Friday, December 19, 2008

The Hung Wu Vase, a poem by Robert Graves.

Robert Graves (July 1895 – December 1985) was an English poet, translator and novelist. He was educated at Charterhouse School and St. John's College, Oxford. He was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for both of his novels, I, Claudius and Claudius the God.
Graves fathered eight children with a variety of partners and had a fairly turbulent love life, as the following poem illustrates. Of course, love wasn't the only intensely-felt experience in his long life, but it was the one which helped him to make poetic sense of the rest. He once commented that, "Poetry cannot be separated from the state of being in love." He and his last love, Beryl Hodge, are buried in the small churchyard on the hill in Deia, on the northwest coast of Majorca, looking out over the sea.


The Hung Wu Vase by Robert Graves.

With women like Marie no holds are barred.
How do they get the gall? How can they do it?

She stormed out, slamming the hall door so hard
That a vase on a gilt shelf above - you knew it,
Loot from the Summer Palace at Pekin
And worth the entire contents of my flat -
Toppled and fell ...
I poured myself a straight gin,
Downing it at a gulp. 'So that was that!'

The bell once more ... Marie walked calmly in,
Observed broken red porcelain on the mat,
Looked up, looked down again with condescension,
Then, gliding past me to retrieve a glove
(Her poor excuse for this improper call),
Muttered: 'And one thing I forgot to mention:
Your Hung Wu vase was a phony, like your love!'

How can they do it? Where do they get the gall?


I'll be off next week, and back on December 29th.
My Christmas wish for all of you is:

May you always be blessed
With walls for the wind,
A roof for the rain,
A warm cup of tea by the fire
Laughter to cheer you,
Those you love near you,
And all that your heart might desire.

1 comment:

barbara said...

I like that! Good find.