Friday Poetry: Matilda: Who Told Lies, and was Burned to Death by Hillaire Belloc

Hello!

Happy Friday! My apologies for my absence recently, a combination of assignment deadlines and feeling rather rough after my first Covid vaccine meant the blog suffered but I am back now.

My chosen poem today is basically a retelling of Aesop’s fable The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Matilda: Who Told Lies, and was Burned to Death 

Matilda told such Dreadful Lies,
It made one Gasp and Stretch one's Eyes;
Her Aunt, who, from her Earliest Youth,
Had kept a Strict Regard for Truth,
Attempted to Believe Matilda:
The effort very nearly killed her,
And would have done so, had not She
Discovered this Infirmity.
For once, towards the Close of Day,
Matilda, growing tired of play,
And finding she was left alone,
Went tiptoe to the Telephone
And summoned the Immediate Aid
Of London's Noble Fire-Brigade.
Within an hour the Gallant Band
Were pouring in on every hand,
From Putney, Hackney Downs, and Bow.
With Courage high and Hearts a-glow,
They galloped, roaring through the Town,
'Matilda's House is Burning Down!'
Inspired by British Cheers and Loud
Proceeding from the Frenzied Crowd,
They ran their ladders through a score
Of windows on the Ball Room Floor;
And took Peculiar Pains to Souse
The Pictures up and down the House,
Until Matilda's Aunt succeeded
In showing them they were not needed;
And even then she had to pay
To get the Men to go away,      
It happened that a few Weeks later
Her Aunt was off to the Theatre
To see that Interesting Play
The Second Mrs. Tanqueray.
She had refused to take her Niece
To hear this Entertaining Piece:
A Deprivation Just and Wise
To Punish her for Telling Lies.
That Night a Fire did break out--
You should have heard Matilda Shout!
You should have heard her Scream and Bawl,
And throw the window up and call
To People passing in the Street--
(The rapidly increasing Heat
Encouraging her to obtain
Their confidence) -- but all in vain!
For every time she shouted 'Fire!'
They only answered 'Little Liar!'
And therefore when her Aunt returned,
Matilda, and the House, were Burned.

Hillaire Belloc

Happy Reading

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First Line Friday: 23/04/2021

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone has had a good week so far. I thought I would join in with First Line Friday this week as I do enjoy guessing other people’s First Line Fridays. As usual the answer is below the cats!

I believe that a well-known anecdote exists to the effect that a young writer, determined to make the commencement of his story forcible and original enough to catch and rivet the attention of the most blase of editors, penned the following sentence:

‘”Hell!” said the Duchess.’

Strangely enough, this tale of mine opens in much the same fashion. Only the lady who gave utterance to the exclamation was not a duchess.

Get Guessing!

Any idea?

and the answer is…

The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie

Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is summoned to France after receiving a distressing letter with an urgent cry for help. Upon his arrival in Merlinville-sur-Mer, the investigator finds the man who penned the letter, the South American millionaire Monsieur Renauld, stabbed to death and his body flung into a freshly-dug, open grave on the golf course adjoining the property. Meanwhile the millionaire’s wife is found bound and gagged in her room. Apparently, it seems that Renauld and his wife were victims of a failed break-in, resulting in Renauld’s kidnapping and death.

There’s no lack of suspects: his wife, whose dagger served as the weapon, his embittered son, who would have killed for independence, and his mistress who refused to be ignored. Each felt deserving of the dead man’s fortune. The police think they’ve found the culprit. But Poirot has his doubts. Why is the dead man wearing an overcoat that is too big for him? And who was the impassioned love-letter in the coat pocket for? Before Poirot can answer these questions, the case is turned upside down by the discovery of a second, identically-murdered corpse.

Did anybody guess correctly?

Please drop me a comment with your First Line Friday and I will head over for a visit.

Happy Reading

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

First Line Friday: 19/02/2021

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Happy Friday!

I thought it was time to do a First Line Friday as I haven’t done one for a while. As usual the answer is below the cats. Good Luck!

As pale as a grave grub she’s an eyeful.

She looks up at him, startled, from the bed. Her pale eyes flitting fishy: intruder – lantern – door – intruder. As if she’s trying to work out how they all connect, with her eyes cauled and clouded.

get guessing!

Answer

Bridie Devine, female detective extraordinaire, is confronted with the most baffling puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, and a peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors trading curiosities in this age of discovery.

Winding her way through the labyrinthine, sooty streets of Victorian London, Bridie won’t rest until she finds the young girl, even if it means unearthing a past that she’d rather keep buried. Luckily, her search is aided by an enchanting cast of characters, including a seven-foot tall housemaid; a melancholic, tattoo-covered ghost; and an avuncular apothecary. But secrets abound in this foggy underworld where spectacle is king and nothing is quite what it seems.

Blending darkness and light, history and folklore, Things in Jars is a spellbinding Gothic mystery that collapses the boundary between fact and fairy tale to stunning effect and explores what it means to be human in inhumane times.

Did you guess successfully?

Please drop me a comment with your First Line Friday and I will head over for a visit.

