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While this beautiful month lasts

(Cependant que ce beau mois dure)

"The Fisherman and the Syren" by Frederic Leighton (1856-58)

I found this book of poetry many years ago, and the poem below by Michael Riviere reminds me of Corfu, where I found this scrappy little limited edition (just 500 copies). Decades later I found out that Riviere had lived on Corfu for those summers he was away from his native Norfolk. Having survived battle in Crete, more distinctive were his persistent escapes from various German POW camps which ultimately led to his distinguished membership of the 300 Houdinis locked up in Colditz. What a university that must have been, filled with men who were not professional soldiers (such as V.C.-winning sheep farmers), let alone poets, but who went to duty when it called them.

Inspired by Ronsard...

Let me love you in the sun

Now, while the weather holds, Mignonne.

Roses fast as chances die,

And vica versa, so it's said.

Age will dapple that dark head

Soon, almost, as Spring's gone by.

Time's in flower. Field and wood

Prompt this harvest of the blood.

Death, like lovers, has his wish:

Just as – look – we strip again,

Tongue to tongue and vein to vein,

He will strip us of our flesh.

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