Each poem has been assigned its own catalogue number. In a few cases, where a poem was given a significant revision at a later date, or for a special collection, two numbers are given, referrring to the two versions.
In the manuscript archive, poems are grouped according to their year and number, e.g. 78.1, 78.2, etc. These numbers are purely arbitrary, and have no correlation with chronological sequence.
Poems which have no known date are assigned the prefix 00: 00.1, 00.2 etc. Poems which have been transcribed from tape recordings are prefixed with T: T.1, T.2 etc.
Other abbreviations, referring to various named collections of poems, are as follows:
AUB An Unusual Book
EDD M’Temwa or Every Day has its Doggerel
IC In Calicem
LM Liturgical Movement
OBS O Beata Solitudo / O Sola Beatitudo
OE Odds and Ends
PT The Plain Truth magazine used as a folder for poems
RPPP Rainbowed Parabola over Promised Pastorale
TPC The Poets Cornered
WJ The Wandering Jew
Where possible, a poem has been assigned a date. This is usually the date of the poem as it is given in the original manuscript - John Bradburne usually ended a poem with the date (and sometimes even the time at which he wrote it) or feastday. In cases where he didn’t, it is usually possible to work out the date from another poem on the same page or on an adjacent page. In a number of cases, this is not possible, and I have had to rely on similarities in the typeface or page colour in order to suggest a likely date. In a few cases, no date at all can be assigned with confidence. All uncertain cases are shown by a question-mark.
Any other information John Bradburne adds about the provenance of a poem (such as where it was written) is given alongside the date.
In order to provide a quick guide about the length of a poem, I have given a summary of the number of verses and the rhyme structure of each verse, using a traditional classification: for example, ‘6-line ababcc’ means that in a verse of six lines, the first and third lines rhyme, as do the second and fourth and the fifth and sixth.
Any other points of rhetorical interest are also indicated under this heading - for example, John Bradburne’s occasional use of acrostics.
Church - pope, infallibility, religious orders, vocations, Rome, documents, denominations, church history
Faith - and its practices, penance, sacrifice, monastic life, beliefs, music, Mass, evolution, Islam
God the Father - creator, being, Spirit
God the Son - incarnation, eucharist, crucifixion
Jews - Judaism, Christ as Jew
New Testament - Nativity, Apocalypse, parables
Old Testament - Eden, characters, events, ancestry of Jesus, Israel history
General reflection - on life, resurrection, eternity, heaven, rosary, love, evil, time, solitude
Social - issues, such as birth control, race, relationships
Local and nature
Fauna - bees, birds, eagles... alone or as a stimulus for reflection
Landscape - flora, landscape, weather, stars, space, tribes, described or used as a stimulus for reflection
Mtemwa - and its inhabitants, leprosy, gifts to the lepers, Mashonaland, Silveira House
Local politics - landowner rows, local practices, maladministration
Political - national political events, other peoples
Events and Objects
Day - commemorating a feast day or festival
Month - commemorating a time of year
Objects - and what they do, e.g. musical instrument, tune, painting
SW England - Devon, Somerset
England - outside the SW - Cambridge, Norfolk, Cumbria, London
Europe (general travel, including the Mediterranean)
Domestic - people John Bradburne knows or to whom he’s related
Fantasy - ghosts, dreams, imaginary characters, mythical beings
Letters - in poem form, or addressed to someone directly, letters of thanks
Personal - his own appearance, likes and dislikes, activities, biography, memories
People - famous individuals or groups used as stimulus for reflection
People: literary (other than Shakespeare) including fictitious characters
Poetry - reflections on his own poetry and on poetry or writing in general, or on the nature of language; also, a poem showing a particular technique
Shakespeare - either alone or linked with Francis Bacon
Multiple - a very long poem with a variety of themes
Unclear - a poem which proved difficult to classify