My head is full of poetry not my own.
With Tennyson’s Sir Bedivere I mourn
for Arthur, going forth in his black barge,
his bloodied head resting in the lap of a queen,
barely alive but admonishing us
to pray for his immortal soul.
Herrick admonishes in other words,
to gather rosebuds while we may
for tomorrow those very same flowers
will die, as one day so will you and I.
But then to Donne, stripped bare of career
for love of a girl. He speaks hope to her
and so to us:
If our two loves be one, or thou and I
Love so alike that none do slacken, none can die.
Before I left Liverpool in July of 1965, a barmaid at the pub I frequented in Liverpool, who knew what a fan I was of the Beatles, said she had a present for me.
Her name was Margaret and she had grown up as a neighbor of Paul McCartney’s in Heswall. When she had her “21st,” which is a big blowout of a party when the newly 21-year-old’s parents clear out, the furniture is pushed back, and the friends pour in for music and drinks and an all-nighter, Paul and his mates turned up at the party.
They inscribed the post card below to Margaret on her 21st. You’ll see that Ringo was not yet part of the group. Pete Best was the drummer, and someone at the time of the birthday signing defaced the card by giving him a beard. Also note that he signed the card twice. Brian Epstein, their manager, was also there that night and signed, along with Paul, George and John.
In April 1965 I took leave of my job as a newspaper reporter in Worcester, MA, and traveled alone aboard the R.M.S. Sylvania to Liverpool, England. I returned on the same liner in July 1965.
The Osher Map Library in Portland, ME, held an exhibition on the age of ocean liners and added my donated ephemera with commentary on the trip excerpted from the diary I kept of the ocean voyages to their on-line materials on the exhibition.
Have a look here.