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KJ Bishop
Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2003 - 11:50 pm:   

Due to a glass of Kilkenny Cream I am feeling garrulous, so I want to tell you this story about a dead poet.

A few years ago I was in London. I went to the British Museum and was looking at the manuscripts and old books in glass cases. One, a smallish book, was open at a poem called 'The Golden Journey to Samarkand'. The illustrations were beautiful, but it was the poem itself that really intrigued me. I very much wanted to find out who the poet was. However, it wasn't written on the book, or on a label anywhere, and I coudn't see any staff around who I could ask. I was really quite upset at the thought that I would never find out (I was fairly new to the Internet, and didn't even think about doing a search at a net cafe, or when I got home).

Anyway, a few days later we went up to Scotland to visit one of my relatives (a sort of great-great cousin, she is). I was browsing on her bookshelves, and something made me take down a book, 'The Collected Poems of James Elroy Flecker'. I opened it, idly wondering who Flecker was and what he had written - and there it was, 'The Golden Journey to Samarkand', in that book. I was so excited that my great-great cousin gave the book to me. Flecker was the first poet I put online on my now-defunct website Nemoria, which was devoted to obscure writers.

So there you go, and if you'd like to read the poem, it's here, along with another of Flecker's poems, 'The Gates of Damascus':
http://www.jordanjubilee.com/whytrav.htm
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Forrest
Posted on Thursday, May 15, 2003 - 11:52 am:   

That really is good stuff. I'm curious who else you had on your Nemoria website - our tastes run in similar veins, methinks.

Forrest
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Thursday, May 15, 2003 - 03:59 pm:   

Forrest - Nemoria was kind of a mixed bag. There was Flecker, and William Sharp, then there was a Japanese poet, Lady Daibu, from a few centuries ago; there were some rubaiyyat by an obscure 20th century Iranian poet, Ghods Nakhai, and some poems by Laurence Whistler, who was better known as a glass engraver - one of his friends emailed me and told me about him.

I was particularly fond of Nakhai, but because he isn't out of copyright I couldn't put much of his work online.
Here are three of my favourite quatrains from his book:

He who called up our Being out of Clay,
With Ghouls and Jinns besets our gloomy way;
And as the Music soars, the Vintage flows,
They change to fairies in a Shadow Play.

Look how the Soul, by Body overthrown,
Without demur into the Dark has flown
And Body, to his Native Home returned,
Feels safe again though silent and alone.

By our own Labour we acquire our skill,
Our own Way follow then for good or ill;
And, both Worlds seizing from the owner, we
Raise our own Paradises where we will.

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