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...

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...