Showing posts from January, 2012

31 Moments Noted In January

One verse of something notable- my little miracle moments- everyday for a month. This is how January 2012 worked out. These experiments are good for my writing practice and my perception of how lovely life is. 

The grass blades are sharp Cauterised in ice, where The earth surface is grazed Open mud coagulates
Sun disc foams in pink mist A mere soap-sliver in a cosmic bath Dog catches frost on her belly fur Tracking a tennis ball over ice-spiked grass
Enthralled dog chases her ball I pursue the mysterious object That slices up light between trees Slide over mud to discover a plastic bag
Conditions are neither warm nor bitter Air is cold humid, sky pale in blues and greys Horizon soft focused, smooth mud underfoot An echo of sun absorbed in wispy cloud
Hand sized bird with yellow ribs Lights on a branch for good scavenging A tin of fat and seed hangs in the holly Yellow flashes in the dark gloss of leaf
Car lurches up the lane Riding out the trials Of potholes and the territorial Assertions of a pheasant 

In situ

Our amateur tree surgery efforts are quite addictive, because it's so utterly satisfying to see the wood pile stack up and know that there will be fires this winter. We are gathering our own comfort and the exercise endorphins give the task some swift returns. We often combine the hedge forages with some coppicing for extra gratification. 

441 Mr climbs the boundary of dry wall Steadies himself with booted feet Planted firmly down against granite Stones, against ungainly trunk of tree
442 Chainsaw rattles. Mr tests the elected angle It is uncomplicatedly reachable. Serrated Blade rotates slickly through the branch Drops it down onto the old buckled roof
443 I drag the cut wood clear Admire the twist of it Solid muscular against soft Textured fuzzes of field grass
444 Tangible overhead, a block Of solid-blue sky. The branch Is a compact mass, is weight Pressed against the ground
445 I trace the strain in my legs Pushing my feet into the earth Levering this length of beech Out of the twists o…

The Happy Cartographer 1992

With a little bit of ’91 back story in which I definitely underplay how stressed I was, not so much lying to myself as determined to make it all okay. The effort is a bit too much, and after a year I do get miserable, and then I dislike my miserable self, and I dislike the self-loathing too. But it’s a learning curve, and it helps me understand the pile up of negative feelings that other people suffer. All the best artists have empathy.

‘November 1991

Daughter very ill with virus all week, so I am sitting in the college launderette cleaning sheets and missing lectures. My girl is more important. I did also spend a whole afternoon in Leeds looking for a Christmas Ball outfit. Depressed at myself for wasting time.

January 1992 The virus has turned into a lactose intolerance so my daughter is on a special diet and putting some weight back on but we have to go for more tests (sweat on Tuesday, apparently.) I’m behind in my work and feel I’ve got a mountain or two to climb. Not that worried, I…

Colourful Fish In The Green-Field Aquarium

Getting up too early and bravely doing the washing up has the distinct advantage of allowing the mid morning slump to be thoroughly exploited. Both Mr and me get fidgety though, we like doing stuff best of all. I love aquariums. Fish are always doing stuff, and they mostly look relaxed. 

431 Since reluctant waking broke me From my agreeable bed, a lengthy time Has lapsed, seems like it’s not lazy to snooze Here in the shade of this blaze, it’s earned
432 Kicked back to full recline I do not slide all the way into sleep My eyes rest. I hear dog panting From the shelter of the pallet table
433 Mr talks to the cat; he gets bored Being prone. He takes his rest pottering About, looking things over, checking if He should water the tub plants, indecisive
434 It transpires that the hosepipe is handy Mr will bring a shower to the tub flowers And the damp earth will smell Delicious to me, like a forest floor
435 I am averse but restless To unpack myself from this Webbed chair-bed, fabric print On my bared legs i…

The Happy Cartographer's Halloween 1991

The cardboard spider was splendid indeed. Halloween and Christmas are the two festivals that promote decorating the house, so maybe that’s why they are my favourites. The sparkles, lights in trees and candles in pumpkins, caught my imagination early. Actually, as children, we were given turnips to carve, pumpkins were too exotic for our household. For safety, we carved with spoons not knives. Carving a turnip with a blunt spoon is not easy, but the end result was proportionately satisfying. 

‘Halloween 1991 Put our decs up and partied. I made a black and orange spider, out of cardboard, to match our streamers. Flat looks funky. Inflatable flashing spook is a big success. Daughter extroverted as ever, chasing guests with an egg box dragon. She decided to wear a green hat, rose patterned gypsy dress and a fluorescent beach bag. Went to bed happily too. I think parties are natural environments for her. Lots of people around, lots of drink to go round and I made pigs liver pate, pepperoni p…

Swelter Tells The Chrysalis

When sunny days are not frequent or expected it is only polite and sensible to make the most of the lovely relaxing cheerful moment. Ideally, a kayak, a big lake and a picnic, but if it means lying in a sunshine rectangle in a bikini in the bed-sit window, then you should do it. I have, and it makes life a bit ridiculous in a very healthy way. Here I only wrestle the rusty sun lounger chair out of the Museum of Agricultural Artifacts and Sundry Articles (this is what we call the shed.) 

421 Mid morning quiet lazy time Arrives, it’s too hot for cups of tea I will find my sunglasses and drink cold Coffee from a china cup and saucer
422 Smug and swelling The fat late green Tomatoes have been Waiting for this extra sun
423 This moment can be maximised With some effort, the reclining chair Is heaved from the shed, I give myself Permission to indulge in lounging
424 I have both book and magazine Sun cream that smells like coconut Pretend I’m on holiday, let my limbs Slump, just being happy to be
425 Mammal…

The Happy Cartographer 1991

In which my fortunes progress from Pauper’s Allowance to a student grant, and maybe some loans. I had started a degree previously, but interrupted my education to concentrate on the baffling business of how to be a mum. It was the general consensus of opinion that this would be the ruin of my life, and I would not be able to do anything with my life subsequently other than drop out several more illegitimate progeny and drink too much cider. They were kind of right about the cider.

‘February 1991 I’m on Employment Training now, learning to help people with literacy. Facilitating, they call it. I should have a City & Guilds certificate by September and then I should be off to do my B.Ed [degree.] Life seems to be taking a more definite shape, the direction definitely forwards, shame it’s not a more gold paved path.
March 1991 Great Grandfather’s ninety-first birthday. Daughter drew him a picture and we bought two bags of Devon toffees. He loves toffee, whiskey, flowers and China tea. …

Flameproof Lyme

Fire making is a very important part of living in our house. Without it, we are cold and so is the water that comes out of the hot tap. It takes a lot of ignition to get a lyme log to burn, you have to mix them in with the more amenable woods, like alder and sycamore. Good thing we have plenty of overgrown hedges to scavenge through. It's hard work, but these are satisfying steps to take.

411 The art of fire making is in the ignition Raising the heat from a spark in spindled bundles Sustaining the flame to burn sizeable fuel Cut from the dense hedges
412 From the mass, single branches Are shaken out. The brittle skinny ends Broken off, bunched and fixed with twine From the bulky twine roll
413 This is the satisfying old fashioned skill Of faggot making. Each one represents A future fire lit, as nights draw in and frost Thinks of appearing in daylight
414 Twigs thicken to sticks, snapped In even lengths, until we need the saw For small logs, and start a second stack Next year’s fire fodder, left to …