While her boy friend
with three red vertebrae
repaired his rock-damaged foot,
the pretty lady with the long brown hair
on one shapely leg
on this so rapidly turning world
on a windy summer’s day
on a long languid Lanzarote beach
had the top of her head sliced off
by a clumsy photographer
There are so many reports
of kids knifing adults
for various reasons
or for no reason at all
that you can sit on a bus
and watch kids chuck stuff
on the floor or wherever
put their feet up
on your seat
swear at each other
shout through and across you
until you feel like joining in
in case they take offence.
See the auld fowk on the bus, man,
aw the sap sucked oot o them,
clutchin their goodie bags
close tae their bony chests
or starin oot o the windows
at life passin them by.
that’s whit they are,
the livin dead.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
May we be granted the power
the nature of loneliness
and the empathy
to admire the bravery
of those who suffer in silence
abandoned: a wagon in the Czech republic
discarded: a plastic bag similar to the one in ‘American Beauty’
derelict: a beggar on a rainy day in Glasgow
excluded: a penguin at Discovery Point in Dundee
imprisoned: a man at a window in Italy
isolated: a boy on the Est Sands, St. Andrews
neglected: two dugs outside Weston Links, Edinburgh
rejected: a mother and son on a beach in Tunisia
We take up our usual stance outside Marks and Spencers almost directly opposite Tescos, and in no time at all, from our shiny silver instruments, we’re blasting out ‘Good King Wenceslas’ into the cold, clean air for the benefit of last-minute Christmas shoppers (take a quick breath).
I never grow tired of playing ‘Good King Wenceslas.’ Or listening to it.
I think it’s my favourite favourite. And it’s not as easy to play as you would imagine.
In fact it’s really quite a complicated piece. It consists of five quatrains. Each quatrain has the scheme ABABCDCD with feminine rhyme and internal rhyme. The unstressed syllable of the fourth foot is abated in each line in favor of a caesura, forming the line into two hemistichs. In the accompanying common time musical score, the caesura is attained by rendering the fourth foot as a half note (or minim), while the last foot of the line effectively becomes a spondee by being realized as two half notes.
Perhaps you don’t really have to know all that to feel happier, better, braver when you hear it (take another quick breath) but a little knowledge never goes amiss.
If one out of every hundred stops to listen and is affected by the music or the message that is all we ask for
all had rich brown voices that gave their clearly enunciated words a mellow music that bypassed your ears and slid straight into your soul.
Especially James Mason – he purred like a contented cat. Such rich, pinguid notes.
Dylan Thomas had the confident, booming voice of a Welsh minister “……and deaeaeath shall have nooooo domminnnion….” that commanded and demanded your attentive hearing
And handsomest of them all, Richard Burton could send those rounded polished streamlined words spinning effortlessly gracefully through space ….
I can still see them, still hear them, still shut my eyes and listen to their voices like remembered music……
Still are thy pleasant voices, thy nightingales, awake;
For Death, he taketh all away, but them he cannot take.
Stopping off for a couple of days in India,
I met a gentle man from Kent
whose speciality was moss.
Very professional he was,
using a satellite locating system
to map out and record the whereabouts
of different mosses,
while other holiday-makers were idly lying in the sun,
like seals on a beach,
or doing a splashy crawl
across some hotel swimming pool’s Hockney-blue waters,
(I’ve forgotten his second name)
anyhow John, the moss gatherer,
was assiduously filling his notebook
and his camera
with carefully annotated images
He had recorded, he told me,
(both monoicous and dioicous),
of the 12,000 species known to exist.
Just a hobby, he said when I asked him,
no, he didn’t remember when or how it started
but that’s all it was,
something he and his friends did
with and in their spare time.
He smiled when I told him
This is here now but was there then. A b & w photograph taken some time ago which surfaced to day
I may be the backpacker in the photograph although I have vague memories of seeing the grafitti and asking someone to pose for the photograph but then that may have been another time, anotherplace….
and this is here and there – the Shetland island of Hoy taken last summer from the boat as we drifted past, with the bright curtain (bought last November in Perth) balancing the photograph (30cmx40cm) on the wall ( painted white ten years ago) and the yellow roses (plucked this morning from the garden) in the blue vase (a last year’s Christmas present from the alas deceased Mary Jess) on the brown table that I got at an auction in 1999….
In the Castillo de San Jose
I saw this woman with such black hair
and the red red dress.
I left my brother in mid-sentence,
walked over to her table,
clicked my heels,
bowed a little,
and said slowly and clearly
” Your beauty lights up the room.”
She turned to her friend and asked
“Qu’est-ce qu’il dit?”
“Il dit qu’il t’a vu danser, ” she said.
“Il est anglais.”
The woman in red smiled
and inclined her head.
When I returned to my table
“What did she say? ” my brother asked.
“And is she Spanish?”
” She said ‘ That is my husband’s boat’ ” I told him.
“Yes, both of them.”