Banda machine, blackberrying, Dabitoff, Dunsinane, Heaney, Jackson Pollock, Lady of the Lake, Lydia, Maud Gonne, methylated spirits, Michaelmas, Ophelia, Plath, Polonius, Porphyria, spirit duplicator, spirit master, Stain Devils, Vanish, Yeats
Okay, okay, so I went out and did it!
I can see that, Carrie remarked, looking down at my nails with a
disapproving glance. You’ll need to make an appointment with
‘Beauty and The Beast’ to sort you out with acrylic falsies.
Not me. I’ll just cut them down and file them. I’m a hands-on kind of
girl and couldn’t bear to have lily white fronds for hands like a Lady of the
Lake, or a drowned Ophelia. I used to have digits like this when I started
teaching, back in the days of the spirit reproductive Banda
machine! Oh, the smell of methylated spirits! It gives me quite a
Proustian flashback to the classrooms of the Seventies. So poetic too-
spirit duplicators, or spirit masters. Sounds like the muse of Yeats or
some such bard.
Yeah, agreed Carrie. And if he’d copied his lines for Maud Gonne:
‘Tread softly for you tread on my dreams’ and left them out in the
sun, then posterity would never have had them.
How’s that? I asked, not normally so obtuse.
Because the ultraviolet light used to fade anything produced in that
antiquated way, so the aniline dye of the reproduced type would have
been ‘mauve gone’.
Very funny, I muttered. I don’t like her taking over my comic role.
Anyway, you got in before the Devilish deadline, said Carrie, referring
to our prior conversation (see previous post).
I did. All are safely stowed, like Polonius behind the arras. Well,
at any rate, they are in the freezer.
Ah, you are an inspiration to us all, Candia. And no doubt..
Yes, I did write a poem about it, I interrupted her. Here!
And I flicked a Jackson Pollock-stained sheet of A4 across the table,
but its patterns were fruit juice thumbprints and nothing more
Carrie read it silently while I sipped my well-deserved coffee.
I’ve been told: poetry isn’t worth it
and neither is gathering blackberries.
It’s impossible to preserve Autumn,
or capture experience in a poem.
Yet I find one or two juicy morsels,
simmering away on my mental back burners.
Lately I have looked madder and madder.
Wood pigeons witter away suddenly.
I destroy a few spider artefacts,
thumb and finger poised; then quite dizzy,
I step back and squelch in a rabbit corpse.
Maybe it isn’t worth it after all.
Blood-red clots trail from the tail of my car,
to my front door and the hall becomes
a purple passage. My bag sags with gore.
Have I perpetrated a massacre?
I look as guilty as a chamberlain
in a castle, somewhere near Dunsinane,
with my clothing liberally spattered
by inedible, indelible stains.
Fierce scratches indicate a struggle. Heave!
I’ll shove this in the freezer and then think
what I’ll do with it. I survey my hands.
All the perfumes of an airport will not..
What? Will all the multitudinous seas
incarnadine et cetera? They won’t.
I regret time spent on all this fieldwork-
to produce the definitive poem
on blackberrying. Heaney, Plath did it.
I’ve spat out phrases not pithy enough;
I cannot find a rhyme to match ‘maggot’
in a poem that isn’t about sex,
or the nostalgia of a butcher’s shop.
Gather ye brambles while ye may– that’s good,
but I could murder a cup of coffee.
Reviewers, like thorns, will rip me to shreds.
If pricked, I will bleed- through my gabardine.
Yet greed makes me garner all the pickings.
Lack of appreciation will sting me,
like all the nettles I had to wade through.
I’ve spent a King’s ransom on Vanish and
Dabitoff and Stain Devils; also on
opaque nail varnish, so I won’t have hands
like Lydia, that seller of purple,
or a sufferer of Porphyria.
My cuticles will not be underlined.
My children will rise up and call me sad,
for wearing magenta, indigo and
violet, when heliotrope is out.
Trying to sum up Mother Nature’s not
all it’s cracked up to be, like rotten cobs.
Ideas should be on a rolling boil,
if they are to come to a setting point.
Maybe then hues will glow through verse’s glass,
well-labelled, stored in the mind’s dark pantry
until they are taken out and savoured
on the raw, grey days of freezing winter.