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Have You Tried Turning It Off And On?

September 2, 2010



Looking at an old Poem Of The Week, (on sestinas; check it out) just to remind myself of how good it used to be, I came across a sestina I’d written and completely and utterly forgotten. It’s not a very good one but it’s a spring-board and what the hell…

You need re-booting, a fresh challenge, something to give your creative sinews a workout. Many people view the sestina as too complicated, too much like hard work: but I know that I merely have to exert my powerful will over the shambling army of soulless meat-puppets (©anytimefrances) who serve at my pleasure and they will write sestinas…(please?).

Anyway, here’s mine and we all know you can do better than this:

Nor in their empty hearts to feel
The blood-red redness of the sun,
To shrink to an insensible,
Small oblivion.

– from On The Adequacy of Landscape by Wallace Stevens

Small Oblivion

Words are potent magic and reveal in all we say
The objects of our passion and our potential prey;
Crept up on and taken, alarmed in a way,
Yet fully expectant of this bloody day
When those inattentive have got hell to pay
And no time to run and no time to pray.

We wolves like our meat raw, fresh on the day;
Take down the sick and the weak; that’s the way
To keep the breed hardy; the dim and tardy must pay:
That is the contract between predator and prey:
No mercy, no weakness, no inclination to say:
Forgive us, Lord–bow down, let us pray.

Gone in the tooth? Or the mind? That’s the way
Of the world: every dog yclept wolf has its day;
Did you really think that no-one had to pay?
For what other end did we beg for and pray?
Express no regrets, for there’s nothing to say:
Resign, in your dotage: you are the fresh prey.

You’ve lived by the word: the right word, the right day;
You’ve said everything that you thought you must say;
Vain regrets: all the lies that you told for good pay;
All the weaklings you marked, singled out: easy prey;
Make my end quick, Lord, and that’s all that I pray:
A fast end, a clean end: the wolf’s chosen way.

The words have now faded: for what did you pray?
A fresh-beaten path? Some new-fangled way?
The way never changes and nor does the pay
Despite all the things we might wish for or say,
The price is the same at the end of the day:
You’ve slowed down; you’re low down: now you’re prey.

Rejoice in your strength at the start of the day;
Your senses are keen, eyes sharp for the prey;
Guard your words well and beware what you say;
Cover your head when you bow down to pray;
(Though God’s not the critic that you’ll have to pay)
Time, merciless editor, guards language’s way.


To anyone who cares for language, now’s time to say:
No more shall we stand off; no more: seize the day;
These words are no bagatelle, but sum of all our pay.

  1. September 2, 2010 2:27 PM

    I’m going to cheat and post one I wrote last year for St. George’s Day. Apologies if you’ve already seen it:

    360 – Gerrard Winstanley and the Diggers

    St. George’s Hill in forty nine, the time
    of Charles’s chopping block, we Diggers come
    reclaiming earth by Bastard taken, all
    those centuries before. But Fairfax cried
    “Enough of revolution, turn again
    your commune to its owners, lords of land”

    Inclosure, soccage, rent or fee for land
    Allodial folcland filched, until the time
    when hateful Norman yoke shall pass again
    and common people make our commons come
    The wheel’ll turn, we underlings decried
    will rise, return from tenebrous enthrall

    People of England, men and women all
    denied our just inheritance of land
    The factory sprawled, the slum, where children cried
    among the latifundia. It’s time
    to right this wrong. We Diggers have become
    the prophets circular, renewed again

    Monastic gardens rooted up – a gain
    for Mortmain’s grubbing hands that squirm, appall
    with shiftless shapings. Bastard broods that come
    as droning parasites on apples land
    and worm armigeral. But now their time
    is up. This future we have seen and scried

    In France’s trenches rifled fodder cried
    Were culled to stop the commons’ climb again
    Were culled to stop the commons. Killing time
    While clutching timber stocks cut down from all
    the orchards. Vanished is the orchard land
    and coreless fruits from supermarkets come

    in plastic shrouds. Let England now become
    the everlasting garden we have cried
    for. We shall share the russet-honey land
    We’ll make the world a peaceful place again
    As Eden must have been before the Fall
    with humming bees among the scented thyme

    Our Sestina has come to its close, and again
    our old voices have cried. We have sung for you all
    to remake your own land. For the people! It’s time!

  2. mishari permalink*
    September 2, 2010 2:31 PM

    Jesus, you had me going there for a moment, Simon. I thought ‘fuck me, this bastard’s inhumanly quick…’.

    Great stuff, though and any sestinas, old or new, are welcome.

  3. September 2, 2010 3:13 PM

    Quick? It took me two weeks to get that fiendish thing right, sitting in a Chinese policewoman’s apartment while she was out busting bent coppers. Les beaux jours…

  4. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 2, 2010 3:32 PM

    (cheated for lack of time; sorry)

    Don’t doubt my ability, question my brains,
    Of course I turned the fucker off at the mains!
    It’s just that, in autumn, whenever it rains,
    The old biddy underneath always complains
    Our bog blows a fuse and then blocks up her drains
    Leaving fecal matter on her windowpanes.

    At co-owners meetings, she rallies the pains.
    Enough to make anyone blow out their brains!
    You sound like a slaphead: I’ve heard that Rogaine’s
    A surefire solution for long shiny manes.
    I’m sorry to digress – is ice on the plains
    The principal reason for floods when it rains?

    Though I hold the guarantee, you hold the reins
    Now come and restore Microsoft Windowpanes
    It’s only a laptop; I use it in planes
    And annoy my neighbours on commuter trains.
    But now it won’t start up, and the fact remains
    This contract entitles me to drain your veins.

    Your after-sales service is all-weathervanes!
    Has nobody told you the customer reigns?
    I’ve unclipped the battery, switched off the mains,
    Respected precautions and taken all pains,
    Now come round at once, you’re the one with the brains!
    At least, that’s what the guarantee fine print explains.

    My desktop wallpaper was one of those planes
    Bought by evil Russians with ill-gotten gains.
    I’ll want an equivalent – maybe those trains
    That snake through the Caucasus’ seasonal rains
    Disposing of dissidents and taking pains
    To ensure not even a vestige remains.

    Thank goodness you made it. That switch is the mains.
    I’m glad you don’t look like the sort who complains.
    The last one did, though, of abdominal pains.
    But you’ll be all right if my laptop regains
    Its autonomy and resistance to rains.
    I’d do it myself if I had any brains.

    Son, hold these two wires – they’re attached to the mains –
    Against the repairman’s crotch while he explains
    Just why the computer won’t work when it rains.

  5. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 2, 2010 9:59 PM

    In The Mirror

    Jesus, what is the problem with my hair?
    of course it’s always been a little dry,
    perhaps it’s rather vain of me to care,
    but when I notice it I always sigh
    and wonder what is going on up there.
    Seriously, can this really be good-bye?

