Fleur Adcock

Eva Remembers Her Two Brothers Called James

When she thinks (if she does) of the first James it is of a six-year-old who died when she was fourteen, of meningitis. His spirit, like a trespassing sprite, flew into his parents’ marriage bed and lurked there as they comforted each other. A month later, conspiring with the genie of ovulation and the hormone


Might you not have found him a little exhausting, though? If, for example, you were his mother, not given to innovative thinking yourself, and had this youth (in 1920 the word teenager was not current), forever coming up with a new interpretation of Genesis or sketching plans for a contraption that must be at least


Nothing I write will be as durable as the rhyme for remembering the genders of third declension nouns, stuck in my head ever since Miss Garai’s Latin class. Masculini generis I used to fancy I shared it with generations of English schoolboys, the colonial servant dispensing justice under a tree in the African bush, are