I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The way to enlightenment

Walking to the filling station for The Guardian takes 7 min - is it worth a post? The sun... Nah! Never the weather!

Nobody's abroad. Brian's trolley for delivering free-sheets is empty, its job done for the week. Brian is my age yet walks with lunging, impatient strides, does the Brecon Beacons. But he's not a patch on Mrs Meerkat, three doors down, whose stride is half Brian's but three times the frequency. Her tiny feet a blur, she only says Hello when I'm with VR.

From Dorchester into Stanbury past two vital symbols - the postbox and the bus-stop - then the portico house occupied by the soft-voiced farmer. In his eighties he dozed at the wheel, knocked over cones and lost his licence. When we meet he’s philosophical but l can't do without a car. Just can't.

Smaller houses in Chichester make a low black Audi look sinister – its down-curling LED headlights like the eyes of a dozing cat. There's drug-dealing half a mile away on the other estate; is the Audi a creeping manifestation? A plump, twentyish woman walks toward me, her face studiously fixed. No Good Morning. Shy, obviously; she’s gender-entitled.

I'm in luck: three Guardians. No need to visit the main store.

Taste poetry here in honour of Joe Hyam.

Do you remember an Inn?
And the tedding and the spreading
Of the straw for a bedding
And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees,
And the wine that tasted of the tar?

Reasons why. Odd-length lines in a rhythmic triumph. Recite it aloud, puh-lease. Comic, vivid ("Of the girl gone chancing/Glancing/Dancing") yet serious too (“In the walls of the Halls where falls/The tread/Of the feet of the dead to the ground”)

Tarantella. Hilaire Belloc.


  1. Extra-excerptal quotations in the "reasons why" section? You're loosening up quickly.

  2. MikeM: Can't tell whether you approve or disapprove. Time to switch the dial from Gnomic to Oh-Ye-Millions-I-Embrace-You. See, you've got me doing it now.

  3. I will strive for Oh-Ye-Dozens. Perhaps one of poetry's aims is to provide a complete, expansive image in shortened form. Excerpts make me want the full story - easily obtained in the poems you've excerpted from...they are short. The style of the entire poem is well represented here, but the mood is left undeveloped. The first verse of "The Hawk" seems to be open to much wider interpretation than you suggested, and is hardly suggestive of the syntax employed a few lines on. That said, I seldom disapprove of anything that leads to research and discussion.

  4. m (Are you sure about this blogonym? I take it you are familiar with the 1931 Fritz Lang/Peter Lorre movie?).

    As in the Messiah:

    All we like sheep have gone astray;
    We have turned—every one—to his own way.

    My original aim was to stick only to the extract; a trailer if you like, with comments limited to that and that alone. Instead I have wandered and thus attracted your comment "seems to be open to much wider interpretation than you suggested."

    Since you are new to Tone Deaf (I assume) I need to explain. Although I have written and posted Shakespearean sonnets, even a vilanelle, and commented on various poets and poems, much of this output was and is semi-fraudulent. Prior to, say, 2005 I was poetically illiterate and I only took up what I prefer to call verse in order to assume some sort of credibility in what was then a more-than-competent circle of blogging poetry enthusiasts. Blogging encourages the bubble reputation and a rapid acceptance of one's own self-generated myth; there is no doubt I've allowed myself to grow unprotestingly into the role of poetry pundit. Joe's Nudge is an attempt to pay tribute to one of my friends, who died recently and who was a genuine poetry enthusiast. Joe's Nudge is also an attempt to make poetry more generally accessible via the telling extract.

    As a result of living on my wits in journalism I am just able to offer acceptable comment on poetry extracts but tackling a complete poem and, especially, setting it into context is beyond me and I shouldn't try. I did, you suspected, I am unmasked, I'll limit myself to my own backyard in future. Try me on technology, I'm better at that. More poetic even.

  5. Technology? I'm about halfway through Gorgon Times, more convinced than ever that you're strong in most every suit. Perhaps I could impress you by listing the few copy errors I've found in the text, hoping for the honor of proofreading your next? m was in error.

  6. I enjoyed the Hilaire Belloc very much, I want to read more of him now, my mother liked his Sussex stuff, but I didn't know much about him, he was an interesting figure. One comment on something I was reading about him was from a youngster who had just been reading this poem at school and liked it a lot, and said it made him/her think of sun-dried tomatoes, which I thought was lovely.

    I had to look up 'tedding' and find that there is a machine called a tedder which I think I have seen examples of many times at the kind of fĂȘtes here where they roll out their old agricultural machinery. The line about the fleas that tease does sound recently familiar, did you or Joe quote it when I posted about visiting the Pyrenees?

    Does it matter that, along with needing to check the whole poem, I go chasing off after associations, either my own or from reading around, with these excerpts?

    The girl who looked away and the gender-entitled bit in the first part also prompted an anecdote, but I found it was taking some time in the telling, so it'll have to wait till the next e-mail!

  7. Lucy: I'm delighted that you're encouraged to take the excerpt and run with it. However, following the comment by the sinisterly named m, I've had to restrict my judgment, as explained in the following post. Just as well, really. I'm not up to providing worthwhile assessments of complete poems.

    Of course, in this instance, I knew the author of the poem beforehand. However I was surprised to find it is a more profound work than the opening passage (with the ambiguity of the name Miranda, plus its seemingly risible overtones) seemed to suggest.