    I hope this isn’t going to be goodbye,
    a man doesn’t look right without his hair,
    if I lose it all I’ll do more than sigh,
    I simply can’t pretend that I don’t care.
    Maybe it’s just a tiny bit too dry,
    all it needs is a dab of lard on there.

    The future looks bleak if I lose it up there,
    I really don’t want to wave it good-bye,
    a man is hampered by a lack of hair,
    when the ladies spot you they tend to sigh,
    though they kindly pretend that they don’t care,
    you know the tub of love is almost dry.

    I shouldn’t have bought that Silvikrin Dry,
    Mum always said they put acid in there,
    she swore by Persil, and when I used to buy
    higher-end products to put on my hair
    she would light another Capstan and sigh,
    and shake her hairpiece, but I didn’t care.

    Forty years later I find that I care,
    and my ancient peepers are far from dry
    when I think of losing my lovely hair.
    God, if there was a way that I could buy
    a magic potion which would keep it there
    I’d sell off my granny without a sigh.

    For now I turn my eyes away and sigh
    and continue with my personal care
    when every sector of my body’s dry
    I see on the bathroom floor, here and there,
    a crop of curly hairs lying nearby.
    It seems I’m losing the rest of my hair.

    My hair, I look down on you with a sigh,
    you are dry and dead and needed more care.
    There I failed. I’ll turn the tap and say good-bye.

  6. mishari permalink*
    September 2, 2010 10:17 PM

    Nice one, baldy.

    That sounds like the voice of experience, Hank.

  7. Reine permalink
    September 2, 2010 10:37 PM

    After two hours, I give up. I cannot sestina so I have resorted to smut. For a change.


    When I worked in Sam’s cabaret back in ’92
    I went out every Monday and my weekend earnings blew
    Feather boas, earrings, handbags and, what’s new,
    Several pairs of shoes and some shirts and ties for you
    Though you never ever thanked me, just took them up and threw
    Them in the bottom of the wardrobe, God I didn’t have a clue

    I didn’t have a clue that you were such a prick
    Though none of my friends liked you, thought you rude and thick
    I thought they were just jealous that my boyfriend was so slick
    But, no, turns out you were a total asshole and a dick
    Not the kind you were so proud of, “come on baby, just a lick?”
    But the real McCoy of dickness, God the thought just makes me sick

    It makes me sick to think that while I sang and danced the can can
    You stayed at home and St Tropezed your already orange man tan
    You are the very worst example of what a narcissistic man can
    Do to himself and others in the search for some élan, Stan
    Well there I was a fool, a gangster’s Moll, an also-ran fan
    Thinking I would stay with you, to be your lifelong fan, Fran

    I danced into ’93, ’94 and ’95 too
    Oblivious of what every man and his dog down on the street knew
    I can canned to bring us on that trip to Kathmandu
    And that week in Chester Grosvenor when we visited the zoo
    I can canned ’til I fainted in the nightclub’s seedy loo
    And all the time I can canned, I only thought of you

    When I came home that day exhausted after work
    Told you I couldn’t can can, you almost went berserk
    It didn’t even hit me then that you were a complete jerk
    Or when you sped off smoking in your much loved mint green Merc
    Didn’t think it strange that as my man you’d shirk
    Anything to do with future plans, God I was such a berk

    Well, more fool me to miss the signs so clear to all but me
    The tan, the manicures and never-splashing pee
    The constant tweezing, waxing, your love for Gina G
    Your headaches when I came home early, never fancying a ski
    Down your satin sheets and pillow slips, at least never with me
    And how the hell did I not notice your love of jamboree?

    Don’t get me wrong, don’t care you’re gay
    But I’m pissed off I danced to pay
    For sugar plums, minus a lay

  8. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 2, 2010 10:41 PM

    I’m fully thatched. I was thinking of you.

    The chest’s been a bit troublesome lately. I’ve got some new stuff which says:

    … may cause dream abnormalities, including nightmares, hallucinations, irritability, feeling anxious, restlessness, agitation including aggressive behaviour, tremor, depression, trouble sleeping, suicidal thoughts and actions…

    Just my average day, then.

  9. mishari permalink*
    September 2, 2010 10:57 PM

    That’ll do nicely, Reine. Always a place for funny smut at PH.

    Jesus H. Christ, MM…are sure you really need to take this stuff? Don’t you rustic types have, whatchemacallems, ‘cunning’ crones who sort you out with less alarming side-effects? Eye of newt, toad spit, that sort of thing…?

    Not long ago, a pal showed me some stuff he’d been prescribed for an ulcer. I read the pamphlet that came with it, wherein men were warned that they may experience ‘breast growth and lactation’. Christ. I think I’d just as soon have the ulcer…

  10. Zeph permalink
    September 2, 2010 11:05 PM

    suicidal thoughts and actions? Blimey. Your medical attendants seem determined to do you in, Melton.

  11. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 2, 2010 11:07 PM

    I just had the first tab. Looking forward to the dreams.

    I like that, Reine, and very current it is too. I wonder if Willie Haig is a Gina G man?

  12. Reine permalink
    September 2, 2010 11:10 PM

    Poor William, you’d think with his budget, he’d manage a junior suite at least.

  13. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 2, 2010 11:11 PM

    I suppose I am a major expense for the NHS at the moment. It could be a directive from the desk of Andrew Lansley:

    Subject: Melton Mowbray
    Problem: Bit expensive
    Action: Terminate.

  14. mishari permalink*
    September 2, 2010 11:14 PM

    Notes: With Extreme Prejudice

  15. Reine permalink
    September 2, 2010 11:32 PM

    Now, I know this is Hic’s role but in her absence and pained by the thought of your discomfort MM, a short treatise on Irish seaweed…

    If you can get your hands on some Carrageen Moss, it is supposed to have a most beneficial effect on all sorts of respiratory ailments. I just boil and simmer for twenty mins or so and then sieve the resultant, granted unappealing, liquid through a sieve leaving the seaweed behind. Leave to cool and mix with any kind of liquid (I favour something fizzy that dilutes its gelatinous texture – you will need to stir it). One saucepan – a good handful of CM in cold water – will yield enough potion for six to eight imbibings. Here’s a link to some info and recipes.

    If you want some and you can’t get your hands on it, I would be delighted to send you some directly or via Mishari, however that can be done. Presume Mish has access to our e-mail details. I used to be very cynical about these kinds of remedies but it does give good relief. Let me know anyway if you want some but no pressure. Hope you feel better soon. Nurse R x deputising for Dr. Hic

  16. Reine permalink
    September 2, 2010 11:36 PM

    “sieve through a sieve” – six years in uni to become this eloquent. Money well spent.

