|Photos from my album, taken (pre-digital!) in Pompeii, February 1986|
Driftwood by Starlight, my first full poetry collection, was launched online on Tuesday 3 August. The book was published in June 2021 by Peter Thabit Jones of The Seventh Quarry Press. It can be purchased for £6.99/$10 from the publisher's online shop here.
Maria Lloyd, who holds a Masters degree on The City of Rome from the University of Reading, read the collection and decided to set me some questions about it. I am attempting to provide answers (without giving too much away ...).
Thank you, Maria.
The first post in this mini-series on the blog (click here) concerned my poem 'Monte Testaccio, Mound of Potsherds' on p.35 of the collection.
This second post concerns the poem, 'Wildfire', on p.31. Page numbers in this post refer to Driftwood by Starlight. Let's turn to Maria's questions.
|Pawprints in tile, Lullingstone Roman Villa. Photo: © Caroline Gill|
Almost ten years later I was able to visit the Pompeii AD79 exhibition at the Royal Academy in London, this time on a secondary school trip. I had not studied any Latin at that point, but I knew about the 'CAVE CANEM'/'Beware of the dog' mosaics, such as the one (with these words) at the entrance to the House of the Tragic Poet in Pompeii shown below, or the guard dog mosaic (without words) from the House of Orpheus.
- the spacious House of the Faun, with its mosaic of a Nilotic scene, displaying a crocodile, a hippo, a snake and various ducks. The mosaic is housed in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli.
- the fresco of Terentius Neo, a baker, and his wife, who holds a writing stylus to her lips and a wax writing tablet in her right hand. I would love to know what she had written or was about to write ...
- Fresco of garden scenes from the the north wall of the House of the Golden Bracelet. I am reminded of William Morris and his 'Strawberry Thief' design ...
- a street with raised stepping stones to allow pedestrians to cross in safety, while allowing access for carts (see my photo below).
- the artistic depictions of octopus and dolphins at one end of the black and white mosaic of the Triton (who bears what seems to be an oar) from the women's section of the Central Baths on Cardo IV.
- the Villa of Papyri, with its bronze piglet. I gather this villa was owned by Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, the father in law of Julius Caesar.
- the streets, which seem so real. Some of the adjacent buildings have a second storey.