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Autumnal Procrastination Post

October 24, 2011



Late Autumn In Venice


Delmore Schwartz

(After Rilke)


The city floats no longer like a bait
To hook the nimble darting summer days.
The glazed and brittle palaces pulsate and radiate
And glitter. Summer’s garden sways,
A heap of marionettes hanging down and dangled,
Leaves tired, torn, turned upside down and strangled:
Until from forest depths, from bony leafless trees
A will wakens: the admiral, lolling long at ease,
Has been commanded, overnight — suddenly –:
In the first dawn, all galleys put to sea!
Waking then in autumn chill, amid the harbor medley,
The fragrance of pitch, pennants aloft, the butt
Of oars, all sails unfurled, the fleet
Awaits the great wind, radiant and deadly.

  1. October 24, 2011 12:27 PM

    Even leaves procrastinate
    Slow to leave the trees
    Or so my father says
    They linger with such ease
    It seems they might yet wait for snow

    But the decidedly deciduous
    Must make their red farewell to us
    Wave russet hand, still falling
    As if to onlookers calling
    “I do not want to leave”

  2. Edward Taylor permalink
    October 24, 2011 12:36 PM

    Temperatures are dropping
    The leaves are turning red
    Why wasn’t Harold Camping right?
    Why aren’t we all dead?
    Late summer is a time for frolic
    But Autumn is way too symbolic.

  3. October 24, 2011 1:00 PM

    Alright, so I was slightly out
    but now can safely say,
    there cannot be the slightest doubt:
    we all croak Christmas Day.

  4. Edward Taylor permalink
    October 24, 2011 1:19 PM

    Harold you may be a raving loon
    I have to say I like your tune
    Dying on Xmas won’t be pleasant
    It saves me money buying a present.

  5. October 24, 2011 4:51 PM

    I remember an Autumn eve in Venice
    when the fog rolled in overnight, its menace
    muffling the echoes. Strains from la Fenice
    covering the shrieks: that Frenchy wench was itchy.

  6. Reine permalink
    October 24, 2011 9:31 PM

    Autumn my arse, We have had apocalyptic flooding here this evening. A 12 mile journey home took four hours and had many hairy moments. Des, I hope you have not floated away and are high up in your eyrie documenting everything.

  7. Edward Taylor permalink
    October 24, 2011 11:07 PM

    Same in parts of the UK apparently but luckily not in the North West.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about the brilliant English painter Edward Burra recently. Now discovered there’s a retrospective of his work in the South which I won’t be able to see and just watched a nice documentary about him on BBC4.

    If you have BBC iplayer I really recommend seeing if it’s available and watching if it is. It won’t dry anything out but he was a wonderful artist.

  8. Reine permalink
    October 24, 2011 11:19 PM

    Just googled him Edward; some really good stuff – influences of Dali and Picasso, no? Thanks for broadening my overcast horizons.

  9. mishari permalink*
    October 24, 2011 11:52 PM

    I believe (I don’t have it handy to check) that my paperback of the Penguin Book of Contemporary Verse (published in the 60s, I think) has a Burra painting on the cover. Interesting painter. You must be talking about the show in Chichester, Ed. Perhaps I’ll make the trip.

  10. InvisibleJack permalink
    October 25, 2011 1:01 AM

    Jack meself is going through the badpatch of late. Poetry is slow, like a sludge in the blood.

    I’m fighting the block with minmalism, at least it’s something that’ll come, and most of what I’ve done in the past few months is scifaiku. Mind you, I’ve written over a thousand of them, despite their smallness they’re something. Sneaking into this blog and watching you all in secret is one of the few things keeping back the despair.

    Sorry to hear of Mowbray’s ill health.

    Of Autumn I know nothing, but of November I know a bit. So here’s a scifaiku …

    our dead the shape of birdsong …
    for a moment in the thrushdeep
    then not

    Jack Brae

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 25, 2011 3:15 AM

      Good to fall out of secret

      in the fallow period;

      good to hail fellows

      when harrowing despair

      would fain hollow your belly.

      Fall in, sweet Follower…

      feel our fond conspiracy,

      our tacit communal

      eloquence, loosely set

      in serial abiding.


      xO hic

  11. mishari permalink*
    October 25, 2011 9:14 AM

    60 Elvis impersonators flee fire alarm

    A group of 60 Elvis impersonators had to flee a charity fundraiser after a faulty smoke machine set off the fire alarm.

    “I was in a bit of a state getting out of my room. But I was more confused when I got outside to see all these people dressed as Elvis”, said one guest.

    “There were people in full Elvis jumpsuits and wigs standing by a roundabout, looking a bit worse for the wear.” — The Daily Telegraph, today

    I Wish Elvis Would Leave The Building

    Elvis here, Elvis there,
    there’s Presleys bloody everywhere,
    all looking a bit worse for wear,
    the spangly jumpsuits and the hair.

    This is now and that was then;
    his work was done an age ago.
    I wish that he’d just die again
    and only live on radio.

  12. Edward Taylor permalink
    October 25, 2011 9:48 AM

    I may have posted this before ( but when has this ever stopped me ). In the early 60’s there were 40 Elvis impersonators. In the late 90’s there were over 40,000 Elvis impersonators. If the growth continues at that rate by 2030 a third of the world’s population will be Elvis impersonators.

    Sorry to hear of your block Jack. I’ve recently come out of a bad period of non-inspiration. Working at it is the only solution as far as I can see but you have to be prepared to look hard at the rubbish you’ve created and find the things that are valuable in it.

    The Burra exhibition is in Chichester – too far from me and I’m tied up with work but as most Burra’s are in private hands it’s an exhibition that may not be repeated in our lifetimes. So no pressure then.

  13. Reine permalink
    October 25, 2011 10:26 AM

    Hi Jack, it’s been that kind of year I think; I won’t be sorry to see the back of it. Hope your spirits soar soon.

    Alas, alas, alack, alack
    Our minds are blank
    Our hearts are black
    We seek the light
    We phototropes
    Let no more blight
    Bedash our hopes

  14. mishari permalink*
    October 25, 2011 12:15 PM

    “If the growth continues at that rate by 2030 a third of the world’s population will be Elvis impersonators.”

    Now that’s what I call a ‘dystopia’.

