Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Things found on the shelves
Occasionally, in a half hearted way, I think about a clear out, stare at things I haven't picked up for years, and wonder how much I need a shelf for poetry. This week, after probably about a decade of indifference I can't seem to read enough of the stuff. Maybe it's spring in the air. Because it's been so long there have been some discovery's. Turns out I did buy a collection of Donne at some point, no doubt influenced by Dorothy L. Sayers, it also turns out that I'm not anything like the fan that Sayers was. The Romantic poets that I loved as a teenager, especially Keats, don't resonate with me in the same way at the moment, and I daren't open my collection of Victorian poetry which was always more for local colour than emotional connection.
The nicest find though was a forgotten collected poems of Philip Larkin. I'd written in it 2004, 31, the nicest thing, from which I gather that it was a 31st birthday present, there is only one person who would have given it to me, it was and is a lovely present to have received. I'm also quite pleased to find I have Heaney's Beowulf which I was thinking of buying.
This rediscovered love for reading poetry is partly due to being in-between books and unsure of quite what I'm in the mood for next, normally it's short stories at a time like this, but poems provide an even quicker fix and I've found something else in them that I didn't expect. Because many of these books haven't been opened for the best part of a decade they're full of page markers and reminders of a somewhat younger self, it's a much kinder reminder of (relative) youth than a photograph which generally serves to highlight the acquisition of grey hairs, it certainly reinforces my idea of a collection of books being a form of self portrait.