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Thursday, 17 February 2022

it may not always be so by e e cummings

Sometimes it seems that the only thing people know about e e cummings is that they think he never used capital letters – even in his name. His poems tend to be untitled so this one is known as ‘it may not always be so’:

it may not always be so; and i say
that your lips, which i have loved, should touch
another’s, and your dear strong fingers clutch
his heart, as mine in time not far away;
if on another’s face your sweet hair lay
in such a silence as i know, or such
great writhing words as, uttering overmuch,
stand helplessly before the spirit at bay;

if this should be, i say if this should be—
you of my heart, send me a little word;
that i may go unto him, and take his hands,
saying, Accept all happiness from me.
Then shall i turn my face, and hear one bird
sing terribly afar in the lost lands.

You may have noticed that there are two capital letters in this sonnet; one in the word Accept, which is quoted speech and one to begin the final sentence. It can be read in various places that he wanted his name only to be written in lower-case but it isn’t so. It was his publishers who wanted to do that (although he readily agreed). He also used capitals when signing his name. But enough of that – let’s discuss the poem! He is writing about losing the love of his life to another man and conjecturing what this would be like. “If this should be”…”send me a little word; that I may go unto him”.

He is virtually saying that he would give his blessing although he would be extremely sad – “Accept all happiness from me”. In other words, if you love someone let them go. If you really love someone, then their happiness is your primary desire – even if you are not included in that love. A very generous attitude don’t you think? Or maybe it’s paranoia...

I'm listening to The Perry-Gardner Orchestra playing a tune that will be very familiar to BBC listeners over a certain age. It is possibly the most relaxing music you will ever hear! Click here for Sailing By.

Sunday, 13 February 2022

Painting of the Month (99) FEB 2022: Gene Brown

Brown describes his paintings as representational expressionism. “You can tell what the subject is, but I exaggerate shapes and colour. Because I love texture and bright colours, that to me is almost as important as the composition.” Brown’s work is uniquely his. There will be no head-scratching wondering who did these paintings. There is an obvious emphasis on strong design and colour. “Happy” and “joyful” are words that define the emotion of his paintings. “I have had many people tell me that my paintings are happy paintings,” Brown said. “They make people feel good. I know all about aerial perspective and lost and found edges, etc., but rules are made to be broken. I have fun with bright colors and I enjoy my niche. I had a gentleman, who bought one of my paintings, put it on his mantle at home so that when he came home, he could look at it and unwind from his hectic day at work. That’s all I need."

Acrylic on canvas. The artist is American, b. 1938
I'm listening to Betty Wright's Clean Up Woman. It's a great recording but is mightily enhanced by the fabulous guitar playing of Willie Hale. Listen here.

Thursday, 3 February 2022

Ruth's Wedding

I haven't been around the Internet so much recently because, last weekend, we were celebrating the wedding of my daughter Ruth to Gary in London. Now they're Honeymooning in Tenerife.  Here she is just before setting off for the venue.

I'm listening to The Beatles singing Baby It's You. Listen here!