First, I’ll give myself and my bibliophile readers a treat by posting some photos of a book I purchased back in autumn. I’m talking about a 1941 edition of one of my favourite childhood books, Travels and Adventures of Baron Munchausen. I found it – as I find most of the delightful things I purchase – at the charity stand in the local market, along with a 1913 copy of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, a 1901 edition of Shakespeare’s comedies (beautiful in itself but sadly missing the front cover), as well as a 1908 edition of Shakespeare’s “historical plays, poems & sonnets” (in which someone had also slipped some pages, apparently torn from some other book, forming the Introduction to Richard the Third). I’ll probably post some more photos of those other wonderful books some other time, when I feel more in the mood. For now, here’s Baron Munchausen slipped in a completely spontaneous arrangement:
Some confused and confusing inscription which I didn’t take the time to try and decipher (anyone think they can read it for me?):
Title page and illustration:
Peek at the table of contents (featuring two of my favourite chapters):
M.H., who wrote the introduction, warns the reader about the joys of censorship (being rather more ironical than serious, I suspect) – second paragraph on the page:
The signature of a (the?) previous owner, R.T. Clarke, on – for some reason – the second page of chapter XIII:
And, lastly, the same signature at the very end of the copy:
Well, that’s that, and here comes my seventh NaPoWriMo poem. It took me a while to gather enough fragments of imagination to write it, but here it is, eventually.
A Vision of the End of the World
We got onto the wrong bus
And traveled to the end of the world:
We saw the many-headed promises
Sharpening their claws on tender bones
Of baby ghouls and the wolves
Left behind by their swift packs,
Swift and flickering in the woods,
Their pelts ablaze with hunger.
We saw the vinegar waters of Noah,
On which his phantom ark was floating –
Paper mast folding and unfolding
In the wind. A tuppence was shining
Up in the sky, where the sun
Should have been, and we looked at it
Through our plastic binoculars
And were nearly blinded.
Had we stayed there just a moment
Longer, we would have been eaten
Alive by the giant pigeons
That passed for angels and were screeching –
Grotesquely, unbearably –
And mating with their shadows
In incestuous finality.
But then your mother called us
To supper and the sight disintegrated
Into a million tiny postage stamps.