At school

Some beautiful things I learned at primary school have made a lasting impression. I remember single lines of poetry. In The Bat, it was “And Oh! A little one, that clings!” They are still worth reading:

Lightless, unholy, eldrich thing,
whose murky and erratic wing
swoops so sickeningly, and whose
aspect to the female muse
is a demon’s, made of stuff
like tattered, sooty, waterproof,
looking dirty, clammy, cold
Wicked poisonous, and old;
I have maligned thee!… for the cat
lately caught a little bat,
seized it softly, bore it in.
On the carpet, dark as sin.
In the lamplight, painfully
it limped about and could not fly.
Even fear must yield to love,
and pity make the depths to move.
Though sick with horror, I must stoop,
Grasp it gently, take it up,
And carry it, and place it where
It could resume the twilight air.
Strange Revelation! Warm as milk.
Clean as flower, smooth as silk!
O what piteous face it appears
What great, fine, thin, translucent ears
What chesnut down and crapy wing?
Finer than any lady’s things
And oh a little one that clings!
Warm, clean, and lovely, though not fair.
And burdened with a mother’s care;
Go hunt the hurtful fly, and bear
my blessing to your kind in air.

In this one, “Take hold of the Loam”.  Sylvia Plath, plotting a takeover:

Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,

Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot’s in the door.

I thought that was grass. I had forgotten it was mushrooms. I remembered the sense of Love and beauty, strength and silence.

In secondary school, the rollicking drama of Bagpipe Music grabbed my attention:

If you break the bloody glass, you won’t hold up the weather.
If you break the bloody glass, you won’t hold up the weather.

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