This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Saturday, 25 October 2014

Saturday Rave: A Leave-Taking by Algernon Charles Swinburne

I've been on the Isle of Wight, speaking at the Literary Festival, so I thought I'd celebrate one of the Isle of Wight's literary inhabitants.
 
Actually, there wasn't a lot of choice. Some people visited and some people stayed, but the nearest I could find to someone who can be said to have belonged to the Isle of Wight is the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne, who, though being born and dying in London and thinking of himself as a Northumbrian, was bought up and is buried in Bonchurch on the Isle of Wight.
 
The Leave-Taking is a poem about moving on after a love affair that never seems actually to have, well, got as far as happening.
 
It's full of sorrow, bitterness, regret, anger, beauty, despair and courage.
 
And the sea.
 
...Let us give up, go down; she will not care.
Though all the stars made gold of all the air,
And the sea moving saw before it move
One moon-flower making all the foam-flowers fair;
Though all these waves went over us, and drove
Deep down the stifling lips and drowning hair,
She would not care...
 
 If you're young and spurned, or remember being young and spurned, it's gloriously, terrifically, satisfying stuff.

Word To Use Today: foam. This word, like unrequited love, goes all the way back to the Sanskrit phena, and probably further.




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