So you can read my books

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Turner selfportrait.jpg
Self portrait, J W M Turner, oil on canvas, circa 1799

Ghost of Rupert Brooks here:

Rupert Brooke Q 71073.jpg
Rupert Brooke
I died on this day in 1915, while serving in the British Navy on the Mediterranean during that War which was heralded as the war to end all wars. 

I do believe the history of the world is but the bloody path of one long war with only momentary pauses while everyone reloads.

My poetry is said to have either reflected or affected the mood of the British public between late 1914 and late 1915.

I was also - and often still am - criticised. For some, the 'idealism' of the war sonnets is actually

a jingoistic glorification of war, a carefree approach to death which ignored the carnage and brutality.

 Such comments usually date from later in the war, when the high death tolls and unpleasant nature of trench warfare became apparent,

events which I wasn't able to observe and adapt to. 

My critics would be surprised to discover that I agree with them.  I saw hollow-eyed spirits of my slain brothers tramp endlessly into the Shadowlands their souls broken --

And my conceit and heart broke with the sight.

So please, you living, take great care what you write, for your words will linger on after you in hollow accusation should they not be wise ones.

Twain in 1867

Ghost of Mark Twain, here --

Tarnation! Thank you there, Rupert, for stripping the silver lining from the clouds of today!

Feeling put upon, pilgrims, 'cause of your writing?  Take note of this:

On this date in 1849 Fyodor Dostoyesvsky (try writing that last name with a few Bourbons in you, children)

was arrested with other members of the revolutionary Petrashevsky (I gotta stop drinking Bourbon a'fore I write these posts!)

He spent 8 months in prison and experienced a dramatic release when the group was lined up to be shot ...

then let go at the last minute.

{Seems Captain Sam had his Colt aimed at a certain important head at the time.}

Shakespeare is guessed to have been born on this day in 1564.

  No sure date is recorded.  But the caterwauling infant he was happened to be baptized three days earlier --

and 3 days after the birth was the customary time of dousing those poor young-uns in that time.

Old Shakes' plays are performed and read today more than ever before, seeing as how he managed to capture

the full range of human emotion and inner conflict with a perception that remains sharp to this very day.

So since he was born on this date and old Wordsworth checked out on the same date in 1850,

folks decided to celebrate WORLD BOOK DAY on this date as well.

But for all the caterwauling about these poets above, I, myself, like the painting of J.M.W. Turner better even  though the old cuss will never tell me what J. M. W. stands for! --

 "…And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,

Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;

A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things…."

  - Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey (William Wordsworth)
 A'wondering who I'll pick for T?

Well, now, I will not pull a Hemingway, and nominate myself!

Me and J.R.R. are friends here in the Shadowlands, so of course, I'm picking Tolkien.

He was a patriot during WWI -- but a smart one.  He delayed joining until he finished the last year of his studies.  Then, he joined.

In a letter to Edith, his wife, Tolkien complained, "Gentlemen are rare among the superiors, and even human beings rare indeed."

That's the way of it in war no matter what century I reckon.

 Tolkien was then transferred to the 11th (Service) Battalion with the British Expeditionary Force, arriving in France on 4 June 1916.

His departure from England on a troop transport inspired him to write his poem, The Lonely Isle.

 He later wrote, "Junior officers were being killed off, a dozen a minute. Parting from my wife then ... it was like a death."

Although Kitchener's army enshrined old social boundaries, it also chipped away at the class divide by throwing men from all walks of life into a desperate situation together.

Tolkien wrote that the experience taught him, 'a deep sympathy and feeling for the Tommy:

especially the plain soldier from the 'agricultural counties.' 

He remained profoundly grateful for the lesson. For a long time, he had been imprisoned in a tower, not of pearl, but of ivory.

"By 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead," he once told me.

“Not all those who wander are lost.”
J.R.R. Tolkien



  1. And wandering, and wondering, is sometimes the only way the lost can find themselves. It that is their desire.

  2. One of the things I appreciate about J.R.R. Tolkien is his spirituality. If not for his testimony and witness C.S. Lewis would never had become a Christian. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden...The light that Tolkien and Lewis shined into the world to this day still shines.

  3. Welcome to the world, Shakespeare. Time for a dunking.
    And lucky for us Tolkien returned to his wife.

  4. Elephant's Child:
    I get some of my best insights when I walk or when I drive the lonely rural roads on my blood runs. :-)

    Yes, I am indeed grateful to JRR for being a beacon for CS Lewis. Perhaps that is the very reason the Father spared him during the bloody years of WWI?

    As a matter of fact, in my GHOST OF A CHANCE, Shakespeare tries to shoot me and shuffle me off this mortal coil! As I said to David, I think it was the Father who spared JRR! :-)

  5. "I believe the history of the world is but the bloody path of one long war with only momentary pauses while everyone reloads. Old Rupert may have the answer to a very simple question I pose in tomorrow's post.

  6. Inger:
    I'll be there. Life on the weekends is hard for me as I work solo as a rare blood courier and have so little time to visit!

    I loved the photos of Samson. I envy you his companionship! :-)

  7. Love this:
    Not all those who wander are lost.”
    ― J.R.R. Tolkien

    Some are looking for something or someone, but if not for wanderers, the world wouldn't have had the first troubadours or explorers.

  8. D.G.:
    All of us are looking for something ,,, sometimes not realizing that it is the journey itself that is the reward. :-)

  9. Be careful what you write for it lives forever. Wow. Those are some words to think about before applying the pen to the paper.

  10. Robin:
    Especially on the internet. Some have gotten popular only to find something they wrote in haste and anger in the past costing them financially. Ouch!

  11. Hi Roland - interesting inter-mixture of ideas and thoughts here - World War 1 certainly generated some fantastic works - literary, artistic and musical ...

    I was somewhat surprised that JMW isn't known .. but that questionable now I call it .. thingummy 'Wikipedia' calls him Joseph Malford William ... and that feels right.

    I want do a post on him sometime .. lots happening with Shakespeare too .. and remembrances on WW1 are taking us back to some great works ...

    Cheers to Tolkein too .. Hilary

  12. Hilary:
    So many good men from England died during WWI -- how much more art, prose, and music could have been written if Man could only have learned to live together without killing, right?

    Poor Mark Twain's ghost has a hard time with Wikipedia!

    Thanks for visiting!

  13. So many ghosts are taking over your blog, Roland.

    Tolkien is an excellent choice!

  14. Not during the #atozchallenge, but i have written about Rupurt Brooke on my blog. I wish I could link it to this comment but not sure that is possible. I love his story and many of his poetry. This photograph of him is handsome. He is worth learning more about.
    Glad I stopped by today on my blog hop and found all your wonderful ghosts.

  15. Chrys:
    My ghost friends know that I am exhausted, and they are pitching in to help! :-)

    Your post of today was lovely. Rupert wrote great poetry -- and the ladies all loved him! Mark Twain waggles his eyebrows at you. Watch out, for he is such a flirt! :-)