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On this day in 1857 the novelist Józef Korzeniowski, later called Joseph Conrad, was born in Poland. Many of his stories tell of the struggles of the human spirit in times of adversity. His narrative style and anti-heroic characters have led to his categorisation as a modernist writer and he has influenced many others including Hemingway and Beckett.
Conrad’s view of the world and our place in it seems almost Beckettian at times, as when he wrote: “In this world – as I have known it – we are made to suffer without the shadow of a reason, of a cause or of guilt . . . There is no morality, no knowledge and no hope; there is only the consciousness of ourselves which drives us about a world that is . . . but a clod of mud”.
Today’s poem is a different view of making do, by Lawrence Alma Tadema, If No One Ever Marries Me:
If no one ever marries me, –
And I don’t see why they should,
For nurse says I’m not pretty,
And I’m seldom very good –
If no one ever marries me
I shan’t mind very much;
I shall buy a squirrel in a cage,
And a little rabbit-hutch:
I shall have a cottage near a wood,
And a pony all my own,
And a little lamb quite clean and tame,
That I can take to town:
And when I’m getting really old, –
At twenty-eight or nine –
I shall buy a little orphan-girl
And bring her up as mine.
Today I give thanks for the strength of the human spirit that can overcome adversity through faith, hope and love.