Welcome to this week's Literary Blog Hop as usual hosted by the ladies from The Blue Bookcase!. The question for this hop has been set by Mel u from, The Reading Life -
Not long ago I read and posted on The Harp of Burma by Michio Takeyama, 1966. It is one of the very best novels about WWII, written from the point of view of a Japanese Buddhist who was drafted as a combat soldier. He had no idea how long he would be gone or if he would really ever return. He had room in his backpack for one book, so he took The Red and the Black by Stendhal. He carried it through the jungles of South Asia for 4 years. He said it helped keep him sane in the face of all the horrors he saw. This made me wonder what work of literary fiction I would take with me under similar circumstances."
If you were going off to war (or some other similarly horrific situation) and could only take one book with you, which literary book would you take and why?
Like most of my fellow bloggers, I’ve perceived this as like an extreme example of desert island discs, a kind of a wartime wish list reduced to the bare basic minimum & rationed.
So if my ration card states only one book it’s -The Rattle Bag, an anthology of poetry edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes. In the introduction, this book was described as “amassing itself like a Cairn” ( a man-made pile of stones) and a Cairn has many uses, for example
Used on Trails, usually placed on junctions or places where the trail direction is not obvious.
They may mark a burial site, and may memorialize the dead.
They may mark the summit of a mountain.
Placed at regular intervals, they indicate a path across stony or barren terrain or across glaciers.
The Inuit erect human-shaped cairns, or inunnguaq as milestones or directional markers in the Canadian Arctic.
In North America, cairns may be used for astronomy.
In Norse Greenland, cairns were used as a hunting implement.
In the Canadian Maritimes cairns were used as lighthouse-like holders for fires that guided boats.
In North America, cairns are often petroforms in the shapes of turtles or other animals.
In the United Kingdom, they are often large Bronze Age structures which frequently contain burial cists.
They may have a strong aesthetic purpose, for example in the art of Andy Goldsworthy.
They may be used to commemorate events: anything from a battle site, to the place where a cart tipped over.
Some are merely places where farmers have collected stones removed from a field. These can be seen in the Catskill Mountains, North America where there is a strong Scottish heritage.
They vary from loose, small piles of stones to elaborate feats of engineering. In some places, games are regularly held to find out who can build the most beautiful cairn.
In other words this book of poetry covering writers such as - Shakespeare,Dickinson, Plath,Blake,Holub,Eliot,Thomas,Byron,Ferlinghetti,Tennyson,Smith,Plutzik,Hardy,Larkin,Johnson,Frost,Zabolotsky,Yeats,Neruda,Ginsberg,Whitman,Joyce,Bishop,Owen,Vallejo, and even that most famous of all poets Anon - will let me know others have been through this experience, will nourish my heart, will sustain my intellect, will make me laugh, will release tears pent up by my own pride and need to prove myself strong. This anthology is made up of Cairns each one signposting an experience,a feeling, a memory, all amounting to a large Cairn – Hope.
The Rattle Bag (earlier Post)