Let me introduce myself

I started writing poetry when I was still at secondary school. None of those poems survives, but I still write when the mood takes me and the selection here, written over several decades, constitutes what I consider to be 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.

I also write short stories and have completed two novellas with two more in the pipeline. 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, taken in and started worhipping him!

This story is also told about one Apsethus (who might be the same person?) and apparently Hanno the Carthaginian. One version states that the message travelled as far as Greece. While 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, decided on burning the big fibber.

I am not a god. But my poems are a bit like Psapho's Birds, devoid, be assured, of the arrogance and self-promotion. Here they fly over the interweb and one or two might strike a chord somewhere. 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. It's not completely fanciful to imagine some early modern human 40,000 or 50,000 years ago having comparable things to say in whatever tongue was in use at the time and finding the linguistic equipment falling short. 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.

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