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...

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...