  17. mishari permalink*
    September 2, 2010 11:40 PM

    I never sneer at folk remedies, Reine. For centuries, people stewed willow bark and drank the resulting concoction for fevers and aches and in the 19th century they first extracted salicylic acid (aspirin) from…willow bark. And that’s just one of many, many examples.

  18. Reine permalink
    September 2, 2010 11:47 PM

    I’ve changed my instant (Augmentin) gratification ways these days Mish. All for trying out some alternatives.

    My sister has booked me into a course to learn how to practise reiki – says I need to get more in touch with myself and the world (??). I’ll be able to send distance healing by the end of the year but stock up on tablets just in case.

  19. mishari permalink*
    September 2, 2010 11:57 PM

    Inez, who’s been following all this POTW nonsense with grim amusement said to me, “You know Parisa is going to contact you and ask you to remove all her comments from your blog, don’t you?”

    I scoffed: “What, attempt to erase history just to spare herself looking a complete fool? Nobody’s that brazen…”

    She smiled and patted my cheek fondly, the way you do with a sweet but not-very-bright dog. Sure enough, having blocked Parisa’s IP address (I don’t want her spamming my blog), I received email notification that the following message was awaiting my approval:

    Author : Parisa (IP: **.***.33.227 , adsl-**-***
    E-mail : l*******
    Comment: Can all my comments be removed from this thread, please?

    It says it all, really. Realising (belatedly) that her perfectly friendly comments on my blog less than 2 weeks ago completely undermine her lengthy, multi-post rant about how ghastly I’ve always been, she now seeks to erase the record.

    Parisa, there’s more chance of my climbing Nelson’s Column with my balls painted lime green than there is of my deleting the evidence of your shameless dishonesty.

    I note that I’m in ‘pre-moderation’, so I killed poor old artfarmer. Never mind: he was a boring bastard anyway…

  20. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 3, 2010 12:01 AM

    It’s very kind of you to think of me, Reine, but I should probably avoid adding anything else to the complex mixture of pharmaceuticals already swilling around inside me. I’ve also been warned not to eat or drink anything unusual while they try to figure out what else I’m allergic to, since fungus is apparently only part of the picture. Thanks for your consideration.

  21. Reine permalink
    September 3, 2010 12:03 AM

    Sure I’m always thinking of you MM! Perfectly sensible approach you’re taking. It’s rotten anyway.

  22. Reine permalink
    September 3, 2010 12:05 AM

    How does one know if one is in premoderation? Most of my comments have vanished without any deletion notices, hope you kept a copy of my glowing tribute to you. Send me the fiver anyway. That’s hilarious about the removal request. V intuitive lady, your Inez.

  23. mishari permalink*
    September 3, 2010 12:10 AM

    When you go to comment, in flaming scarlet letters, right above the comment box, it says: ‘your comment may not appear for some minutes as it is being held in pre-moderation’

    Mind you, given the charnel house that POTW has become, I’m only surprised that everyone isn’t in permanent pre-moderation. There’s been a major cull, though. By my reckoning, over 100 comments have been chopped…

  24. Reine permalink
    September 3, 2010 12:12 AM

    I’m still on the good girl list. If only they knew.

  25. mishari permalink*
    September 3, 2010 12:13 AM

    Oh, I’ve already signed up with a new identity. Let’s see if you can spot me…

  26. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 3, 2010 6:41 AM

    Hang on in there, MM. Stick to pies is my advice.

  27. Reine permalink
    September 3, 2010 8:52 AM

    An unexpected day off work due to “urgent engineering works” in the building. Hurrah. I’m packing a bag and heading west. Happy weekends all. Look forward to seeing the big reveal Mish. Artfarmer, rip.

  28. Reine permalink
    September 3, 2010 9:48 AM

    Well, I’d never have guessed that one Rumpelstiltskin. The “sloppy” bob has made me feel a bit queasy.

  29. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 3, 2010 11:30 AM

    Last night I had heroic intentions. The following was intended to be my masterpiece. It was also intended as my defining poem. It was also supposed to be a sestina. Then I tried writing it. Eeeeek…

  30. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 3, 2010 11:31 AM

    The Troubled Nights Of Li Po

    Above the willow the moon is a chipped
    lentil, yellow through the dark restless sky.
    Below in the darkened field a horse neighs
    in its sleep. The hills are black in the pines,
    nothing’s astir but the blood in the owl’s
    head, and the rags of the cirrussy clouds.

    Lately the dead have been haunting the clouds
    of his sleep, forming like fog in the chipped
    jar of his head. There’s a pattern of owls
    on his porcelain skin as he sleeps. Sky
    is the thing he breathes out. On his head pines
    are his scented hair. The Seventh Horse neighs

    and he wakes with a start as a horse neighs
    in a field by the house. Grey as the clouds
    the sheets have stuck to his skin. His sweat pines
    for the flesh it was made betray. The chipped
    fragments of dreams fade, fade, are vague as sky.
    All that remains is a woman with owls

    embroidered on her coat. Empress of Owls,
    oh night after night she yays and she nays
    in his sleep. He goes from the bed. The sky
    is just where it was before he slept; clouds
    like rags drift into the room; the moon, chipped
    from the sky, is lodged in the wall; blue pines

    exude their scent. He sleeps. A woman pines
    by an almond tree near a pool; an owl’s
    whoing tells him he’s in a dream; he’s chipped
    like the moon from the sky. Li Po’s horse neighs
    as it gallops to a city of clouds,
    Li Po’s hair brittle with frost, grey as sky.

    And down comes the moon and down comes the sky
    and the horse and rider crash to the pines.
    He wakes. But the horse that fell from the clouds
    left nought but copper heaps of shit, and owls
    who their names in his face, with yays and nays,
    so awake is like sleep. His mind is chipped,

    broken, as fragile as sky; he’s the owl’s
    who, the scent of the pines, the horse that neighs
    in dreams. He’s the clouds. He’s the pale moon, chipped.

    Jack Brae Curtingstall

  31. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 3, 2010 12:24 PM

    Fine poem, Jack (should there be a ‘to’ between ‘made’ and ‘betray’ in stanza 3?). Chipped is a brave choice. Can I ask why you’ve taken up the Chinese theme of late?

    Thanks for your prescription, HLM. I plan to fill it at lunchtime.

    I dreamed about feasting on Twirls with naked houris while Adge and the Wurzels played ‘Combine Harvester’. Then William Hague burst in wielding a huge chopper, cut the Somerset balladeers to shreds and put the houris to flight. As he tore a Twirl from my hand and raised his chopper I woke up. That’s my standard sort of dream so I’m not too impressed at the moment. I don’t feel suicidal yet. I’ll probably wait for the England result to come in.

