Wednesday, 12 August 2015

First-World Problems

Ref my moaning about the kitchen - I know, I know, it's such a first-world problem. Thus it was described by my daughter's boyfriend in a scathing put-down some months ago.  But that doesn't mean it is not a problem.  I still feel stress and aching joints and muscles. 

Anyway, moving back to the main point of this blog, namely books.  I have just read a couple of chapters of my current reading - the first time I have sat down to do so since last Friday.  So I am feeling better. 

I must add that I have actually chucked out some books.  Contrary to my usual practice, which is to replace any book I have chucked out (possibly in a fit of misguided tidying). 

The books I have discarded are old cookery books which I have not used for more than 20 years, and will never use again.  I tried to get my husband to chuck out some cookery books which I have NEVER used and know that I never will, but, to my great surprise, he insisted on keeping most of them.  He is not usually a book fan at all.

I also chucked out two files of paper cuttings from magazines and newspapers of recipes which, at the time, sounded awesome - eg "the ultimate chocolate cake" .  Most of them I have never used.  I don't miss them.

In one of these A4 ring-binders, I found two pieces of handwriting by my daughters, when they were very small.  One of the pieces was a painstakingly copied recipe for their favourite cake of all time, (no longer, and forgotten).  The other was a little note wishing me good luck in an amateur dramatics production, and assuring me that I would not forget my lines!  These have been filed away in a different place, to keep for a bit longer.

The other thing that turned up in the A4 ring-binder was strange.  Two tiny scraps of paper.  The smaller is a photocopy of "The Pity of Love", by WB Yeats.  The larger has two poems, "The Sorrow of Love" and "When You Are Old", both by the same.

How apt they seem, how extraordinary that they should fall out of a recipe file 30 years after they were placed there!

When You Are Old

By William Butler Yeats 1865–1939       

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
Yes, I remember a friend, not a boyfriend but a sort of special companion, quoting this to me, forty years ago.  He particularly mentioned the moments of glad grace.  And now, I am indeed old, and feel tired a lot, and would be grey if I didn't have a good hairdresser.  That friend is a distant memory, but my husband is still here, and I hope that Love has not fled.  We have weathered many a storm together.
The Sorrow of Love - no, I won't go there.  But "The Pity of Love", yes, this is so true.
A Pity beyond all telling
Is hid in the heart of love:
The folk who are buying and selling,
The clouds on their journey above,
The cold wet winds ever blowing,
And the shadowy hazel grove
Where mouse-grey waters are flowing,
Threaten the head that I love.
How apt, how true, how un-analysable. 


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