    I’m sure I’ve mentioned my favourite Chinese restaurant, Elvis Gracelands Palace on the Old Kent Road? The food was pretty good but the floorshow (a Chinese Elvis-impersonator) was a killer. “Ruv me tendah…”

    Sadly, they’ve gone out of business. The good die young…

  15. Edward Taylor permalink
    October 25, 2011 12:27 PM

    I passed an Indian restaurant called Crispy Cottage last week.

    I’m at a loss as well but the mental image is good.

  16. hic8ubique permalink
    October 25, 2011 1:50 PM

    Could this be the very experience you mention?

    • mishari permalink*
      October 25, 2011 2:05 PM

      Hahahaha…brilliant, hic…that’s him and that’s the restaurant. I never thought of checking youtube…thanks for that.

  17. hic8ubique permalink
    October 25, 2011 2:27 PM

    Cheers, M~~ I was already in stitches, between your fire-drill verse and “Ruv me tendah…”, so I needed to investigate…

    Several years ago, I was startled from my Christmas shopping by the recognition that Elvis actually had a lovely voice, which I’d never noticed in the midst of all the carry-on about him.

    I was quoting you to Reine the other day, and noticed that hahahahahahaha is quite fun to type, like bananananana, except one can feel freely open-ended in expressing it.

  18. October 25, 2011 2:40 PM

    I’d be surprised if it was a Chinese who sang ‘Ruv me Tendah’. /l/ is pretty standard in Mandarin as an onset, although there are some Chinese dialects that lack it. /l̴/ is of course notoriously difficult: “people” becomes /’pi:pʔ/ or even /’pi:pɻ/, especially here in Beijing. See my forthcoming paper on ‘The dark /l/ for Mandarin learners of English: a verse-based pedagogical approach.’

  19. mishari permalink*
    October 25, 2011 3:23 PM

    Consider me properly chastised, Simon.

    Still, it does rather ruin Spike Milligan’s favourite joke, to wit:

    Man in a Chinese restaurant calls the waiter over. “Waiter, this chicken is rubbery”. The waiter replies “Thank you velly much, sir”. Boom boom…I’m here all week…try the chicken, it’s rubbery…

    hic, I don’t think anyone disputes that Elvis had a great voice, it’s just that it was used in the service of so much crap.

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      October 25, 2011 3:40 PM

      Give that man the clap he deserves etc. etc.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 25, 2011 4:01 PM

      Hm, as a child of the sixties, I was unaware of anything except the latter-day freak show, so hadn’t paid any attention to his music. It’s really more a reflection on me than on Elvis that I could be oblivious to something generally undisputed until my 40s.
      I still think of him as a lurid portrait on black velvet in a flea market.

  20. mishari permalink*
    October 25, 2011 4:36 PM

    A woman who admitted biting off her boyfriend’s testicles has been warned she could be jailed.

    Maria Topp, 44, from Wreckenton, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm at Newcastle Crown Court.

    She bit Martin Douglas, her partner of five years, during a drunken brawl at his flat in February. — The Indy, today

    Is that what ‘relationship counsellors’ mean by a ‘communication breakdown’?

    I always said that love’s for fools,
    now you’ve bit off the family jewels.

  21. October 25, 2011 4:51 PM

    OMG. What kind of teeth would one need to do that?

    Mad for a gonad? Call 1850biteme

  22. Edward Taylor permalink
    October 25, 2011 5:18 PM

    Reine Didn’t you have a colleague who gargled the national anthem with her boyfriend’s balls in her mouth? Or have I injected too much insulin?

  23. October 25, 2011 5:26 PM

    Ohhmm yes, a “colleague”, that’s right Ed. It’s one thing mangling the national anthem, quite another mangling a pair of testicles. HOW DO YOU REMEMBER THAT? HOW DID I WRITE IT? I heard the pennies down the foreskin gag on tele the other night… I anticipated the punchline aloud before it came to the surprise of my fellow viewers. Spookily, HI’s loose change jar was nowhere to be seen on his locker that night.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 25, 2011 9:02 PM

      “He wanted to spend a penny.”

  24. Edward Taylor permalink
    October 25, 2011 5:37 PM

    Once read it’s difficult to forget such a thing.

  25. October 25, 2011 5:56 PM

    I apologise sincerely for troubling you with that image Ed. She wasn’t even a good singer by all accounts.

  26. mishari permalink*
    October 25, 2011 7:03 PM

    She did what? Holy cow….mind you, I’m guessing it was one of those easy national anthems, like the US’s, which just goes: “USA USA USA…” ad infinitum. The French national anthem, on the other hand, is a bastard. It’s hard enough to sing the damn thing without testicles in your mouth (I’m guessing here…I mean, I’m guessing that it’s harder with testicles in one’s mouth…I mean…oh, hell…you know what I mean).

  27. Edward Taylor permalink
    October 25, 2011 7:55 PM

    Mishari until an expert comes online and explains these things to us we’re all guessing here

  28. mishari permalink*
    October 25, 2011 8:20 PM

    Perhaps Reine could check with her, ahem…*cough-cough-cough* colleague.

    • Reine permalink
      October 25, 2011 11:39 PM

      My colleague* informs me that it’s the reverb allure of Amhrán na bFhiann that is the selling point. Most Irish people mumble the words anyway, never quite sure of what they are. I am bilingual and know them well so clearly it was not me. The trick she tells me is to coax the testicles to take up a cheek each leaving roomish for a good old hum and a tongue free to form an odd word. It’s only ever requested by Republicans.

      *Máire Áine

      Well, that’s all very crude as my mother would say, didn’t happen in her day.

      I was at a jazz gig tonight. Great singer and musicians but that’s the jazz box ticked for another couple of years. Ba doop ba doop ba ba ba ba boo boo boo etc.

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      October 26, 2011 9:24 AM

      I could imagine ( though why I am only a psychiatrist could explain ) that something sung in Xhosa would be a painful experience for one if not both of the glee club.

  29. hic8ubique permalink
    October 25, 2011 9:10 PM

    The US national anthem is an appalling exercise in shrieking, shatnering, and warbling.
    I hate the thing.
    The chant above (given the old colleague try) would automatically translate into some unnamed pidgin : Hoo Uh Fuh! Hoo Uh Fuh!
    I would have listened, but had to flee preemptively when I saw the words: HomerSimpson.