Happy Reading

Friday Poetry: Sara Teasdale

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone is well and have good bookish plans for the weekend. We might be having some snow over the weekend and my husband and myself love having a walk through the snow so my chosen poem seemed very apt.

A Winter Bluejay

Crisply the bright snow whispered,
Crunching beneath our feet;
Behind us as we walked along the parkway,
Our shadows danced
Fantastic shapes in vivid blue,
Across the lake the skaters
Flew to and fro,
With sharp turns weaving
A frail invisible net.
In ecstasy the earth
Drank the silver sunlight;
In ecstasy the skaters
Drank the wine of speed;
In ecstasy we laughed
Drinking the wine of love.
Had not the music of our joy
Sounded its highest note?
But no, 
For suddenly, with lifted eyes you said,
'Oh look!'
There, on the black bough of a snow-flecked maple,
Fearless and gay as our love,
A bluejay cocked his crest!
Oh, who can tell the range of joy
Or set the bounds of beauty?

Sara Teasdale

Happy Reading!

Friday Poetry: Eleanor Farjeon

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone is having a good day and that you are all looking forward to the weekend. My chosen poem today is an adventure through the imagination.

The Distance

Over the sounding sea,
Off the wandering sea
I smelt the smell of the distance
And longed for another existence.
Smell of pineapple, maize, and myrrh,
Parrot-feather and monkey-fur,
Brown spice,
Blue ice,
Fields of tobacco and tea and rice,

And soundless snows,
And snowy cotton,
Otto of rose
Incense in an ivory palace,
Jungle rivers rich and rotten,
Slumbering valleys
Smouldering mountains
Rank morasses
And frozen fountains,
Black molasses and purple wine,
Coral and pearl and tar and brine,
The smell of panther and polar-bear
And leopard-lair
And mermaid-hair
Came from the four-cornered distance,
And I longed for another existence.

Eleanor Farjeon

Happy Reading

Friday Poetry: Jackie Kay

Hello!

I will be honest I keep forgetting it is Friday, so it is lucky I have remembered the Friday poetry post. On Sunday the limbo will end because it is all back to work and the break is sadly over but this does mean I will know what day of the week it is.

My chosen poem this week is one by Jackie Kay and I have chosen it as I think it is perfect for New Year.

Promise

Remember, the time of year
when the future appears
like a blank sheet of paper
a clean calendar, a new chance.
On thick white snow
You vow fresh footprints
then watch them go
with the wind’s hearty gust.
Fill your glass. Here’s tae us. Promises
made to be broken, made to last.

Jackie Kay

Happy Reading!

Friday Poetry: The Friendly Beasts

Happy Friday!

It is time for another Christmas themed poem and this one is about the animals of the Christmas story. Sadly the author of this lovely poem is unknown.

The Friendly Beasts

Jesus our brother, kind and good,
Was humbly born in a stable rude,
And the friendly beasts around him stood;
Jesus our brother, kind and good.

'I,' said the donkey, shaggy and brown,
'I carried his mother up hill and down,
I carried her safely to Bethlehem town;
I,' said the donkey, shaggy and brown.

'I,' said the cow, all white and red,
'I gave him my manger for his bed,
I gave him my hay to pillow his head;
I,' said the cow, all white and red.

'I,' said the sheep, with the curly horn,
'I gave him my wool for his blanket warm;
He wore my coat on Christmas morn.
'I,' said the sheep with the curly horn.

'I,' said the dove, from the rafters high,
'Cooed him to sleep, my mate and I,
We cooed him to sleep, my mate and I;
I,' said the dove, from the rafters high.

And every beast, by some good spell,
In the stable dark, was glad to tell,
Of the gift he gave Emmanuel,
The gift he gave Emmanuel.

Happy Reading

Friday Poetry: Christina Rossetti

Happy Friday!

This month I have decided to do something different. This month I am dedicating to my favourite poet Christina Rossetti. This means that each Friday of November I will post a poem by Rossetti.

Apologies if you do not like Rossetti but she is my absolute favourite.

A Pin

A pin has a head, but has no hair;
A clock has a face, but no mouth there;
Needles have eyes, but they cannot see;
A fly has a trunk without lock or key;
A timepiece may lose, but cannot win;
A corn-field dimples without a chin;
A hill has no leg, but has a foot;
A wine-glass a stem, but not a root;
A watch has hands, but no thumb or finger;
A boot has a tongue, but is no singer;
Rivers run, though they have no feet;
A saw has teeth, but it does not eat;
Ash-trees have keys, yet never a lock;
And baby crows, without being a cock.

Christina Rossetti

Have a good weekend everyone!

Happy Reading!

Friday Poetry: William Shakespeare

Happy Friday!

I have gone for another Shakespeare Sonnet and this one I think is perfect for Autumn.

Sonnet 73

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
William Shakespeare
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First Lines Friday: 9/10/2020

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

 

It’s time to get guessing that book! The answer is below the cats.

“When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist. They called me nymph, assuming I would be like my mother and aunts and thousand cousins.”

 

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and the answer is…

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In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

Drop me a link with your First Lines Friday and I will head over for a visit.

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