Arnold Bennett’s Days – Peter De Ville

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Breakfasted with Wells at nine fifteen

and then a walk in Easton Park to see

a heron on the lake. And then I changed

and six of us played ball for half an hour.

 

Fine lunch though, ducks, and apple pie,

a doze to miss the badminton, a hand

of bridge, a Schubert on the gramophone,

some yacht talk and some tea.

 

The day (outdoor) was over now, but for

the fireworks left from rainy yesterdays.

H.G. just disappeared (we thought to sleep)

to jot some inspirations while they came.

 

                              *

 

On Wednesday afternoon to Burslem where

the mater was reported seriously gone.

Saw her at 8,  alone for half an hour.

Looked so very small, the hollow of the pillows

 

Made her so, the sharp and hectic cheeks,

the breathing from an open O, spoke

trifling things as of tremendous

moment, judgements that had dictates

 

From profound sagacity. Hardly

fully there though, dozing, waking

with a start of “What you say?” in

tossing blankets with their laundry marks.

 

Saucer, spoon, a dish of soap, the gas

on just a crack and burner fizzing bad,

the temp was barely 60. Damp, a chill

dug in my legs. The clock tocked to

 

A light and vibrant ping. The funeral though

too soon, the coffin on the chairs,

the parson stumbling in the gospel

bad. The graveyard just a walk away

 

And noted that the lodge at gates

is rented, wholly normally, to teacher

Ford, there next to Longson’s grave

and his young wives (“The shadows fall”):

 

Could all be pointed up, a piece

for Tit Bits. Curious how the carriage 

trotted down from chapel then to                                                                                       

walk the bit of terrace to the train.

 

                             *    

 

Took to thinking how the clumsiness of life

– my living I should say – disgusts.

Rough furniture, I’ve no cabinets of James

but then, The Mail  gives 40 bob a go.

 

That woman minding cows at Ile Callot,

fat and old, in many skirts, she sees them

standing, moving slightly for a while, then

pulls the rope at 5 or 6: a  barbary.

 

The old dam’s time’s not worth a cow’s:

like laundry windows looking out to cellar

walls in my hotel, and we above live all

on balconies, fine books, the clouds that meet the lake.

 

But fearful draughts from foyer doors;

with all the kitchen under glass

Reform Club’s empty and the hallway dark.

The sky’s a picric yellow, and that German

 

With the wheat stalks growing from

his eyes creates prodigious gloom.

The Armistice – it would do – came,

with larking girls and bonfires in the square.

 

Don’t think it’s finished. Abdication

of the Kaiser, yes, the British drizzle

damps hysterics and the Bolshevics

but, no, there’s something going on:

 

A whole world, turning on itself,

sick, complete, and tragic just

like us – but, Lord, they look so longingly!

Act then? What? And when? And where?

 

Something – but not everything – there.

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2 pensieri su “Arnold Bennett’s Days – Peter De Ville

  1. […] 2 autori distantissimi: quattro poesie di Alessandra Berardi, apparse nel primo babau ufficiale, e Arnold Bennett’s Days di Peter Deville, testo in inglese, mai pubblicato su carta e presente nella versione web del […]

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