  30. mishari permalink*
    October 25, 2011 11:43 PM

    “It’s only ever requested by Republicans.”

    I expect Communists ask for The Red Flag, Loyalists request God Save The Queen and punks want Pretty Vacant…all part of life’s rich pageant…or something.

  31. Reine permalink
    October 25, 2011 11:50 PM

    Opera lovers often ask for the ring cycle apparently… an abridged version.

    I won’t give up the day job just yet…

  32. mishari permalink*
    October 25, 2011 11:59 PM

    Rock fans request Come On.

  33. Reine permalink
    October 26, 2011 12:11 AM

    Nervous fellows “I’m happy just to dance with you”.

  34. hic8ubique permalink
    October 26, 2011 2:01 AM

    and Folkies:
    “Tis pretty to be in Ballinderry
    ‘Tis pretty to be in Aughalee
    ‘Tis prettier to be on bonny Ram’s Island
    A-sitting forever beneath a tree…

    ‘beneath a tree’ … hahahahahahaha

    Now then, EdT, I meant to say: You must stop the shirking; it’s time you went on a
    Very Important Research mission to Chichester.

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      October 26, 2011 9:45 AM

      hic sadly I’m in a doubleshirk dilemma ( about to become the name of a self-help book even as I write this ).

      Sadly ( or wonderfully ) I have too much work to do up here over the next few months and the sudden unblocking of a creative lull has meant I want to get to grips with all that as well.

      I’m lucky enough to have seen a lot of Burra’s in the past and there’s a totes gorge one ( as the fashionistas would say ) in a gallery local to me.

      So in other words yes I’ll probably go if I don’t go.

  35. hic8ubique permalink
    October 26, 2011 2:24 AM

  36. October 26, 2011 2:32 PM

    I’m wearing my cloak of shame today. Totes sackclothy.

  37. InvisibleJack permalink
    October 26, 2011 8:45 PM

    Ah, Sweet Mother of Jesus! Is that Leah Fritz fucking serious!

    Apparently, Reen, the truth is out. You are indeed a man, and have been fooling us these many months. Otherwise you would have been able to “perceive” the genius behind this week’s POTW!

    Fuckit, it’s almost enough to shake me free of writers’ block!

    Jack Brae

  38. Reine permalink
    October 26, 2011 9:38 PM

    Jack, you’re playing a blinder. I am applauding from afar, causing my man boobs to shake merrily.

    Every cloud then, if the block is shifting.

    I know what you mean about it not reaching your heart. I mean this in no arrogant way but I felt I could have written the poem. I suppose what I mean is that some of the shite I write is as amateur as Stone appears to me.

    Leah is quite elderly which makes me loath to say anything too strident to her but that kind of “aging” her is no different I suppose from her trying to “sex” the PotW posters.

    • Reine permalink
      October 26, 2011 9:51 PM

      I suppose what I mean is that some of the shite I write seems no less amateur than Stone appears to me… is what I meant. Obviously, it’s all amateur.

    • InvisibleJack permalink
      October 26, 2011 10:38 PM

      Reen, I think you’re selling yourself far too short.

      I think that this week’s “poem” is one of the weakest I’ve seen on POTW. Fairly prosaic and clumsily executed. Surely to Jesus there was a better poem in either the collection or the chapbook for Carol to choose? However, having said that I do genuinely like the idea of choosing a poet who is outside the usual lists. I just wish she’d chosen a better one.

    • Reine permalink
      October 26, 2011 11:06 PM

      Jack, thank you from the bottom of my blush. I wasn’t fishing, just drawing attention to what I perceive as the poem’s pedestrianism.

      If I wasn’t shoring up the apparatus of State, I’d be hi-hoing hence to Fermoy tomorrow to lend you an ear. “I always come if I’m summoned”. Well, I’m sure.

    • mishari permalink*
      October 26, 2011 11:09 PM

      Ditto, if someone’s singing the national anthem…

  39. mishari permalink*
    October 26, 2011 9:41 PM

    Actually, Jack, Leah Fritz accused me of being a racist because I refused to join in the lachrymose grief-fest of 9/11 remembrance and was so callous as to ask if American deaths were really so much more significant than other people’s.

    She strikes me as a very silly woman, given to silly generalisations. She doesn’t seem to have much confidence in her opinions, seeing any disagreement as some sort of attempt at disenfranchisement or something. Needless to add, she and parisa get on famously.

    Still, if she spurs you into poetry, she’s served some purpose.

    • InvisibleJack permalink
      October 26, 2011 10:46 PM

      Actually, Mish, my choice of posting on the blog was simply to shake myself up a bit. I do feel the urge to compose something rising in me again, so maybe it’ll come sooner than I could hope.

      I realised too late that Leah Fritz is indeed just a silly person with barely a clue about anything. Anyways, I can’t see that there’s much else that can be debated about on that hopeless poem; we’ve already raised it on a plinth by our mere attention. But I dare say it’ll fall off.

      My Siamese Djinn is booked to give a workshop and a reading from early tomorrow evening in Fermoy (County Cork) so that might shake the cobwebs a bit more. I’m sure he’ll summon me to read as well, he usually does these days. I always come if I’m summoned.

      Jack Brae

  40. Edward Taylor permalink
    October 26, 2011 9:46 PM

    A scene in Mike Leigh’s Nuts in May comes to mind where Alison Steadman picks up pebbles from the beach, gets a bit giddy about them and gives them to her partner Keith who looks at them for the required time then chucks them away when her back is turned.

    • InvisibleJack permalink
      October 26, 2011 10:57 PM

      One of them probably hit Leah Fritz on the head.

  41. mishari permalink*
    October 26, 2011 11:03 PM

    That’ll be your gig at The Elbow Lane Inn, then, Jack? I thought that was last night?

    • InvisibleJack permalink
      October 26, 2011 11:29 PM

      Jesus, I fucking hope not !!!!
      I need the money !!!

      Oh, hang on, just realised … it was originally supposed to have been on the Tuesday, but they moved it on a few days because they felt it was clashing with something else. Let’s just hope to Jesus that everyone didn’t turn up yesterday!

    • Reine permalink
      October 26, 2011 11:33 PM

      It’s a happening venue, Elbow Lane. Lots of patriotic singing thereabouts.

