finding two poems

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teiresias | 22:38 Sun 21st Dec 2008 | Arts & Literature
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Has anyone out there seen either of the following two poems by Denis Bruce,a little known poet, Madonna Of The Pinks and Naming Of The Parts?
If so,would you please post them on the website as I have lost my copies of them.I realise that this could be a hunt for a needle in a haystack because both these poems will be in some obscure publication with a limited clientele.I need these poems to complete my collection of this extremely minor poet.


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To Alan Michell

Vixi duellis nuper idoneus
Et militavi non sine gloria

To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day,
To-day we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens,
And to-day we have naming of parts.

This is the lower sling swivel. And this
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,
Which in your case you have not got. The branches
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.

This is the safety-catch, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me
See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy
If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms
Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
Any of them using their finger.

And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this
Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it
Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this
Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards
The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers:
They call it easing the Spring.

They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt,
And the breech, and the cocking-piece, and the point of balance,
Which in our case we have not got; and the almond-blossom
Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,
For to-day we have naming of parts.
I cannot find the other one,the only
The only Madonna of the Pinks I CAN find is a painting by Raphael.
Apologies but the well known (above) Naming of Parts is definitely by Henry Reed,of course Dennis Bruce MAY have written one,if so I cannot find it.
Question Author
I appreciate your responses,Mr Veritas,but ,although the poems appear to share the same name,the content is radically different,Reed's poem having a military base while Bruce's poem deals with the human body,His Madonna Of The Pinks deals with Raphael's painting and contrasts it with love poetry.So,I hope that these remarks jog someone's faint recollections of such poetry so that my collection might be completed.
Question Author
Madonna Of The Pinks might have the title La Fornarina.Certainly La Fornarina appears somewhere in the poem,if not in the title.Re The Naming Of The Parts might be called Naming Of Parts or The Naming Of Parts.Memory plays its little tricks on all of us.The quest,forlorn or not,will soldier on
Have you tried getting in touch with the Poetry Library at the South Bank ? They may have a copy of those poems, or may be able to tell you when they were published and who they were published by. If the latter, you could then try the British Library.
Question Author
Do these libraries keep a list of all poems published in what can only be called vanity publications?
The poetry library says it is the most comprehensive and accessible collection of poetry from 1912 in Britain. You could try phoning them (they have been helpful when I have called them in the past) on 020 7921 0943/0664.

The British Library and the Bodleian are two of the libraries in this country which receive a copy of all printed works published in this country (if memory serves there is a legal obligation on publishers to send a copy to one or other of them). Whether the obligation covers vanity publishing or not I do not know. As far as I know neither library is obliged to retain everything sent to them, but they do keep a lot of stuff. You could try phoning the British Library and ask if they have any of Bruce's works in the catalogue.

A look at the catalogue for the Bodliean doesn't show anything by him there. You could try the BL site at which will let you search the catalogue, but a quick look for Bruce returned rather a lot of results and I didn't try to narrow it down.
Question Author
Thank you again for your help.It is most appreciated.But it looks to me that I will have to depend upon serendipity to find these two poems.Isn't it odd what captures our imagination?
Don't knock Serendipity - it's the best way to make nice discoveries !

I never think about the oddness of what catches my imagination, I just enjoy the results. I can still recall the imagry in an Omnibus programme which set me off reading A E Coppard stories - and that was close to 40 years ago. And I always know where the one book I'd save in the event of a fire is (not the first edition copy either, just the copy which has been everywhere with me since I was 12).

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