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RBW Online ISSUE 254


14th September 2012

Words Exercises Assignments Fiction Projects Events Workshops Thoughts Your Pages Poetry News Items

Writers Write, its what they do ... 17,555 e-readers are waiting RBW contributors are always welcome to send in pieces for the weekly bulletin.

Interested in creative writing? Aged under 50? Could YOU be a FRIEND of RBW? Could YOU support the charity in its work? Could YOU help to span the generations?

Edmund Charles Blunden (November 1, 1896 – January 20, 1974) English poet, author and critic.

At Quincy's moat the squandering village ends, And there in the almshouse dwell the dearest friends Of all the village, two old dames that cling As close as any trueloves in the spring. Poem Almswomen

Cricket to us, like you, was more than play, It was a worship in the summer sun. Poem Pride of the Village (1925) The Survival (1921) To-day's house makes to-morrow‘s road; I knew these heaps of stone When they were walls of grace and might, The country‘s honour, art‘s delight That over fountain'd silence show'd Fame's final bastion. 1916 seen from 1921 (1921) Tired with dull grief, grown old before my day, I sit in solitude and only hear Long silent laughters, murmurings of dismay, The lost intensities of hope and fear; In those old marshes yet the rifles lie, On the thin breastwork flutter the grey rags, The very books I read are there—and I Dead as the men I loved, wait while life drags. Its wounded length from those sad streets of war Into green places here, that were my own; But now what once was mine is mine no more, I seek such neighbours here and I find none. With such strong gentleness and tireless will Those ruined houses seared themselves in me, Passionate I look for their dumb story still, And the charred stub outspeaks the living tree.

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Canalside Norbury, Staffs

© Lanceb | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

variadic adj (Computing, mathematics, linguistics) Taking a variable number of arguments; especially, taking arbitrarily many arguments. iatrogenesis n

(medicine) Any adverse effect (or complication) resulting from medical treatment.

heterogeneous adj

Diverse in kind or nature; composed of diverse parts.

ramify v To divide into branches or subdivisions. (figuratively) To spread or diversify into multiple fields or categories.

Lethean adj (chiefly poetic, Greek mythology) of or relating to the river Lethe. (by extension) of or relating to death or forgetfulness.

petiole n (botany) The stalk of a leaf, attaching the blade to the stem. (entomology) A narrow or constricted segment of the body of an insect. Used especially to refer to the metasomal segment of Hymenoptera such as wasps.

open book n Something of which salient aspects are obvious or easily interpreted. A person who through naïvety responds candidly to questions or openly displays their emotions or intentions.

tin ear n Insensitivity to and inability to appreciate the elements of performed music or the rhythm, elegance, or nuances of language.

LIFE OBSERVATIONS MARK TWAIN once said: The reason why truth is so much stranger than fiction is that there is no requirement for it to be consistent. The Big Society ... is a nice idea until you try asking someone to do something for nothing. Sunday‟s car boot on the Common was enormous – it truly was a „common market‟ – with languages of every description and thousands of people from all over the world buying and selling in a good natured way. I‟m even picking up a little Polish ... “dzien dobry” One stall holder said he arrived at 6.30am and had to queue for half an hour get a pitch. By 8.30am the over spill car-park in the cow field was opened as the horse jumping field was jam packed with rows of cars. Amazing sight and no bother anywhere at all. Proof that, despite the government‟s efforts, the underground economy is flourishing and left to their own devises folks rub along together bargain hunting in peace and harmony. Understanding jargon: “It is well known” = I lost the original point of reference; “There is an evident trend” = the data is meaningless to me; “Typical results are shown here” = look at the graph, such pretty colours; “Analysis of data has been delayed” = I knocked coffee over the file; “In my experience” = This showed up once; “In study after study” = Twice; “This data requires additional study” = We have no idea what this means. (Don’t you just love the stuff that turns up on Facebook) Issue 254 Page 3

Kind words can heal, but unkind words make the wound deeper.

Random Words SMS Lady Jane Arbuthnot was not alone in the remains of the once famous knotgarden. ―Ruddy box blight!‖ she mouthed to Smithson, the lazy gardener‘s boy whose eyes were downcast on the pile of blackened debris he had been pruning out of the, once, pristine hedgerows. Prompt as ever, Greenaway, the Butler, was approaching carrying what looked like a teapot, teacup and a plate with a variety of pancake, sugar pastries and scones on a tray. ―Be careful!‖ came the warning, ―Don‘t trample on what remains of the box, Greenaway. It‘s bad enough already. It looks more like an abacus rather than a Staffordshire knot now.‖ Greenaway had to agree.

