Come in, it's lovely to see you. Pull up a cushion and stay as long as you like.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

It's The Little Things

I almost didn't write this, almost dismissed it. Focussing too much on what I think might sound good or make me sound interesting or whatever that thing we do to diminish our light is called, to keep ourselves stuck. But writing my morning pages first thing I realised that this IS important, to me, and that is enough.
Returning from a walk last week, approaching the flat, I noticed the wing mirror of my car had been damaged, it was just hanging by the wires, dangling sadly. And on the road the remnants of the other wing mirror, bits of plastic. 'Oh gosh' I thought to myself (if you believe that you will believe anything). I have a feeling I actually said the very rude word out loud, but anyway. On the windscreen is a note, and a name, and a phone number. So I rung it, as you would.
Spoke to a lovely man, very apologetic, explained what had happened, and I could completely understand, it is a narrow road, these things happen, no malice involved, and offered to pay. So I drove it to the garage, got a quote, rung him back. The next day a cheque arrived in the post and now its fixed; wouldn't notice the difference.
And that's how it very often is, decent behaviour from a decent man.
Yet to read the papers or watch the news what a very different world is presented to us. Fiddling expenses, corruption, recession, famine, mass murder and on and on. And here we are, going about our daily lives, nothing we can do about any of it, powerless, shut away in front of our telly's or on our computers and lose sight of some very fundemental things.
When I thanked this man and said how much I appreciated him leaving his details he said that is how he would want someone to behave if the same happened to him. Thinking of others before himself. Do unto other's etc.
This may seem a small thing but it's not. It's a decent thing, an honourable thing. It helps to restore trust in other's, we are not all fiddlers and shirkers. And it is an example of how we should behave, and can behave.
We can all give examples, and usually very loudly, of the 'other' behaviour, how we have been wronged, cheated, lied to, and not even notice when we are 'righted', when we are behaved decently towards, when we are honoured and treated kindly. So I am shouting this loudly, telling everyone, praising this behaviour, valuing it, holding it up.
It's the small things, done quietly, that mean the most. If only we would let them.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Punts and Stunts

There was a young lady called Sandy
Who for women could get rather randy
One day on a punt
In a drink fuelled stunt
She showed her bare bottom to Mandy

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

In The Woods

I was walking in the woods recently, or should I say I was escaping in the woods, as I like to go there to get away from my day to day life, to get as far away from the crowded mundane town that I inhabit for far too much of it (my life that is). Anyway, I was in the woods for whatever reason or reasons, meaning that I was there however I came to be there. The why of my being there was not important.  My presence there was an inescapable fact.
I love the woods.
I love the way that when you enter the woods there is an overpowering feeling of being somewhere very different to where you were before. You know, without having to give it too much of your conscious awareness, that you are most definitely ‘in the woods’.
I love being ‘in the woods’.
In the woods you have the sense, not necessarily of going back in time, but of being ‘out of time’ or somewhere that has not been so dramatically changed by time as, say, the local High street may have done. What I mean is, that, say we use the High street theme as illustration, my local high street has changed dramatically (and many, not just myself would argue, for the worst) in the thirty odd years or so since my childhood, whereas the woods have not changed for hundreds of years, maybe even thousands? (I’m not quite so sure about the thousands comment but I put it anyway because it sounds really good and may be true as well).
I love the atmosphere in the woods.
I love the fact that someone just like me, maybe hundreds of years ago, could have been walking in these woods for whatever reason or reasons, maybe it was just on the way to where they were going or maybe they were there for their own pleasurable escape or adventure. Anyway the point I’m making is that the woods would have been the same woods as they are now all these hundreds of years later. The woods have always been the woods. Do you see what I am saying?
I love the unchanging nature of the woods.
And as I walk I wonder about that person. I wonder what he looked like, what clothes he was wearing and what work he did. Did he have a wife, or a lover, or both. Did he have children? Maybe he had a guilty secret or a burden and he walked in these woods to forget. I wonder how often he came here. One thing I do know is that his heart would have opened and he would have felt strangely at home here, just as I do.
I love how the woods makes me feel connected to the past.
He touched me on the shoulder once, and then spoke to me. I knew it was him straight away. I knew by what he said. “I am aware of you thinking about me, and when you walk here I am always close by”. I turned to see him but he was gone.
In the woods I am never alone.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Love, Links, Natalie Goldberg and James Wright

Whilst reading Thunder and Lightning, Cracking Open The Writer's Craft by Natalie Goldberg, she lists a poem that has inspired her and uses it to illustrate a point she is making. I love her for this. Not only do you get her tips and inspiration and advice about writing you get poems and prose and quotes, links to the wider world of literature, Zen, her life and influences.  Places to cross over and sample these delights in more depth.
So of course I had to order, from my local library, Above The River; the complete poems of James Wright, 1927 - 1980. Included in this collection is the poem I was refering to, A Blessing, from his 1963 book The Branch Will Not Break.
God it's good.
I picked up the book about five hours ago and performed my usual ritual of reading the back page to see what others had to say about the author and see if there is a photograph. I like to visualise the writer. Then I have a flick through, open it at random, see what catches my eye.

Here are some of the poem titles. Magnificence. Entering the Kingdom of the Moray Eel. Dawn near an Old Battlefield, in a Time of Peace. Having Lost My Sons, I Confront the Wreckage of the Moon: Christmas 1960.
Already I am hooked and want to read more then this. Depressed by a Book of Bad Poetry, I Walk toward an Unused Pasture and Invite the Insects to Join Me.
What a thunderbolt of a title. I almost fainted. And then reading through the book a poem ends half way down a page and then the title of the next poem.
 In Memory of the Horse David, Who Ate One of My Poems.
And guess what, the rest of the page is blank then another poem begins on the next page.
So the horse ate his poem and he leaves the page blank, because the poem is lost, eaten by a horse.Ha ha ha, excellent, truly. I almost cannot believe it and it reminds me of Spike Milligan, who was also a tender and moving poet.
I love James Wright, for this and for his poetry and prose. What a beautiful book to spend some time with, filled with beautiful words beautifully used.

Saturday, 2 July 2011


Sometimes, it has to be like this,
for a while anyway.
The light has to go out,
all sunshine makes a desert.

We lose things, or they fall down the side of the chair,
just a little further than the arm can stretch.

The hole that these things leave can be filled by something else
or by nothing at all.

It’s only when the light comes back on,
and we move the chair,
we see things are a little different now
or, in the stretching, we found something new...