83. Some Distich, Alright?

At this time we are brought to a crisis, an acute worry, that glitters with joy that here at this point we, the ordinary mongrels, must move to act against the non-humans (for so they have declared themselves – self distancing from ordinary people’s lives as if we were bêches de mer crawling across the sea bottom, and they full human beings collecting us from above to sell and eat1.

At this time the carnival opens, with scarlet flaggings and well-dappled pellicules covering the quay, at night-time with all the glorious creatures we hope to become: tapirs, gryphons, anything with hooves – alas! we cannot be reborn as these – unless we choose not to be victims & break at last, burst through all the forces that threaten us, so that then, in an eyeblink, all of history turns miswritten & we are at last welders of new being for ourselves, using laughter not worry, as the pattering sparks fall harmlessly into the dust & their fierce shine will protect us, here on the quayside at midnight now, suddenly smelling of meadowsweet2, let’s gather at carnival & meet.



1 trepanging



2 from the banks of the Torridge here

81. When Need Met Mud Again (at the Dig in the Woods)

So it is all tender. What accumulated, the opposite of ordinary, made us replete. You know this. The novel elements – some performance! My instincts say: it was the adventurous outsiders, those well-belted ones, their alcohol, their poems, their anxiety. In reality, it is generally found, the horizontal zones appear shorter, whereas particular individuals are represented by more colourful statue menhirs. Offa, David, Anna, the Bretwalda & all the Bishops – just incised decorations. These relics or fragments – yeah, we’re fucked all right, typically so.

Their battleaxes, their Bell-Beakers, their well-designed shopping centres – something like a new social reality. It’s not we’re scared of self consciousness, just the radical upheaval it symbolizes. It’s all a textile-like ornament that has transformed us laughing into customers – as if we were tapirs or toddlers, marginal prepositions to understate our ritual life. Our gathering places soon seem stupid, & our appearance jokey as broad bellied pots. This is expressed badly, I fear, crouched & psychotic today.

A community could present itself this way. Established values & significant ceremonies have been absorbing dye for 4000 years. Babies are flayed: they whined. This has a dramatic impact. The powerful ones (the hedgies and their thugs) adapted challenging postures. “We are indigenous groups,” they suggested. No impact. Their emotional imagery was complex & uncertain. The trolley-boy epitomized the disadvantaged elements – a dry detail for such an intrusion. That he was twinkly is unexpected, but not unpleasant – the warriors, though, unpredictable, disruptive characters.

Yeah, names are noisy. But they are never monofunctional. What they schematically represent may be archaic & largely alien: bone rings, drinking cups, encounters at Starbucks – but their widespread appearance demonstrated not just prominent individuals but ordinary working persons, more mobile populations as a whole. Meadowsweet across the Rhine Delta balances the armoured ducks at the office. Such figures represent not marginal groups or local élites but everyone. Your name is there as well. What a fucking performance! Give me my typical drinking vessel now! This zone is now veiled. Slender numbers to epitomize.

In the soft bank of the fragrant
The worst drops backing down –
That they are there!

                  Their earth
Exotic, the strange leaves
Number and the archaic soft things
Think at the grave

                  The rest of it
Displays from their mud
Startling eyes in the small words
They who are there.

                  Their psalms
Nuzzled thru the frauds, the lips that show them
Held in the disorders
Of self

                  The soft names
Casting fact
In this in which the worst drops
Scatter, and start out.

5. A Recipe for a Seed Cake

for the memory of my father

Whose favourite cake this was, cuing
yet more stories of army life – just
2 types of cake allowed them, fly & sand
trapped in a real utopian dream
peaceably defending this island from excesses
corrosive & absolute, unlike pleasures
like just baking beautiful cake
an act of trust unfrantic as
what? the coming of blossoms – do it well
for here is what will help:
                            125 g self-raising flour
                            125 g caster sugar
                            125 g butter
                            3 medium eggs
                            1 tsp baking powder
                            2-3 tbsps ground almonds
                            ½-¾ tbsp caraway seeds

Hopeful to begin, cook it in a small loaf tin
buttered & floured (like some inconspicuous blossom here
with a length of greaseproof paper across the long axis
its ends 2 handles to grasp onto
put on then the oven at mark 4 (180º)
and suddenly mix!
                  cream the butter & the sugar
add the eggs, and the flour with all the rest
then beat into a homogeneous batter – yeah, yeah
it’s just that simple
                      (I don’t know my father’s recipe
but I guess this as what he learnt
from his grandmother who brought him up
some basic & memorable recipe
                              spoon it
into the tin & set in the oven for about 40 minutes
use your head & check carefully its progress
protect its tawny head from burning too much
& poke into it the oracular skewer
– you want it warm, moist & crumby
                                   not soggy
and then when it is blossoming – take it out
let it cool as it stands for, oh, 10-15 minutes
& lift out finally with the paper, exposed
like a sudden found piece of poetry
                                    trapped on the wire rack

A good cake for drinking with it good beer
or I thought so at the Oto
                          – tho’ not popular there
I make it now in due & inescapable filial piety
let it go on & be made by whoever so wishes
my grandson baby Neirin if so he decides
something is opened
                    let it carry on
                    if & thus it does

[The recipe is the typical Pound Cake1, using here Jane Grigson’s writing of it down. Another recipe gives more flour & more egg – but this cake seems fine, and fits with my father’s two types of army cake – fly cake, of course, made with dried fruit. And as I said, nothing is as good as this seed cake with a good English beer.]


 1 Old Ezra the Baker Poet, that’s a good myth