© Mgrg | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Random words: married, mind, rosebush, Jonathan, tarry, crepuscular, Roberta, mood, random, algebra 150 words Assignment: Guilty secret ... using dialogue 400 words 2012 RBW FREE e-books NOW PUBLISHED on RBW and DynamicPage.aspx?PageID=52

Steph’s two FREE poetry e-chapbooks now published on risingbrookwriters and on RBW main site Next exhibition: Millbank Gallery, October.

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CLIVE’s three FREE e-books NOW PUBLISHED on RBW and issuu PageID=52

It‟s a chuckle muscle stretcher ... go on have a laugh ... Control+Click the picture to follow link. RBW latest brit-farce has now been e-published. It‟s FREE... It‟s on our Facebook page ... It‟s on our main website and It‟s on ISSUU.COM and already it‟s attracting readers.

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Plotting is starting for the next farce — come to group if you want to take part in production and selection of plots.

I was digging in my garden and ... (SMS) I found an old penny from 1923, I found a long piece of string from last year‘s tommies, I found a spring clip which kept the glass in the old greenhouse, I found too many dandelions and too many weeds to cope with, I found a red ant nest and got my toes stung. I found a black plastic bag with the remains of a long ago buried rabbit inside, I found a shiny shell from when the children were little and brought a bucketful home from the seaside, I found a washer from the old conservatory roof and screws with mastic covered heads, I found a broken pencil and a plastic bottle thrown over the fence from the school yard. I found tears from too many memories. I was digging one day in the garden…. (PMW) I was digging one day in the garden. The ground it was covered with weeds. The soil was hard, dry and stony. I intended to put in some seeds.

A golden coin from the Staffordshire Hoard? This could be my lucky day! I could live like a lord for the rest of me life. Then I thought I would plant a few tatties. Better check what it is right away! Nothing nicer for tea than a spud! I dug out a trench and put in some lime I had visions of early retirement, Like that Titchmarsh chap says that you Of putting me feet up for life. should. I‘d love lounging round doing nothing all dayWith a knob of marg and a sprig of mint But I can‘t say the same for me wife! They make a delicious meal. So I earthed ‗em up and watered ‗em in Then me dad he looks over me shoulder. And firmed the soil down with me heel. ―What‘s that lad you‘ve found?‖ he asks me. I was clearing away all me tools, ―Why good heavens, you‘ve found me old And putting ‗em back in the shed, dentures! When something glittery caught me eye. I lost ‗em in seventy three!‖ ―Whatever can that be?‖ I said.

Celebrating creative literature, the Birmingham Book Festival 4-13 October 2012 Issue 254 242 Page 6

A mix of literature events, talks and workshops. Now in its 14 year.


