Friends and readers,
Today I’m into the second of 5 tales that comprise Suzy McKee Charnas’s Vampire Tapestry — for this course for retired people (10 women thus far) I’m teaching at Oscher Institute of Lifelong Learning at Mason. In it, Dr Weyland’s boy captor, Mark is assigned to write an essay on A.E. Housman’s “Land of Lost Content,” and Weyland offers to help him write his paper.
“The Land of Lost Content” is the 40th stanza of A Shropshire Lad, first published 1896
Into my heart on air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?
That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.
Into my heart the air that kills.
So tonight I’m now remembering how much Jim liked and how he’d read A.E. Housman’s poetry:my beloved had quite a number of favorite male poets. Housman belongs to the Bloomsbury era, whence Duncan Grant’s painting as appropriate.
We have 3 books of Housman’s poetry in the house, plus a book of Housman’s prose. It’s we as they are our books, chosen by him as often as me. Jim liked to quote Housman’s famous put-down from Housman’s edition on the poetry of an obscure ancient Roman poet: “Three minutes’ thought would suffice to find this out; but thought is irksome and three minutes is a long time.” Jim and I also went to see here in DC, Stoppard’s The Invention of Love: I remember him so liking it and we talking and talking of it as we came home. That was life with Jim: exhilarating talk after inspiring experiences.
And the poem makes me remember “The Land-of-Might-Have-Been as sung by Jeremy Northam in Gosford Park (Jim liked Altman and we went to his movies), and I remember how and why I bonded with Emily Watson as Elsie captured in this still as I watched (and how I do so still): I too have cut-out pictures of favorite actors scotch-taped to my walls. Jim said I was making up for the college room & life as a girl I never had: