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Lay for the Day
27th June

The Roman festival of Initium Aestatis, or beginning of summer, in honour of the goddess of summer, Aestas.
On this day in 1787, in his garden in Lausanne, Switzerland, Edward Gibbon put the last full stop on his monumental history The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The idea for the work had come to him, according to his own account, on his first visit to Rome, as he “sat musing amid the ruins of the Capitol”, on 15th October 1764.
From the book of Praises:

37. Of Corners

Urban patches and angles where the congruence
of incongruous architecture, inhumane
blocks with a fine-textured sky, or a statuesque
cumulus cloud with low, degraded outbuildings,
give us a metropolis to participate,
say on a June Sunday swept clear by the south wind.

Whether fern or buddleia inhabit it, or
ivy and geraniums, neglect or private,
conscientious tending make of a few square yards
of suntrap, escaped from the kingdom of the real
estate, an earnest of an inner city built
by virtue of our power to discover it.


John Gibbens
from Collected Poems


The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar

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