      (Jack, are you on tenterhooks with the excitement about the presidential election and the referenda…. No? Me neither.)

  42. InvisibleJack permalink
    October 26, 2011 11:32 PM

    Reen, if you ever do attend one of my readings, please don’t bring your friend who gargles testicles. I’d fear she might overshadow me.

    • Reine permalink
      October 26, 2011 11:40 PM

      She doesn’t go in for poetry Jack. Prefers a bit of trad music; she is an excellent flautist. I will sit demurely at the back unless you would like me to sit upfront with my “Jack rocks” banner.

  43. mishari permalink*
    October 26, 2011 11:41 PM

    Oh, I dunno, Jack…get her to recite some of your work while gargling the goolies. Let’s see Famous Seamus top that.

    • Reine permalink
      October 26, 2011 11:44 PM

      If you send me some manuscripts, I can pass them on to her. I see her practically every day.

    • Reine permalink
      October 26, 2011 11:47 PM

      Many consider Heaney’s Act of Union a political poem but, spookily, my friend was up North round that time. I’m sure it must be a coincidence.

  44. hic8ubique permalink
    October 26, 2011 11:51 PM

    We are still on about this, I see. How shall I ask… is this possible? In ones cheeks?
    It sounds a bad plan, I must say, and I’ve not encountered a pair that would both fit. I’m sure of it. I’m not at all inclined…

    • Reine permalink
      October 26, 2011 11:54 PM

      Ha ha… it all got a bit out of hand Hic. Pardon me. Say hi to big boy for me. x

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 26, 2011 11:57 PM

      Re! You are serious! ‘Out of hand’, I should say so. I wouldn’t ever like to be found unaccommodating of special interests, but only think of the bullfrog look.

  45. Reine permalink
    October 27, 2011 12:04 AM

    I am only serious in so far as it has actually been recounted to me. I may test the theory but not tonight. I am not in good voice.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 27, 2011 12:09 AM

      “Refrain audacious tar[t]
      Remember who [thou art]”

      …and you are far too elegant to play the ballfrog. But glory, the thought does rather impose upon the imagination.

  46. mishari permalink*
    October 27, 2011 12:05 AM

    Yeah, sorry, hic…it does seem to exercise a strange fascination: I’m thinking ‘orchestra’. Kinda like Mongolian throat-singing…only different. Kick off with ‘Chatanooga Choo-choo’ and see how we go…

    I see Leah is still trying to turn it into a ‘gender’ issue, which is to confuse poetry with polemic, I think. Persistent, isn’t she?

    The mis-remembered Dylan line made me laugh, though (actually “…because something is happening here but you don’t know what it is do you, Mr. Jones?”).

    I always knew that Mills was a chauvinist pig…it’s the ‘tache that gives it away.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 27, 2011 12:14 AM

      I’m trying to catch up with this most interesting PotW, distracted by Tuvan
      hummana hummana hummana

      Chatanooga? I’m open to requests…

      No apologies called for, ‘natch’.

  47. Reine permalink
    October 27, 2011 12:05 AM

    Let this be an end to it as my mother would say. ‘night all, x

  48. mishari permalink*
    October 27, 2011 12:09 AM

    I’m off to bed as well…been a long day…sleep well, kids…

  49. hic8ubique permalink
    October 27, 2011 12:15 AM

    Goodnight you, Easterlies

  50. InvisibleJack permalink
    October 27, 2011 1:28 AM

    I should be in bed too!

    Reen, I’ll be voting early in the morning and praying to Jesus that the new President isn’t Dana or that cretinous sweetie of Fianna Fail. Mind you, they’re only the very worst of them, there’s still a few equally as bad. I have every faith that our country might very well pick the wrong one. They got it right the last two times; a third time might be too much to hope for.

    As for any future readings, you may sit at the front with that banner draped demurely across your knees. Please applaud mightily after every single poem – it’ll lead the audience.

    Mish, I gave a quick look at POTW. Liah Fritz, to quote Bob Dylan, is defintely minus her handle. But I’m glad she’s on the blog; she’ll be company for Parisa. They appear to be bonding nicely. It’s quite touching to watch them.

    ‘night all

    Jack Brae

    • Reine permalink
      October 27, 2011 8:27 AM

      I think it’s time for a poetic president or a presidential poet Jack. A field of candidates has never enthralled me less.

      Good luck this evening. Hope it goes well.

  51. mishari permalink*
    October 27, 2011 12:55 PM

    …and the satire just keeps writing itself:

  52. October 27, 2011 2:52 PM

    One for Reine and Jack. How do you pronounce “uillean(n)”?

  53. October 27, 2011 3:00 PM

    Hey Simon, I can’t access the youtube link at present (Big Brother says no)but uilleann is pronounced ill-ann. Hope all well in the Orient.

    • Reine permalink
      October 27, 2011 8:14 PM

      more ill-in on second thoughts

    • October 29, 2011 3:48 PM

      Not bad, thanks. Off tomorrow to an English corner: 50 quid for 2 hours ‘work’, which consists of ten foreign men talking in English with about 30 female college students / young professional women who want to practise their oral skills. It’s a hard life, oi can tell ‘ee.

    • mishari permalink*
      October 29, 2011 3:56 PM

      These ‘oral skills’…they include singing the national anthem while at a, ahem *cough-cough*…disadvantage…I hope? I’d hate to think that eager female pupils weren’t benefiting from your expertise, Simon.

  54. hic8ubique permalink
    October 27, 2011 6:05 PM

    What a stupid mod we have today. The supposedly offensive comment remains, quoted by it’s supposed victim, while my highly sociable peacemaking effort is expunged. Harrumph.

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      October 27, 2011 6:25 PM

      I don’t think even anytimefrances at her very worst provoked Billy Mills into making moderateable comments.

      I’m officially shocked.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 27, 2011 7:10 PM

      That’s true EdT~ he typically remains above the fray. I’d say, all the more exceptional in that it’s not even about him really. It looks to me as though leahf has a ‘pet issue’, and Billy happened to veer into her shrapnel. He’s slow to rise, and who could blame him for a cheeky retort.
      I meant to suggest however, that there was nothing at all deserving of moderation, if that mitigates your shock. In fact, what could be more par for the course?