  32. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 3, 2010 12:31 PM

    ArtFarmer is dead
    eyes pecked out by a murder
    of neocorvi

  33. mishari permalink*
    September 3, 2010 1:02 PM

    No need to crow, Hank…

  34. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 3, 2010 1:44 PM

    Thanks for the good words MM. The only reason I left out that “to” in stanza 3 was for reasons of syllabic uniformity and was hoping I’d get away with it. The Chinese theme stems from an old passion of mine for certain periods of Oriental verse. My versions, needless to say, take more than the odd liberty. (Which is the reason I refrained from doing one for Mish’s new blog – a wise decision considering Simon’s wonderful translation over there.)

  35. September 3, 2010 3:15 PM

    All this flattery! What have I done to deserve it? You’re no slouch yourself, Jack…

    I’m glad to see the radical POTW pruning I called for yesterday has happened, but dread finding out if I’m on the naughty boys’ list too.

  36. September 3, 2010 3:50 PM

    I’m not.

  37. mishari permalink*
    September 3, 2010 4:42 PM

    There was absolutely no reason you should have been, Simon. I’m not sure why I was. I assume it’s because artfarmer’s name recurred so often in the diatribes of others that the mods thought I must be a troublemaker…

  38. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 3, 2010 4:59 PM

    Interesting thought on the syllable count, Jack. I’ve let it slide a bit recently, but I used to be obsessive about getting it right and ended up with some very strange grammatical structures as a result. The excellent SM Pugh (not universally admired round here, I know) was saying a while ago that she never counts syllables, or even thinks about them when writing (and she writes superb trad. verse). I wonder if Shakespeare or Milton ever counted syllables? They’re nearly always on the dot.

    Finding the work-around certainly demonstrates the value of traditional verse. As Auden said:

    Blessed be all metrical rules that forbid automatic responses,
    force us to have second thoughts, free from the fetters of Self.

  39. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 3, 2010 5:24 PM

    Sorry, just to be sure… Is that “blessed” or “blessèd”?

  40. mishari permalink*
    September 3, 2010 5:32 PM

    Pugh’s alright. She just annoys me occasionally with her de haut en bas attitude. Her ‘I’ve never known anyone who worked in the private sector’ was a classic of the genre…

    Re: counting syllables, I’ve done it when the form called for strict syllabic regularity and as you say, MM, it can lead to some pretty tortuous constructions but most of the time, I let my ear be my (often fallible) guide. Mind you, sometimes I just let the meter go hang…

  41. September 3, 2010 6:26 PM

    I think if there’s a conflict between meter and syntax the meter should give way, but it may well be a sign the line needs revising…

    Hard to believe it’s possible to write in perfect meter without counting something – stresses if not syllables, but the sainted SMP will no doubt have her unique take on this.

    Anyway, it’s always possible to be flexible through syllable elision or synalepha. The line that Dead God was talking about in the Yeats a few weeks back is a good example: Doomed like Odysseus and the labouring ships, which he originally counted as a hexameter.

  42. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 3, 2010 7:54 PM

    Good discussion. I’m not actually hung up on syllables unless writing syllabic verse, and prefer to count stresses. However, relying on count alone can be a terribly trap for any poem, so I generally let the lines dictate their own shape as long as ugliness doesn’t ensue. (My use of meter tends to be quite fluid anyway, as I’m a great believer in the substitute foot.) The reason I stuck to a syallabic regularity here was simply because it seemed right at the time, it was just an intuitive impulse on this particular piece -I tend to follow my gut a lot. I generally leave new poems in my backpocket for up to aweek, constantly reading amd re-reading them; during this time further tweaks are sometimes made. Anyways, the sestina has only been in the back-pocket a day so far, so it’s early days on it.

    By the way, Mish, the Perp Walk is proving to be a wonderful new blog. And the illustrations are a special touch, very well chosen. I’ll try something again for it in a few days if I can find something that takes my fancy.

    Jack Brae

  43. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 3, 2010 7:56 PM

    If it’s just a question of being a syllable long or short I can let it go now (though I still feel guilty-must be the Protestant upbringing), but as you say, Simon, if it’s more serious then revision is the only answer.

    As a professional playwright, turning out hundreds of lines a day, I imagine Shakespeare must have thought in blank verse, which perhaps accounts for his facility. Larkin, whose technique always impressed me, didn’t have the same productivity, but I think he’s a good candidate for counting. Maybe SMP just has perfect pitch, in literary terms.

    I remember the discussion about the Yeats line. I couldn’t have let that go if I’d written it. Not that I could, of course.

  44. Reine permalink
    September 3, 2010 11:38 PM

    Oh, lol, lido poem complimented by your former friend.

  45. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 3, 2010 11:44 PM

    It’s the quintessence of a backhanded compliment.

    In your face, Bulgars, btw, if any happen to be browsing. [Yes, this is the rebirth of English football. Who knows where it might lead? Maybe they’ll even triumph over the Hastings Rotary Club Over-65s -Ed]

  46. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 3, 2010 11:53 PM

    I’ve just noticed that the blog-owner’s posts are divided by thick black lines from the multitude. It’s as though his pure, crystalline meditations may be polluted by the ill-considered ravings about him.

  47. Reine permalink
    September 4, 2010 12:06 AM

    It’s only right really. He is, after all, our esteemed leader.

    Daddy sitting beside me earlier in his office as I was surfing…

    “…and Reine do you know these people?” “No, Daddy, not in the way you mean, we just talk on-line.” “Well, isn’t that amazing, they are nice people are they?” “Oh, yes, Dad, the finest of people as you’d say yourself, salt of the earth, very talented as well.” “And would you ever meet them for a coffee in Dublin?” “No, Dad, they don’t live there, at least one is Irish and the others live in the UK, France, the US…” “By Dad, in my day we wrote letters. That’s gas.” “It’s pretty gas alright, tea?” “Just a half cup and a half slice of toast…”

  48. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 4, 2010 12:37 AM

    What a nice chap your father sounds. What’s gas?

    Well, I must go to bed and face my dream abnormalities. Ciao!

  49. mishari permalink*
    September 4, 2010 12:55 AM

    ‘Gas’ = amazing, remarkable, fun, entertaining, amusing, a laugh, good ‘craic’.

    Mowbray: ‘What’s ‘craic’?

    Yeah, I noticed the rather funereal black-border thing. It makes it look like my every comment is an announcement of a bereavement. Maybe wordpress is trying to tell me something. “Every time you comment, a language fairy dies”.

  50. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 4, 2010 1:05 AM

    Perhaps those black lines are some form of divine quarantine, so that your princely whatnots don’t seep into the rest of us and overpower us with princely whatnotness.

    Just a thought. I am now going to bed.

  51. Reine permalink
    September 4, 2010 12:14 PM

    How refreshing to see “craic” spelled correctly. As Mish said M, “gas” – hilarious, mad, unexpected… Dad is a pretty gas man himself, my hero in all things except technology.

  52. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 4, 2010 12:44 PM

    I thought craics were those things you get when your hice subsides.

