The Umpteenth Crossing
Mary Thurlow

The Umpteenth Crossing


Voters Rating 17 / 1000



The Umpteenth Crossing gives itself away and hides its own secrets at the same time. It’s a chapbook – a slightly arcane term in British idiom for a compendium of tales and ballads told and sold by travellers, salesmen and chapmen. In American parlance, a chapbook is more commonly understood as a writer’s compendium, a collection and collation of stories, prose and poetry.

This collection of short prose and poetry from London-based American Mary Thurlow elegantly straddles cultural and linguistic divides. As its title work perfectly demonstrates, George Bernard Shaw didn’t have it all his own way: the British and the Americans are in truth united by our common language.

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- Villanelle


The art of living isn’t hard to master,

it’s as easy as sassy dancing.

It is one of life’s simple pleasures.


Throw your head back into laughter,

on a branch kiss the dew away.

The art of feeling isn’t hard to master.


Run your fingers down a soft grey feather,

pluck a woodsy wildflower bouquet.

It is one of life’s simple pleasures.


Float a leaf across a puddle,

over wind-blown water dimples.

The art of seeing isn’t hard to master.


A pebble kicked and made a treasure,

or skipped across in a lake top ripple.

It is one of life’s simple pleasures.


Hike the forest at your leisure,

a dog with a stick lollops after.

The art of being isn’t hard to master,

to simply be is a natural pleasure.


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