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      October 27, 2011 7:30 PM

      My memory isn’t what it was but I think it’s been a long time since the accusation of sexism has been flung around. on the PotW threads.

      We’ve certainly had all the rest – I remember our recuperating blogpal MM posted an impressive list of the things he’s been accused of.

      Anti-semite, BNP member. neo-liberal, shallow young hipster and illiterate are my crimes against the blogosphere. Illiterate is spot on but the accusation of anti-semitism was frankly incomprehensible even to the rest of the people I was arguing with. In fact they stepped in to defend me against the accuser.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 27, 2011 7:55 PM

      ‘accusation of sexism’… It does make her seem addled or sadly marooned in a bad experience.
      I had a conflagration with my mother (probably of the leahf vintage) when I was pregnant with my youngest, and found a box of beautiful little German shoes from my two older children. I was happily reminiscing and excited to show them to the papa-to-be (pregnant mums get like this) and my mother pronounced:
      “Oh, men aren’t interested in that sort of thing.”
      which ignited a fire of hormone-fuelled rage. Never forgotten it, as you see.

  55. mishari permalink*
    October 27, 2011 7:43 PM

    I believe that the only things I was never accused of on the POTW threads were simony, pandering, slave-trading, whale-hunting and arianism. The rest all made an appearance at one point or another, including one from smpugh that I was trading on my working-class background (which had me scratching my head but caused some hilarity amongst the usual suspects).

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 27, 2011 8:02 PM

      Was it an injustice, M, leaving some of those accomplishments out?

    • Reine permalink
      October 27, 2011 11:13 PM

      I’m sick and tired of not being accused of anything.

  56. mishari permalink*
    October 27, 2011 8:06 PM

    I’ve definitely never been a pander and arianism holds no attraction for an atheist…as to the others, it would be indiscreet to elaborate further.

  57. Reine permalink
    October 28, 2011 12:13 AM

    A bit of midnight dogg. for Jack…

    By the banks of the Blackwater
    In Elbow Lane Inn
    A poet holds sway
    With his Siamese Djinn
    He recites a ballad
    An anthem of sorts
    About pookies and pookas
    And old Brehon torts
    When the chieftain rose up
    A vassal no more
    To fight to the death
    To settle a score
    Come when he’s summoned
    Summon when he came
    Ensured primogeniture
    Would his noble chief name
    Embed in the annals
    Survive Celtic mists
    Be recited in verse
    While Irish men kissed
    Dark haired lovers in snugs
    Drank deeply of ale
    And toasted an Ireland
    Beyond the fucking Pale
    Where they can’t say “th”
    So tree comes after two

    …”And my gawd, like, that poet
    Is staring at you
    Shut up will ya, boy?
    He’s reciting his verse
    Christ almighty he
    might put a terrible curse
    On your mudder.”
    “Me mudder girl?
    You’re joking aren’t ya?
    She’s shagging a guard
    Down near Killeagh
    He can curse her away
    Bad cess to them boat
    I’m off for a smoke
    Will ya pass me my coat?”

    Yes, by the banks of the Blackwater
    In a town called Fermoy
    A girl dreams of a poet
    But goes home with a boy

  58. hic8ubique permalink
    October 28, 2011 2:03 AM

    It’s a stormy night here. Sweet dreams, all.

  59. Captain Ned permalink
    October 28, 2011 2:37 AM

    I hadn’t thought that Bill O’Reilly could ever be described as a voice of reason, but that was before I saw him interview Herman Cain. It’s a striking mark of Cain’s awfulness that he’s able to make a tit like O’Reilly seem good.

  60. mishari permalink*
    October 28, 2011 6:32 AM

    Ned, Cain’s another Palin: make a splash, get taken seriously by nobody but simpletons, lots of free publicity = sell shedloads of his ‘motivational’ books. And this gem in The NYT yesterday gave us an insight into Herman Cain–Man of The People:

    … there was that e-mail to the staff about traveling in a car with Mr. Cain: “Do not speak to him unless you are spoken to,” the memo said.

    The man’s a joke.

    Paul Krugman’s column in today’s NYT is worth re-printing in full. Those nincompoops Cameron and Osborne should have it tattooed on their foreheads:

    Financial markets are cheering the deal that emerged from Brussels early Thursday morning. Indeed, relative to what could have happened — an acrimonious failure to agree on anything — the fact that European leaders agreed on something, however vague the details and however inadequate it may prove, is a positive development.

    But it’s worth stepping back to look at the larger picture, namely the abject failure of an economic doctrine — a doctrine that has inflicted huge damage both in Europe and in the United States.

    The doctrine in question amounts to the assertion that, in the aftermath of a financial crisis, banks must be bailed out but the general public must pay the price. So a crisis brought on by deregulation becomes a reason to move even further to the right; a time of mass unemployment, instead of spurring public efforts to create jobs, becomes an era of austerity, in which government spending and social programs are slashed.

    This doctrine was sold both with claims that there was no alternative — that both bailouts and spending cuts were necessary to satisfy financial markets — and with claims that fiscal austerity would actually create jobs. The idea was that spending cuts would make consumers and businesses more confident. And this confidence would supposedly stimulate private spending, more than offsetting the depressing effects of government cutbacks.

    Some economists weren’t convinced. One caustic critic referred to claims about the expansionary effects of austerity as amounting to belief in the “confidence fairy.” O.K., that was me.

    But the doctrine has, nonetheless, been extremely influential. Expansionary austerity, in particular, has been championed both by Republicans in Congress and by the European Central Bank, which last year urged all European governments — not just those in fiscal distress — to engage in “fiscal consolidation.”

    And when David Cameron became Britain’s prime minster last year, he immediately embarked on a program of spending cuts in the belief that this would actually boost the economy — a decision that was greeted with fawning praise by many American pundits.

    Now, however, the results are in, and the picture isn’t pretty. Greece has been pushed by its austerity measures into an ever-deepening slump — and that slump, not lack of effort on the part of the Greek government, was the reason a classified report to European leaders concluded last week that the existing program there was unworkable. Britain’s economy has stalled under the impact of austerity, and confidence from both businesses and consumers has slumped, not soared.

