Ronald Gaskell

Ronald Gaskell first collection of poems, Rock with Water, was published a few years ago. He now lives in Cornwall.

Poem: ‘The Seine at Asnières’

Ronald Gaskell, 18 September 1986

The minister has not been able to get away this weekend – cables from London, Bucharest, Berlin, St Petersburg. His secretary telephoned just before lunch: possibly on Sunday, probably not, or not till after three.

Lucille takes her new acquaintance, the ambassador’s young wife, for an hour on the river. The trees this summer are so beautiful, the poplars dipping and effacing...

Two Poems

Ronald Gaskell, 18 April 1985

Birth of a Philosopher

Plato was a young man when Helike sank below the waters of the gulf.

The spasms of the earthquake could be felt all night, tugging at the roots of the city. For three days afterwards the ground subsided – rapidly at first, then gradually, caving and collapsing as if hauled by an enormous hand. Temples toppled, others sagged beneath the inrush of the waves.


Poem: ‘Teach yourself Italian’

Ronald Gaskell, 5 July 1984

They are not writing the letters, they are looking at Peter’s yellow hat and red socks.

(Exercise 3)

Naturally this requires their full attention: the hat, a small but rakish panama being of a brilliant Van Gogh yellow, the socks, blazoned with a griffin rampant, an emphatic, even Risorgimento, red.

Peter, known to his friends as Giovanni, promptly uncrosses his legs, tips his hat a...



9 January 1992

Gary Taylor argues (LRB, 9 January) that in dramatising the murder of Cinna in Act III of Julius Caesar Shakespeare altered Plutarch in order to present an apolitical poet as innocent victim of the plebeians. It is Shakespeare, he suggests, who makes the people fickle and easy to manipulate, and his crowd, ‘unlike Plutareh’s, is uncontrollably irrational and cruel’. I doubt if anyone who has...

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