general biography, Poetry, Uncategorized
Comments 12

Rathbone the Poet

ttc305When I was in Boston a few years ago, I visited the Howard Gottlieb Archive Center at Boston University. It houses a collection of Basil Rathbone papers. To my great delight, I discovered some poetry written by Basil Rathbone. Did you know he was a poet? Here is one of Rathbone’s poems:

I looked at myself in the mirror,
and my life passed by like a sliver
of light through a closing door,
that would open again, once more … once more
and then … no more!
I had known the face for many a year,
the face of the man who was standing there,
and he looked at me with eyes that said,
“You will soon be dead … you will soon be dead”!
“The sooner the better,” I grimly replied,
“If I look like you with your egg-shaped head
I would sooner be dead”!
Then he smiled at me from the mirror’s surface
and I seemed to sense his evil purpose.
So I smashed the mirror in many pieces
Hoping thereby to prolongue my species!

ttc304I find it sad that he looks in the mirror and starts thinking of death. I don’t know when the poem was written, but the content suggests that Rathbone was old. Perhaps he was having difficulty dealing with getting older. What do you think?


  1. GRETCHEN says

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    Such a sad poem you wrote about your death….
    would much rather celebrate your LIFE, instead.

    So here’s a little poem of my OWN, just 4-U:

    This day marks a special time
    When someone good was born

    A sweet soul who’s light still shines
    Even now–though you’ve returned home

    While you lived you remained humble
    Thru highs & lows & many troubles

    Missed for not your acting parts
    But more-so those things you held in heart

    So long ago you came to be
    Yet in memories you exist eternally

    Be it here or there
    In the present or then

    You are always & ever
    The kindest of men
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    THANKS 4 being an awesome guy, Baz!
    With TONS-O-LOVE,
    Yer bud,

    Liked by 2 people

    • marciajessen says

      Thank you, Gretchen! What a lovely poem! I’m sure Basil is smiling.


    • rockhyraxx says

      I´d like to join Gretchen (amazing poem!!!!!) and wish you, dearest Basil, a very happy birthday!
      Thank you so much for making this world a better place (during your lifetime and even after your death) through your kindness, sincerity and creativity! There are very few people, who inspire me as much as you do or have the ability to make me smile even if I have a bad time by just looking at a picture of you or reading something you said! I hope you have a wonderful day with all your loved ones and puppies up there!

      Apropos puppies: I´m a little crazy, so a baked a birthday cake for Basil and I would so so so love to show it to you all, but I don’t think I can upload images here, so here follows the description:
      The cake is frosted in vanilla buttercream and in the left corner there are from left to right Judy, Moritza, Toni, Bunty, Cullum, Leo (who turned out way to dark) and Happy made out of fondant and in upper right corner there is a gramophone and a lot of notes flying around to symbolise music. And of course the centre says “Happy birthday Basil”. And I´m actually pretty proud about the way it turned out because I never worked with fondant before.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Do you have anything on the plays he did w Katherine Cornell? It’s really a shame he didn’t get the movie roles when Hollywood made the plays into films. It’s also a shame that theater unlike film is ephemeral or for the time being & that we can’t see him on stage


    • marciajessen says

      I agree. If it weren’t for his films, we wouldn’t know him at all! I probably have something on the Katherine Cornell plays. I will look.


  3. Judy D. says

    Sounds like it was inspired by “the Raven,” which he recorded, didn’t he, for Caedmon in those wonderful spoken-word albums. I guess who over a certain age doesn’t look into a mirror, especially an actor, and feel distaste or even fright!! Good job, though, Baz. Thanks for printing this poem!

    Liked by 1 person

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