Showing posts from July, 2014


One young fox pads across the village road, unnerved by a squabble of magpies. Heat is thickening. Flowers reach unbearable brightness. Dark fleas show on Dog's white fur. Back at the house six excessively purchased bags of cheap salt sit on the kitchen worktop. It is hot work to salt the carpets. It takes one bag of salt to cover all of them. The other five sit, over prepared, lined up, a show of strength. A couple of hours wait is recommended, while the fine mineral dehydrates insect eggs. Fleas are poor swimmers, too, they thrive in the moderate zone: not immersion, not desiccation. It makes the river obvious. Dog hobbles (infected paw: she is having an unlucky week) over the dry grass. The crop field is unstirred. All the wheat stands as though it would crumble to dust: we dare not touch it. But the water is close: cold, clear, edged in light that flows up, that plays over the broad tree trunks, over the tumbling weeds. Wading in happens fast. Heat calms, damsel flies

Thursday's Thunder

In The Afternoon: The loosest cotton still traps heat. Every breeze is embraced. People are walking in food halls to linger in freezer aisles, they are loitering at every air-conditioned doorway, they are sitting on shaded benches, postured like slightly deflated balloons. There's no explanation for the girl in a woollen hat. Girl and hat cause ripples of surprise. Only ripples: it is too hot for waves. Plymouth's streets hover heat. In The Evening: All the city errands are done. The air is thick, a clear fog, even in the wood shade, even at the river's edge. Coolness lies in the murk of water, calm as a carp. Beyond the upside down trees, clouds reflect. Later, wet clothes are dumped in a washing machine; from the doorstep of an untidy house, a thunderstorm is observed. 

Five Songs Of Summer

Castle Beach, with my daughter, 1990 One: The first sounds of summer are not song, exactly, but I can't ignore them. They are too entwined in this experience of life. My strongest sounds of summer are primordial: waves that wash slow over quartz pebbles and medium grain sand; chirrups of split tail birds; the breeze idling though a full-leafed tree. After this I think of beach chatter: what you hear when your eyes are closed in full sun, when the beach is busy, that blend of every human social vocal. There are human musical sounds that evoke summer things too, though, stuff you could put on a mix tape. There are: Two: Kelly Marie. I Feel Love . Because disco works best in the heat, because this is the song I associate with going on the Waltzers at the travelling fair. Sequins, candyfloss, coloured light bulbs spinning. Walking in a wonky line with innocently sticky knees; everything smells of sugar, onions, cigarettes, fruity lip gloss.  Three: Janice Joplin. Summerti

Dorothy And The Self Made Pie

I walk Dog and my elderly neighbour around the block. I do not put Dorothy on a lead, please understand, although she does alarm me as the tractors pass. 'That's all right,' she says, stopping unpredictably under the bucket of a Massey Fergusson; waving at the grey bearded driver; 'is that one of ours? Oh yes, I know his mother. That's Christopher.'  Christopher waves back. 'Yes, I know his mother,' she grins, walking on, after the machine has crawled carefully by. 'It is lovely to be out here,' she says. Her eyes flitter like a butterfly over the hedges, the old chapel all done up, the quarry busy with forklifts today. I had been walking past Dorothy's garden when she asked where was I going: around the block? Could she join me? 'Well of course.' I wait for her to check that she's turned things off in her neat home, and she keeps pace very well and breathes easy up every hill. She tells of how she used to walk

Weekend Diminuendo

Saturday: begins with finding a butterfly in a newly opened sunflower. A day in which one drives a loop of town hoping for a free space, settles for a car park, finds the pay machine is out of order. Pennies earmarked for parking are counted over to the proprietor of the second hand bookstore, the remainder buys an avocado.  On walking Dog, a tennis ball is un-lodged from a hedge; wild strawberries and meadowsweet grow; ransoms and red clover offer up ripe seeds. A swimming costume is found in the shoulder bag underneath the unneeded raincoat; there's a stretch of water clear of rocks. Swimming with Dog, upriver. Skin shivers, damply redressed, jumps old storm felled trees to warm up.  Home to show Mr foraged goods, and how a poppy has appeared in the vegetable patch.  A granddaughter is brought, tired, with cake to share. 'Did you have fun at the party?' 'We played football and chasin-' she prods the icing. 'I don't love blue. I love pink.

Surprised By The Memory Of A Pen

Trying with the borrowed laptop. Not liking the borrowed laptop. Feeling apologetic.  Such a first world problem! Trying again. The moon that is sighed to is as wide as it can be, milky as glaucoma. Mistakes every third word, at least. Tap tap- oh, not that- tap- oh… Try again: oh… Conscious of a lack in flow. Hands tap knees instead. Outside the moon has worn thin. The sky is swirled out and sequined: one star is spun free. Remember the fibre tip pen you had? After the years of cheap biro that leaked ink in your pockets? The lump on your finger from gripping the plastic? How beautiful that fibre tip! It glided. (Special effect produced by a marshmallow on a fiery stick)