Sunday, 27 January 2013

Winter Poems

I have to start with a poem about snow as our delight in the snow has been unbounded!

Snow in the Suburbs

Every branch big with it,
Bent every twig with it;

Every fork like a white web foot;
Every street and pavement mute:

Some flakes have lost their way, and grope back upward, when
meeting those meandering down they turn and descend again.

The palings are glued together like a wall,
And there is no waft of wind with the fleecy fall

A Spellbound Palace

On this kindly yellow day of mild
low travelling winter sun

The stirless depth of the yews
Are vague with misty blues

Across the spacious pathways stretching
spires of shadow run,

And the wind gnawed walls of ancient
brick are fired vermilion

I remember a red wall with pigeons perching,
where a breeze lifts from the valley below
through bare trees hung with mistletoe.
For a while I'm at peace and stop my searching
for happiness, that now comes only gently
almost wistfully
and taunts me of the times it was a rich and unsought flow

London Snow

Then boys I heard, as they went to school, calling
They gathered up the crystal manna to freeze
Their tongues with tasting, their hands with snowballing

Or rioted in a drift, plunging up to their knees;
Or peering up from under the white-mossed wonder.
'O look at the trees' they cried, 'O look at the trees!'

The winter seems complete now we have had a taste of the beauty that snow and ice brings. I can never decide whether I love most the surprising colours found in the countryside on the mild days, or the sheer joy of the snow. I also love the quiet of winter when the memories of the past feel close.
As a last note, my favourite sight has been the snow lady copy of  Elizabeth Frink's 'Walking Madonna' in the Cathedral close!

The poems chosen are from the works of Thomas Hardy, Robert Bridges and J.A.

Monday, 7 January 2013

The scent of old books- lost forever?

In true New Year fashion I plan to leap into a whole new project. A Vintage Quarter has opened up in an old shopping area near to me and I am hoping to rent some space there. I'm not sure if they will consider me suitable, or if I can really afford it but it's an exciting prospect!

Many people have said to me how sad it is that Salisbury, like most towns, has lost its secondhand bookshops. I feel passionately about this and have to be careful not to start ranting at dinner parties.
Everybody loves the idea of an old bookshop.They say how much they enjoy the thrill of the chase- the piles of books, the wonderful colourful chaos and of course, that enticing, evocative smell of the old books...
" I could go in and wander around for hours"

But did they buy?
It is the same story with  little village corner shops. People like the thought of having them but in the end it is the awful phrase 'put your money where your mouth is' that sums up the situation.

Now I know that many people who are actually reading this are actually the very sort of person who did buy books and who do support the little independent shops in their home towns. So I am preaching to the converted but maybe you will talk about this and if I and other booksellers take that plunge and open up our doors again, book lovers will be there to make sure we survive.

I know that a recession is not the best time to be starting such a venture but surely it just needs a little shift of perception, a small alteration of habit that could make all the difference?

Perhaps instead of a bunch of flowers a pretty book might lift your spirits?

Maybe, if my local friends were noble and had one less tempting cappuccino when out shopping, they could treat themselves to a good read instead?

The Internet is the supreme place for research but I have many quirky, informative books which must surely suit somebodies enquiring mind?

I do tend to give books as presents and the nice thing about a secondhand or Antiquarian book is that it's unique- or nearly so.
 So if somebody has a hobby-

or a favourite character from history

Tea in a pretty vintage cup and a biography of Marie Antoinette, what could be more appealing?
There is a book for every occasion.

You can return to your childhood-

Re-read the classics you have just watched on film

You can think of it as a mad diversion

Or a sound investment.

So all you wonderful, passionate, literate book-lovers out there, heed this cry from the heart-
And buy books, books and more books and with just a little luck and a lot of support we might once again see our villages, towns and cities full of the shops we love and care about.

Hmmmm, I think I've said quite enough for one day. Just be glad you weren't stuck next to me at a dinner party....

(Apologies for using photos from previous posts, it wouldn't let me down-load any new ones)