Mornington Spotlight – The Parallel Shift

Everyone is taking their roles terribly seriously this year, apparently. Here we have  a new column by Martha Buckley, Mornington Crescent rep:

Welcome to Miruvor’s weekly Morning Crescent digest, the Mornington Spotlight. Join me as we celebrate and explore some of the history and tactics of this great game of skill, intelligence, and random events. Each week I shall explore a particular move or station, illustrate a practical example of its use, and set a teasing conundrum for the improvement of our society players.

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Tolkien the modernist? The origins of The Hobbit

by Anahita Hoose:

On Friday of Second Week, Trinity 2013, Taruithorn were privileged to hear Dr Mark Atherton give a talk with the provocative title ‘Tolkien the modernist? The origins of The Hobbit‘. Mark, an English tutor at Regents Park College, has written a book on this subject, There and Back Again: J.R.R. Tolkien and the Origins of the Hobbit, which sounds like a fascinating study. Continue reading

News From Wrexham

by Paulina Pejka, Wrexham Rep:

Dear All!

As the Society’s new Wrexham Rep I am obliged to keep you informed as to what is happening in the place so closely tied with the Society and its history. (No, really, I am obliged – I’ve been mandated to do so for not showing up to the committee meeting despite
saying that I will). So, in a few words, let me summarise some of the most important recent events:

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Hades

by Anna Vaninskaya:

Hard grows the leaf on marbled tree.
Still hangs the bird upon the air.
Smooth to the shrinking mortal touch
Seems the high rail of that broad stair.

Fretted and filigreed it curves,
Its carven beasts stare down amazed
As you climb up the tall, worn steps,
As you turn back – dizzied and dazed.

Above you spins the stony vault,
Below the stair is lost to sight.
No one is here to speak a word,
No one to make the burden light.

Only the unknown craftsman’s face
Dispersed through every leaf and flower
Of that accursèd balustrade
In this eternal marbled tower.

Baker’s Dozen

by Anna Vaninskaya:

One day God came to Man and said:
Behold!
You have the writer’s pen and painter’s brush,
To people’s eyes and ears you can unfold
New worlds I’d never thought of in my rush.

Your efforts are indeed worthy of praise,
The name of Sub-creator you deserve,
I think that you have earned a little raise:
I’ll make you God and the results observe.

So Man went forth to ply his new-found trade…
But it was lunchtime, he suppressed a yawn,
And rested on the first day in the shade,
Then made himself an awful rose of dawn.

He dabbled first in wars, and then in newts,
He raised up mountains and cast down the hills,
He harrowed hell and he gave speech to mutes,
He tore up his great heap of unpaid bills.

So slipped a week by, God knocked on the door.
And what have you been up to? He inquired.
But Man was lying passed out on the floor,
A Smirnoff in one hand. The chap was tired!

God left him sprawling, and surveyed his work:

Before him stretched as far as eye could see
Some wilting clocks on rocks, some kosher pork
Half-eaten on a plate, some cups of tea
Brewed à l’anglaise, some houri virgins shy,
Playing a game of hide and seek among
Half-finished Roman arches, and some sly
Investment bankers flying to Hong Kong.

I tell you, God was not amused that day.
He stormed back to the house and thundered out,
Thou fool! What meant thou by this child’s play?
Durst thou my awesome will and power to flout?!

But Man was long since gone – he’d left a note
Pinned to the table by a three-pronged fork,
En route he’d nicked God’s many-coloured coat
And in its place he set a crumbled cork.

God took that short note up with trembling hand,
He had not seen its like in all his days.
It merely said, with modesty, Dear Friend,
I move, like you, in quite mysterious ways.

Life

by Anna Vaninskaya:

Somewhere once I saw a picture:
All was dark save on the right, in the corner,
In the light cast by one unhappy candle,
Leant a man against the handle of a painted wooden door,
And his shadow on the floor sideways stretched
Until it faded into darkness, darkly shaded.
Peter Lint,’ the frame proclaimed, ‘Flemish artist, widely famed.’

