Programming note: Today's audio edition of Steyn's Song of the Week airs on Serenade Radio at 5.30pm Greenwich Mean Time, which for one week only (due to misaligned transatlantic summer-autumn time-changes) is 1.30pm North American Eastern or 10.30am for a West Coast Sunday brunch listen. Wherever you are on the planet, simply click the button at top right here.
Welcome to a brand new entry to our Mark Steyn Club anthology of video poetry: Germany and other Continental nations face a very chilly winter, even as their leaders continue to insist that the planet is about to fry. For some reason, it put me in mind of a dank, dark year just over two centuries ago. As I recount in my introduction:
We have been here before, of course. We always have – but, in ahistorical times, the highway-gluers are rarely aware. Once upon a time, everybody knew what was meant by 'The Year Without a Summer'. It was 1816, and it was cold, bone-chillingly cold: Temperatures in Europe plummeted to their lowest in living memory, with records that would hold for the next two centuries. Crops failed across the northern hemisphere, and famine gripped Germany, Wales, Ireland... It was the last great subsistence crisis across the western world...
As we shall hear. For a tight little group of friends holed up at Lord Byron's villa on Lake Geneva, "The Year Without a Summer" was most productive, including two creations that remain hugely profitable pillars of our popular culture to this day - Mary Shelley's Frankenstein monster and Dr Polidori's vampyre. But today we're presenting mein host's own contribution to that chilly creativity - a poem about dark days that seems very relevant to our own times. To watch my reading of Lord Byron's "Darkness", prefaced by my introduction, please click here and log-in.
Thank you for all your kind comments about this feature. Irene, a First Weekend Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club, writes of our last poem:
These readings were so beautifully done, Mr Steyn - and such a lovely tribute to Her late Majesty.
Thank you, Irene. We hope you enjoy today's selection.
If you'd like to catch up on earlier poems in the series, you can find them on our Sunday Poems home page. As with Tales for Our Time and our music specials and The Mark Steyn Show, we're archiving my video poetry in an easy-to-access Netflix-style tile format that we hope makes it the work of moments to prowl around and alight on something that piques your interest of a weekend, whether Kipling, Keats or The Kangaroo.
One other bonus of Steyn Club membership is that you can enjoy much of our content in whichever is your preferred form - video, audio, text. So, if you'd rather hear me read Lord Byron off-camera, please click here.
One other benefit to Club Membership is our Comment Club privileges. So, if the above poem does not tickle your fancy, then give it your best below. Please do stay on topic on all our comment threads, because that's the way to keep them focused and readable. With that caution, have at it (in verse, if you wish).