It's been an autumn weekend of many postings. An generous friend sent me a little collection of stamps - such a kind thought. They went onto some of the 22 packets I posted today. I took eight to the post office yesterday - various shapes and sizes. Another five have to be done this evening.
This is partly to do with the new pamphlets and partly the Sphinx review process, and a few other things. The Subscriber mailshot about the new publications hasn't happened formally yet because I'm waiting for two things: the Mark Halliday pamphlet, No Panic Here, which is with the printer, and the PoemCards, the first run of which should be done this week. Next week-end it will be all go.
Then I decided I had to do something with some Helena Nelson poems today - not a lot, didn't get far - sigh. One has to try.
There were deluges of rain on Friday, more on Saturday. Today grey and dampish. The little plum tree in the garden which Gillian and Christopher bought me was laden with pink plums this year. I picked them on Saturday. They are organically grown anyway; I left a half a dozen for the birds and the wasps.
In reading around William Soutar, I was working through Thomas Moult's The Best Poems of 1930. Ah, Thomas Moult, adoring fan of W H Davies, who at his best was good indeed but not the demi-god Moult thought he was. Now this Best of is a sobering volume. Who remembers Witter Bynner, (what a name for a poet!), Helen Choate (better than inchoate), R P Tristram Coffin, Viola Gerard Garvin, Lizette Woodworth Reese, Enest Harsock and Anderson M Scruggs now?
Someone has written, in pencil, two versions of a poem in the blank pages at the back of the book. Alas, it is somewhat grief-soaked ("loveful things/ evanescent/ are dying / all too soon/ and cherished soul/ departs / from dearest, tenderest soul"). There is a message here for us all, how we will fade in pencil, in two unfinished versions, long after all that intense feeling is forgotten -- indeed it has no owner any more.
But here is W H Davies boldly versifying on wet, dismal Autumn. I have read this poem before but not really noticed it until it applied:
Is this old Autumn standing here,
Where wind-blown fruits decay;
Dressed up in limp bedraggled flowers
That Summer cast away?
Within whose mist no dewdrops shine,
And grass, once green, goes yellow;
For whom no bird will sing or chirp,
On either Ash or Willow?
If this is his poor pelted face,
With dead leaves soaked in rain,
Come, Winter, with your kindly frost
That's almost cruelly sane;
Take him, with his unwanted life,
To his last sleep and end --
Like the cat that cannot find a home,
And the dog that has no friend.