blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

An old juxtaposition

I haven't given up on my blog; I just took a break. (Thank you, John B., for the nudge!) There's plenty to write about because we've been travelling again. Blog resuming now.


I thought it was forty or more years ago that I first used to notice the picture on the Bakerloo Line at Charing Cross advertising the National Gallery in London, but maybe it wasn't as long ago as that. According to my private archives, I wrote a poem about it in 1988 that I entitled "Juxtapositions" (see below). I think that may have been the first time I and consciously made use of the word.

On May 9th this year, on a tube train between Paddington and Waterloo, I rode into the station once again ... and was thrilled to see that the poster was still there. I had time to take a picture of it, because my train was stuck for a long time between the tunnels, due to a signal failure. In the end I gave up waiting and dragged my luggage down some long corridors and up and down flights of steps to take a Northern Line train instead.

The painting in the National Gallery is by Botticelli.

Venus, in the picture, smiles at Mars asleep 
On the tiles, in the London Underground. 
Her tune swoops upwards 
(From The Planets) rousing 
My partisan, cliché-infected heart to cry, 
How complex life is, how desirable!
How, from across the world, people 
Come to our house, brought from so many histories 
To this coincidence; 
Or side by side upon our shelves, in intimate confinement: 
Who would have guessed such promiscuity 
In our incongruous, enchanting library? 
I see connections that would seem improbable. 
Are they mere chance, or are they meant to be?

 Venus from Gustave Holst's Planets suite

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