Nude bodies like peeled logs
sometimes give off a sweetest
odour, man and woman

under the trees in full excess
matching the cushion of

aromatic pine-drift fallen
threaded with trailing woodbine
a sonnet might be made of it

Might be made of it! odour of excess
odour of pine needles, odour of
peeled logs, odour of no odour
other than trailing woodbine that

has no odour, odour of a nude woman
sometimes, odour of a man.

William Carlos Williams

my favourite thing

May 14, 2019

I have been feeling very clearheaded lately and what I want to write about today is the sea. It contains so many colours. Silver at dawn, green at noon, dark blue in the evening. Sometimes it looks almost red. Or it will turn the colour of old coins. Right now the shadows of clouds are dragging across it,  and patches of sunlight are touching down everywhere.  White strings of gulls drag over it like beads.

It is my favourite thing, I think, that I have ever seen. Sometimes I catch myself staring at it and forget my duties. It seems big enough to contain everything anyone could ever feel

Anthony Doerr
All the Light We Cannot See

Consider the subtleness of the sea; how its most dreaded creatures glide under water, unapparent for the most part, and treacherously hidden beneath the loveliest tints of azure. Consider also the devilish brilliance and beauty of many of its most remorseless tribes, as the dainty embellished shape of many species of sharks. Consider, once more, the universal cannibalism of the sea; all whose creatures’ prey upon each other, carrying on eternal war since the world began.

Consider all this; and then turn to the green, gentle, and most docile earth; consider them both, the sea and the land; and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself? For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half-known life. God keep thee! Push not off from that isle, thou canst never return!”

Herman Melville
Moby Dick

Killing the Spring

April 16, 2019

I could not see the spring.
I could not hear the spring.
I could not touch the spring.
Once upon a time a young person
died for no reason.
I was the same.

Anne Sexton

Poisoned

April 14, 2019

Here we all are in a world poisoned by environmental degradation and we have no one to blame but ourselves.

a BIG surprise

April 14, 2019

If you go out in the woods today
You’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go out in the woods today
You’d better go in disguise…

For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic…

If you go out in the woods today,
You’d better not go alone.
It’s lovely out in the woods today,
But safer to stay at home…

Jimmy Kennedy

Teddy Bear’s Picnic

the edge of a precipice

April 13, 2019

A woman – I ought to say a stranger – who caresses you, teases you, is sweet with you and brings you to the edge of a precipice. There, the protagonist gasps or goes pale. As if he were inside a kaleidoscope and caught sight of the eye watching him. Colours arranging themselves in a geometry far from anything you’re ready to accept as okay. And so begins autumn …

Roberto Bolaño

Prose from Autumn in Gerona

The Unknown University

trans. Laura Healy

grey ruin

April 11, 2019

Night, Gothic night, again may shade the plains
Where Power is seated and where Science reigns;
England, the seat of arts, be only known
By the grey ruin and the mouldering stone.

Anna Barbauld

Eighteen Hundred and Eleven

On the moor you will find many winding pathways that shift and fade like wicked children playing hide and seek with you. At certain times of the day nothing is as it seems to be. A trick of the light perhaps. You will sense you are not alone, but this could be because of the formless shadows following behind you –

You can taste the scent of the gorse on the air by now. And, perhaps not for the first time, you will realise there is a shadow realm near at hand – perhaps it overlaps here, on this blasted moor. You must take care. You do not want to step through to the shadow realm –

There are many stories the locals tell about this place. myth-haunted, faerie hysterics generally. Told for the visitors, the tourists, emmets all, late in the evening over a pint. Tales, too, about the Springer house.

Drains is one of my favorite places on the moor. The wild, cascading waterfall, the surrounding woodland all lift my spirits when I’m feeling down. Often I’ve picnicked there. Dozed off on a still summer afternoon after a bottle of wine. Dreamed dreams that become the central core of many of my stories. The Springer house is just north of the falls. It stands in splendid isolation in a deep fold in the land –

By day it looks like a large abandoned cottage. Except there are closed drapes on every window, which always strikes the observer as a little strange. The drapes are all bright red and look new. At dusk, approaching the Springer house, you are instantly aware that all is not as it should be. The house looks ill-formed somehow. The angles of the granite walls meeting the grey slate roof are wrong –

The front garden has long ago gone to weeds and brambles. Forcing a path to the front door you experience raw sensations: unease, yes, but as sinewy as sex. Fear that almost paralyzes. You see yourself as a key of blood, bone and breath to unlock that front door – to unlock the secret gateway to a realm beyond this reality. Do you dare to touch that door?

Within, screams will be muffled by dust. It is so easy to become a teeth-torn sacrifice to older Gods. To open the portal –

No, you turn about. You walk away (if you have any sense you do). And you hear a sigh, almost imperceptible, abruptly broken off, in the darkness behind you. That is when you begin to run –

P

play, laugh, argue

March 28, 2019

France embodies all that religious fanatics in the world hate: the joy of life through a myriad of little things: the scent of a cup of coffee and croissants in the morning,  beautiful women in summer dresses smiling freely in the street, the smell of warm bread, a bottle of wine shared with friends,  a few drops of expensive perfume,  children playing around the Luxembourg Gardens, the right not to believe in any god, to make fun of calories, to flirt, smoke and enjoy sex out of wedlock, take a vacation, read any book, go to school for free, play, laugh, argue, mock priests like politicians, not to worry about life after death. Probably no country on earth has a better definition of life than the French –