    Maybe the most telling thing is what now passes for a success story. A few months ago various pundits began hailing the achievements of Latvia, which in the aftermath of a terrible recession, nonetheless, managed to reduce its budget deficit and convince markets that it was fiscally sound. That was, indeed, impressive, but it came at the cost of 16 percent unemployment and an economy that, while finally growing, is still 18 percent smaller than it was before the crisis.

    So bailing out the banks while punishing workers is not, in fact, a recipe for prosperity. But was there any alternative? Well, that’s why I’m in Iceland, attending a conference about the country that did something different.

    If you’ve been reading accounts of the financial crisis, or watching film treatments like the excellent “Inside Job,” you know that Iceland was supposed to be the ultimate economic disaster story: its runaway bankers saddled the country with huge debts and seemed to leave the nation in a hopeless position.

    But a funny thing happened on the way to economic Armageddon: Iceland’s very desperation made conventional behavior impossible, freeing the nation to break the rules. Where everyone else bailed out the bankers and made the public pay the price, Iceland let the banks go bust and actually expanded its social safety net. Where everyone else was fixated on trying to placate international investors, Iceland imposed temporary controls on the movement of capital to give itself room to maneuver.

    So how’s it going? Iceland hasn’t avoided major economic damage or a significant drop in living standards. But it has managed to limit both the rise in unemployment and the suffering of the most vulnerable; the social safety net has survived intact, as has the basic decency of its society. “Things could have been a lot worse” may not be the most stirring of slogans, but when everyone expected utter disaster, it amounts to a policy triumph.

    And there’s a lesson here for the rest of us: The suffering that so many of our citizens are facing is unnecessary. If this is a time of incredible pain and a much harsher society, that was a choice. It didn’t and doesn’t have to be this way.

    And now, a new service from the selfless people at PH, Ancient Jokes Re-Visited:

    God looked down at the sufferings of man, turned to the Devil, and said: “The plight of man moves me to compassion. I will send them Religion for consolation.”

    “Good idea,” said the Devil, “I’ll organise it.”

  61. Edward Taylor permalink
    October 28, 2011 12:56 PM

    By the Rivers of Babylon
    Where the locals gargled balls.
    It gave them the vim they needed
    To chant down Jericho’s walls.

    And on that biblical bombshell farewell until next week.

  62. October 28, 2011 1:10 PM

    Just heard on the news about this… Some punter missed out but what a discovery eh? Provenance is everything. Reminds me of someone…

  63. mishari permalink*
    October 28, 2011 1:17 PM

    Down by the lovely Liffey
    their mouths all filled with balls
    the girls said ‘mind the stiffy’
    and sang ‘Come Deck The Halls’.

  64. October 28, 2011 1:29 PM

    I’ll deck your halls all right love
    With a lovely OH HO HO
    They might be a bit slippy
    So be careful how you go

  65. hic8ubique permalink
    October 28, 2011 2:22 PM

    Bold Bridget slipped down to the pawn shop
    in antici-paytory glee,
    but there came by and by
    her crestfallen cry:
    “O! I had thought I would serenade three.”

  66. InvisibleJack permalink
    October 29, 2011 1:13 AM

    Reen, thanks for the celebratory Elbow Lane poem. The night was a good one.

    I’m delighted to see that Michael D. Higgins looks set to be the next President of Ireland. He’s the only one fully capable of doing the job well.

    Mind you, he’s not much of a poet most of the time. There’s a few good poems scattered through his collections, but on the whole they can be wordy, prosey drivel. The example in today’s Guardian is typical of his poetry at its worst. Not my type of thing anyway.

    Glad he’s President though.

    Jack Brae

  67. mishari permalink*
    October 29, 2011 1:41 AM

    Glad it went well, Jack. I saw that Higgins poem and it struck me as the kind of thing an educated and reasonably literate man with no talent for verse might write…might write? Hell, did write. Still, compared to philistines like Cameron, Sarkozy et al, he’s a step in the right direction.

    Check out @Fromwelltoverse on POTW. His cruel winding-up of poor, clueless Parisa continues apace. Cruel but very funny…

  68. Captain Ned permalink
    October 29, 2011 2:16 AM

    what else can I say but thanx?

    A little too cruel, perhaps, when it elicits a response like this? You mustn’t mock the afflicted, as a former colleague used to say… but I can’t deny I laughed.

    I expect Higgins will prove to be a happy choice. He looks like a contentedly senile watchmaking dwarf and has the endorsement of Martin Sheen; he surely cannot fail. And if the duties of office limit his poetic output, that can only be a good thing. David Norris seemed to me an engaging character, but would probably have spent his presidency with his foot permanently in his mouth.

  69. hic8ubique permalink
    October 29, 2011 3:09 AM

    If cruelty falls in the forest
    and the forest says: ‘thanks mate’
    is cruelty still Despicable?

    • mishari permalink*
      October 29, 2011 3:34 AM

      i hope you don’t mind, sweetie, but I’ve revealed your descent from Freyja. It had to be done, otherwise, people might question your authority on matters Scandahoovian and that would never do…

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 30, 2011 12:23 PM

      Kärasten, do I mind? on the contrary; may my vanity be assailed by such a compliment every day.
      I am dearly fond of putti, and have bookmarked the image of Freya (most illustrious antecedent) and her entourage as a consolatory treasure for times when I feel under-adored.

      An image from one of my favourite books from childhood:

      …but ‘Scandahoovian’ was here,not PotW *oof*.
      Power outage here yesterday morning, which set each stage of the day back. Only a week ago, we had all the dormer windows open at night, and now we’re getting a frigid North-easter. I drove home from Cambridge last evening in snowfall, which they say will set records.

  70. Reine permalink
    October 29, 2011 8:04 AM

    Jack, Mishari, Ned ….

    Delighted with our new President and am going to apply for the position of official piggy back assistant. He lectured me in politics as a young one years ago. I loved him then, I love him now.

    Ned, you are right about Norris – great man in many ways but a bit of a loose cannon whereas Michael D’s is more of a loose canon. Hurrah, though.

    FWTV is a hallowe’en hoot.

    • mishari permalink*
      October 29, 2011 8:50 AM

      Compared to the shower we’ve got, Higgins is a veritable Solomon, Reine. Who knows, perhaps you can get him to contribute verse to PH, (the hoor)?

