22 May 2014

Poetry Thursday - The Unpredicted by John Heath Stubbs

O, Fortuna!  (via)

The Unpredicted

The goddess Fortune be praised (on her toothed wheel
I have been mincemeat these several years)
Last night, for a whole night, the unpredictable
Lay in my arms, in a tender and unquiet rest -
(I perceived the irrelevance of my former fears)
Lay, and then departed. I rose and walked the streets
Where a whitsuntide wind blew fresh, and blackbirds
Incontestably sang, and the people were beautiful.

John Heath Stubbs (1918-2006)

A whitsuntide wind, blowing fresh - Whitsun is the seventh Sunday after Easter ... perhaps Easter was early the year the poem was written ... (In 1971 the movable Whit Monday holiday became the fixed Spring Bank Holiday at the end of May.)

A lifelong fascination with history, started in the tiny village school on the Isle of Wight he attended, informed John Heath Stubbs' poetic career. He went on to Worcester College for the Blind and Queens College, Oxford, and was first published in 1941. As well as "one of the most interesting poets ... of the latter half of the twentieth century" Heath Stubbs was also a critic, anthologist and translator. He was awarded the OBE in 1988.

Nearly blind from childhood, he had a special alliance and friendship with the deaf poet David Wright. His public career was never orthodox; his books were numerous; his output did not falter with age.

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