Thursday, 24 March 2016

Exploring English and Soundings

I didn't buy these reissues of old school books when they first came out a few years back, reasoning that I still had my copies somewhere. And anyway, I didn't need rose coloured glasses of nostalgia to see how great they were - I loved them at the time.

Well of course I could never find my copies which were most likely long ago traded in to fund my J1 trip, or a pair of Dr Martens. So when I saw these, box-fresh in the library, I thought I should have a look. Oh my goodness, it was a real pleasure to see them again. And it made me realise they had never left me. I owe such a debt to Gus Martin. He gave me T.S. Eliot and a lifelong love of American literature. He gave me Tennyson and John Donne and Wordsworth and planted so many wonderful words in my head that have never, ever left.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (Soundings)
Every time I look in the mirror these lines come into my head. And every time I eat a peach. And God love me, I had a line from A Song for Simeon (Soundings too) written on the cover of my homework notebook.
My life is light, waiting for the death wind.
(Teenage angst, literally!)

My youngest boy looked over my shoulder when I was browsing through The Splendour Falls, (Exploring English) probably the first poem I loved learning off my heart and asked what the numbers on the right hand side were.
Sadly, I could not tell him. Metre or rhythms or something? When my teacher was explaining my eyes had drifted to the opposite page, where I saw The Eagle. I'm sure you can understand why I was distracted.

And then there were these which I don't remember loving but yet seem unable to forget.

If I were to pick one, it would definitely be Soundings. But Exploring English comes a close second. 


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  4. the numbers on the right are just line numbers! So 5 = the fifth line of the poem. They're in Shakespeare too, and all poetry; it's a helpful reference if you want to quote the poem, that's all. :)