  53. mishari permalink*
    September 4, 2010 4:15 PM

    Blair got a warm welcome in Dublin where he went to do a book-signing. The Irish pelted the son-of-a-bitch with eggs and shoes.

    Protester Pixie ni hEicht, from Dublin, criticised both the garda and the hundreds who had turned out for the book signing: “The police are west Brits who are protecting a British terrorist and the people queuing up over there should be ashamed of themselves. All these people buying the book are jackeens and traitors.” – The Grauniad, today

    Bravo, Reine…or should I call you ‘Pixie’?

  54. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 4, 2010 5:02 PM

    Eggs and shoes? I wouldn’t fancy that for breakfast.

  55. September 4, 2010 5:29 PM

    Another translator in action…

  56. mishari permalink*
    September 4, 2010 8:15 PM

    She’s got the Castilian lisp down pat, ditto the Swedish-chef-from-the-muppets roopdihoopdi jive. Remember him?:

  57. hic8ubique permalink
    September 4, 2010 8:31 PM

    I knew he’d put in an appearance sooner or later.

    I’ve never made a sestina before. I’m doing it wrong, but I’m doing it anyway.
    Having given up my integrity some months ago to become a ‘middle-aged man’, I find I may as well keep up this ignominious pose as a soul-less hot-dog puppet.
    bork bork bork

  58. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 4, 2010 8:36 PM

    Sadly, more people in Dublin bought the fecker’s book than pelted him with eggs and shoes.

  59. mishari permalink*
    September 4, 2010 8:40 PM

    Welcome back, hic. Hope you had a pleasant week at the lake?

    I know, Jack. It’s depressing. Who the hell wants to read that smarmy, self-aggrandizing little narcissist’s drivel?

    An interesting post on a Grauniad CiF piece entitled The Good Life According To Blair from someone in Ireland called @Vercoda on the Blair visit (it was posted at 7 AM and Vercoda’s take on the book-signing was prescient):

    It’s a pity that the vast majority of British people won’t get to see Tone’s long interview on RTE’s The Late Late Show here in Dublin last night, which was very interesting. (Of course, he’s here to plug his book, with a signing later today which should be… well, fractious, shall we say.)

    Having seen the show for decades, I have never seen such a silent audience with any guest – I can’t quite call them openly hostile, as there were occasional, fleeting moments of laughter and polite applause – however, there was none of the usual general audience warmth, giddiness and, well, empathy for the guest.

    As Mr Blair talked on and on about his life, eventually he began to get ever-so-slightly flustered when leading questions about whether or not he was a War Criminal, what he thought of people protesting against him (with a protest march against him here in Dublin at 11am today), how he could justify what had happened in Iraq when no WMD were ever found – etc etc.

    And all the while, you could have heard the proverbial pin drop, as the hundreds of people in the audience sat in near utter silence, reflecting the overwhelming disdain that Mr Blair is now seen with in all levels of Irish society. What about his efforts to secure peace and understanding in Northern Ireland? Forgotten. Tainted. Ignored.

    As far as the Irish are concerned – as underlined by the frosty reception given to him last night through his lengthy interview – Tony is not welcome in Ireland, and, as so many irate letter-writers and radio-callers made their point clear this week, he is, simply, seen as an indifferent warmonger. That’s his legacy, and no amount of glib smiles and passing moments of irritation can shift that view – well, at least here.

    It’s a pity that most people in Britain won’t see that interview, or soak up the audience ambience that lasted throughout it. Extraordinary stuff…

  60. hic8ubique permalink
    September 4, 2010 9:08 PM

    30th August 2010
    The New Yorker:

    ‘Sting, where is thy death?’


    News from the Northeast

    Greenwich wasps in the hot cabin their fury white
    object to a mosque, their cold plaint: ‘Why that site?’
    Explain, says our host, why is it not their right?
    There are other lots open they feel less a blight.
    We’ve only just met, but they seem none too bright.
    This close party of twelve soon induces my flight.

    It is hot and my patience is somehow not right
    There are rip-tides at home so this lake’s a sweet sight
    to my feverish body and mind and the white
    of a crescent moon rising late shadows the night
    as the tinting of ripples it stipples with light.
    I dive in my skin glowing lantern pale bright.

    Within one hundred miles of the border a light
    may be shone in your face as you sleep in the night
    on a coach out of Rochester. It is your right
    to refuse them your answer in dark without sight
    asked ‘Where were you born?’ detainment your plight
    whether answered or not in confusion and fright.

    I swat at the wasps (who are stunned) their benighted
    ideas are as bad as the creeps on the right
    but we’re here for a week so our crispness is slight
    and amended by wine both the red grape and white
    whilst we put on our smiles best to keep the chat light
    and this scene is too lovely to harbour a fight.

    A bald eagle mature head and tail feathers white
    draughts my bathing in lake-water morning just light
    while a crippled lost moon is the sole other flight.
    My breasts stare back up nipples pink with delight
    at bold circling hope for caught fish in his sight
    and his flapped disappointment away from my rite.

    The borderland’s porous its denizens white;
    an eagle aloft holds blue veins in his sight
    blood runs red but not red as the rage of the right-
    of the small souls who defend their dim blight:
    Cruelty holding hands with its bedfellow Fright
    to dig in its nails in the black of the night.

    My only recourse is to pass through that night
    plunge my strokes through the heart of the darkness the fright
    til the sting falls away; I rise up bathed in light.

  61. mishari permalink*
    September 4, 2010 9:17 PM

    Great stuff, hic. By the way, have you had a look at the new blog you inspired? It’s here

    …and speaking of translation, Reine, if you drop in, I meant to ask you, what does ‘Faoiseamh a Gheobhadsa’ mean (feel free to answer, Jack)?

  62. hic8ubique permalink
    September 4, 2010 9:29 PM

    Thanks, boss. Discipline is difficult for me, as you can tell, but I felt under benign orders.
    I’m truly tickled to have inspired something good, but haven’t looked properly yet, I’m still landing/laundering/unpacking. Looking forward to it…

    The lake was a stellar place to be during another blistering week, but I’m ready to be left alone for a while.
    The eagle visitation was by far the high point of the experience.
    I had a look at potw and found it even more surreal than usual, the remaining posts being nearly all non sequitors.
    I take it the Don was outed after atf declared her passion?

  63. mishari permalink*
    September 4, 2010 9:43 PM

    The Don was a pest. Good riddance. I read about this new nonsense of INS officials asking people on trains inside the US where they were born. I would have thought that violated your constitutional right to protection against ‘unreasonable search’, not to mention legal ‘probable cause’ requirements. I mean, what can they say: ‘The individual looked foreign’? How the hell does that work in a country of immigrants?

  64. Reine permalink
    September 4, 2010 9:58 PM

    Just dropping in quickly between tea and toast making… Faoiseamh a Gheobhadsa – The Respite/Reprieve one Gets …first line of stanzas…

    I wouldn’t cross the road to see Tony Blair but I wasn’t in the city yesterday. He visited Leinster House (parliament – I’ve outed myself) some years ago so saw him there. His star was in the ascendancy at the time. Saw the Late Late interview, very uncomfortable. He didn’t make eye contact with the interviewer (Ryan Tubridy) for the most part. Welcome back Hic!

  65. hic8ubique permalink
    September 4, 2010 10:05 PM

    I don’t know. This is Obama exploiting the Patriot act?
    It just made my hair stand on end. Within a just a few years of needing papers to travel to Canada, which I always carried anyway, we now need to have them for travel within the US.
    One has the right not to answer, but may still be detained until papers are produced.

  66. hic8ubique permalink
    September 4, 2010 10:11 PM

    Reine, dear, you missed me! xxx, well no, xxO!

    You tell that sister from me (if you wish) that you are already highly skilled in healing both present and remote; she has only failed to recognise your natural medium: language.
    (Reiki my olecranon process.)

  67. Reine permalink
    September 4, 2010 11:02 PM

    In the words of my three year old niece “I missed ya millions” Hic. Not easy keeping these boys in check, Zeph helped out but it takes your firm hand to keep things running smoothly. They just make me skittish. xxoo

    Thanks for kind words. The same sister often gets me to write speeches and all sorts for her but only because “…of your degree in bullshit,it won’t take you long”. She loves me really. I can’t see me becoming a reiki practitioner of note – I am short on patience and a belief in unquantifiable evidence – but I’ll see what happens.

  68. hic8ubique permalink
    September 4, 2010 11:29 PM

    Oh mm hmm, my firm foot.
    I’m gone for a week and it’s ‘all in the wrist, sweetie’
    I think I know who wants keeping in check, my girl.

    no, really… I love you really too ;)
    Really. x

  69. Reine permalink
    September 5, 2010 12:05 AM

    Reine, dark haired Celtic vixen and Hic, flaxen haired Nordic beauty are delighted to announce their engagement.

  70. hic8ubique permalink
    September 5, 2010 12:25 AM

    Vixen & Hicsen:
    the hitched

  71. Reine permalink
    September 5, 2010 12:32 AM

    Mrs.and Mrs. Ubiquitous Reindeer …
    What a marriage it would be! I’m going to ask MM to give me away… you? Mishari seems the obvious choice but I don’t want to sway you. He’ll do it for a fiver; he’ll do anything for a fiver and MM accepts benefit in kind… a six pack of Twirls and a handshake should clench the deal.

  72. mishari permalink*
    September 5, 2010 12:49 AM

    Actually, I’d pay a fiver to see this. MM will pay more. Hot lesbo action!!! Yes!!!

  73. mishari permalink*
    September 5, 2010 12:50 AM

    Sorry. That was crude and uncalled for. What a vulgar fellow I am…still, though, if it’s on…just saying, like…

  74. hic8ubique permalink
    September 5, 2010 1:01 AM

    I’ve never seen the cool one resort to exclamation points.
    There were six.
    (I refrain.)
    Yet, I’ve been offered far more… without the conjugal element however, and never consenting…like.

  75. mishari permalink*
    September 5, 2010 1:12 AM

    No, exclamation marks are anathema to me. I hate them like poison. Only to be used ironically or to signal a joke (as they were).

    So, hic, aren’t you going to give us a translation as well? Perhaps something from Old Norse? That would be great…

  76. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 5, 2010 1:44 AM

    I see that Reen has already explained that Irish phrase so I am rendered useless once more.

    Welcome back Hic, good sestina.

    Mish, I’ve done another translation (I’m blaming Heaney this time, posted it to PP as well). I’ll post it over at Perp Walk just in case you’re interested. Anyways, see if it passes muster with you. (From the Italian.)

    Jack Brae

  77. hic8ubique permalink
    September 5, 2010 2:18 AM

    Thanks, Jack. Good is a high mark I think for my first try.

    Mishari, I know you hate them, the point marks, and so I can’t resist the re-mark. You are working me hard on my first day back, but how shall I deny you?
    The sky has just opened up on my beach walk to punish me like Lear for my wickedness

    and there are those I love who in despite
    will speak to me no more because the acid
    brand the shame of this pH is scorched
    upon my once beloved now brazen haunch…

    my ON is so abashedly weak, for now, I offer a squib from the Felinese:

    Submission is worth it
    only if you resist
    a little first
    stretching out lengthwise
    before smoothly
    rolling over
    to receive

    I’m still looking forward to enjoying the new blog soon, but must do so with my undivided attention…

  78. mishari permalink*
    September 5, 2010 9:43 AM

    Your poem’s up, Jack. Hope the pic is OK.

    Well, hic, perhaps I should have warned you but I thought you knew. I remember when Mowbray first came to PH, a promising young fellow, a youth with great expectations…I said to him then, ‘You realise that if you join my enterprise, the mark of Cain will be on you and every man’s hand will be against you?’

    But he heeded me not, impetuous youth, and look at him now. Shunned and despised, the utility companies refuse to supply him and the banks have spurned his custom.

    And so he sits by candlelight, furiously pedalling his bicycle-powered generator while he taps at his keyboard and posts to PH using his neighbour’s wireless connection.

    This is what you have to look forward to, hic.

  79. September 5, 2010 10:49 AM

    Ah so here you are.

    The old version of PH used to flag up when the latest blog was up and running but as I don’t go to the Homepage each time I visit there’s nothing on each individual page to suggest things have moved on.

    Plus I am from Somerset so naturally 5 beats behind everyone else. That Margaret Thatcher eh? The sooner she’s gone the better.

  80. mishari permalink*
    September 5, 2010 10:58 AM

    Aside from the fact that Thatcher’s changed her name to ‘Cameron’, not much has changed, Ed.

  81. Reine permalink
    September 5, 2010 11:12 AM

    I will never be responsible for rendering you useless Jack, you won’t be able to hide that talent under your modesty bushel.

  82. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 5, 2010 11:17 AM

    Wotcher, hic.

    Fucking hell, Baron Corvus, pinkroom will think we’re conspiring.

  83. Zeph permalink
    September 5, 2010 11:17 AM

    Mishari, with the greatest respect and deference to your rights and tastes as blog owner, poetic supremo and purveyor of finely honed ripostes to roving bookblog delinquents, this template sucks.

    A great friend of mine is a reiki master, she taught me the first level I think, but I was only being polite and haven’t noticed any increase in my healing powers. You have to, y’know, believe.

