Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2020

Return of the Green Man

His wound-up crozier straightens out tightened springs unwind, releasing frondy fingers first, tipped with soft new nails
followed by stalk of hand and wrist then un-stretched arcs of bramble arms thrown out to grasp and root.
Keratin hardens, new limbs grow stronger from the making. He emerges phloem fed, hydrated by xylem
strong-armed in lignin. Rib circled he inspires, his inflating body ready to break its bonds
swollen with fresh projections. Leaves sprout from every crack jostling. They are drawn forth
these unsuspected members to find themselves full of purpose and unruly.
Renewed man is almost ready to take his leave once more, once he has learned to walk
and take stock. Firmly rooted multi-limbed he advances when you’re not looking
implanting his staff afresh he leaves the last one, leading the way to his rightful place
through irrepressible growth.


There are lots of Green Men – so many types, in so many places, in so many ages, with all sorts of different names.
He may be…

Ashes

In recent years poets have attached themselves to all sorts of places as poets-in-residence – such as famous landmarks, beauty spots or buildings, especially if there are literary associations.Residencies have since extended to more workaday places like supermarkets, clinics, prisons, stations, offices, factories, airports, theatres… and outwards, to include teams, groups and all sorts of clubs and organisations.

My residency was at a crematorium. With its great variety of people working closely together, performing an essential job in a distinctive place which exerts a certain fascination, it promised to be a fruitful choice. Which proved to be the case.
A set of poems resulted from all my watching, listening and talking – to technicians and office staff, managers and gardeners, to visiting professionals such as clergy and lay celebrants, organists and funeral directors, to mourners and attenders.
This one comes from the middle of the sequence, after the cooled cinders have been rak…

Notice

Exminster Mental Hospital Notice

The Hospital have for disposal various Goods as per Price List below. Samples of which can be seen at the Canteen or Female One Ward.
Some of the items are second-hand but having rendered good service and been subject to careful assessment they are commended for general perusal.
Others of course are unused. Howsoever they may have arrived the Committee has no hesitation in confirming their general utility
for Staff and for Patients alike. Early inspection is urged Management being aware that every item will prove to be
no less than excellent value. Individuals with particular needs not addressed by the present arrangements are requested to postpone any purchase
since further disposals will follow, Management ever mindful of the undoubted continuing need to maintain a proper supply.


I’m not sure how old this notice is, but I can vouch for its provenance (but that’s another story).
To be sure, it bears the stigma of age, with the several stains, the perforations and wrinkling – …

A new jawbone

And he found a new jawbone of an ass and put forth his hand and took it and slew a thousand men therewith


Judges 16



What someone can do with something new can surprise
your eyes open wide here by your side you find what’s required
to tackle the task no need to ask for much help
just put out your hand seize the moment and nothing can stop you
armed with a jawbone you slew on your own a thousand men.
Who’d have thought that the jaw of one herbivore had such power?


Well, it wasn’t any old jaw bone – it was a new one.I’m not sure how important it was that it happened to be one of an ass, but the narrated story – minimal as it is in other respects – provides us with that particular detail.
‘Found’ is interesting too.Was he looking – searching for a weapon – or did he just come across that fresh mandible lying in the grass?
And the putting forth of his hand, with its suggestion of a conscious and determined action, after a moment – perhaps even a longer time – of reflection, raises many a question.Almost thousan…

In Search of Genius

In Search of Genius



Dr Thomas Harvey conducts Albert Einstein’s autopsy



The body itself was perfectly ordinary of course, just as I expected. But here between my hands I raise a gift, an offering which is held before me, like a sacrifice. I set it down with reverence, noting familiar features – see the cerebellum with its fissures closely set, transverse and curved. All appears normal, for now.
So to the cortex. Accompany me – let us walk around the hemispheres enjoy their glistening surfaces: the superolateral and the medial (the inferior is presently hidden) following folds, traversing sulci – across the longitudinal fissure I skim, an arctic explorer on my sled over hills and valleys, there is so much awaiting discovery.
I pick up my knife, the round-ended one, as I search for the genius that lived and died here. The slices begin.  Each falls away softly like cheese.  A key hole appears gradually growing into a chamber fit for a pharaoh perhaps, although empty of course, it hasn’t…