Sunday, 6 March 2016

Happy Mother's Day

I thought I'd write a post today as it's Mother's Day. Marianne died 27 years ago, but we still remember our mother daily, and are surrounded by many of her lovely things 😍 And after visiting the Alice in Wonderland exhibition at the British Library this week and seeing the beautiful illustrations and memorabilia they had on display, I remembered that she owned one of the items on display - a postage stamp case from 1889. Maybe she bought it from Mr Nash at Jon Ash Rare Books...? I love it - look!

The Wonderland Postage-Stamp Case
Invented by Lewis Carroll
Published by Emberlin &  Son,
4, Magdalen Street, Oxford.
(Post Free, 13d.)
Price One Shilling

Alice in Wonderland postage stamp case published by Emberlin & Son, Oxford

Alice in Wonderland postage stamp case - Emberlin & Son, Oxford

The Alice in Wonderland exhibition at the British Library in London is on until Sunday 17th April 2016 - go and see it if you can, it's free :)

Alice in Wonderland exhibition at the British Library

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Happy Valentine's Day - a new poem from Mr Nash

Valentine's poem from Mr Nash

Give me leave to love 
And I'll not listen 
For think you that I love 
And brook condition? 
Or think you I will cease to love 
Without possession? 
Love me or love me not 
I love without remission.
It's been a while since I've posted a poem from Mr Nash, but this card in Paperchase jumped out at me. So it was bought, and so I've dug out one of Mr Nash's poems to accompany it. Bless him...

Happy Valentine's Day <3

Sunday, 28 June 2015

I, who have countless books to read...

Here's another undated poem from Mr Nash, but undoubtedly written in 1959 when he was at the height of his infatuation with our mother Marianne.

Do you like the book-themed wrapping paper I found in an old-fashioned newsagent's in Greenwich to use as a background on the blog? It's just perfect! :)

I, who have countless books to read
And welcome time upon  my  hands
This day, did vainly search for one
That would your presence bring to me.
So, then ,I wished that I could read
The verses I have made for you
That I could now recapture whole
Sweet moments past when I your beauty held
In thought, that then brought ecstasy
Though none that you might bring
If you were here with me.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Happy birthday, and an Election Day poem

Marianne would have been 79 today, had she not died at 52.

Happy birthday mummy xxx

With today's Election Day excitement, I thought it was worth digging out this poem from Mr Nash that he wrote about the General Election in 1959 which was held on 8 October, and won by the Conservatives led by Harold Macmillan. His poems to Marianne weren't all declaring undying love, it seems!

Election Day
This is the day when silly men
Their microscopic fancies view,
Make their cross and hang themselves
For worlds they never knew.
This is the day when all wise men
Look to their past and future too,
Putting their trust in God alone
While politicians stew!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Yes, we shall meet again...

So. There are no more dated poems from Mr Nash. But many more undated ones. Whether he wrote these during the period between 5th February and 22nd October 1959 (the day on which Cyril famously noted "you bade me stop"), or he continued to write poems for Marianne but didn't give them to her (or wasn't able to, as she stopped visiting Jon Ash bookshop in her lunch hour) - who knows?

The only slight clue are the two ticks below the poem, and the number 21 pencilled in the top left hand corner - as noted on previous blog posts, this indicated that Cyril was particularly proud of that poem, and at some point handed them to Marianne to request her approval for publication. My next blog post will document the letters he wrote her regarding this request.

But for now - one of Mr Nash's personal favourites in his series of love poems to Marianne:
Yes, we shall meet again, and part
Unwise with talking sad inconsequence,
And go our unrequited ways
Too well aware of happy worlds
Which lie beyond the whisperings
Of our well-kept confines. So
We shall part and go unheard
Who learned with surest speech
The language of all living.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

I walked down Milsom Street today

A few weeks ago I visited Bath, for an afternoon's mooch around the Christmas market there. Walking along Milsom Street, I thought of Mr Nash as one of his earlier poems had referenced a visit he'd made to Bath in 1959 - and to this street in particular - and it was though-provoking to be walking in his footsteps some 50 years later.

Here are a few photos from my visit:

Milsom Street signage - as Mr Nash would've seen it too (minus Kiehl's!)

Bath Abbey

Burton Street and festive lighting

And here's an undated poem from Mr Nash. Wandering the narrow streets of Bath, I found a shop called The Tasting Room, which sold a wide range of wines and spirits. Including a bottle I hadn't seen for many years - since I was a teenager in fact, and Punt e Mes was my mother's favourite tipple. So I bought a bottle, and gave it a try when I got home. Verdict? It's grim! It's a vermouth, but very bitter, with a herbal/orangey aftertaste. The man in the shop suggested it was worth trying with gin and Campari but I'm not convinced that will improve it for me any more!

On with Mr Nash's words...
Give me leave to love
And I'll not listen
For think you that I love
And brook condition?
Or think you I will cease
Without possession?
Love me or love me not
I love without remission.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

"This must not be"

So, after Marianne's rejection of Mr Nash's heartfelt poetry to her, the individually dated poems in swift succession appear to have stopped. This poem in the remaining collection is undated, but reading it in conjunction with those dated previously, it seems that this may have been the next in sequence. Typed up on official shop notepaper of the time - oh to be able to call Mansion House 2665, and get an answer...

Cyril writes here of the futility of tears, despite his grief at her rejection. And unknowingly dedicates this poem to those of us who are reading his work today; "some future eyes". Wasted tears fall from mine...

So when you said 'this must not be',
I took my grief and buried it in words;
For tears, beyond their first relieving flood,
Affront the inward man with their futility,
And lovely things, pursued as memories,
Might quicken old delights and newer pains.
If then, some future eyes, still dim
With wasted tears, should read this page,
Know that the senses do not err
If they will take with unperturbed gratitude
The gifts which undemanding nature brings:
And if they must remember, let this be
Recorded words of present ecstacies.
-- But these are idle self deceiving words,
As any man who ever loved will know.