ladies all pretend to have,

letting the Whore, the Genius, the Witch,

the Slut, the Miser and the Psycopath

go down to history, if they really must,

while Caesar keeps his bright precarious gloss.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………..

” Don’t eavesdrop on my heart,

it’s clever.

And if your hand should touch my breast

my heart would make its own arrest,

develop hands, as trees grow leaves,

and hold you there forever.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

I could go on like this for days. But there’s wood to cut, there’s ironing to be done, and forms to fill in and bills to pay. But I hope I’ve surprised you, who like me thought you knew U A Fanthorpe.

And should want to know more of UAF herself, then treat yourself to a wonderful interview she gave in, The Desperado Essay-Interviews 2006

http://lidiavianu.mttlc.ro/ua_fanthorpe.htm

Thank you for your company this week. No cobweb strand on Sunday, but we’ll be back on December 11th with a gem Revisited. See you then xxx

 

[Saturday Morning. I realise there’s some things I desperately wanted to say, and then somehow omitted. One is that Clive james unwittingly nails precisely those qualites of Fanthorpe’s poetry that have so excited me..like when he writes

“Any poem that does not just slide past us like …thousands of others…has an ignition point for our attention”

AND

“one hears the force of real poetry at a glance. There is a phrase; something you want to say aloud”

Now I think that’s what I’ve been doing for the last four days. But I find it hard to come close to forgiving the faint praise when he damns her by describing

Fanthorpe’s gift for obscurity”

He appears to imply that she wilfully hid herself away from the public gaze (as opposed to having a gift for noisy self-promotion?). I can’t really forgive him for that. Nor the poetry ‘establishment’ that makes a fuss about significantly and self-evidently inferior talents. All I can say, she’ll not be allowed ‘obscurity’ while I’m alive and breathing.

One other thing. On the question of Tyndale in Darkness: one of the crucial point of contention between the established Church (and particularly the burner of ‘heretics’ Sir Thomas More) was the translation of the Latin of ‘Faith, Hope and Charity’ into English. The problem lay with the Latin: Caritas. The Church insisted on ‘charity’ which very nicely justified the trade in soliciting charitable donations to the Church, in return for Masses and absolutions.

But William Tyndale insisted that the true word had to be  Love. That was one of the reasons why he was burned. You can see why U A Fanthorpe would love him

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