Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thursday extracts: Which in Henry Reed's case we have not got.

Sorry - I don't have a photo of japonica
I fell in love with this poem when I first studied it at school. As far as I am aware I have never read anything else by Henry Reed, but the phrase 'which in our case we have not got' entered my lexicon and has been used ironically ever since.  I also love the section about easing the spring.


Naming of Parts

To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day,
To-day we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens,
          And to-day we have naming of parts.

This is the lower sling swivel. And this
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,
Which in your case you have not got. The branches
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
          Which in our case we have not got.

This is the safety-catch, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me
See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy
If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms
Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
          Any of them using their finger.

And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this
Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it
Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this
Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards
The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers:
          They call it easing the Spring.

They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt,
And the breech, and the cocking-piece, and the point of balance,
Which in our case we have not got; and the almond-blossom
Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,
          For to-day we have naming of parts.

Henry Reed. 1942.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Anne .. great to read the Naming of Parts .. especially as it highlights Japonica .. I've always loved that flower .. we had hedges of it .. very prickly ..

There's a lovely photo in Wikipedia of it .. should you wish to change from your lobelia.

Cheers - enjoy the day .. Hilary

AllMyPosts said...

Hello Anne,

cool poem!! thanks for sharing!!

I am from the writers platform building campaign!!

Another Author