Reading Jan Morris's Life Of Lincoln In Anglesea Street
Ponsonby, January 2001
The Herald has two pages of world
news and six of sport. Each morning
I dehead Jill & David's Mutabilis
rose & savour the serenity of their
(Scarlett O'Hara), very distant the city's
hum. Morris toyed with calling the book
Grape Jelly, one of her first two dislikes
in the USA, the other, the extensive
reverence for Abe. Now she too
embraces the Gettysburg greatness.
Mythical might be the log cabin but
that address endures from a man
kind to kittens & his dim-witted son;
a gawky, laconic politician, who took
courage for granted, whose time saw
one of the bloodiest combats ever.
The prose glitters in praise of his prowess.
Their lettuce & parsley have run to seed.
‘A person rather uncomfortable with himself
but at ease with his mission’. Apparently,
at present the Earth rushes away
from the sun at 108,000 kilometres an
hour. An unconvincing fact to someone also
at ease in a cane chair in peaceful Ponsonby.
He fastened in the America psyche the idea
that right has might and is therefore invincible.
Historians now reappraise, Viet Nam
naplamed doubt into the nation, but
someone better tell George W. for
Roman heroics still brawl on Capitol Hill.
Midday sun and I'm in the shade with
this gem of a book hurling the brain
out of its neutral summer lassitude
while leaving the body still in a
state of contented disengagement. .
The poet tries to encapsulate the transient moment. If successful it transcends the moment to the universal. Usually, it remains a record.
Jan Morris also wrote a life of Lincoln. As you can see I enjoyed reading it. 9/11 was still ahead.