Lines and Squares

January 19, 2020

Whenever I walk in a London street,
I’m ever so careful to watch my feet;
And I keep in the squares,
And the masses of bears,
Who wait at the corners all ready to eat
The sillies who tread on the lines of the street,
Go back to their lairs,
And I say to them, “Bears,
just look how I’m walking in all the squares!”

And the little bears growl to each other, “He’s mine,
As soon as he’s silly and steps on a line.”
And some of the bigger bears try to pretend
That they came round the corner to look for a friend;
And they try to pretend that nobody cares
Whether you walk on the lines or squares.
But only the sillies believe the talk;
It’s ever so portant how you walk.
And it’s ever so jolly to call out, “Bears,
just watch me walking in all the squares!”

A. A. Milne

talking dirty

January 19, 2020

My first wife suffered with a form of Narratophilia. She could only orgasm by talking dirty – and I mean really dirty – during lovemaking. It was a tad disconcerting to be honest.

At that time and in that place, deep in a nearby wood, there was a slender stream which lost its way through the thick shrubbery. We would often picnic there in the summer. Taste happiness together. I have a memory of her laughter in the still air, nymph-like, quite free.

She was a crystal ball: you could see into her, but not through her. Ultimately, she wasn’t what I’d thought her to be. She was pure smoke and mirrors…But in truth was I any better? We were both so young…

Anyway, on one sundrenched day we made love beside that stream. She shrieked obscenities from her potty mouth. And, unexpectedly, I heard a woman’s voice crying out:

‘Children, children, do come away.’ Apparently, a class from the local junior school were out on a nature ramble; their teacher was busily herding them away from the two half-naked, rutting beasts at the water’s edge. ‘Don’t look children. And put your fingers in your ears…!’

How very embarrassing for all concerned.

Looking Glass

January 18, 2020

I want to be the woman
who pokes her fingers
through a canine
skull in the woods
and can divine
what killed it,

how long
it was panting blood
before its heart pulped,
how acute the teeth
that skinned it.
I want to be

the lady who presses herbs
on open wounds, knows
which tree to lick
as antiseptic.

I want to come
clean,

not this tuft of fur greying,
picking bourbon mid-shelf
not because of cost,

but for a hue that
holds a hint of rabid.

Megan Merchant

Is the beauty of the Whole really enhanced by our agony? And is the Whole really beautiful? And what is beauty? Throughout all his existence man has been striving to hear the music of the spheres, and has seemed to himself once and again to catch some phrase of it, or even a hint of the whole form of it. Yet he can never be sure that he has truly heard it, nor even that there is any such perfect music at all to be heard. Inevitably so, for if it exists, it is not for him in his littleness. But one thing is certain. Man himself, at the very least, is music, a brave theme that makes music also of its vast accompaniment, its matrix of storms and stars. Man himself in his degree is eternally a beauty in the eternal form of things. It is very good to have been man.   And so we may go forward together with laughter in our hearts,  and peace, thankful for the past, and for our own courage. For we shall make after all a fair conclusion to this brief music that is man.

Olaf Stapledon
Last and First Men

swallowing jewels

January 14, 2020

There is less and less sherry, a cocktail sherry, very light, very good. It keeps me company. I am swallowing jewels, light by light. To celebrate this moment (it is like being in love)I am having a cigarette. Fire in the mouth, Topaz in the stomach.

Anne Sexton
Found Topaz

No Evil Star: Selected Essays, Interviews, and Prose

Last Summer

The cove is not much visited. It is isolated, hard to reach and haunted by the restless souls of shipwrecked sailors, drowned when their vessels were torn apart on the treacherous rocks hereabouts. The story goes that on certain windswept nights a ghost ship rides the wild surf and the screams of the drowning sailors can still be heard above the roar of the tumbling waves.

On the walk to the cove we pass through a hanging river valley: it’s been cut short of sloping into the sea due to erosion of the cliffs by the wild Atlantic waves. The day is full of sun and the sea calm. The valley is rich in wildflowers and heathland butterflies. A species of wild Chamomile grows abundantly here, but is very rare throughout the rest of the UK. It is a good place to pause for a while, make love without fear of interruption, and afterwards picnic on sandwiches and champagne.

During stormy weather, sea foam is driven into the cove by the wind and vortices form against the sheer cliffs resulting in small tornadoes of sea foam. This spume at twilight resembles myriad dancing phantoms…

P

fantastic sprawling shapes

January 12, 2020

It was mossed and lichened with antiquity; and there was a hint of beginning dilapidation in the time-worn stone of the walls. The formal garden had gone a little wild from neglect; the trimmed hedges and trees had taken on fantastic sprawling shapes; and evil, poisonous weeds had invaded the flower-beds. There were statues of cracked marble and Verdigris-eaten bronze amid the shrubbery; there were fountains that had long ceased to flow; and dials on which the foliage-intercepted sun no longer fell.

Clark Ashton Smith
The End Of The Story

quite harmless

January 12, 2020

‘….I imagine it’s been going on for hundreds of years. It’s quite harmless, just a vision of something from the past that is permanently or temporarily fixed in this place. I doubt that even Groves could capture it on film: I expect it’s something that produces an image in our brains. . . .’

David G. Rowlands
A Job Not Done

I asked her if she never thought she saw anything to account for the sounds she heard. She told me, no more than once, on the darkest evening she ever came through the Wood; and then she seemed forced to look behind her as the rustling came in the bushes, and she thought she saw something all in tatters with the two arms held out in front of it coming on very fast, and at that she ran for the stile, and tore her gown all to flinders getting over it.

M.R. James
A Neighbour’s Landmark

guardian shrouds of shadow

January 11, 2020

Most horrible of all sights are the little unpainted wooden houses remote from travelled ways, usually squatted upon some damp, grassy slope or leaning against some gigantic outcropping of rock. Two hundred years and more they have leaned or squatted there, while the vines have crawled and the trees have swelled and spread. They are almost hidden now in lawless luxuriances of green and guardian shrouds of shadow; but the small-paned windows still stare shockingly, as if blinking through a lethal stupor which wards off madness by dulling the memory of unutterable things.

H P Lovecraft
The Picture in the House