The Destination

Where are we all headed?, asks Stephen (rhetorically)... We are often advised to take heed of the old saw "life is a journey, not a destination." I can see that this homily perhaps has some merit. Still, when I hear it repeated, I think: "Well, yes, but a destination does in ... Read More...

Small Trifles

Meaning in life can be found in the small details that we too often miss... I would not describe William Wordsworth as a succinct poet.  He usually needs space to make his point.  However, there are exceptions.  For instance, there are the eight beautiful lines of "A slumber did my spirit ... Read More...

Stepping Westward

Stephen Pentz on a poem that shows how revolutionary Wordsworth's poetry was in its day, even though it seems very traditional to us now... In August and September of 1803, Wordsworth, his sister Dorothy, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge went on a tour of Scotland.  Dorothy Wordsworth's journal of the tour contains this ... Read More...

T.E. Brown in the Garden

Luxuriating in his suburban idyll, Nige considers the blackbird, and an effusive Victorian poet... There are sometimes nights when the sun is out, the air is warm, and one is able to enjoy that supreme expression of the suburban idyll - sitting out in the garden in the cool of the evening as ... Read More...

Of Growing Old

In today's poetry feature Stephen Pentz considers the business of growing old - not that he's complaining, mind... As a preface to the following poem, I would like to state that I am not complaining -- nor will I ever complain -- about "growing old."  I think that complaining about one's ... Read More...

Easter with the Thomases

Gaw explores a flower-covered car wreck and a rain-sodden graveyard to consider what Easter has meant to two of our grumpiest poets... I keep returning to the two Thomases - Hardy and R.S. - even though they must be two of the most accomplished miserabilists in British poetry. Grumpy old men inhabiting ... Read More...

On Birds’ Nests

Today's poetry and painting piece features Edward Thomas, Paul Nash, W.H. Davies and birds' nests... In addition to their intrinsic beauty, the bare trees of late winter and early spring offer an opportunity for the discovery of birds' nests.  This thought brings to mind Edward Thomas, who was a great searcher ... Read More...

The Foggy Lane

Spring is coming - time to keep your eyes on the ground, suggests Stephen in this week's Dabbler Verse feature... There is something to be said for winnowing, for paring down.  The culture around us encourages short attention spans and hyperactive grasping after chimeras. Don't get me wrong:  I am in ... Read More...

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...