Monday, November 29, 2010

thick woollen socks

....yesterday I bought a duvet, thick and heavy......for the sofa.

Outside the world is white and brittle.

On the mornings where the boy has woken early and we have stepped out shivering, briefly for him to pee, the pale lemon sunrise has been chasing whorls of mist along the river ahead of slowly evaporating shadow.

(When I was younger I thought I knew that jack frost was real. I thought I knew that he was a small child, naked and pale and encrusted in a silver white frigid anguish and made to roam the world of winter night by his guardians; blind, ebony granite, spade handed giants....spreading cold crystal agony like pearlescent leprosy across the roofs and stubble fields of my childhood (that came from I know not where, except perhaps my mother who had a fearful trove of myth and love of gothic horror)).

Later we walk and the boy plays amongst the fallen, frosted leaves. He seems to have a new lease of life, a joie de vie, a second wind that I share on chilly mornings like these. There’s something in the crunch and crackle of one’s footfall, the way that the semi solid air and oh so fragile sunlight hurts your nose and ears and lungs if you take too deep a breath that has.....quality. Yes, that’s it, quality.

Quality (to me, in this shape) is the precursor to the realisation that what you observe is the world as you alone see it.

From a passing train window a passenger in warm, upholstered comfort would not see the slender poplar avenue in the enforced monochrome of this chill day, guarding a path of virgin white. This is mine, my context, a moment just for me.

On the way home we lay a little rock upon the cairn that we have started for Charlie. Toffee sniffs the foundation and wees on a corner, an emotion that Charlie would have applauded. I spend just a moment remembering what a smashing, cracking and awful little git he could be and how much he would have torn up the silence of this day.

I’m already thinking of tea, and toast, and my snug, warm, stupid spaniel...

..and our new duvet.

good boy Charlie, you're still here while we remember you

Sunday, January 24, 2010

nut allergy?


I made it...

It took a while, but I finally accomplished a 'yet'.

Comitted, sectioned, confined to bedlam, removed from the public domain..

It's official folks, I'm bonkers.

I'm writing this on the communal 'puter in the community room of my ward in the local 'sanitorium'

Gives you a nice warm glow doesn't it?

ps I'm not very good at it yet, some of the other inmates terrify me

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

twinkle twinkle little star..

...there's a cherry tree, in full blossom, weeping snow flakes onto the the sheltered lawn. Just a hint of breeze. A lilac sky through purple painted trees, and a transparent silver salver of moon catching swooping swallows in its arc...

Presque vue, a mote of light flits and sparkles amongst thick, tangled lower branches of the furthest trees. Dancing in the gloom, a faery light, an animated dew drop in a mobile spiders web.

It glides and hovers, pulses and darts, gaining substance and size.

I watch. Holding my tea.

Is it getting closer, or just larger? Bigger I think, as it sparkles now with two facets and flits behind the chestnut's bole to re emerge larger still.

For a moment I swear it looks at me as I look at it. Disconcerted I look away, briefly, and see the sun reflected in the shallows of the old stone bird bath on which I shall shortly break my tooth.

'It' is now a ball of light. A whisper, floating upwards, gaining separate sparkles as it rises. Like a transparent sphere filled with icicles it flashes and sparks in the sun as it emerges from the trees.

As large as a tennis ball now, hesitating, slowly turning, sniffing and seeking, it's for me, mine, I know that now...and I am transfixed. No longer able to look away, despite a rising panic I watch in dread as it peels away from the high branches and drifts slowly, so slowly, down to where I sit.

Still it spins, still it sparkles, but no longer grows. It has no need, it augurs a huge sufficiency of power...and dread.

Through the cherry blossom it glides, not between the blossom but 'through' the petals, no ghostly transmutation this - but without transition, existence without substance.

Closer now, just yards, and I feel mute terror, snarling, wide eyed, bladder relaxing terror. There are words too,I can read them now. Banners with messages from hell that speak to me only, horrifying threats to my soul, that flutter around the relentless flashing orb.

Within arm's reach it moves rapidly to my right and I think of respite, sudden salvation, as it curves around behind me. But still my eyes are riveted as is my body, welded in place, and try as I might I cannot but follow it, straining, straining inhumanly, beyond the limit of flexibility I feel muscles tear in my neck...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This is the sort of thing...

...we have to put up with.

It’s not easy. Having said that it’s easier for me then it is for the boys. I can at least just walk, I don’t have an imperative compulsion to wee on something every few yards. It amazes me that they aren’t completely dehydrated by the end of the day, I imagine walking into a pub dragging two hairy husks behind me.

I imagine a lot of things. That’s the beauty (and the curse) of having oodles of time and space and no one with whom to share it (spoil it), one’s mind wanders and you’re allowed the room to indulge yourself fully in your own brand of jibberwaffle.

I’m stuck somewhere in my noggin with a half formed thought that the river is somehow allegorical, that I’ve passed my wicket gate and am on my own ‘straight and narrow’. It does appear to cut across (my) life, and if you’ve walked far enough, the where you’ve been, are, and where you’re going become blurred – blurred sufficiently for landmarks like bridges to become significant.

There are times when I feel I want to catalogue, to commit to memory, to burn sharp pictures of the abrupt end of woodland and the step forward into dappled sunshine, the gaping, forbidding mouths of dark pitch, echo less tunnels or even the sheet of sleety rain seen approaching across the wind.

