The Quarantine Quatrains: A Limited Edition for The Care Worker’s Charity!

One of Roger Wagner’s illustrations for The Quarantine Quatrains

I am delighted to announce the fruition of a a special project that the artist Roger Wagner and I have been working on together for the last couple of months. You will remember that I have been composing some ‘Quarantine Quatrains’ , in the metre of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, as a kind of ‘New Rubaiyat’ for our times. Happily this caught the attention of the excellent artist Roger Wagner, and, since the original Rubaiyat was so often published with beautiful illustrations, often exquisite Persian miniatures, Roger kindly agreed to make a beautiful set of seven ‘miniatures’, on Nepalese paper, illustrating and commenting on the text of my poem. As the final section of that poem is an elegy for the care workers who died of Covid themselves in the course of saving other people’s lives, we decided to dedicate this book to them and to donate our work on it, so that all profits, after the costs of printing, posting and packaging, could go to The Care Workers Charity. We engaged the Parchment Press in Oxford to produce a booklet with the poem and Roger’s illustrations beautifully reproduced, in a limited run of 6oo, numbered, and signed by both of us. By selling this at £15 inclusive of post and packaging (including postage to North America!), we hope to raise at least £5000 for The Careworker’s Charity.

So on this occasion, rather than buying me a coffee, why don’t you buy yourself this beautiful booklet, and at the same time support the care workers who are helping to get us all through this crisis. you can do so from this page on Roger’s website HERE 

Here, as a taster, is the final section of the poem with Roger’s beautiful illustration and embedded below that is a film, edited by Roger, in which the two of us discuss our inspiration for this project, and which also features a song setting of this section of the poem.

Roger Wagner’s Illustration of this final section

VII

35

At close of day I hear the gentle rain

Whilst experts on the radio explain

Mind-numbing numbers, rising by the day,

Cyphers of unimaginable pain

36

Each evening they announce the deadly toll

And patient voices calmly call the roll

I hear the numbers, cannot know the names

Behind each number, mind and heart and soul

37

Behind each number one belovèd face

A light in life whom no-one can replace,

Leaves on this world a signature, a trace,

A gleaning and a memory of grace

38

All loved and loving, carried to the grave

The ones whom every effort could not save

Amongst them all those carers whose strong love

Bought life for others with the lives they gave.

39

The sun sets and I find myself in prayer

Lifting aloft the sorrow that we share

Feeling for words of hope amidst despair

I voice my vespers through the quiet air:

40

O Christ who suffers with us, hold us close,

Deep in the secret garden of the rose,

Raise over us the banner of your love

And raise us up beyond our last repose.

21 Comments

Filed under literature, paintings, Poems

21 responses to “The Quarantine Quatrains: A Limited Edition for The Care Worker’s Charity!

  1. Lisa Curtice

    My late father often recited large parts of the Rubaiyat to me, so this is especially poignant so I’m in!

  2. Ann Mcbain

    I think this is a most beautiful idea…

  3. Tiffany

    I ordered a copy yesterday (saw it on your Youtube video), and I’m eager to receive it. Congratulations on a beautiful book and gift to help others!

  4. Christine Foulkes

    I’m so happy to learn of this exciting collaboration and its fundraising potential. I look forward to receiving my copy in due course. When the Quarantine Quarantine suite first appeared, I shared it with several family and friends all of whom were touched by its message and spirituality. Thank you for articulating so beautifully thoughts and feelings shared by many during these times. May Almighty God bless and inspire you. Christine Foulkes.

  5. Elizabeth Bunker

    Can I buy more than one copy, please? I would like 10, 9 to use as gifts.

    • malcolmguite

      Thanks Elizabeth, it’s kind of of you to consider buying so many but we’re restricting it to four per person just to give everyone a chance M

  6. Barbara L Parry

    What a lovely idea! As Joe Biden said, citing Seamus Heaney’s poem, there comes a time when “hope and history” rhyme!

  7. I’ve ordered my copy and look forward to holding it in my hands!

  8. Malcolm, this is the absolute best. I so enjoyed reading your quatrains when you first wrote them. I’m very glad they have found their way into a beautiful book; just ordered mine.

  9. Wonderful! I just ordered my copy, hopeful that you all are willing to ship to Thailand.

  10. William Weston

    The whole thing is a delight – poems, paintings, paper and the design of the book itself, the idea and its derivation, the contemporary context, the tribute; a splendid whole. Just one jarring feature – the lack of proof-reading, so easy to correct if, as assumed, it is printed, probably to order, from a computer file. It would be worth doing – the ‘ha-porth of tar’.
    Bill Weston (353)

  11. Courtney Veasey

    Hi Malcolm…I have just ordered a copy to be sent as a birthday gift for my friend Graham Shea, who is greatly endeared to you and your work from his time studying in Cambridge a few years ago now. If there is any way you could also sign this copy to be sent to him, I would be so grateful and know he would enjoy it all the more. And if not, the work itself will still be a surprise he will be happy to receive. Thank you and many blessings to you!

    -Courtney V.

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