Marcel Proust’s rudeness and Lazarus’ shock are the themes for my two newly published Fibonacci poems.


Maybe we don’t take madeleine cakes enough with weak black tea. I’ve only had the proper French version of these little cakes once but I can see why the French novelist Marcel Proust (1871–1922) rated them so highly in his massive seven volume novel In Search of Lost Time ( À la recherche du temps perdu). In the first volume of the novel, Swann’s Way (Du côté de chez Swann) (1913), the central character, Marcel, experiences what’s known as involuntary memory when he tastes one of the cakes dipped into his tea. It opens his memory to scenes of his childhood which begin the epic and apparently sprawling work that is the longest novel in any language. I’m currently on the third volume The Guermantes Way (Le Côté de Guermantes) (1920/1921) – I’m reading it on my Kindle in the English Moncheiff/Hudson/Kilmartin translation but also, from time to time, comparing the text with the original French which is, sadly, above my reading abilities. I hope to finish this self-imposed but highly enjoyable project by the end of the year.

Why are you telling me this? I hear you ask. Well, some time ago, I decided to write a Fibonacci poem about the Proust’s madeleine cake incident, imagining what he might have said to me if we were to have met. I’m afraid I imagined our meeting as being uncomfortable and, on his side, rather sneering in the manner occasionally taken when French intellectuals talk to the English.

Marcel Proust (1871–1922)

I liked the idea of writing an extremely short poem in the Fibonacci arithmetical system in answer to the epic-writer Proust’s imagined put-down. At the weekend, the poem, Time Past,  along with another of my new Fibs, was published in Musepie Press’s 17th issue of the excellent Fibonacci journal, The Fib Review.

If you’d like to read my poem, here’s the link:



The Raising of Lazarus, c. 1609 by Caravaggio.  Museo Regionale, Messina
The second Fibonacci poem is Lazarus. It is also about my memory of a vivid moment. Lazarus was the man Jesus brought back from the dead in one of his most dramatic miracles. I had often wondered what it must have actually felt like to find yourself relaunched into life in such a startling way. The thought returned to me once when I was being discharged from hospital after a serious illness. Here’s a link to my poem:

My thanks, once more, are due to Mary-Jane Grandimetti, the editor of The Fib Review, for choosing to publish my work yet again. I have had poems in this publication  thirteen consecutive issues. I’m now putting my mind to writing some more poetry in this style where the syllable or word count has to correspond to Fibonacci’s sequence: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34. Maybe you should have a go too.

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