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(Waterperry by Delamotte)

You didn’t go this year? Brassica asked.  I thought

you went to Waterperry ‘Art in Action’ every year?

No, I only went twice, years ago.  I don’t even know if it

is still on.  I think I must have missed it, as it used to be

held mid-July.  I seem to remember that it was boiling hot one

year.  I enjoyed seeing a raku potter from Bath- Peter Hayes-

standing on a ladder and building a huge ceramic sculpture which

he was going to fire there and then.

Sounds fascinating.

Oh, you could book to take part in all sorts of activities.

I remember going to watch an Indian dancer.

And did you…?

Of course.  I’ll have a look for it in my file at home and will

publish it on WordPress, so you can read it.



(Image by Rusianejohn 26/2/2013)

This is Oxfordshire, hot as Vindaloo.

In The Eastern Asian Arts Tent they sweat,

as if they sat in a begum’s palace.

But the chairs are plastic; camcorders whir.

Polyester, pinch-pleated drapery

is the wrong backcloth, especially in peach.

The girl with the pleached plait and red bindi

gestures Shiva‘s flute, mimes supplication,

recreating an unseen world through smiles;

kohled eyes averted or upturned.  Music.

An equivocal voice ululates and

scratchy birdsong emanates from speakers

hidden in some coleus.  They sip Pimms

while she performs The Cosmic Dance with grace.

Middle-aged, sandalled Englishmen in shorts

film, agog, in open admiration,

fantasising exotic, erotic

movements in Laura Ashley bedrooms,

chintzed by mango-shaped, swollen-ankled wives,

who never had the sinuosity

of this dancer; never raised a heartbeat

to a drumbeat- not even in ethnic

kaftan days, when they fingered their love beads

over a Chicken Tikka Masala,

after their final exams.  Eyes would stream.

Hot stuff.  Half portions of rice were enough.

She would have been born then.  Maybe she sprang

from a lotus flower, somewhere in Bradford.

While they were buying pine in B&Q,

she was inhaling joss sticks, sandalwood;

learning all about The Silent Teacher.

While they were doing supply in inner

city comps, they dreamt of vestal virgins,

returning home at five, to a Vesta

Taste of the Orient; Angel Delight

to follow.  They planted coriander

in earthenware pigs on their window sills.

Their daughters pierced their nostrils and navels,

but somehow never looked at all like this.

Votive petals fall…  Audience applause…

The dancer leaves in her drab Western clothes.

And in Sainsbury’s, the following week,

they put two-for-the-price-of-one Naan breads

into their trolleys, with some Sharwood spice;

hum Rimsky-Korsakov at the check-out;

thinking up one more story, to survive.