Kermode - Poem by gershon hepner
Literary, Frank Kermode
when living on the Isle of Man
would watch the bikers on the road,
of motor cycles a great fan.
Later on, becoming scribal,
he moved to Cambridge where he studied
Shakespeare and the Holy Bible,
a highroad that was rarely bloodied
by writers who die off like fleas,
or riders on a mean machine.
A Manx cat with a tale to please
all people who’re on books more keen
than on a motorcycle race,
he feared no danger as a maven
in the Bible steeplechase,
swanning with the Bard of Avon.
John F. Burns writes about motorcycling in the Isle of Man, pointing out that as a child Frank Kermode, emeritus King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at Cambridge University (1974-1982) and Julian Clarence Levi Professor Emeritus in the Humanities at Columbia University, used to watch the motorcyclist at 4.30am in the morning (“Mad Dash of Bikers Leaves Island in Its Dust, ”NYT, June 23,2008) :
One enthusiast with memories of the races in the 1930s is Sir Frank Kermode, a native Manxman, as islanders are known, who is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading literary scholars. Now 88 and living in Cambridge, England, where he taught for years, he took time off from writing an article for The New York Review of Books to reminisce about his boyhood days in the 1930s, rising at 4: 30 a.m. to get a good vantage point along the route, and to get autographs from the champion riders. “I was crazy about the races, ” Sir Frank said. But the dangers were ever-present. “The riders, ” he said, “used to get killed like flies.”
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