Let me introduce myself

I started writing poetry when I was still at secondary school. Few of those poems survive in what I call my Juvenilia. Click here to see them. I still write when the mood takes me and the selection here, written over several decades, constitutes what I consider to be some of the best, the ones I still read myself! You will identify some of the many themes that have exercised me through my life. Click Themes for those I'd want to emphasise.

Herbert Read, a wise man who deserves to be read more often, wrote "A short poem is often called a lyric, which originally meant a poem short enough to be set to music and sung for a moment's pleasure." Let's not forget that poems were once meant to be sung, and recall Virgil's words: "arma virumque cano". Cano means "I sing"!!

I also write short stories and have completed two novellas. You can read some of my stories on this site.

Ed Baines BA MA FRSA

Psapho's Birds

Psapho is probably an unexpected point of reference for this site. He was a Libyan who wanted to be thought of as a god (in some versions the wisest man in the world). He gathered up a host of birds (specifically parrots) and taught them to say something like, "Psapho is a god". When Libyans heard this, they were, it's claimed, some of them, taken in and they started worhipping him!

While some of the Libyans were taken in by the ruse a certain Greek saw through it all and used the same trick to undermine Psapho. He caught as many of the parrots as he could, taught them to say words to the effect: "Psapho forced us to say he was a god"! When they heard this the Libyans, presumably a little angry, were decided on burning the big fibber.

Johann Hamann described poetry as "the mother tongue of the human race". Although language has developed immeasurably from the first grunts, phatic or otherwise, it still sometimes seems to burst at the seams when we use it to express our thoughts. Johann was kicking against the Enlightenment project to some extent, of course - you knew that. He was asserting some level of priority for a pre-scientific (or at least non-scientific) way of thinking. He also said that he "looked upon logical proofs the way a well-bred girl looks on a love letter"! If any well-bred girls out there would enlighten me on just how they look on love letters that would certainly advance my understanding of the anti-Enlightenment brigade.

This website is copyright © 1966-2022 Ed Baines