Letters and the lapse of time

Letters and the lapse of time

A moving comment on the effects of time and separation, and the hiatus of news caused by war. Firstly, the sorrow and regret of discovering the death of a loved one after months of silence, only thanks to the efforts of strangers.  Then the question of how many other...
War and letters

War and letters

Letters were a lifeline for people in war, whether fighting it or waiting for someone who was, or simply trying to avoid becoming collateral damage.  So, hard to imagine the communication vacuum this short sentence implies; a population essentially held incommunicado....
The shape of things to come

The shape of things to come

Leigh Fermor’s walk across Europe in the early 1930s captures many things that would be swept away in the following decade by the high tide of Nazism.  His journey took him through Germany and he chronicles the first menacing signals of what was to come, in the...
Stunt-hoop tambourines

Stunt-hoop tambourines

The timbre and beat of martial music as the Greek states gather behind Agamemnon for an almighty war.   ‘Immediately Wide-ruling Agamemnon’s voices called Greece to its feet, and set it on the move. And as they moved, To stunt-hoop tambourines and trumpet drums…’...
Clear-voiced heralds

Clear-voiced heralds

Logue’s vivid rendition of several episodes in the Iliad pulsates with fresh phrasing and is a trove of triologisms. Here, the Greeks are summoned to war. ‘No more talk. The King will arm. You lords will join the host, Answering our clear-voiced heralds as they call –...
Like sun on tin

Like sun on tin

Logue is recreating the Bronze Age and in his version of the Iliad, metal gleams. ‘Eyelight like sun on tin.’   Source: Christopher Logue, War Music: An account of Books 1-4 and 16-19 of Homer’s Iliad, London: Faber and Faber, 2001, p. 173 Photo...
Flailing blades and razored vanes

Flailing blades and razored vanes

This reminds me of pictures of ancient war chariots in children’s history books, with blades poking out of the wheel hubs.   Here it is the warriors that are flailing blades, an image rendering soldiers as engines of killing.   The piston-kneed, blade-flailing...
Like sardine from a tin

Like sardine from a tin

This horrifyingly vivid image is made more painful by its casual tone, with a boy likened to a sardine.   They passed so close that hub skinned hub. Ahead, Patroclus braked a shade, and then, As gracefully as men in oilskins cast Fake insects over trout, he...

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