‘That is wrong,’a voice behind me softly whispered,
‘It reminds me of an early Marcus Stone…
But the artist is unknown -’

Not to me were those words spoken, not for me the silence broken,
And I dared not stir or turn, hoping something more to learn.
‘- Though the subject of that picture, here set forth with greyish tincture,
Is a man of wide renown – now…
You see his sullen frown?
He was born well nigh three hundred years ago,
He knew but one dread all his days:
To die and leave no live soul behind to grieve.

For the man was poor and lonely, without friend or child,
Only barren longings shared his bed or disturbed the life he led.
Years he spent in isolation,
Taxing his imagination with the queerest, wildest schemes,
With the most grotesque of dreams.
In his workshop he constructed forms mechanical -
Distracted, crazed at times, he paced till dawn,
Till the flowers on the lawn raised their heads to greet the morning.
He saw nothing.
In his mourning – his contraptions dead around him –
Well he knew that they would hound him to his own grave at last.
None would care if his life passed.

Then one night in desperation mingled with a strange elation,
He decided to create Life itself to cheat his fate.
If no human being would take him,
If all chose to forsake him,
If the works of his own hand failed to grant his one demand,
Surely then no god or devil, angel good or demon evil,
Would dare judge him or accuse
Of usurping to abuse powers not granted him by nature.
He would use his skill to capture that ethereal flame or breath
That gives life and conquers death.

From that moment his strange story passes into legend hoary:
Some say he achieved his goal, though he paid a heavy toll,
Others that he perished trying,
Punished for his daring flying Icarus-like too near the sun.
Either way he is long gone.

But if you who stand here gazing at the picture,
Slowly phrasing to yourself this man’s sad tale,
Should some other time regale other listeners with his story,
Think on this and be not sorry:
Three long centuries have passed and his memory still lasts.’

At these words I turned around,
Keen to catch the fading sound in the gathering evening gloom.
There was no one in the room.

In Memoriam (à la Tennyson)

by Anna Vaninskaya:

I saw the evening shadows fall
Upon the lonely Norman cross,
And turn from green to grey the moss
Upon the crumbling churchyard wall.

I saw the willows weep their leaves
Into the darkened stream below,
I saw the tower all aglow
From topmost stone to nether eaves.
But I did not see him where oft
Of old I knew he used to stand,
Touching the carvings with his hand,
Tracing their edges worn and soft.

Gildas At The Ford (A Fragment)

by Anna Vaninskaya:

The sun was high when Gildas came
To Darren’s Ford. His horse was lame,
His lance askew, his shield was bent,
The last of his young strength was spent.

The sun was low when Gildas woke.
His horse was gone, his fire smoked,
He lay alone beneath the sky,
The pebbles of the Ford were dry.

And facing him across the Ford,
With helmet plumed and upraised sword,
He saw Sir Gorn. Sir Gorn saw him.
‘My end,’ thought Gildas, ‘will be grim.’

So up he leapt to meet his foe.
He grasped his lance, slung on his bow,
And waiting stood upon the bank,
Casting a glance to either flank.

But dread Sir Gorn did not advance.
Young Gildas stared as if entranced,
And neither moved, and neither spoke.
No earthly sound the silence broke.

With Eager Feet…

Welcome to the Miruvor blog!

In the last few years, Miruvor hasn’t travelled the smoothest of routes. Without an issue being produced between 2007 and 2011, it seemed to have foundered entirely – I know I wasn’t aware of its existence for quite some time after joining the Society. Anahita’s sterling efforts resulted in two issues produced over the course of 2011, and left me with a tough act to follow when I took up the editorial stapler last year.

The idea of Miruvor as a paper magazine is one that appeals to me – and reading through the back issues is a great pleasure. However, the difficulty of soliciting enough submissions (especially at a distance) at once is such that it doesn’t seem possible to produce a traditional magazine with any degree of regularity.

And without issues being produced, people’s awareness of Miruvor’s existence diminishes, and with it their impetus to produce material for it…and the volume of submissions doesn’t rise.

What we need is somewhere individual works can appear as they come in, and their publication isn’t dependant on a regular critical mass of submissions.

What we need is a blog…

This is not the first time a web-based Miruvor has been suggested, but I think the time has come when it is the route we need to take to keep Miruvor alive.

Let’s see where this particular road will take us.

I look forward to travelling it with you.