Poetry Monday: Herbert Asquith (1881 – 1947)

AFTER THE SALVO

from the anthology The War Poets: An Anthology (Norwich: Jarrold Publishing, 2nd printing 2005)

Up and down, up and down,
They go, the gray rat, and the brown.
The telegraph lines are tangled hair,
Motionless on the sullen air;
An engine has fallen on its back,
With crazy wheels; on a twisted track;
All ground to dust is the little town;
Up and down, up and down
They go, the gray rat and the brown.
A skull, torn out of the graves nearby,
Gapes in the grass. A butterfly,
In azure iridescence new,
Floats into the world, across the dew;
Between the flow’rs. Have we lost our way,
Or are we toys of a god at play,
Who do these things on a young Spring day?
Where the salvo fell, on a splintered ledge,
Of ruin, at the crater’s edge,
A poppy lives: and young, and fair,
The dewdrops hang on the spider’s stair,
With every rainbow still unhurt
From leaflet unto leaflet girt.

Man’s house is crushed; the spider’s lives:
Inscrutably, He takes, and gives,
Who guards not any temple here,
Save the temple of the gossamer.

Up and down, up and down
They go, the gray rat, and the brown:
A pistol cracks, they too are dead.

The nightwind rustles overhead.

Literary Magazine Spotlight: ROSEBUD

from the listing on Duotrope:

  • ROSEBUD is one of the most dramatically eclectic literary magazines published in English, designed for the interests of both readers and writers. Our mission is to encourage a higher literacy by publishing a wide range of modern and traditional writing with a great variety of subjects, literary styles, and cultural points of view. While we publish many famous and established writers, most of our content comes from newer or under-appreciated authors.

One of their regular contributors was a man in federal prison in California (since released). Editor’s note: “Throughout his incarceration, he has continued to produce laudable work in circumstances under which most people would not be able to write at all.”

Here’s the cover of self’s contributor copy, Issue 67, dated 2020:

They published self’s story The Vanishing, which had been hard to place because . . . Juan de Salcedo? Who the heck ever heard of Juan de Salcedo! The grandson of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, who got to the Philippines in 1565 with (she just found out, from reading Conquering the Pacific) an older brother, Felipe. Juan de Salcedo was 17, Felipe was 18.

Felipe became captain of his grandfather’s flagship, the San Pedro, on the vuelta. He succeeded in taking it all the way back to Nueva España (quite a feat for an 18-year-old!). Juan stayed with his grandfather, who died in the Philippines the following year. No one really knows what happened to Juan de Salcedo after, but self found, in a book by the late Filipino journalist Manuel Duldulao, a reference to a group of about 40 “starving Spaniards” who tried to push their way into the Mountain Province. The Spaniards were led by a “boy.” That was a very young and green Juan de Salcedo, trying to survive.

Anyhoo, how can you not become fascinated with that boy? In self’s short story, they call him “Vanquisher.” A fourth of self’s story was written in Spanish, without translation. The conceit was that the Spanish issued from the mouth of the insomniac king, His Royal Catholic Majesty Felipe II, and he really didn’t care if anyone (meaning you, dear reader) understood him or not.

An excerpt from The Vanishing:

His Royal Majesty will grant Legazpi five ships. Two ships more than El Viejo expected. Each ship will be fitted with the usual complement of bronze cannon. And 500 men, he adds, almost as an afterthought. Legazpi thinks how those ships will sit in the water, attracting privateers the way honey does flies. He imagines Portuguese and Dutch sails bearing down swiftly in fresh wind.

Thank you, Rosebud editors, for giving self’s story, as well as that of so many others, a home.

Before & After: Stories from New York, Edited by Thomas Beller

This anthology was required reading in son’s high school English.

The front cover:

The back cover:

Share Your Desktop Photo Challenge: August 2021

It has been QUITE a summer. How fast it went. And now the Olympics are over, we’re out of Afghanistan, and fall is just around the corner.

You’re alive, we’re alive, wear a mask.

