Staying Quietly in One’s Chamber

Wouldn't the world be a much better place if people stopped trying to improve it and just stayed put in their room?... Pascal's best-known observation on the human condition is perhaps this: "I have often said, that all the Misfortune of Men proceeds from their not knowing how to keep themselves ... Read More...

Bourne

In today's poetry feature, Stephen finds peace at the journey's end... I first encountered the word "bourne" in the title of a poem by Christina Rossetti.  I had no idea what it meant, but I immediately felt that it was a lovely word.  There was something about the look and the ... Read More...

Jean Ingelow: Divided

Nige unearths a neglected gem of Victorian poety by the almost-forgotten Jean Ingelow... Unless a man is an extraordinary coxcomb, a person of private means, or both, he seldom has the time and opportunity of committing, or the wish to commit, bad or indifferent verse for a long series of years; ... Read More...

R. S. Thomas on Christmas

Despite his reputation as the World's Grumpiest Poet, R.S. Thomas wrote a number of lovely, short Christmas poems. Our resident Dabbler Verse expert Stephen Pentz offers a compendium... The word that comes to mind when I think of R. S. Thomas is fierce. However, having said that, I feel that I ... Read More...

On Idleness

In today's poetry feature Stephen considers the importance of being idle... I think of idleness as a good thing.  I do not associate idleness with lassitude, laziness, or sloth.  Rather, I associate it with repose, reverie, and contemplation. People who carry on cellphone conversations in public are in dire need of idleness. ... Read More...

Almost Human

In today's Dabbler Verse feature, Stephen considers self-awareness, and introduces a poem by C. Day Lewis... Is it possible to look at yourself objectively?  To see yourself for who you are?  Speaking for myself, I have my doubts.  Still, I like to think that I am more optimistic about the possibility ... Read More...

Ekphrasis: Thom Gunn on Edouard Vuillard

  Nige reflects on a poem about a painting... I only recently came across the word Ekphrasis (adj. ekphrastic), but I've been enjoying Ekphrasis, all unknowing, for many years. It describes a work of art (or part of one) whose subject is another work of art - from Homer on the shield ... Read More...

Armistice Day Poems

To mark 11 November, a post from the archives in which some of the Dabblers select a favourite verse appropriate to the occasion... Brit - Seigfried Sassoon: Everyone Sang (1920) This gradually became my favourite of Sassoon's poems, then my favourite war poem, and is now just one of my favourite poems. ... Read More...

John Clare in the Land of Sodom

There is truth and beauty in the commonplace, Stephen Pentz finds, as he considers the poetry and troubles of John Clare... I don't know exactly what it is, but there is something beguiling and lovely about the following poem. Some may find it too sentimental. Others may think that there is ... Read More...