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The Battle of Waterloo in 1815 was fought between a Frenchman who wasn't really French and an Englishman who wasn't really English. Napoleon was born in Corsica in 1769. The island had long been subject to the Republic of Genoa, but after a long struggle for independence, which attracted the admiration of Rousseau and James Boswell amongst others, Corsica was sold to France by the Genoese in 1768. The name "Napoleon" was unknown in France before his time. To this day, Corsicans are seen as being quite different from other French citizens. The future Duke of Wellington was also born in 1769, in his case in Dublin. His father was an Irish nobleman and he himself sat in the Irish Parliament before the Act of Union with Britain. When it was suggested to Wellington that he was therefore, in fact, Irish, he replied, "Sir, being born in a stable does not make you a horse!" This kind of "displaced nationalism" is not unusual amongst great national leaders. George Orwell once wrote that, "One quite commonly finds that great national leaders, or the founders of nationalist movements, do not even belong to the country they have glorified. Sometimes they are outright foreigners, or more often they come from peripheral areas where nationality is doubtful" ("Notes on Nationalism": 1945). As well as the obvious examples, Orwell cited Lord Beaverbrook, a Canadian who spent most of his life in Britain as a strongly nationalist newspaper magnate and political intriguer, and Benjamin Disraeli, a maverick Conservative Prime Minister who invented the title "Empress of India" for Queen Victoria, but was at the same time immensely proud of his Jewish heritage. The two greatest European dictators of the twentieth century certainly fit Orwell's description. Most people know that Adolf Hitler, although obsessed with the notion of a German race, was born a citizen of the Austrian Empire, whose multi-racial character he despised. Although he joined the German army in 1914, he did not bother to take up German citizenship until 1932. Stalin was a Georgian, by name Josef Vissarionovich Djugashvili, who only learnt to speak Russian at school, but who in 1923 alarmed even Lenin by the brutality with which he compelled his Georgian homeland to be incorporated into the Soviet Union. (Some Georgians have maintained that Stalin was not a true Georgian at all, but was half Ossetian!). Then again, Hendrik Verwoerd, who set up the full apartheid system in South Africa after the Second World War, was not a true Boer, having been born in Holland. Eamon de Valera, the Irish leader who plunged his country into civil war rather than accept the compromise treaty of 1921, was born in New York of a Cuban-Spanish father; hence his very un-Irish surname. In the great crisis over Irish Home Rule before the First World War, the resistance of Ulster was led by Sir Edward Carson, who was not an Ulsterman but a barrister most famous for his demolition of Oscar Wilde in 1895; strongly supported by the Conservative leader Andrew Bonar Law, who was born in Canada and later became the only British Prime Minister not to have been born in the U.K. The last word on this subject must go to David Lloyd George, Prime Minister during the First World War and at the Versailles Peace Conference, and probably the most famous Welshman of all time. He was actually born in Manchester, but as he told his son, "Nationality has nothing to do with geography: it is a state of mind.‖

RBW is only permitted to be a charitable organisation for the education and development of the Over 50s BUT because RBW receives requests from folks under 50 who want help with their Creative Writing, who cannot find a suitable writers’ group locally, and want to be involved with RBW community projects ... RBW is setting up an associated participation level,

FRIENDS of RBW open to all ages of writers and supporters willing to complement the work of the charity. Please get in touch through the website if you live in the Borough of Stafford and want to come along to a writers’ library workshop. Tell your friends!

              

Do you think the Over 50s can be creative? Have you got time on your hands? Do you like working with elderly people? Do you enjoy creative writing? Do you have any special skills to share? How do you feel about team management? Any good with fundraising? Enjoy being hands-on with project management? Enjoy putting on outside events? Have you ever fancied trying voluntary work? Ever done any public speaking? How reliable are you? Can you work under time pressure? Can you smile through adversity and deliver on time? And can you do all the above week in, week out, without being paid a single penny for all the effort?

If you can answer yes to any of the above come and talk to RBW ... we‟re recruiting trustees ... NB: All applicants will be fully CRB checked and references will be required.

The North‟s liveliest, most prestigious Literature Festival! 28 September - 14 October 2012 Website -awareness-of-dementia?dm_i=74C,Y79L,PEU5B,2URS6,1

Norm McNamara: Raising awareness of Dementia

ODD FACTS (CMH) In 1887 the then King of Sweden Oscar II, perhaps worried about his chances in the dynasty stakes, asked a very profound question ‘Is the Solar System Stable?’ He offered a prize of 2,500 Crowns for an answer. It took mathematicians about a century to come up with the definitive answer of “Maybe.” Which is a pretty good answer; but they didn‟t get paid as somebody else had claimed the prize. The prize winning article was wrong, but it did pave the way to „Chaos Theory‟ which led to the true answer of „Maybe‟. Sometimes the best answer is a better question.

Show and Tell

Antique lantern once carried by night watchmen, etc. Up close it‟s a lovely thing. Well designed and practical, but also a thing of beauty in a beaten up metallic sort of way. Issue 254 Page 10

Quick and Easy Creamy Chicken for Two What you need 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 chicken breast fillets — chopped, (or could be cheaper to use ready diced chicken or turkey pieces) 1/2 green peppers, chopped 1 red pepper, chopped 1 onion chopped Half a teaspoon dried chilli flakes 120ml (4 fl oz) cream 120ml (4 fl oz) coconut milk – (tinned found in most supermarkets) 1 lime, zest and juice Serve with boiled rice. What you do Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Brown chicken on all sides, stir in peppers, onion and chilli flakes, gently fry off then add cream, coconut cream, lime zest and lime juice. Cover and simmer on low heat until chicken is cooked through about 20-30 minutes. If you‘re really in a hurry – use a jar of Korma sauce or something similar instead of cream and coconut cream and lime – this is also cheaper and the end result quite nice. We eat this frequently, I use Kung Po Sauce as it‘s quicker and hotter. To make this feed more people add a tin of sweet corn or frozen peas.


