Poems by Joseph Braddock
Joseph Braddock, who was born in 1902 and educated at the New Beacon, Sevenoaks, Uppingham School and St. John’s College, Cambridge, has worked as a freelance teacher and writer. During the Second World War he taught English to Free Polish Airforce personnel for the British Council. He also worked as Assistant Secretary of The Lord Mayor’s Air-raid Distress Fund. His published work includes several prose books on Greece, a verse play, and several collections of poetry. Quiddities: Poems New & Selected contains 15 new poems plus poems from three earlier collections: The Pilgrim Shadow (Duckworth, 1928), Sark & Other Poems (Basil Blackwell, 1934), and No Stranger Than A Flower: Poems 1935-1960). Joseph Braddock is a poet of considerable originality of vision who writes in the central tradition of English Poetry.
From Taormina Once
Do you remember how once from Taormina
In the moon’s heat we chose a mule plod
Up to Mola; the path coiled like a serpent
Round the mountainside, past prickly pear and olives?
And as we zig-zagged, toiled in steep ascent
We saw Etna smoking tirelessly,
Her brilliant snowline cut out on the blue
with one snail-track of lava, almost new
Crawling towards a smeared white-feathered sea.
Have you forgotten those terraced vines and cornlands
Which at first draped the enormous rocks? And finally
When we had passed beyond Mola, looking back
On flat red roofs below us; at such a height Etna seemed
Higher, taller – to have climbed, too, with us!
Clearly I can recall sounds: bells, roosters, donkeys.
But most I remember the rest we made long
On the way down; honeysweet wild love, avid as Eros.
At length I took a book from my pocket,
Calverley’s Theocritus, to read your favourite idyll.
Remember how a goatherd then came by
With his flock of white goats, after fresh grazing?
And nothing changed for twenty centuries!
By will of Providence, or chance, the boy stopped
Near us, mouth open, black eyes absurdly lit
Startled to hear a Syracusan song
In words he could not understand.
He was – must have been – called Corydon or Delphis!
He stayed. We stayed. You smiled. I read again:
’Bethink thee, mistress Moon, whence came my love.’
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: Mansell Collection.
Publication: AUTUMN 1985 (56 pages laminated paperback)