What we didn't see was his poem about the fish, pondering the secrets of death an immortality Fish say they have their stream or pond --
It goes on like this, and includes a distinctively piscine vision of Paradise:
|Fish say, in the Eternal Brook,|
|But more than mundane weeds are there,|
|And mud, celestially fair;|
|Fat caterpillars drift around,|
|And Paradisal grubs are found ....|
Nor did we see the strange one about Old Vicarage in Grantchester. He wrote it at a cafe in Berlin, so maybe it was just our mood, sitting in the Romanian sports bar this afternoon, eating a salad and watching women's track, but this struck us as one of the funniest poems we have read in years. Oh, for my old Britannic home, it starts off , and you brace for the standard-issue patriotic stuff -- roses in the garden, punting on the Cam, this sceptr'd isle, some corner of a forgotten field that is forever England. But then it goes brilliantly astray. Because England is the best country, and Cambridge the best shire, but -- why Grantchester? Here's why:
And more and more like this. The best part, for Egg readers, may be the clerical apparitions:
Here is our new goal for the afterlife. Paradisal grubs are well and good for them what likes 'em, but we long to be ghosts on a vicarage lawn, dancing on lissom toes, and occasionally nodding to the dean.
So, Rupert Brooke, congratulations: You're back on our list of readable poets from the Bad Century. No Uncle Ez, to be sure, but you're better than that hack Wilfred Owen.