  84. Reine permalink
    September 5, 2010 11:19 AM

    Speaking of bushels, an innocent discussion on talk radio here about blackberry picking became the most requested replay for the presenter’s innocent revelation “I used to pick them straight off my Granny’s bush”. You can take people out of secondary school…

  85. Reine permalink
    September 5, 2010 11:29 AM

    Hi Zeph,
    It’s the lack of belief thing I fear will be the rock on which I perish. My two sisters have done all the training and want to suck me into their handwaving vortex. My baby sister, 31, exerts an influence over me like no one else. I cannot say “no” to her; she is a teacher and when she is in bossy mode, I feel about four and a half years old. When I arrived here on Friday (my hair slightly wild, having not bothered to blow dry it), she told me to brush it if I was going out in public. How I suffer…

  86. mishari permalink*
    September 5, 2010 11:35 AM

    You’re right, Zeph. Fuck it…it’s history. How do you mean, MM? Have you simultaneously posted a similar comment? Oh…never mind, just seen your comment. Synchronicity, d00d…

  87. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 5, 2010 11:47 AM

    Like everyone else on the strangest POTW for months, MM clambers aboard Godwin’s galleon… We’ll soon be back to the days of Pathetic Little Sidekick. [much-missed, BTW. Everyone knew their place back then…]

    – My granny never had a bush.

    – Old Vera?

    – No, alopecia.

  88. Zeph permalink
    September 5, 2010 12:03 PM

    Ah, excellent, one click on the princely keyboard and coherence is restored.

    Reine, yes, unfortunately which sibling is allowed to be right is established in infancy and never changes. If only we’d known, we’d have fought harder at the age of 3, eh?

    Hand-waving is all very well, but. My mother, who would have harrumphed at and dismissed any form of alternative therapy, had a great gift for saying something very understated that would just make you feel better. That, I think, is an ancient form of healing worth cultivating.

  89. PatheticLittleSidekick permalink
    September 5, 2010 12:32 PM

    The lure of the Blackshorts is irresistible, HLM. It does look like I’m me-tooing Neo’s comment. There’s a near-physical pain in finding oneself adjacent to such intellectual poverty.

    Seconds to Zeph’s comment on the former template. In my humble position I felt unable to comment on how fucking awful it was.

  90. mishari permalink*
    September 5, 2010 12:35 PM

    Yeah, I was slowly, through the fog of habitual self-deception, coming to the same realisation: it just needed someone to say it…

    Don’t your dream-warping pills help with pain, then?

    I just had to share this, Statler & Waldorf Meet Milton Berle:

  91. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 5, 2010 12:38 PM

    Thanks Mish, I very much approve of the illustration.

    Your latest reincarnation as the neocorvine is producing great stuff. You are the Doctor Who of Poetry.

    Zeph, my father has a similar ability to your mother’s. He’d often say to me, “Jaysus, son, you look like shite” and I’d immediately feel much improved.

  92. September 5, 2010 12:59 PM

    Our next door neighbour used to say “You’ve got a face like a shepherd’s arse” which didn’t make you feel better but emphasised that the night before had been spent drinking too much

  93. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 5, 2010 1:17 PM

    Well, feckit! I liked the new template. Don’t I get a say?

    I quite liked those deep black lines around the blog-host. It was my ambition to cleverly follow a post by the Blog-host so he’d answer immediately and I, too, would be surrounded by deep black lines. Now all my aspirations are for nothing. Again!

  94. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 5, 2010 1:51 PM

    You too

    can be a

    blog host


    (insert clever remark)


  95. mishari permalink*
    September 5, 2010 1:57 PM

    …or even a rather dull-witted remark [The blog-owner’s speciality-Ed.]; wordpress is very forgiving.

  96. hic8ubique permalink
    September 5, 2010 2:08 PM

    Good of you to appear, MM after listing those side-kick-effects.

    Needed someone to say it, Mishari? Your tipping-point was just about where everyone but Jack had said it.
    Reassuring to see you restored to proper proportions, especially as you’ve transmogrified on the potw.

    I do agree about the power of the right words in the moment, Zeph, and Reine as we know is skilled in wielding them.
    Unfortunately, I still inadvertently reduce my sisters to quivering jellies with mine.
    How is your state of abode?

  97. mishari permalink*
    September 5, 2010 3:43 PM

    I only recall Ed saying he hated the last theme and I put that down to the fact that a man who owns a giant inflatable electric Euro-pig probably has different aesthetic standards from, like…normal people…

    If the canaille had spoken with one voice, I would have listened…

  98. hic8ubique permalink
    September 5, 2010 4:11 PM

    “FAIRIES. Your lordly style
    We’ll quickly quench
    With base canaille!
    PEERS. (That word is French.)
    FAIRIES. Distinction ebbs
    Before a herd
    Of vulgar plebs!
    PEERS. (A Latin word.)
    FAIRIES. ‘Twill fill with joy
    And madness stark
    The hoi polloi!
    PEERS. (A Greek remark.)

    FAIRIES. One Latin word, one Greek remark,
    And one that’s French….”

  99. Zeph permalink
    September 5, 2010 5:27 PM

    hic: I should be packing right now, moving tomorrow. One of the cats has been missing for 3 days. Sanity hangs by a thread.

    Fortunately it’s necessary from time to time to visit a blog or two and try to appear coherent. Otherwise gibbering would have become the norm…

  100. hic8ubique permalink
    September 5, 2010 5:46 PM

    oh no. Don’t despair, Zeph. They are so resilient, there’s much hope of being reunited. Please don’t feel a need to be coherent for our sake…

    Mishari, the new blog is beautifully done. I love the generous white-space there and your variety of illustrations.
    Interesting to me that your own poetic voice comes through so clearly and consistently in your translations.
    I’m not sure how that is, but from my viewpoint it is salutary.

    To me, so far, the problem of translation is like figuring out how to bite into a melon, and making a poem is pickle enough, but I’m pondering, overwhelmed and pondering…

    Please make more.

    Are you with us, freep?

  101. September 5, 2010 5:47 PM

    Did I say I hated the last theme???? I wrote a poem about the font and that was about it I thought.

    Wasn’t it? Looks in mirror and sees large grinning face of a sow. runs screaming from room. Or is that runs squealing from room?

  102. freep permalink
    September 5, 2010 6:15 PM

    No, I am… was… have been… in Glasgow. Where ought I to be? What black lines? Sestinas are hard to do when you are galloping on a donkey. Wrong rhythm, lead falls out of pencil.

  103. hic8ubique permalink
    September 5, 2010 6:53 PM

    You are just where you ought to be, freep.
    I was missing you, and thought you might be slaving your heart out over a perfectly honed sestina with no end in sight. They do go on don’t they.

    “The threatened lines have passed away
    and brightly shines the dawning day…”

  104. mishari permalink*
    September 5, 2010 6:59 PM

    Thanks, hic. I’ve always been a bit ambivalent about translating poetry. I don’t think it’s actually possible to translate a poem, given the weight of baggage that any given language carries with it.

