Sunday, 28 July 2013

Mervyn Peake, Artist.

We recently had a copy of Mervyn Peake's 'Rhymes Without Reason', the only book he ever had published in full colour. It is a collection of his nonsense verse, issued during the austerity years of the Second World War and praised by John Betjeman "poet and hack" as the 'outstanding' publication of December 1944. But it is the colour that is truly a revelation, more Dr Seuss on acid than the 'Gothic wash' you expect from Peake. That being said, I like it. It fits with Peake's sense of humour and love of the absurd. A book for Peake fans everywhere!

 I have included this poem as, well, I like it very much.  It is taken from
“A Book of Nonsense” first published by Peter Owen in 1972 and re-issued in 1999. Enjoy.


The trouble with geraniums
is that they’re much too red!
The trouble with my toast is that
it’s far too full of bread.

The trouble with a diamond
is that it’s much too bright.
The same applies to fish and stars
and the electric light.

The troubles with the stars I see
lies in the way they fly.
The trouble with myself is all
self-centred in the eye.

The trouble with my looking-glass
is that it shows me, me;
there’s trouble in all sorts of things
where it should never be.