Christina Georgina Rossetti (5 December 1830 – 29 December 1894) an English poet who wrote romantic, devotional, and children's poems. She is best known for Goblin Market, her love poem Remember, and for the words of the Christmas Carol In the Bleak Midwinter.


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Morning and evening Maids heard the goblins cry: 'Come buy our orchard fruits, Come buy, come buy: Apples and quinces, Lemons and oranges, Plump unpecked cherries, Melons and raspberries, Bloom-down-cheeked peaches, Swart-headed mulberries, Wild free-born cranberries, Crab-apples, dewberries, Pine-apples, blackberries, Apricots, strawberries;-All ripe together In summer weather,-Morns that pass by, Fair eves that fly; Come buy, come buy: Our grapes fresh from the vine, Pomegranates full and fine, Dates and sharp bullaces, Rare pears and greengages, Damsons and bilberries, Taste them and try: Currants and gooseberries, Bright-fire-like barberries, Figs to fill your mouth, Citrons from the South, Sweet to tongue and sound to eye; Come buy, come buy.' Evening by evening Among the brookside rushes, Laura bowed her head to hear, Lizzie veiled her blushes: Crouching close together In the cooling weather, With clasping arms and cautioning lips, With tingling cheeks and finger tips. 'Lie close,' Laura said, Pricking up her golden head: 'We must not look at goblin men, We must not buy their fruits:

Who knows upon what soil they fed Their hungry thirsty roots?' 'Come buy,' call the goblins Hobbling down the glen. 'Oh,' cried Lizzie, 'Laura, Laura, You should not peep at goblin men.' Lizzie covered up her eyes, Covered close lest they should look; Laura reared her glossy head, And whispered like the restless brook: 'Look, Lizzie, look, Lizzie, Down the glen tramp little men. 10 One hauls a basket, One bears a plate, One lugs a golden dish Of many pounds weight. How fair the vine must grow Whose grapes are so luscious; How warm the wind must blow Through those fruit bushes.' 'No,' said Lizzie, 'No, no, no; Their offers should not charm us, 20 Their evil gifts would harm us.' She thrust a dimpled finger In each ear, shut eyes and ran: Curious Laura chose to linger Wondering at each merchant man. 70 One had a cat's face, One whisked a tail, One tramped at a rat's pace, One crawled like a snail, 30 One like a wombat prowled obtuse and furry, One like a ratel tumbled hurry skurry. She heard a voice like voice of doves Cooing all together: They sounded kind and full of loves In the pleasant weather. Laura stretched her gleaming neck Like a rush-imbedded swan, 40

Like a lily from the beck, Like a moonlit poplar branch, Like a vessel at the launch When its last restraint is gone.



Backwards up the mossy glen Turned and trooped the goblin men, With their shrill repeated cry, 'Come buy, come buy.' When they reached where Laura was They stood stock still upon the moss, Leering at each other, Brother with queer brother; Signalling each other, Brother with sly brother. One set his basket down, One reared his plate; One began to weave a crown Of tendrils, leaves, and rough nuts brown (Men sell not such in any town); One heaved the golden weight Of dish and fruit to offer her: 'Come buy, come buy,' was still their cry. Laura stared but did not stir, Longed but had no money: The whisk-tailed merchant bade her taste In tones as smooth as honey, The cat-faced purr'd, The rat-faced spoke a word Of welcome, and the snail-paced even was heard; One parrot-voiced and jolly Cried 'Pretty Goblin' still for 'Pretty Polly;'-One whistled like a bird. But sweet-tooth Laura spoke in haste: 'Good folk, I have no coin; To take were to purloin: I have no copper in my purse, I have no silver either, And all my gold is on the furze That shakes in windy weather Above the rusty heather.' 'You have much gold upon your head,' They answered all together: 'Buy from us with a golden curl.' She clipped a precious golden lock, She dropped a tear more rare than pearl, Then sucked their fruit globes fair or red: Sweeter than honey from the rock, Stronger than man-rejoicing wine, Clearer than water flowed that juice; She never tasted such before, How should it cloy with length of use? She sucked and sucked and sucked the more Fruits which that unknown orchard bore; She sucked until her lips were sore; Then flung the emptied rinds away But gathered up one kernel stone, And knew not was it night or day As she turned home alone. Lizzie met her at the gate Full of wise upbraidings: 'Dear, you should not stay so late, Twilight is not good for maidens; Should not loiter in the glen In the haunts of goblin men. Do you not remember Jeanie, How she met them in the moonlight, Took their gifts both choice and many, Ate their fruits and wore their flowers Plucked from bowers Where summer ripens at all hours? But ever in the noonlight She pined and pined away; Sought them by night and day, Found them no more, but dwindled and grew grey;








