Archive for June, 2005

Volcano 2

June 25, 2005

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Winter & Transcending History

June 25, 2005


Frigid twilight descends
Tracing the patterns made by the ice
One the window pane
My finger trace the kaleidoscopic
Patterns cleaved to the glass
A star spreading
Outwards, forever outwards
I step outside
Boots crunch on snow
I am on my way to church
And the ache does not diminish

Transcending History

The landscape remains
Ghostly magical characters,
Transcending history
Alien customs and traditions
Mapped out and restored
Brown bones and rotten teeth
Now an imperial possession
A colonial subject
Viewed from many perspectives
Embracing the mysterious
The amorphous, the unconscious
They wrested out autonomy away
Those paragons of Christian virtue

The Life and Times of Fred Unwin

June 25, 2005

Back to Fred Unwin…

Like Doug he was served in North Africa and Sicily during the war and, like Doug, he grew up on the ‘mean streets’ of Cambridge (it’s not all college and May Balls, you know and, paradoxically, the war saved them both. After the war Doug, using his experience as a medic became what is now known as a paramedic but was by the less impressive sounding ‘ambulance man’ in those days. (There weren’t a lot of women in the service back then.) Fred Unwin became a psychiatric nurse. (Contrary to popular perception there were quite a few male psychiatric nurses in those days – well, they needed some muscle to keep the nuts in line).

They led parallel lives and yet didn’t meet until they were pensioners and they had both lost their wives. Fred Unwin is (I nearly wrote ‘was’) a locally renowned poet and writer. He wrote an auto-biographical study of psychiatric nursing in the late ’50s entitled Dew On My Feet which focused on nurse training at Addenbrookes (yes, my old psychiatric Alma-Mater – S3, S4 and R4).

I am reluctant to go and see him even though Doug has suggested that I accompany him. As I said, I am unwilling to face what he has become. When I last encountered him it was at a poetry reading. He was tall and broad and did not look in the least like an octogenarian. He was part-poet, part-historian. Many of his books were self-published and before anyone cries contemptuously ‘Vanity publishing, eh?’ might I remind you that my own role-model – Virginia Woolf – owned her own publishing house, partially financed by her husband Leonard Woolf and many other writers – great and not so great – have done the same throughout literary history

He praised my rendition of Dorothy Parker‘s ‘You Might As Well Live’ and Philip Larkin‘s ‘This Be the Verse’. (Choices that rather suit my curmudgeonly personality). He purchased a copy of my book and passed on his compliments through Doug. I want to remember him as he was then, not as he is now.

An alternative explanation is that I am a lazy, selfish cow.

Yes, the latter sounds much more plausible.

Looking ever so slightly mad…

June 24, 2005

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More Lyrics…

June 24, 2005
Farewell Angelina

The bells of the crown

Are being stolen by bandits

I must follow the sound

The triangle tingles

And the trumpet play slow

Farewell Angelina

The sky is on fire

And I must go.

There's no need for anger

There's no need for blame

There's nothing to prove

Ev'rything's still the same

Just a table standing empty

By the edge of the sea

Farewell Angelina

The sky is trembling

And I must leave.

The jacks and queens

Have forsaked the courtyard

Fifty-two gypsies

Now file past the guards

In the space where the deuce

And the ace once ran wild

Farewell Angelina

The sky is folding

I'll see you in a while.

See the cross-eyed pirates sitting

Perched in the sun

Shooting tin cans

With a sawed-off shotgun

And the neighbors they clap

And they cheer with each blast

Farewell Angelina

The sky's changing color

And I must leave fast.

King Kong, little elves

On the rooftoops they dance

Valentino-type tangos

While the make-up man's hands

Shut the eyes of the dead

Not to embarrass anyone

Farewell Angelina

The sky is embarrassed

And I must be gone.

The machine guns are roaring

The puppets heave rocks

The fiends nail time bombs

To the hands of the clocks

Call me any name you like

I will never deny it

Farewell Angelina

The sky is erupting

I must go where it's quiet.,Angelina.html

Fred Unwin

June 24, 2005

Doug told me some rather depressing news about the infamous Fred Unwin, , something of a local hero and a friend of Doug’s who has been ravaged by age and forced to move into a nursing home, helpless and dependent upon super-efficient but emotionless carers, plumping up his pillows and wiping his brow.

These are all assumptions, of course based on my own experiences of seeing my grandparents in the same position. I saw my maternal great grandmother just before her death when I was nine and, at the risk of sounding melodramatic, it put the fear of the grim reaper into me for years. That pale, skeletal figure on the bed that barely appeared human. They shouldn’t have let me see her. But then there are others – those oh so wise child-psychologists who seem to have assumed the right to dictate the way in which every child in the Western world is raised regardless of individual needs – say you should force children to confront the realities of death. It worked for me – too well. I spent years contemplating the ageing process. But then I spent years contemplating the aftermath of what I as a child thought was an inevitability – a nuclear war. Cheerful little brat, wasn’t I? It has occurred to me that I might derive a subconscious thrill from fear, rather like people who are addicted to horror movies and claim they hate them. Efexor, however, has removed my worries which, in itself, is worrying.

Hold your breath for the Life and Times of the Great Fred Unwin…


June 21, 2005

Originally uploaded by briekitty.

In Corfu

Sullen Girl

June 21, 2005

Words & Music: Fiona Apple

Days like this, I don’t know what to do with myself
All day — and all night
I wander the halls along the walls and under my breath
I say to myself
I need fuel — to take flight —

And there’s too much going on
But it’s calm under the waves, in the blue of my oblivion
Under the waves in the blue of my oblivion

Is that why they call me a sullen girl — sullen girl
They don’t know I used to sail the deep and tranquil sea
But he washed me shore and he took my pearl —
And left an empty shell of me

And there’s too much going on
But it’s calm under the waves, in the blue of my oblivion
Under the waves in the blue of my oblivion
Under the waves in the blue of my oblivion
It’s calm under the waves in the blue of my oblivion

Military Bearing

June 21, 2005

(Continued) And wouldn’t that be tragic.
What kind of crime would Andy have to commit in order to wind up inside.
I don’t think I’ll be applying for a Visiting Order. Except maybe to gloat. And to remind him to avoid dropping the soap in the shower. (And yes, before peeps write in, I know it’s a myth).

No, that would be really mean.
But then, did I ever claim to be anything else?

The Evesham Voyager was returned by the repair shop but it still wasn’t perfect. They had even managed to do more damage – they had unseated the F12 key. Doug returned it, adopting his haughty military sergeant major manner of old and, yes, he still has it – perfect posture, chest thrust out, you know the stuff. ‘We don’t want it back in that condition,’ he snapped out. (No wonder those National Service boys were so terrified of him: ‘Do you believe in God,son, well, you’re looking at him!’). Do you ever lose it.

Yes, it appears you do. As some rather tragic news I received today reveals…

Sunshine & Teddy Bear

June 19, 2005

Sunshine & Teddy Bear
Originally uploaded by Bratcat1000.

View from my bed.

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