Thank you to the host of this challenge, Clare’s Cosmos!

Support Literary Magazines

Self has short stories in all of these literary magazines.

Gratuitous self-promotion, what?

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

An Alexander Grin Sentence in “The Ratcatcher”

Even though he was carrying a very thick briefcase, he lacked the power to just house me wherever he pleased, but he did offer me the empty quarters of the Central Bank, where 260 rooms stood like pond water, quiet and empty.

— The Ratcatcher, The Big Book of Classic Fantasy

He just tosses these sentences off like they were so many bon-bons.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sentence of the Day: Alexander Grin

As for firewood . . . in those days, many ventured into the attics, and so did I. I walked along the slanted darkness of the roofs like a thief, listening to the wind blaring in the chimneys, and spying a pale splotch of the sky through the broken window as the snowflakes settled over the debris.

The Ratcatcher, Story # 73 in The Big Book of Classic Fantasy

There is such an immediacy to his voice.

Kudos to translator Ekaterina Sedia. According to the Editor’s note, this was the first English translation of The Ratcatcher.

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Alexander Grin (1880 – 1932)

The thing about this anthology, it is just TOO LONG. How can one properly appreciate stories when the text is so dense and infinitesimally small, and the pieces are mostly short, so there is a pattern of same-ness that tends to dull the appetite.

Nevertheless, self has encountered a treasure in the latter stages of this book! And that treasure’s name is Alexander Grin!

He is represented by two short stories, and they are completely different from each other. One is about a house spirit with a tooth ache (In Russian, the house spirit is known as a domovoi). The second story (Story # 73 of this anthology) is about a ratcatcher and begins this way:

  • In the spring of the year 1920, specifically in March, specifically on the twenty-second — let’s give the accuracy its due, so we may join the lap of sworn documentarists, without which the curious reader would probably start asking questions of the publishers — I went to the market. I went to the market on March 22 of, I repeat, the year 1920. It was the Sennaya Market. I cannot tell you that I positioned myself on a certain corner, nor can I remember what the newspapers were writing about on that day.

Wow, she loves that opening!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sentence of the Day: “The Hump,” by Fernan Caballero

Skimming! Whoa, self is skimming!

Story #50, The Hump, is by Fernan Caballero (1796-1877), a Spanish writer who self has never heard of. Her real name was Cecilia Bohl de Faber and she wrote about Andalucia, “although she was not raised there.”

  • They set the dumb serving maid to frying pancakes.

Sentence of the Day: “The Remarkable Rocket”

This is self’s favorite story so far in The Big Book of Classic Fantasy. It’s Story # 27. Kudos, Oscar Wilde!

  • “Indeed, I have always been of the opinion that hard work is simply the refuge of people who have nothing whatever to do.”

LOL

“The Remarkable Rocket” by Oscar Wilde

What a relief to encounter Oscar Wilde in this monster of an anthology (The Big Book of Classic Fantasy).

His “The Remarkable Rocket” is Story # 27, and I read a Tolstoy story, “Ivan the Fool,” before getting here, and that story is nothing compared to “The Remarkable Rocket.”

An excerpt:

  • The Prince and Princess were leading the dance. They danced so beautifully that the tall white lilies peeped in at the window and watched them, and the great red poppies nodded their heads and beat time.

« Older entries

Travel with Intent

A photographer's view of the world - words and images to inspire your travels and your dreams

A LONDON MISCELLANY

A look at the stranger side of the greatest city in the world

Bloganuary

The blogging challenge keep you motivated and start the new year on the "write" track!

Photos by Jez

Taking the camera for a walk!!!

Cath's Camera

life through my lens

The life of B

Mainly through the lens of a Nikon

myguiltypleasures

welcome to my past, present and future mixed with whatever pops up right now

Iain Kelly

Fiction Writing

John's Space .....

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through style and inspiration.

Wanderlust & Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery

transcribingmemory

Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

InMyDirection

fiction, short story, writing, creative content

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog