Saturday, October 6, 2007

Holes, Poetry and Stuff

I’m sure I must have said this before, but I have for some time now had this notion that there is a kind of black hole into which things disappear: mainly single socks and ballpoint pens – the good ones, I mean, not the kind we all have lying around that have run out of ink and for some reason refuse to be discarded. Of course it is annoying and inconvenient but I have more or less resigned myself to the idea and adapted accordingly, replenishing stock when necessary or just wearing socks that don’t match and writing important messages with the lime-green crayon that has stuck by me when other implements have dematerialised. But I can’t help noticing that the black hole is becoming more aggressive. It has begun to swallow umbrellas, kitchen utensils and books that I wish to refer to – and yes, before you ask, I do know what day of the week it is, the name of the Prime Minister and how to spell antidisestablishmentarianism. And much good may it do me. I want my socks, my pens and my books - particularly those. The black hole can keep the umbrellas if it wants. So it is that I come to my shelves looking for a slim volume by the poet Peter Abbs whose reading I went to last night, in order to reproduce a poem of his here, but I can’t. I will have to wait until either the black hole, as occasionally happens, spews it out again or I decide to replace it.

I come away from a good poetry reading feeling this: that poetry is bread. That language matters, is essential, must constantly be revitalised, must be vital if we are to survive with souls intact. And our minds: if all words are hijacked by accountants, men in suits, Sun newspaper and slogan merchants, what can we know or apprehend and what are the consequences for the life of the imagination? As an activity too, the making of poetry is good for a body, as I have witnessed many times in myself and in others. I haven’t written a poem for a while, and suddenly I miss it, that activity. I have been working on my prose project – (ok, novel, but I’d rather say that in a whisper) and it is writing, but it is a different kind of writing. “Do both,” I hear you say – and I should and would, but feel I can’t until I’m securely established in this project, and that time has not yet come.

It is le weekend. Mr. S. is attending his art class, the cat has been dining on a bluebird, there is bread to be got and milk, washing powder – stuff. Tomorrow our daughter comes for a late celebration of my birthday (son being back at university), and we will go out for Sunday lunch. The trees are almost turning, there is gold in all the green, and life is good, sweet and rich. Who can blame it for asking so much of me? What, in any case, would I hold back? Black holes, I defy you. (Give me strength!)

30 comments:

Kahless said...

If you locate that damn black hole can you let me know? It seems to have swallowed up a whole heap of my miscellany.

Do you have of your poetry posted on your blog? If so, could you point me to where as I would like to have a read, if I may.

I hope you have a good sunday lunch with your daughter.

Reading the Signs said...

Hi Kahless - I hadn't considered that there may be just one black hole into which everyone's socks and miscellany go. I thought I had one specially allocated to me. I will keep you informed.

I don't actually put any of my poems on the blog, but thanks for asking.

Mellifluous Dark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mellifluous Dark said...

"...the cat has been dining on a bluebird"

How beautifully you put something that is actually not that pleasant, Signs.

I think the black hole is a movable thing. It can follow one from home and sit in one's bag, squirreling away mobile phone, keys and purse.

NMJ said...

hey signs, my copy of 'by grand central station . . . ' has def gone into the black hole,i have been looking for it since you referred to the work in a post recently x

Reading the Signs said...

Thank you, Meli D (do you notice how each time I find a new variation on your name?) - I am now getting the image of Black Hole as a kind of Harry Potteresque parasitical entity and yes, it may be so. It has taken cheque books and even packets of Polo mints.

Hi NMJ, I think Black Hole is very fond of By Grand Central Station - because it also has a copy belonging to me. You would think, really, that one might be enough.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Nah, they're not black holes, they're just socks and pens and whatnot going on holiday to a private desert island where they dance the night away to the tune of a rumbustious salsa... Face it, they do usually turn up after a while...
;-)

Reading the Signs said...

Hi Vanilla - hand on heart, they do not turn up again! Or perhaps they will one day, all of them at the same time, a truckload of single socks, ballpoint pens, assorted miscellany and two copies of By Grand Central Station (because my copy might have made friends with NMJ's).

ok - I did find a missing book today. But it wasn't the black hole one.

Anna MR said...

Signs me dear, this was and is a lovely post, and I've dithered here in the comment box several times trying to find a non-cliché way to say how lovely I found it (and failing most annoyingly).

Anyway, I've splatted you with a blogging award just now. It's over at my house for you.

iausr - isn't that what The Fonz used to say in Happy Days (Christ, did anybody else ever watch that shite? I was only ten or so, I must be forgiven)

Mandragora said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reading the Signs said...

Anna - trust you to say something *Nice* - and guess what? Well I'll come over to yours and tell you.

And I bet it wasn't, but cliche is ok by me, my dear.

Reading the Signs said...

Oh - (to new commenter) - you deleted it. And I was enjoying it. Come back, the water is not cold!

Anna MR said...

Hei Signs - need to do this to counteract the wanky effort at deep thought I have just limped around with at your top post. Hope your email comment notifier is up and running, or you may not find my present here - this is my contribution to the conversation on the black hole system eating up things in households...

mwah!

Reading the Signs said...

Oh Anna, hallelujah and mwah! And ain't that just the truth? A question, though, is what He wants with all the socks and stuff.

Anna MR said...

Daughter Signs - like an act of God, the blogger outage of last night caught me just as I was going to impart with the wise words "the Lord moves in mysterious ways, daughter Signs, and who knows, maybe he has a divinely multitudinous number of feet, which would account both for His need of vast quantities of socks and the mysterious moving". And as for the biros, spectacles, remote controls, etc - He may just really be, as my friend Rebecca said in her song about St Wilgefortis, a "practical joker with the best" (although that line was actually about his Dad, really - but by my understanding of matters divine, the Holy Trinity are really one being. Yes? No? Will I be excommunicated for this? I am not Catholic, so they'll have their work cut out trying to do that).

Alright - I really am waffling. Sorry, Signs. It seems to be coming over me, again. Oh dear. Mwah. Hope to see you soon.

Reading the Signs said...

What church do you belong to, fellow Princeling? Cos I think I'll join it. And we can both, as non-Catholics, have fun being not excommunicated. I like a God with lots of feet and this makes me feel a bit better about all the missing socks. It doesn't explain why He needs two copies of the same book (mine and NMJ's) though. But I'll let that pass, in the full and joyous hope that He will also let a few of my little quirks pass. I say He and not S/he - inconsistent, I know, considering the nature of Princelingness and all, but it my picture even so. Funny, that.
x

Anna MR said...

Listen, Princeling, you can be sure He has a third copy of that same book He pinched from you and NMJ. It's all part of the Mystery of the Holy Trinity. They need three copies of each book. They have three heads, and a different reading speed each. One of Them, I understand, also likes to go back a page or two, every now and then, and that winds the other two up no end - or would do, if They had to make do with the same copy. But shhh, keep quiet about this, it is not known to many. Put it this way - you won't get information this personal about Them in The DaVinci Code. Word. Let this be a clue as to the church I belong to...

Reading the Signs said...

Thank god! (forgive the expression) - at last someone who can talk a bit of sense about whole issue of god, socks and the holy trinity. But still, (I'm sorry dear, as ever not quite the full ticket) not picking up the clues about what church you belong to. I understand, though, if it's all hush hush. Just put my name down for any religious devotions of importance. And say hi from me to all three.

Anna MR said...

Just to let slip a few of the Holy Secrets (they need to be slipped out, sometime, somewhere, or there wouldn't be any interesting page-turner action on the bestseller book market), if you and NMJ were only to find the person from whom the third book was stolen...together you would form a formidable force.

Reading the Signs said...

But on the other hand, there need to be a few Mysteries left in this life, don't there? And one wouldn't want the Holy Triumverate to feel they were being investigated. If you hear anything, though - just slip me the word, Anna.

Anna MR said...

Ha - goes without saying, Signs. And yes, shhh, mum's the word.

kulhrdi - a hurdy-gurdy that isn't hippy-dippy-wanky

ypsam - Epsom Salts, only odder

Reading the Signs said...

OK. Might be thinking of writing a bestseller called "The Third Book" though. Not saying I will but can't promise I won't. And yes, shhh, but I think we should leave my mum out of it.

aqmehl - what you need to take if you've had too much ypsam

Anna MR said...

Signs - "The Third Book" - what a positively divine idea! Even the name is gripping. I look forward to finding out what happens, I really do - and to my knowledge, I am the only person in the Western world who didn't read "The DaVinci Code".

Reading the Signs said...

No - Anna, Anna, I am the second person in the Western world who didn't. Now all we have to do is find the third, and ....... (ever get the feeling you might have become trapped inside a story written by Ousspensky?)

Anna MR said...

Oh oh. Oh. I have a feeling we need another book, now, too - it might be a "difficult" intellectual work, one of those people have on their shelves so their guests think they're brainy, called "The Third Person". Or something. (God, Signs - I haven't read Ousspensky. Never tell anyone. And I don't even have him on the bookshelf to impress by guests with my braininess...)

mawfxx - the "weevils" really have it in for us these days, no?

Reading the Signs said...

It's ok, you don't have to read him - the book he's so famous for is basically a kind of "Groundhog Day" story. Same antidote to the existential dilemma at the core of that story. If anyone asks, tell them that. Say I said so. You want more? ok, the digested read: you have to go on repeating a bit of your life till you get it right. Paul A will definitely have read it.

fefxug - what the f- ? There is definitely an Ousspenskian turn to the recent activities of the WVLs

Anna MR said...

iyelzlp.

I must have done something right, finally - even though the word itself makes me think of Beelsebub...

Beelzebub said...

Did someone mention My Name?

Anna MR said...

Beelzebub! Yes, Sir, it was I (sorry Signs but I really must say something to, um, Him). I have always wanted to know whether it's true what the late Freddie Mercury said about You and the Devil - "Beelzebub's got the Devil for a sideboard"? It's something that's really bothered me over the years...and if it is indeed true, how does it work in practice? Hope You don't mind me asking.

(Signs - yxxys. We are not over the jinx yet, methinks.)

Beelzebub said...

Ms Mr! - you are bothering me with trifles, and of all times to choose, just before the night of witchery, devilment and celebration of all things demonic when you can be sure that I and my satanic underlings are busy with Important Matters of darkness and misrule, not to mention gnashing of teeth - but as it's you: why in Hades should I not have a devil for a sideboard if I wish? I told Freddie about some of my domestic arrangements and he felt moved to include it in his Rhapsody. "Somewhere over the rainbow, weigh a pie", Ms Mr - good lyrics and true and people will insist on the sentimental version instead.

The devil in question makes a very good sideboard if you want to know. I keep all my trophies and shrunken skulls on him.