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Of the Spring would I sing, now that every living thing
Is a rocket-burst, a sun-flash of Creation;
These metaphors, I hope, will conceal that I'm a dope
When it comes to name and local habitation.

Oh, that bush of whatsaname is a mass of golden flame
And the snowy almond makes my heart feel merry-
No, wait a bit- I think that the almond is the pink,
This one is labelled Prunus (is that cherry?)

...

I am clueless but poetic. I am not apologetic,
A flower quite transcends the name it bears
And in Spring, let experts note, though they have the world by rote,
My stimulus from primulas is similar to theirs.

(My favourite line from this poem is "As sticky buds get buddleia my nature lore gets muddlier". Paul Jennings's humourous journalism- he was writing from the '40s to the '60s, mainly- is one of my guaranteed spirit-raisers. The columns are difficult to find good short quotes from, because the whimsical effect tends to build up slowly through the whole piece, but his poems are instantly catchy. "There's nothing manly, I repeat,/In always having cold wet feet;/ Galoshlessness is foolishness when sharply slants the sleet" [from "Galoshes"] always comes to my mind in 'orrible weather.) The columns are collected in a series of books starting with Oddly Enough, which aren't too expensive second-hand. There was also a Penguin selection called The Jenguin Pennings.

Culture

Mar. 27th, 2006 10:22 am
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I'd meant to go to a couple of the Royal Shakespear Co.'s series of the comedies and missed them. Finally managed to get to the last night of the season, which was As You Like It, on Saturday. Fun- a better second half than first.  )Rosalind was excellent, which is the main thing, of course. Orlando falling in love with Ganymede-Rosalind was nicely done as well.

Best footnote in a script ever: The Reduced Shakespeare Company's Compleat Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), p. 103.

"Hamlet: ... in this harsh world draw my breath in pain to tell my story. [Fn 11184] The rest is silence.

"11184: 'tell my story'; Hamlet, and the entire Royal Danish court at Elsinore, are obviously a fairly sordid lot. By telling their story, the RSC in no way wishes to imply that ALL Danes kill their brothers, marry their widows, usurp the throne, drive their girlfriends to suicide, have their college buddies executed, poison their wives, murder their nephews, and leave their country open to takeover by an invading foreign power. However, just to be on the safe side, we encourage all Danes to simply refrain from breeding so that their foul and hideous race may be wiped from the face of the planet."

Mind you, I would like to disassociate myself from the views expressed there. It's been centuries since the Danes last terrorised whole nations into paying them to go away, and you've got to forgive and forget, haven't you?

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