Don’t ask me ‘Why?’ No one asked Robert Rauschenberg
that question…. Did they?
Beeching, Cumbria, Federation of the World, iron mining, Lake District, Lakeside and Haverthwaite, Peter Rabbit, Pleiades, plutonium, railways, steelmaking, technological change, The Plough, turbines, Wordsworth
(Lakeside and Haverthwaite railway station
Photo: mattbuck 7/7/2013 Wikipedia)
Once that head of steam was up, rails were laid
and Wordsworth’s wooed wilderness converged upon,
prelude to trucks toting plutonium,
criss-crossing the land; scouring surfaces
as deeply as glacial striation.
Then Beeching came and railed against the lines.
Coal, iron mining ceased; steelmaking shot.
Peter Rabbit quaking in his burrow,
anticipates fracking with timid twitch.
Turbines wave their arms quixotically
at those on muddied foot and cycle paths,
attempting to revolutionise health.
The golden keys open every barred door.
Geology is sacrificed to greed;
the hills afforested with money trees;
the night sky, filled with commerce, blinds poets
to The Plough, Pleiades, meteor showers.
We cannot hear the curlew’s stony cry
and now The Federation of the World
will never float the European flag,
but, ruled by those profit-hungry traders,
will talk us through its groovy projections;
will take us on economic projections;
leave us in a mistaken metaphor,
in a siding, instead of skimming on
to an optimistic mainline station.
Science no longer moves slowly, slowly.
Evolution morphs to revolution.
Wordsworth, proud of his skill to reach a point
rowed, unswerving to his destination,
dipping his oars into a silent lake,
before the ringing grooves of change arrived,
with consequent unknown modes of being,
bringing a blank desertion and darkness
to a landscape loved by the choicest minds.
The lawyer asked Him: Who is my neighbour?
He said, I’ll offer moral assistance.
Nowadays you’re out at work and ignore
those who live opposite, or alongside.
One day you spot someone in a bad state,
lying in their drive, but you’re in a rush.
I’m late to pick the kids up, so must rush.
It’s bound to be dealt with by a neighbour,
so I’ll spring into my Audi estate.
That nosy woman will give assistance –
the one who draws her curtains to one side.
A chance for do-gooding, she won’t ignore.
I should ring up the police, but just ignore
those dodgy callers, who seemed in a rush
and annoyed me by parking on my side:
too many visitors for one neighbour!
They doubtless gave him hefty assistance
with his mortgage. (He comes from a rogue state.)
You’ve claimed you’re public-spirited, but state
your character through your actions; ignore
the twitching corpse in his drive. Assistance!
Who helped to dig you out when in a rush?
It was the man from the AA. Neighbour?
Getting involved can just be suicide.
And, if I go over and kneel beside
this loser; feel his pulse, what kind of state
will my Chinos end up in? This ‘neighbour’
could contaminate me; I should ignore
his plight. A family man’s in no rush
to inhale nerve agents. Police assistance –
or, perhaps paramedic assistance…
they’ll have Hazmats and antidotes beside.
Where angels fear to tread they’re known to rush.
Samaritans don’t live on this estate!
So, walk on by is what you’ll do; ignore
the parlous condition of your neighbour?
Rush to his side? No, not for one’s neighbour.
To ignore the perils of assistance
is for citizens of another state.
Adam and Eve, Boldwood and Bathsheba, Burden stitch, cloths of Heaven, crewel, Die Walkure, George Bernard Shaw, Kelmscott, May Morris, Pre-Raphaelite, Primrose Hill, Sergius and Raina, Sparling, Superman, The Golden Stair, Tree of Life, Valentine card
A Minimum of Kindness
(May Morris, 1872. Wikipedia. Rossetti Archive; Bridgeman Images)
George Bernard Shaw:
She felt we had a mystic betrothal.
Her eyes betrayed some kind of assent.
Well, like her card, I found her quite handsome.
She asked for a minimum of kindness.
She’d shown maidens worshipping at my shrine,
but I was with a mature woman then.
Did she want me to cast cloths of heaven,
such as she embroidered, under her feet?
I tried to tread softly on all her dreams.
I was a bachelor then and too poor
to act as Sergius to her Raina.
(I hadn’t written my wretched play yet!)
Only a Superman could support her.
One minute she was roof-riding Kelmscott;
then absorbed as a domestic goddess,
designing tangles of honeysuckle,
which I now realise is dependent
and not parasitic, as I once feared.
Hmm, should women send men Valentine cards?
I think she had read too many novels.
I was no Boldwood to her Bathsheba.
She married Sparling in a fit of pique!
At least we remained friends. I went to see
her when he was away. We walked over
Primrose Hill; listened to Die Walküre.
I was marginally more excited
than staying at home to watch my paint dry.
Now she stands alone on The Golden Stair.
Later she wrote and made sure that I knew
that she was a remarkable woman.
Was this to stick a crewel into me,
pricking the Burden stitch into my heart?
How many times did May sew that Tree of Life?
I would not play Adam to her Eve:
it was a matter of independence,
but this Tree finally caused my downfall.
…a form outlined by Queneau. A ‘quennet’ to his followers.
It starts with 3 sets of noun phrases on one line, followed by a
single one on the second line.
Repeat 3 times. (6 lines)
Then 7 lines of 1 – 5 syllables,
a final 2 line sequence of 3 noun phrases on one line
and a final one on the last line. These must incorporate words from
the first set, but in new combination.
dense pea-soupers dripping condensation wheezing chest
cold stethoscope smoky pipe nosy neighbour
headscarfed curlers Redemption Hymnal pigswill bucket
bludgeoned to death
a screaming child
kind old man
dense preaching smoky Hellfire cold Redemption
Wealth – satisfaction
of all our needs and desires?
But, if your wishes
go beyond your wherewithal,
you are a pauper
and a slave to your own lusts.
Saint Paul said that godliness
with contentment is great gain.
To have control over self
is the one true aim;
is a lifetime’s endeavour.
It will bring great peace.
With acceptance of one’s lot
comes tranquillity of soul.