Saturday, 19 June 2010

Another Election

At last someone I vote for gets elected. Geoffrey Hill is the new Oxford Professor of Poetry.
The obvious and also the best choice, given the stature of his published work, even if he is married to an Anglican woman priest (and fellow poet) - yet another small indication (as if we needed one) of just how "anglo-saxon" culture has changed, even on what are now its peripheries.

Here's some Hill: the last of the Seven Hymns to Our Lady of Chartres

Return, if in mauvais esprit, to Chartres;

There’s my old pension in the rue St-Jacques;
There Notre-Dame stone-turbining to Pâques
Slices the gloom with radiance of martyrs.

On the cleft hill that odd man jousting blame,
Péguy, to whom Olivier Messiaen
Part-offered Et exspecto, something brazen;
Jean Moulin whom they also thrust at fame,

His agony finessed to silver wire,
Received by Malraux at the Panthéon
With words of platitudinous haut ton,
That France might clamour, swoon, and rise entire.

Entre lutte et louange, deep-tolled sonorities,
The makers work and sleep and have their sex.
Travestied Judas reddish as a fox
Swings on his pendulum and never dies.

Malraux negotiates the elevation:
The organ barking mad, the iron vats
Terraced with candles wallowing in their fats.
This passage of great things your conflagration.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful pictures and recording. Durufle's music is so evocative.


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