Showing posts from March, 2015

The Buff And Shine

Tiredness is an arse.

An inconsiderate underminer, riddling calm.

Over and over, grace rises from stress, is interrupted.
Focus slips to the floor, broken; mindfulness is kicked crossly into a metaphorical bin. It is not even a good shot. It rolls in shame, crumpled, to a halt.

Oh gosh, we say, or something like that.

And then wonder, what is all this work for?
And what is to show for it?
Did we need something- a house, perhaps? Being warm?
No one remembers, only feels that it is unfair.

But none of that was the point. It was finding the eternal in the moment: the spark, the genius, the serendipity!
How did we forget?
The jaw dropping splendour of the whole universe?
Somehow, we forgot.

Tiredness is a repetitive arse.

It is not the only thing that tangles us: there are many recurrent debilities.
They tangle our steps, like dirty shirts dumped on the floor.
Same old shirts and quirks of fear.

Never mind. Fill up the wash basket. Run yourself a bath.

Be happy when there is enough hot…

A Revisiting Review

This paperback of The Catcher In The Rye is a second reprint from 1987. It has age spots and a typeface I like (Monotype Bembo) and I would have been 17 in that year but I don’t remember if that’s when I bought it. Surely I had read the book earlier, maybe even in hardback?
I remember Holden Caulfield though; disaffected antihero, soul in a soulless world, thinker in a thoughtless world. He acted on impulses born of that odd mix of emotion and moral responses. He had a keen insight into people, even if he was confused by what he saw: he saw it, reacted to it. He had stubbornness and integrity and that individualistic red hat.

(If you don’t know the plot and/or the palaver of this book, have a quick cheat here: The Catcher In The Rye.)
Rereading was a gamble - what if I’d left my old friend Holden too far behind? Perhaps I would find him gauche, all acne and embarrassment? If old JD had been having a laugh?
What if I wanted to save him? What if I’m a phoney now?
Pestered thus by my own…

A Week In Which We Find Ourselves Incredibly Alive

Tuesday Is A  Calm Day Peelings piled in a pot, hob-simmered; dots of herb leaf turning, jade flecks in amber convections.  This onion, roasted to a sweet paste.
Bone stock brewed overnight, tucked into the Rayburn’s dinky oven.
This makes soup, a shimmering dark gold soup, edged in lemon zest, earthed with turmeric.
But we are so hungry we add rice, pale rice, carrot, broccoli, red leaf, a fresh shine of onion, orange lentils, tomatoes; all the colours slippery rich with good oils.
We put hot food in deep plates and we eat our feast outdoors.
At the end house the clearance men are working. We hear their chatter. The house is being emptied: we speak of it briefly, sadly.
Our lawn is mowed. The sun shines and the breeze does not steal that warmth.
In the polytunnel, flora is waking; we speak of this, the spring miracle, the full happiness of it.
There will be left overs for supper, we say, and this is how life should be.

Wednesday Is A Travel Day  Our car becomes one of a mass in a ro…

Vernal On Sunday

My calendar says it is the 15th day of the 3rd month of the 15th year of the 21st century, a specificity that should focus a mind to the present point.

My head says, is this Sunday? Possibly it is…

No real decisions are made but we find ourselves stalking the moorlands with a sharp wind and a shovel.  We heft a small sack of horse poo half a mile or so, a circular route, back to the car. Unburdened then up Cox Tor, all the way to the panorama and the full push of wind. We hide for a while in the dip of a rock nest. Dog wags patiently.

We climb down over knolls of buried stone; matted in grass, it reminds me of sloth hair and giant knucklebones. Gargantuan knuckle dragging sloth monsters slumbering under our feet.

In every pool, ladles of frogspawn, rich bubbles of life.  Even here, where the vegetation is dwarfed by harsh weathering, there is succulence in this waking season.
The sloths will be dreaming of warming sun.

We sit in the car, heater on; we are eating ice cream, rubbing Dog-ste…


If we are lucky, there is a recollection from childhood that we revere for being a time when expectations were delivered upon. Impatience at the waiting will have existed, but we remember the thrill better. Ingratitude may have been present, but not held in memory. We were open to the immensity of receiving and satiated by the result.
It could have been a toy, a feast, a visit, any number of details.
If we are lucky, we have this in memory.
This is the uncomplicated bliss with which I hold a new seed catalogue.
Those who garden understand, those who don’t feel let down perhaps - a seed catalogue? Recaptures all that?
Not recapture, not nostalgia.
A development of the grateful receipt that allows true happiness. As adults, we must do the work ourselves of course, it is a more proactive experience.
We make decisions - here the priorities are edible and medicinal - towards constructing our lives, living how we wish to live in order to make the most of being alive: not existing: living…

A Night Drive

When I click the beams full, my car has the eyes of a giant.
The road and the night are one colour.
I follow a line of stars homeward.
All the sky is stars: a maze of lights: the eyes of my car gape.
How simple it would be to amble up, meander, squint-bleary, marvel time away.
How would we find our way back?
I don’t know.
I think we would be laughing too much, but then find a bean stalk, helter-skelter, plonk, back on the driveway.
Find a pot of gold in the footwell.

St Piran's Day

Frost held the grass still, early this morning. Birds sang. Daffodils, without the nods of breeze, seemed lost in dreams.
Today they took Clarrie to the crematorium.
There will be a fine view over the woods from there. Maybe the starlings will fly, make sympathetic murmurations over the canopy of Cardinham. 
Grandchild 2 passed the pegs, while we hung out washing on the rotary lines. My back ached from levelling soil, from making new beds in the polytunnel: we will grow melons for the summer.
‘It is sad, Granma,’ the little one says. ‘Your friend is died.’
And she says, ‘Oh! I love melons!’
She helped to seal the envelope of the memoriam card, carried it to Carol next door, for passing on at the service. Ron was going up to feed the chickens: the little one went up too, made backward skips away from the pecking.
‘Remember Clarrie’s sweet peas?’ Carol said. ‘We collected seeds in September, you can have some. We can all grow sweet peas at the side of our houses.’
Grandchild 2 came …

Cliff Top Tea

This skyline is a pale bleed, cloud into sea, dissolving. The sea is salt-milk, wind churned, flung in daubs, white froth on fish-silver sheen. Above the wind-line clouds edge inland, sun on their backs, grey fleece and opal. A three-quarter moon in the clear sky sits, pulling tides.
Mr and me, in the car with the bad starter motor, sit, eat bargain bucket cream tea from regrettable plastic.
Gulls are calling, in flight, at the fierce air.
Gorse shivers non-stop.
This show is fantastic.
It has everything.
Cloud swallows moon.
Crumbs of scone skim out into the road.

Whispering Earth

Winter melts.
In breezes Spring, the unfurler, the light of wing.
Wind comes cold without bite: a soother of fevers, a sweeper of fears.
Warmth comes, in beams of sun.
What is it that you want, the earth whispers: I can grow it.

Up in the field the old barn is breaking.
‘Entropy.’ I point: Dog has an air of trying not to laugh in my face.
(What is it that she knows?)

At home mess has vigorous regrowth. Today it signifies creative abundance.
Crumbs of bread because our soup was delicious.
Mud prints over the kitchen floor because the garden begins its bloom.
Drain still blocked and this matters not: if anything, how the water spills, the foam from washed clothes, the icky slick of dish water, it is lively, jaunty even, over the messed up gravel.

Washing whips on the line till we pull it in out of the hail.
The sun comes back, beaming warm.