Firstly, allow me to apologies for the late arrival of this blog post. In defence, it has been a very busy week here in the Pitshanger archives – we are about to open the new Theophilus Marzials Wing, complete with an anechoic lecture theatre where no background hum can interrupt the power of the word, and a Library of Congrats where we file all of our positive reviews. However, there will be no space therein for the weekly ledgers recounting the proceedings and doings of our loyal society, for those are kept in the extensive vaults beneath the Manor House itself. Built by Sir John Soane during his tenure as Chief Surveyor of the Bank of England, they are every bit as impregnable and labyrinthine as the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street and equally home to bits of paper whose value is purely a social construct, namely poems.
With Sir John’s catacombs creating such a maze of underground caverns, it is perhaps no surprise that they caught the attention on Anlgophile and polymath Jorge Luis Borges. Though it is unknown if he ever visited the land of his grandmother, he was fluent in English and often wrote letters to the Secretary of the Pitshanger Poets. Unfortunately, the post was filled at the time by a gentleman of less-than-stellar awareness, who confused the Argentinian short-story writer with the Danish comedy pianist Victor Borge, and never wrote back.
No such lallygagging among tonight’s attendees, which saw Daphne Gloag taking a detour around an Old English word that really is the end, and Gerry Goddin singing about oversized prizes and souls covered in ink, which make sense when he tells it. Owen Gallagher recalled a visit to a Glaswegian pub with nearly as many notable visitors as our own venerable club, while Martin Choules made lemonade from another visit of writer’s block. Finally, Alan Chambers found himself washes on the shores of a dream, only to discover he was still on a boat.
Anyway, enough excuses ! However, tardy reporting is something of a theme among poets. After all, Alfred Tennyson may have dashed off his famous Charge of the Light Brigade upon reading the Times over breakfast, but the event it eulogises was already six weeks old. And Thomas Macaulay’s recount of Horatius in the Lays of Ancient Rome was nearly two-and-a-half millennia late.