Then fell with the first snow, While to this day no grass will grow Where she lies low: I planted daisies there a year ago 160 That never blow. You should not loiter so.' 'Nay, hush,' said Laura: 'Nay, hush, my sister: I ate and ate my fill, Yet my mouth waters still; To-morrow night I will Buy more:' and kissed her: 'Have done with sorrow; I'll bring you plums to-morrow 170 Fresh on their mother twigs, Cherries worth getting; You cannot think what figs My teeth have met in, What melons icy-cold Piled on a dish of gold Too huge for me to hold, What peaches with a velvet nap, Pellucid grapes without one seed: Odorous indeed must be the mead 180 Whereon they grow, and pure the wave they drink With lilies at the brink, And sugar-sweet their sap.' Golden head by golden head, Like two pigeons in one nest Folded in each other's wings, They lay down in their curtained bed: Like two blossoms on one stem, Like two flakes of new-fall'n snow, Like two wands of ivory 190 Tipped with gold for awful kings. Moon and stars gazed in at them, Wind sang to them lullaby, Lumbering owls forbore to fly, Not a bat flapped to and fro Round their rest: Cheek to cheek and breast to breast Locked together in one nest. Early in the morning When the first cock crowed his warning, 200 Neat like bees, as sweet and busy, Laura rose with Lizzie: Fetched in honey, milked the cows, Aired and set to rights the house, Kneaded cakes of whitest wheat, Cakes for dainty mouths to eat, Next churned butter, whipped up cream, Fed their poultry, sat and sewed; Talked as modest maidens should: Lizzie with an open heart, 210 Laura in an absent dream, One content, one sick in part; One warbling for the mere bright day's delight, One longing for the night. At length slow evening came: They went with pitchers to the reedy brook; Lizzie most placid in her look, Laura most like a leaping flame. They drew the gurgling water from its deep; Lizzie plucked purple and rich golden flags, 220 Then turning homeward said: 'The sunset flushes Those furthest loftiest crags; Come, Laura, not another maiden lags, No wilful squirrel wags, The beasts and birds are fast asleep.' But Laura loitered still among the rushes

And said the bank was steep. And said the hour was early still The dew not fall'n, the wind not chill: Listening ever, but not catching 230 The customary cry, 'Come buy, come buy,' With its iterated jingle Of sugar-baited words: Not for all her watching Once discerning even one goblin Racing, whisking, tumbling, hobbling; Let alone the herds That used to tramp along the glen, In groups or single, 240 Of brisk fruit-merchant men. Till Lizzie urged, 'O Laura, come; I hear the fruit-call but I dare not look: You should not loiter longer at this brook: Come with me home. The stars rise, the moon bends her arc, Each glowworm winks her spark, Let us get home before the night grows dark: For clouds may gather Though this is summer weather, 250 Put out the lights and drench us through; Then if we lost our way what should we do?' Laura turned cold as stone To find her sister heard that cry alone, That goblin cry, 'Come buy our fruits, come buy.' Must she then buy no more such dainty fruit? Must she no more such succous pasture find, Gone deaf and blind? Her tree of life drooped from the root: 260 She said not one word in her heart's sore ache; But peering thro' the dimness, nought discerning, Trudged home, her pitcher dripping all the way; So crept to bed, and lay Silent till Lizzie slept; Then sat up in a passionate yearning, And gnashed her teeth for baulked desire, and wept As if her heart would break. Day after day, night after night, Laura kept watch in vain 270 In sullen silence of exceeding pain. She never caught again the goblin cry: 'Come buy, come buy;'-She never spied the goblin men Hawking their fruits along the glen: But when the noon waxed bright Her hair grew thin and grey; She dwindled, as the fair full moon doth turn To swift decay and burn Her fire away. 280 One day remembering her kernel-stone She set it by a wall that faced the south; Dewed it with tears, hoped for a root, Watched for a waxing shoot, But there came none; It never saw the sun, It never felt the trickling moisture run: While with sunk eyes and faded mouth She dreamed of melons, as a traveller sees False waves in desert drouth 290 With shade of leaf-crowned trees, And burns the thirstier in the sandful breeze.

