Brown Penny by Yeats;

{I’ve added the link for my Vintage Etsy Shoppe on the right, and I’ll be adding more vintage tea gowns and other fabulous frocks in time. Feel free to visit and do let me know if any piece catches your eye.}

I’ve been meaning to write, Beansprouts, but how I was swept away by recent events – including an utterly thrilling visit to the zoo, where I was a young girl again, and enamoured by soft mares and giraffes named Growie (Rothschild’s giraffe, the banker Rothschild), and having cherry garcia ice cream in front of waterfalls and talking to young boys who are convinced that the lion is the most magnificent creature in the world. Where there is a vision of polar bear rides on animal carousels, the white tiger exhibit where a white tiger prowled like a harmless looking Esso puppet toy, of river crossings and sea lions who offer kisses and do not get tempted by fish if.the.zoo.keeper.says.so.


There is this poem which I wanted to share with you, though neither you nor I have brown hair…

I WHISPERED, “I am too young,”
And then, “I am old enough;”
Wherefore I threw a penny
To find out if I might love.
“Go and love, go and love, young man,
If the lady be young and fair.”
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
I am looped in the loops of her hair.

O love is the crooked thing,
There is nobody wise enough
To find out all that is in it,
For he would be thinking of love.

Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
One cannot begin it too soon.

– WB Yeats

Before you put Yeats aside, dear Beansprouts, stop for awhile, get a nice cup of tea (the way you do in your little kettle like cup I miss), and sit down and read the last stanza again, and imagine a pretty young lass with soft brown hair and stars in her eyes!

Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
One cannot begin it too soon.

You’re my personal Swedish boy, after all!

I had a dream about you and cameras and mint the other day, but the recollection escapes me, except that I was happy. I think that was the day after you called. You (and Scrabble) are such marvellous things! (If you can be a ‘thing’, that one can possess, after all.) Today a friend reminded me of words like ‘avuncular’ and ‘atavistic’. I think I could sit and make new words to no end on a board, and be quite happy. I’m getting one of those microphone headphones, and will figure out how to be proficient in speaking words which scatter across to you in the world.

I have not watched Departures (Japanese) version but I’ve heard it has won a couple of awards. I will definitely sit down to it, when I am feeling properly gloomy and the cat has been ignoring me for the day. I am sad, there are no Japanese cellists lately for me to fall in love with, and I have no violin in my life besides the strands of classical radio! I miss the days when Y would play Chopin on the piano and we both sat – do you remember – and the light would stream in by the little church windows and then playfully, Y would launch into a majestic Rachmaninoff piece and he would nod in your direction to see if you recognized the piece- I was jealous then, the both of you had an understanding that musicians do, and that recognition was invincible! I am the girl who sits around and pratters around, forever fated to fall in love with musicians, but never recognizing even the key of which the piece is played – unless it is my beloved Chopin!

Or the time when we were with P and Y and P played a few keys of warm jazz…and Y picked up with twisted trumpet and out came a few keys of Chet Baker’s My Funny Valentine… oh Beansprouts, how did I begin speaking of this, but do you remember.

And the cat (who sleeps with people).

I like cats which sleep with people, and correspondingly, I like people who sleep with cats.

You asked recently, which would be my three favourite scents. I am not going to be all Kundera-ish and draw the scent of some loved one at a war border, or a flower plucked in the mid-months of May. I am unfortunately a little materialistic like that.

I love Stella McCartney (yes your birthday present to me) and it is one of my favourite scents in the world, because it reminds me of wine – vintage wine and musky nights and the colour deep violet and structured, edgy sort of decadent doorways and difficult thoughts. I’ve used the same scent for four years, but somehow I have never tired of it.

Which brings me to the second, because I really love the scent of pinot noir – the proper, vintage kind of French pinot noir – but yet I have such complex memories which are attached to pinot noir…which means that the pinot noir scent I love is part of a fantasy of the scent I would love, and maybe it is not the real scent that I do in actuality, after all.

Another favourite- old old vintage books…yellowed paper…and the scent of old books of poetry and children’s books sitting on the second floor of my favourite Parisian bookstore – I remember my first step into the place, and how it smelt, and the mirror of love – the French bookshop cat! 

But most of all, my favourite would have to be the sea air at Dorset – which is tingled with tea and scones, and old quaint Rip van Winkle shops, where I almost imagine harlequin tea cup sets and funny old women discussing about their husbands and histories, and old, old papers sitting in a corner.

Oh dear…what would I give to return to Dorset again!

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