Champagne-bottle shoulders

Champagne-bottle shoulders

What a charming if old-fashioned sounding description of sloping beauty, in this case referring to voluptuous Europa.  And ‘callipygous’ describes finely shaped buttocks, the owner of which would qualify as a callipygian. ‘Europa – lovely,...
Spring-time welcome

Spring-time welcome

My heart also expands at the spring-time welcome of where I live and where I visit.  Here, the detail of Nicolson’s account roots the welcome in the Shiants, and I particularly revel in the ‘big, luscious chamomile’ and the ‘flowering cushions...
Butterflies of all colours

Butterflies of all colours

Dorothy Wordsworth’s eye for details, and her care in noting them, are a wonder, allowing her to converse with people born centuries after her.  Feeling this easy affinity, I have to wonder if anything we say or write or think will resonate with people 200 years...
Dun-coloured flax

Dun-coloured flax

I eat flaxseed and have seen blonde hair described as ‘flaxen’, but in reading this I realize I have never seen flax grow.  And what a refreshing image of a river plaiting a long green strand of clear water through the flax fields. ‘The river Enns...
Sonnet-begetting beauty

Sonnet-begetting beauty

One of Leigh Fermor’s teenage crushes, a girl who ran the local grocery shop, whom he spotted on an escapade from school. ‘She was twenty-four, a ravishing and sonnet-begetting beauty and I can see her now and still hear that melting and deep Kent...
The impatient shout of a thrush

The impatient shout of a thrush

A few years ago I noted Keats’ references to and delight in a thrush in his garden, and so found a kindred joy in Dorothy’s writing about the singing thrush, which she later describes as ‘our own Thrush’, mentioning its ‘impatient...
A poet’s sister or a sister poet?

A poet’s sister or a sister poet?

In Dorothy Wordsworth’s journals, you sense the extent to which she supported her brother’s writing. Some things she records become material for his poems. She also reads aloud to him, including his own compositions, and copies out his poems. But beyond...
The proper form of fairy goblets

The proper form of fairy goblets

Acorns as fairy goblets, of course.  But what is this ‘moss cup’ that Dorothy Wordsworth considers a better goblet for a fairy?  The world wide web yields only images of porcelain cups with moss in them, or moss shaped in a cup and saucer form, but nothing...

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