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All Things Tire of Themselves

Authors: Arnold Wesker

Published by Flambard Press

ISBN: 9781873226988

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All my years before me

For Della and Ralph

I want to be singing again
Round fires with friends
Loud, full of harmony
Breath in my lungs
And all my years before me

I want again those I knew
And talked with all night through
Discovering the world
Argument on my lips
And all my years before me

I want not to have read
Dead Souls, Bovary
Hardy, Lawrence, Orlando
Fathers and Sons
John Donne
Penguins stacked ready
And all my years before me

Give me my first love
Dreams and courage again
Expectation in my parents' eyes
Hopes, promise, lost youth
And all my years before me

I ache for the dead
Long for my mother's laugh
My father's songs
My sister's wedding feast
War letters from abroad her husband wrote
Telling me I was talented
Intelligent, my voice had broken.
I want each family event again
With all my years before me.

For All Things Tire of Themselves Arnold Wesker selected what he considered to be his best and most characteristic poems. In a Foreword commissioned for this publication, TV writer and producer Michael Kustow describes it as, "an extended soliloquy about family, love, ageing, anger, Jewishness’ whose ‘predominant tone is one of sadness and disenchantment, but never resignation. . ."

Out of this struggle with despair, the poet delivers a hard-won wisdom, ‘a precarious triumph over thieving time.’

In addition to his work for the stage, Wesker published collections of stories, essays, a book for young people, an autobiography, and a novel, Honey, but this was his first poetry collection, even though he had written poems and published them in magazines for many years.

'Arnold Wesker's reputation has survived the vicissitudes of fashion, and it is now easier to see the lasting strengths and variety of his work.'
— Margaret Drabble

Arnold Wesker, who was knighted in the 2006 New Year’s Honours list for services to drama, was a major British playwright. Born in London in 1932, he achieved early critical success with the three plays known as The Wesker Trilogy (1958–60). After that he wrote around forty more plays, as well as opera librettos and scripts for film, TV and radio. He lived in Hay-on-Wye until his death in 2016.

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