Knowing your place

December 10, 2015



December 10, 2015


They’re still here, the legionaries.

One brushed past me in Chester,
His sandals clipping the flagstones
As he hurried to the baths.
Two were patrolling the East Gate
In Gloucester the other day.
I smelled the leather of their breastplates,
Heard the clink of iron swords.

They loiter in Bath with the tourists,
Savouring the sulphur of
Sul Minerva’s waters.
At Caerleon, as the sun sets,
They bustle about the barracks,
Cursing in a Latin
Never found in textbooks.

In London they jostle office clerks
As if they were the ghosts,
And walk the walls of Barbican,
Their eyes sweeping distant marshes
As far as Edgware Road,
Where cohort salutes cohort
Marching in formation.

And in the subtle lighting
Of municipal museums
They stand guard silently
Over the relics of empire
Untimely displayed,
And over weathered tombstones
With their unconvincing message:

Dis Manibus – Departed Shades.

Gillian Crow


December 10, 2015


After my mother died I’d catch sight
of her everywhere, at Tesco’s check-out
in front of me, her implacable hat,
her Aquascutum tweed. I’d know the set
of that head, the stance, angle of jaw,
until she turned and I’d see a face
droop with different wrinkles, the flesh more
pale, more red, more plump. Someone else,
not her at all, and I’d snatch my breath
like missing a stair. When I wear the coat
she bought the month before her pain-filled death
I feel I’ve become my own grey ghost.
Once, as I approached a shop-window pane,
there was my mother peering at me through the rain.

(Anne Grimes lives with her husband and brought up her family in an old mill house in a secluded river-valley in West Wales. Before moving there she taught in London, and since then has always written poetry, but the move to Wales with its strong poetic tradition was a defining influence on her work. Alice’s Cat was her first full collection of poems.)

of fairie and stranger things

December 10, 2015


I’ve always been aware of the otherworld, of spirits that exist in that twilight place that lies in the corner of our eyes, of fairie and stranger things still that we spy only when we’re not really paying attention to them, whispers and flickering shadows, here one moment, gone the instant we turn our heads for a closer look. But I couldn’t always find them. And when I did, for a long time I thought they were only this excess of imagination that I carry around inside me, that somehow it was leaking out of me into the world.

Charles de Lint
Memory and Dream

hoo-leee shite!

December 10, 2015


A young English couple was visiting with me one summer after I had been composting humanure for about six years. One evening, as dinner was being prepared, the couple suddenly understood the horrible reality of their situation: the food they were about to eat was recycled human shit. When this fact abruptly dawned upon them, it seemed to set off an instinctive alarm, possibly inherited directly from Queen Victoria. “We don’t want to eat shit!” they informed me, rather distressed (that’s an exact quote), as if in preparing dinner I had simply set a steaming turd on a plate in front of them with a knife, fork and napkin.”

Joseph Jenkins
The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human Manure

anything wrong with that…

December 10, 2015


Last night I was seriously considering whether I was a bisexual or not but I don’t think so though I’m not sure if I’d like to be and ARGH I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, if you like a person, you like the person, not their genitals.”

Jess C. Scott