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Just Think of it

Gavin Bantock

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This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
Paperback
ISBN: 978 0 856463 16 7
Categories: 20th Century, British
Imprint: Anvil Press Poetry
Published: March 2002
216 x 139 x 11 mm
128 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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    Just Think of It

    Albert Einstein, or some such genius or other,
    once stated that no known force can exceed
    the speed of light, and we now know that
    it takes, for example, one billion years for light
    to travel from one particular distant star
    all the way here to our shining earthbound eyes.

    But what happens, I wonder, when we consider
    the speed of thought? When I merely think of
    that same star, my thought can journey
    all that staggering distance and back again
    in a timeless flash, whereas in this instance
    light takes a billion years one way only.

    Moreover that same star, which might embody
    ten million times more mass than our own
    sun, is now by the power of thought alone
    burning no less brightly inside my brain which is
    not much bigger, say, than a Christmas pudding.

    Is there perhaps some undetected paradox here?
    Or have I just hit upon a kind of amazing new law
    that may help us for the first time to grasp the entire
    layout of the universe and unify its disparate fields?

    That star of mine is still shining. Just think of it.

     

    Milton Loved Satan

    More than any other character
    to be found in Paradise Lost.

    For all his preached puritanical
    and seemingly saintly morality

    His so-called good characters
    are as dull as concrete icons.

    But his devils, all fallen angels, are
    depicted in the most enchanting colours

    Which makes me wonder if,
    like me, he would have much rather

    Come out with a great sigh of relief
    and lived a life of blatant sensuality.

    I think perhaps that more than half of
    my tyrannical finger-wagging virtue is

    Derived from a kind of entrenched envy
    that I never dared to be honest enough

    To walk in the world without a mask
    and wear my slavering heart on my sleeve.
     

    In Just Think of It, his first collection for over twenty years, Gavin Bantock proves that he has not grown tame. His many years in Japan have enriched his perspective when writing about life in Britain; he is also an acute observer of Japanese life from an Englishman’s point of view. In his verse the clarity and simplicity of Japanese art combine with vivid (and often provocative and outlandish) imagery, as he writes with wit and precision on such subjects as the king crab, the speed of thought, and the proper place to read poetry: the lavatory.

    Gavin Bantock, born in England in 1939, wrote his long poem Christ (1965) while at New College, Oxford. He has lived in Japan, where he taught English and drama at Reitaku University. His books include A New Thing Breathing (1969), Anhaga (Anglo-Saxon translations, 1972), Eirenikon (1972), Dragons (1979), Just ... read more
    Awards won by Gavin Bantock Short-listed, 1988 Arvon Foundation International Poetry Competition Winner, 1969 Eric Gregory Award Winner, 1966 Poetry Society's Award Winner, 1964 Richard Hillary Award
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