But there’s no allegory here, for surely any simile should serve a purpose? I might so purposelessly compare Charlie’s bladder habits with April showers as the river with the habitual drawer of my life.
Eventually we’ll come to the sea, that’s all I know – at least I think I know that. Follow a river and you’ll reach the sea?

And now I need the sea. I’m full to overflowing with leaf littered pathways beside glittering moribund water. Sick of foppish beauty. I long for the brutality of open water on spring tides driven into rock and stone by bitter winds.

Do you ever dream of hiding tight behind the log, by the fire lit, in a whistling westerly shrieking it’s curse to the plume and spume of dying waves?

Life’s taken a turn for the gentle, and I don’t like it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

keep the swelling, lose the pain

Have you ever,

howled in woods?
whinnied and nickered,
pranced, danced, shied
and cried and generally
made a great fuss...

At least there was no one around, be thankful for small mercies. And there was me, and the boys, enjoying a long walk in the woods on a beautiful autumnal morning full of great grey almost trees hesitating in a slow lazy mist.

And then I stuck my dick in the nettles.

Not just like that you understand, rather I went for an alfresco wee and was distracted by Charlie scratting around in the leaves behind me.....and then I stuck my dick in the nettles.

It hurts. You can't imagine how much it hurts. I don't want to describe how much it hurts because then I'll have to remember....exactly how much it hurts.

The only 'tiny' crumb of comfort is that it also swells up.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

you'll never guess but...

Where a river floes, where people are apt to gather to the source of traffic and commerce, of liquid life.

Great cities, gritty purposeful towns, villages becalmed in seas of green meadow, divided by arterial waterways, green, brown or sparkling brook that give and take in measure the ingredients and effluent, the fish and fowl, and crop and cooling balm to set the form of white hot steel in shapes we know and need in clouds of screaming, scalding steam.

All edges in the land, the mighty crinkle cut, where once great glaciers wove patterns in relief or soft stone slipped and slid, warped over under, layered, thrown up in laval anguish. The land lent gravitas by movement now set in stone.

We are drawn to edges.

We are drawn to boundaries. To cliffs, to river banks, the gates of mountain ranges, the beginnings and ends, the exclamations of mineral vocabulary.
Perhaps we stop and stare and whilst we do so put down roots. Or we come here and go no further, define our life by a boundary we did not set but perceive as fate, a natural given, a literal perceptible border about that which we might consider known and therefore ours.

And build, and often prosper, comforted, in our place.

But boundaries have two sides, by definition they divide, a division which invites the naturally inquisitive and inventive to connect. And so we build.....we bridge.


Too small a word.

Too small a word for herculean iron of Victoriana or gossamer suspended ribbons, spider trellis, gothic multitudinous arch or square ribbed stalwart cage that leaves what I know, where I am and disappears like a lover’s promise into hope filled otherness beyond.

...lately I’ve been thinking about bridges.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

starry starry night

I remember years ago climbing in Glencoe (Gleann Comhann in the celtic tongue), being happy to be alone with the sparkling granite and soft dew lapped moss. At night, weather permitting, to lie outside the tiny tent under star speckled skies so clear that the milky way shone and sparkled, a moonlit brook coursing across the firmament. A million miles it seemed, from the smoke and smells of the city and constant ambient light that obscures so much more than it illuminates.

Later in the year, in the autumn months to glimpse with awe the southern veil of the aurora borealis, swift tendrils of smoke high in the atmosphere as if lit faintly from within, fleeting across the sky, constantly changing, wisps that glow into life then fade to nothing in the blink of an eye.

And although I’m not a morning person, the mornings were the best. My dispute with morning is the sudden rush of information, the tv, the radio, the letters (bills), the drudge of pre work routine, but mostly the people and their bland cheerful or surly, aggressive stupid faces. Alone in this tiny tent the information stream is slowed to snail’s pace, a manageable trickle where half in, half out of sleep many questions may be answered before emerging fully into the world; where am I, does it hurt anywhere, what’s that taste in my mouth, is it raining....

Then luke warm tea and a damp fried egg roll all cooked on the smallest gas stove imaginable, sometimes in the sunshine but more often sheltering from the rain or sleet and occasionally snow in the lea of the zippered tent door. Sometimes in the sunlight, sometimes pre dawn, always when your bladder yells at you that it is time to start the day.

Once, on a crispy cold morning at sunrise through a yard tall thick mist that rolled down the steep mountain face, around my tented island to a sea of grey in the valley below, to glimpse reflected in the azure blue above - another mountain - reversed, hanging like a giant stalactite, peak down from the roof of heaven. It’s one thing to understand the science (a layer formed between warm and cold air rather than a gradual transition between the two forms a mirror reflecting objects beyond the horizon), but still it’s difficult not to think in terms of one of God’s chandeliers.

The tent is a little larger now, but not much, I have to carry it after all, and there’s more to carry with the boy’s stuff too. At night we start apart, but pretty soon there’s a wet nose draped across my neck and invariably we wake up in a tangle. There’s no climbing now, we are better (as a team) at rolling hills than sharp inclines. It’s more complicated, still fun, but in a different way.

We go away as often as we may, I’m still a man of leisure you see, and it’s beginning to get on my tits.