She no more swept the house, Tended the fowls or cows, Fetched honey, kneaded cakes of wheat, Brought water from the brook: But sat down listless in the chimney-nook And would not eat. Tender Lizzie could not bear To watch her sister's cankerous care 300 Yet not to share. She night and morning Caught the goblins' cry: 'Come buy our orchard fruits, Come buy, come buy:'-Beside the brook, along the glen, She heard the tramp of goblin men, The voice and stir Poor Laura could not hear; Longed to buy fruit to comfort her, 310 But feared to pay too dear. She thought of Jeanie in her grave, Who should have been a bride; But who for joys brides hope to have Fell sick and died In her gay prime, In earliest Winter time With the first glazing rime, With the first snow-fall of crisp Winter time. Till Laura dwindling 320 Seemed knocking at Death's door: Then Lizzie weighed no more Better and worse; But put a silver penny in her purse, Kissed Laura, crossed the heath with clumps of furze At twilight, halted by the brook: And for the first time in her life Began to listen and look. Laughed every goblin When they spied her peeping: 330 Came towards her hobbling, Flying, running, leaping, Puffing and blowing, Chuckling, clapping, crowing, Clucking and gobbling, Mopping and mowing, Full of airs and graces, Pulling wry faces, Demure grimaces, Cat-like and rat-like, 340 Ratel- and wombat-like, Snail-paced in a hurry, Parrot-voiced and whistler, Helter skelter, hurry skurry, Chattering like magpies, Fluttering like pigeons, Gliding like fishes,-Hugged her and kissed her: Squeezed and caressed her: Stretched up their dishes, 350 Panniers, and plates: 'Look at our apples Russet and dun, Bob at our cherries, Bite at our peaches, Citrons and dates, Grapes for the asking, Pears red with basking Out in the sun,

Plums on their twigs; Pluck them and suck them, Pomegranates, figs.'-'Good folk,' said Lizzie, Mindful of Jeanie: 'Give me much and many:'-Held out her apron, Tossed them her penny. 'Nay, take a seat with us, Honour and eat with us,' They answered grinning: 'Our feast is but beginning. Night yet is early, Warm and dew-pearly, Wakeful and starry: Such fruits as these No man can carry; Half their bloom would fly, Half their dew would dry, Half their flavour would pass by. Sit down and feast with us, Be welcome guest with us, Cheer you and rest with us.'-'Thank you,' said Lizzie: 'But one waits At home alone for me: So without further parleying, If you will not sell me any Of your fruits though much and many, Give me back my silver penny I tossed you for a fee.'-They began to scratch their pates, No longer wagging, purring, But visibly demurring, Grunting and snarling. One called her proud, Cross-grained, uncivil; Their tones waxed loud, Their looks were evil. Lashing their tails They trod and hustled her, Elbowed and jostled her, Clawed with their nails, Barking, mewing, hissing, mocking, Tore her gown and soiled her stocking, Twitched her hair out by the roots, Stamped upon her tender feet, Held her hands and squeezed their fruits Against her mouth to make her eat. White and golden Lizzie stood, Like a lily in a flood,-Like a rock of blue-veined stone Lashed by tides obstreperously,-Like a beacon left alone In a hoary roaring sea, Sending up a golden fire,-Like a fruit-crowned orange-tree White with blossoms honey-sweet Sore beset by wasp and bee,-Like a royal virgin town Topped with gilded dome and spire Close beleaguered by a fleet Mad to tug her standard down. One may lead a horse to water, Twenty cannot make him drink. Though the goblins cuffed and caught her, Coaxed and fought her, Bullied and besought her, Scratched her, pinched her black as ink, Kicked and knocked her, Mauled and mocked her,