    Every word in the original language carries so much nuance, history, inference, association, undertones, overtones, historical resonances etc etc that, I feel, translation, as such, is simply impossible.

    What one can do, however, is try to re-create as much of the poem as one can. Of course, in effect, it’s a new poem and inevitably, I think, the voice of the translator is going to predominate (if s/he is a competent versifier). I think that’s what your seeing.

    Hail, freep, lately escaped from Glasgee. See you, Jimmy, by the way? Yer brand new…

    I meant to say, Zeph, the last time I moved and lost a cat, I went back 3 days later and called and made the usual kissy noises and she emerged from under a nearby car. She’d come back and skulked until I came to fetch her to her new home. Don’t despair…

  105. Zeph permalink
    September 5, 2010 7:44 PM

    Thank you, Mishari and Hic. Missing cat is the feistier of the two Maine Coons and certainly the better equipped to survive. I’m hoping she’s just having a big adventure in Victoria Park. Other thoughts (car boot sales, furriers) are too dreadful to contemplate.

  106. hic8ubique permalink
    September 5, 2010 8:57 PM

    Sometimes a cat will go off on a toot in good weather, but it’s also highly likely she’s shut in someone’s shed. I know that happened to mine, because he came back in terrible distress.
    I woke at dawn 6 or 7 days after missing him, had a feeling, rushed down to open the door and he flung himself at me with a terrible shuddering yowl.
    Ruskin, a rescued cinnamon ocicat; he was my greatest cat love.

  107. hic8ubique permalink
    September 5, 2010 9:11 PM

    I appreciate your elucidation, Mishari, it makes perfect sense to me. A devilishly elusive art, translation, which accounts for my admiration when the result isn’t just a sketchy artifact but continues to have a vibrancy.

    Maybe if I choose a favourite old Swedish song and make the ‘usual kissy noises’ it will magically translate into something not crap for me.

  108. mishari permalink*
    September 5, 2010 9:34 PM

    Well, hic, I think the beauty of translation is that you can start out with some not very promising material and through the magic of love and attention, turn into something altogether finer. I exclude the songs of Abba from this possibility, of course…(watch: she’ll do an Abba song just to wind me up)

  109. hic8ubique permalink
    September 5, 2010 9:58 PM

    ‘My my, how could I resist ja…’
    No, I couldn’t possibly, that just was for MM.

    I can certainly see that as you say, but you didn’t start with unpromising material, did you? If so, I was completely fooled. I believed you were selecting pieces you felt had merit.

    oh, guests have arrived, must go be pleasant…

  110. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 5, 2010 10:01 PM

    Je n’ai pas de copains
    Personne à voir
    Et je ne suis jamais invité
    A présent je suis
    En train de te causer
    Pas étonnant qu’j’suis excitée
    Ton sourire, ta sonorité
    Ta façon de m’ deviner
    C’est comme si tu me cantonnais
    Ça me fait tout un paquet
    Je veux savoir
    Quel est le nom du jeu ?

  111. mishari permalink*
    September 5, 2010 10:04 PM

    The game’s called ‘life, but not as we know it, Jim’.

    Oh, no, hic, I started with stuff I loved. But I can easily see turning something not very good into something better through translation...

  112. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 5, 2010 11:40 PM

    I’d agree with all that’s said concerning your missing cat, Zeph. Mish’s suggestion, of going back later to your old house (if possible) is usually the best bet. Mind you, your cat could even turn up in the morning.

    So, Freep goes away and then comes back asking “what black lines?” Mind you, you could miss anything by going to Glasgow. Some people have lost entire years. Some have even lost teeth.

    Jack Brae

  113. hic8ubique permalink
    September 6, 2010 12:12 AM

    ‘…you can start out with some not very promising material and through the magic of love and attention, turn into something altogether finer.’

    Isn’t this the greatest folly of women starting out in new relationships? He then persists in his original frog essence?

    I’m still not sure why one would be attracted to do so or to bother when there are wonderful things waiting to be translated. It’s maybe too abstract a concept for me?
    begging the question: such as…?

  114. Reine permalink
    September 6, 2010 12:19 AM

    “…you can start out with some not very promising material and through the magic of love and attention, turn into something altogether finer.”

    “Isn’t this the greatest folly of women starting out in new relationships? He then persists in his original frog essence?”

    Sing it sister. “Will I kiss it better?”, Mam used to say when we hurt ourselves as kids, but that advice only takes one so far…

  115. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 6, 2010 12:46 AM

    In The Restaurant

    I’ll have the sardines and the chicken, please,
    and a bottle of Merlot would be nice,
    perhaps the kids could have something with cheese.
    No, I’m afraid they’re allergic to rice,
    they have a rather unusual disease.
    No, Poppy, this restaurant does not have mice.

    Hugo, will you stop talking about mice?
    I’d like to see some good behaviour, please,
    and no, I haven’t ordered any rice,
    though Mummy will be having some with cheese,
    it’s a kind of risotto, very nice.
    Don’t cry, Alice. Mummy won’t catch a disease.

    I really don’t want to discuss disease,
    Marcus, and you did not see any mice,
    now look, can we just drop the subject, please?
    See how Mummy’s eating up her rice,
    you three, sorry, four, do that with your cheese.
    Gosh, these sardines are really very nice.

    What, you don’t think your cheese is very nice?
    I promise that you won’t catch a disease,
    that cheese has never been nibbled by mice.
    Hugo, stop banging on about it, please,
    there’s a good chap. Darling, enjoying your rice?
    Do have a word when your mouth’s not stuffed with cheese.

    That pizza is not topped with sick, it’s cheese.
    Try it, Alice, I think you’ll find it’s nice,
    all right, don’t. Sweetie, don’t make a fuss, please.
    Marcus, I’ll ground you if you mention mice
    or anything relating to disease.
    Oh for God’s sake, darling, finish that rice.

    No, I don’t want it, I’ve had enough rice,
    and I don’t much like the look of that cheese,
    to be honest it doesn’t seem very nice,
    it’s all pitted, like it has a disease.
    Yes, Hugo? Oh my God, over there! Mice!
    Right, we’re leaving. Waiter! Waiter! Bill please!

    Any dish can please, even plain boiled rice,
    it can be nice with a sprinkling of cheese,
    but not Weil’s Disease, or the droppings of mice.

  116. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 6, 2010 12:48 AM

    Blimey, you’re closing the threads before I’ve had a chance to write the poems. I suppose it’s the Big Society.

  117. mishari permalink*
    September 6, 2010 12:51 AM

    Time waits for no man, old horse, Technology accelerates everything. Still, your excellent poem was worth the wait. First-rate stuff…

  118. Reine permalink
    September 6, 2010 12:52 AM

    A quality foot in the door though Mowbs. ‘night.

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