  71. InvisibleJack permalink
    October 29, 2011 2:13 PM

    Michael D. is indeed a sweetheart. Although his poetry can be poor at times, he is still a wonderful performer even of what is bad. I last saw him read, from his collection “An Arid Season”, at Eigse Michael Hartnett about five years ago. There’s one poem in that book which I quite liked – “My Mother Married My Father In Mount Melleray in 1937” – which should get an award merely for its title. On the night I saw him read he intoned it as if it was an ancient Sumerian hymn. Mighty stuff. A few of his best pieces appear in his earlier collection “The Season of Fire” (from the early 90’s).

    He’ll make an excellent President. He’s brave, erudite, and generally bloody marvellous. I’ve always liked him.

    I’ve grown weary of POTW, but I have sent my dogg there as of this morning. He will, no doubt, have his way with the rusty lampposts of its many avenues.

    Jack Brae

  72. mishari permalink*
    October 29, 2011 3:26 PM

    @Juan, you’ll doubtless appreciate my memory of young Jack Brae, which might get deleted as it contains a passing swipe at that colossal pain-in-the-arse @ellymiranda.: what the fuck is her problem? Something psycho-sexual? I can’t even work out what it is exactly that she’s accusing @hic of…something nasty and utterly atypical, though. Perhaps she (@smelly, not @hic) should consider professional help?

  73. Captain Ned permalink
    October 29, 2011 3:33 PM

    The intellectual calibre of Norris and Higgins certainly puts just about all the leading British politicians to shame, who, in spite of their prestigious educations, are virtually incapable of uttering anything that is not glib, stupid or offensive; the best that any of them can manage is unobjectionable, and that’s rare enough. Still, I remember having a conversation with an Irish friend who said that most Irish politicians are even worse than the ones we have; the tragedy is that it’s the presidency, an essentially powerless office, which attracts the few decent ones, leaving the country to be run by the crooks and idiots. Just imagine Higgins and Kenny doing a job swap…

    I haven’t been on POTW for ages now. I check it occasionally, but I lost interest when anytimefrances and Parisa began to strangle the life out of it with their incessant posts. To her credit, anytimefrances is no fool for all her faults, and would at least write something interesting from time to time, but the Parisian deluge is just intolerable. Now that she has found a kindred spirit in leahfritz, my admiration for Carol’s patience grows and grows.

  74. mishari permalink*
    October 29, 2011 3:42 PM

    Yeah, I’ve been persuaded of it for a long time: Carol’s a damn saint or near enough.

    How’s things with you, Ned? You still in Buenos Aires? Send us some groovy, sinuous vibes, cabrón

    The best we can manage these days is Ken Clarke, who loves Miles Davis (which is a quick way to my heart). Inevitably, he’s loathed by the Daily Mail-reading Tea Party Tories.

    Churchill was a fucking colossus by comparison with these worthless PR creeps and banker’s pimps.

  75. InvisibleJack permalink
    October 29, 2011 7:04 PM

    So, you guessed it was myself who stole the corset? I was convinced that Mowbray would get the blame. Damn it anyway!

    I’m astounded at leahfritz’s ability to miss the point, but I suppose it’s what makes a good self-made victim.

    Ned, we have our share of shysters in Politics, believe me. However, we can also boast a few noble intellectuals. Michael D Higgins will make a marvellous President. I caught his acceptance speech this afternoon, delivered as usual in his priestly voice, and I thought it was simply marvellous. It’s not often these days that one is genuinely moved by the words of a political figure. He’s a man of integrity and the people here have great affection for him.

    I’m going to see if I can manage another poem over at Poster Poems while the thread is still open. Maybe a translation, perhaps. I’ll gird my loins and tighten the corset.

    Jack Brae

    • Reine permalink
      October 30, 2011 10:55 PM

      I’m not ashamed to say I cried at his speech. He is a marvellous man. I have been with him in one way or another (but not that way) since I was seventeen and I rejoice in his well deserved victory. On the train yesterday, I read out a quote from Michael D about his wife Sabina – “She made for me a connection between reflection, meditation and awareness,” to my husband who replied that should he ever have the chance to mention me in a speech, he would say “She made for me a cup of tea”.

    • mishari permalink*
      October 30, 2011 11:08 PM

      ‘She made for me bœuf bourguignon, followed by a tart aux citron, followed by coffee, calvados and four children. I would have settled for the calvados. Now I’m going to have a little cry’.

      Is his wife German?

    • Reine permalink
      October 30, 2011 11:13 PM

      No, Sabina is a fairly popular name in her age cohort, usually shorted to Bina, pronounced Byna. Sabina was an actress before devoting herself to the life and loins of Michael D.

  76. Reine permalink
    October 30, 2011 10:42 PM

    Hic, are you snowed under … in the literal sense? HI, roving reporter at large, speaks of record snowfall in your parts.

    We were in Belfast last night at a production of Carmina Burana (I won the tickets). I held the door for an older lady coming out of the loo and when she thanked me, I cracked a lame joke about the nuns drilling such manners into me. I knew she was a Protestant/Unionist when she backed away from me slowly. I may as well have been transubstantiating on the spot. I feel I was not helped by the emerald green dress I wore and my Republican lilt. We ended up in adjacent seats as it turns out and I papered over any cracks in the peace process with my easy charm. On the other hand, we had gone for several pre-theatre drinks and it may have been the whiff of alcohol that repelled her.

    I see much water has passed under the PotW bridge in my absence. Christ almighty.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 31, 2011 12:06 AM

      “She made for me a connection between reflection, meditation and awareness,”

      If the Spouse were to say this, it would be delivered in a rueful sigh.
      He did enjoy his bœuf bourguignon this evening, followed by the washing up.

  77. mishari permalink*
    October 30, 2011 10:45 PM

    Christ on a fucking bike, that @ellymiranda’s a goddamned lunatic. I must say, I’m rather proud of myself for not rising to the bait but there’s wisdom in the old saying about the futility of wrestling with pigs: you both get covered in shit and the pig loves it.

  78. mishari permalink*
    October 30, 2011 10:48 PM

    Hiya, Reen…just cross-posted. How was the opera? Water under the bridge? More like vitriol. Why is it always me that ends up in the nutcase’s cross-hairs?