Lizzie uttered not a word; 430 Would not open lip from lip Lest they should cram a mouthful in: But laughed in heart to feel the drip Of juice that syrupped all her face, And lodged in dimples of her chin, And streaked her neck which quaked like curd. At last the evil people, Worn out by her resistance, Flung back her penny, kicked their fruit Along whichever road they took, 440 Not leaving root or stone or shoot; Some writhed into the ground, Some dived into the brook With ring and ripple, Some scudded on the gale without a sound, Some vanished in the distance. In a smart, ache, tingle, Lizzie went her way; Knew not was it night or day; Sprang up the bank, tore thro' the furze, 450 Threaded copse and dingle, And heard her penny jingle Bouncing in her purse,-Its bounce was music to her ear. She ran and ran As if she feared some goblin man Dogged her with gibe or curse Or something worse: But not one goblin skurried after, Nor was she pricked by fear; 460 The kind heart made her windy-paced That urged her home quite out of breath with haste And inward laughter. She cried 'Laura,' up the garden, 'Did you miss me? Come and kiss me. Never mind my bruises, Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices Squeezed from goblin fruits for you, Goblin pulp and goblin dew. 470 Eat me, drink me, love me; Laura, make much of me: For your sake I have braved the glen And had to do with goblin merchant men.' Laura started from her chair, Flung her arms up in the air, Clutched her hair: 'Lizzie, Lizzie, have you tasted For my sake the fruit forbidden? Must your light like mine be hidden, 480 Your young life like mine be wasted, Undone in mine undoing, And ruined in my ruin, Thirsty, cankered, goblin-ridden?'-She clung about her sister, Kissed and kissed and kissed her: Tears once again Refreshed her shrunken eyes, Dropping like rain After long sultry drouth; 490 Shaking with aguish fear, and pain, She kissed and kissed her with a hungry mouth. Her lips began to scorch, That juice was wormwood to her tongue, She loathed the feast: Writhing as one possessed she leaped and sung, Rent all her robe, and wrung Her hands in lamentable haste, And beat her breast.

Her locks streamed like the torch 500 Borne by a racer at full speed, Or like the mane of horses in their flight, Or like an eagle when she stems the light Straight toward the sun, Or like a caged thing freed, Or like a flying flag when armies run. Swift fire spread through her veins, knocked at her heart, Met the fire smouldering there And overbore its lesser flame; She gorged on bitterness without a name: 510 Ah! fool, to choose such part Of soul-consuming care! Sense failed in the mortal strife: Like the watch-tower of a town Which an earthquake shatters down, Like a lightning-stricken mast, Like a wind-uprooted tree Spun about, Like a foam-topped waterspout Cast down headlong in the sea, 520 She fell at last; Pleasure past and anguish past, Is it death or is it life? Life out of death. That night long Lizzie watched by her, Counted her pulse's flagging stir, Felt for her breath, Held water to her lips, and cooled her face With tears and fanning leaves: But when the first birds chirped about their eaves, 530 And early reapers plodded to the place Of golden sheaves, And dew-wet grass Bowed in the morning winds so brisk to pass, And new buds with new day Opened of cup-like lilies on the stream, Laura awoke as from a dream, Laughed in the innocent old way, Hugged Lizzie but not twice or thrice; Her gleaming locks showed not one thread of grey, 540 Her breath was sweet as May And light danced in her eyes. Days, weeks, months, years Afterwards, when both were wives With children of their own; Their mother-hearts beset with fears, Their lives bound up in tender lives; Laura would call the little ones And tell them of her early prime, Those pleasant days long gone 550 Of not-returning time: Would talk about the haunted glen, The wicked, quaint fruit-merchant men, Their fruits like honey to the throat But poison in the blood; (Men sell not such in any town:) Would tell them how her sister stood In deadly peril to do her good, And win the fiery antidote: Then joining hands to little hands 560 Would bid them cling together, 'For there is no friend like a sister In calm or stormy weather; To cheer one on the tedious way, To fetch one if one goes astray, To lift one if one totters down, To strengthen whilst one stands.'

In December 1830, Christina Rossetti was born at 38 Charlotte Street, London to Gabriele Rossetti, a poet and a political exile, and Frances Polidori, the sister of Lord Byron's friend and physician, John William Polidori. She had two brothers and a sister: Dante Gabriel, who became an influential artist (Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood) and poet, and William and Maria, who both also became writers. Christina, the youngest, was a lively child. She died on 29 December 1894 and was buried in Highgate Cemetery. Biog: Christina_Rossetti Source material: Guttenberg Press and Wikipedia

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Issue 254 RBW Online  

Issue 254 RBW Online weekly magazine