After a long absence, and having shamefully missed last year’s Alice Day (the most important day of the year!) I mark today not with a white stone* but with a poem evoking a boat trip, but one less populous than the famous one that gave rise to the Alice books.
Barcarolle for Two
and the sky will be indigo, and the Thames
draw slowly into its deep lungs ourselves.
The mild air will not make its presence felt.
The far voices have grown faint
the moving waters, fetch us away
below the deepening dome of day.
Could we escape the spell
of our restraint? did the dream lack the clay
to be transfigured,
the tall rain
forever promising to carry us to
where the horizons are far away?
*white stone – every time he’d had an exceptionally happy or memorable day, Charles Dodgson would put a small white stone into a large jar he kept on his desk. With time the jar became more and more full of white stones, providing him with a constant reminder of how grateful he should be to be alive. Dodgson marked April the 25th 1856, the day he first met the three-year-old Alice Liddell, with such a white stone.