Why "Ask the Fire?"

Originally posted to Ask The Fire, 18 Oct. 2017

I'm sitting in the newsroom at Eastern, listening in on a discussion between the editor-in-chief and the adviser. Next to me is a tiny yellowed book of South African verse (editor Guy Butler, first published in 1959). It's open to page 2, the final verse of Thomas Pringle's introductory stanza of "The Emigrants:"

Adieu, ye lays to youthful fancy dear!
Let darker scenes a sterner verse inspire,
While I attune to strains that tyrants fear
The deeper murmurs of the British lyre,-
And from a holier altar ask the fire
To point the indignant line with heavenly light,
(Though soon again in darkness may expire,)
That it oppression's cruel pride may blight,
By flashing TRUTH'S full blaze on deeds long hid in night!

It stood out to me. I don't know why. Maybe I'll find out sometime soon.

Today I emailed Dr. Singh for the first time. About a week ago I sent Maria Ioannoua a postcard; I wasn't sure if I should introduce myself by phone, not knowing her schedule, and I didn't want to impose myself with a long-distance call first. Post is certainly cheaper.

For the rest of the night it's me, some homework, and good old Guy Butler guiding me through some midcentury South African poetry. I'm growing to like it. Never was a fan of English verse, but there's something about non-European poetry that strikes me. It's a little less full of itself, a little more full of everything else.

More later.

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