    • Reine permalink
      October 30, 2011 11:00 PM

      “cross hairs?” There you go again with your innuendo! It’s bizarro

      The opera was good but truth be told had we not had the tickets, we would probably have stayed in the pub. (The Crown if anyone is interested.) It was nice to get away anyway.

  79. mishari permalink*
    October 30, 2011 11:03 PM

    I know, I know…’cross-hairs’…what was I thinking? Just out of curiosity, where did you win the tickets?

  80. Reine permalink
    October 30, 2011 11:06 PM

    Very cross hairs indeed.

    On Lyric FM here … tickets to CB as part of The Festival at Queens. Just had to text in answer to a question… no skill involved.

  81. mishari permalink*
    October 30, 2011 11:47 PM

    It never fails: there I am, jogging merrily along, in a good mood and then I read something like this:

    Ministers have been forced to seek permission from Prince Charles to pass at least a dozen government bills, according to a Guardian investigation into a secretive constitutional loophole that gives him the right to veto legislation that might impact his private interests.

    Since 2005, ministers from six departments have sought the Prince of Wales’ consent to draft bills on everything from road safety to gambling and the London Olympics, in an arrangement described by constitutional lawyers as a royal “nuclear deterrent” over public policy. Unlike royal assent to bills, which is exercised by the Queen as a matter of constitutional law, the prince’s power applies when a new bill might affect his own interests, in particular the Duchy of Cornwall, a private £700m property empire that last year provided him with an £18m income.

    Neither the government nor Clarence House will reveal what, if any, alterations to legislation Charles has requested, or exactly why he was asked to grant consent to such a wide range of laws. —The Grauniad, today

    Will the farce never end?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 31, 2011 12:28 AM

      I recall HRH’s private interest in being Camilla’s tampon, so it’s at least consistent that he should be leeching off the commonweal.

      I see my explanatory comment has been expunged; dragged down by the desperately drowning.

  82. hic8ubique permalink
    October 31, 2011 12:03 AM

    Texting is a skill. I have only just learnt it. My eldest was stunned, never having imagined she would receive such a thing from me.

    The snow is farther inland. We had a clear day.

  83. InvisibleJack permalink
    October 31, 2011 2:18 AM

    Well, feckit anyway!

    I’ve just toiled for the past hour on a river poem, only to find that the Poster Poems thread has been closed!

    Anyways, I’ve decided to burden you lot with it instead.

    It might not be great, but it’s miles better than Samuel Beckett’s version, (he said, with not a hint of arrogance or any sense of his own delusion) …

  84. InvisibleJack permalink
    October 31, 2011 2:19 AM

    after Eugenio Montale

    My bond the life that bursts
    as stealthy transfusions within you:
    seeds that compete with themselves,
    and suffocate oblivious of you.

    That time that Time flushes its dykes,
    you embrace the flood as yourself
    and rise, thought of my mind, un-fogged
    from the fog you entered; evaporate
    as green brightens the branch, and on
    the walls a wash of cinnabar.

    I have no knowledge of you except
    the voiceless message of my fate:
    whether you are the shadow, or,
    perhaps, the malarial shore, troubled
    and nagged by the tide that feeds
    you delusion, the haze of sleep.

    Nothing of you in the weakening hours,
    grey or rent by sulphurous burst,
    except for the fog-horn of the tug
    emerging into the clarity of berth.

    version by Jack Brae Curtingstall

  85. mishari permalink*
    October 31, 2011 2:21 AM

    The real threat that faces America today:

    Owner/operator of the Dailykos website: You seem to think that the biggest problem with America is that some people are trying to cut the budget. It is not. The biggest problem in America is that it is overrun by homos.

    Every new show on pretty much every channel is either something about the Kardashian idiots or about homos cutting hair (or homos reading books, or homos riding donkeys, or a homo choir singing contest, or homos pretending to be Christians… you get the picture).

    The only political issue anyone cares aobut is homo “marriage” and the priviliges of the elite homo class are being increased at the expense of regular Americans. All new books are about homos, almost every movie is about how great it is to be a homo, all songs are about homo stuff and so on. Our cities are actually competing to see which is the most homo city in the country! Our culture is obsessed with homos and our children want to be homos because the schools are nothing but homo propaganda centers.

    And if someone voices concern that maybe this country should be centered on the family, with actual moms and dads, you write it off as a joke. However, we have been given rather clear instructions on the subject of homos. You can find these instructions in the Bible. You know, the actual word of God. Your God. My God. Our God.

    You might think homos are fun, but I assure you that God is not amused by your antics. The last time a culture was this entangled in homosexuality, God made his displesure known. That culture was Sodom and Gomorra. Fire and brimstone, remember?

    It is not the homos that God hates, but rather a culture that worships homosexuality rather than God. That is the kind of decadent culture that God smites. Feel that word, smite. Smite, smote, smitten. That is the reality of what will happen if we abandon our families and embrace the homo lifestyle. God will smite us. He will smite us and no amount of feather boas or TV-shows about homo hair stylists are going to save us then.

    You do realize that there are Christians all over the world, right? God doesn’t need us. God can smite us into dust and then rebuild the Christian world with Christians from non-homo countries like India, Korea or Egypt (you wouldknow there are Christians in Egypt if you weren’t such a racist). We need God, not the other way around.

    And understand that this is not about homos, but about us. Banning homo “marriage” won’t do us any good if our sons dress in pink tights and learn to speak with a lisp. Do you know what’s the difference between a stay-at-home dad and a homo? Because I sure don’t. We need real male rodel models who support their families, shoot guns and (gasp!) go to church. No more of this metrosexual insanity. If men were meant to be anywhere near a beauty parlor, they would be women. So there.

    Also, this is not an attack on your person (I understand that you are married and have kids) but rather your activities which promote homosexuality. It would be nice to see you just say that the best way to raise a child is a family with a mom and a dad. That’s scientific fact, but it is also God’s will.

    Without God you wouldn’t exist and therefore your website wouldn’t exist either. So please give God his due and honor his Word as it was given. And think about this: if your parents (God bless ’em) had been homos, you wouldn’t exist. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

    It sure does. Well, that’s it for me: no more metrosexuality; I’m giving it up (or at least I will, as soon as I discover what it actually is).

    • Reine permalink
      October 31, 2011 11:17 AM

      If you haven’t had your back, sack and crack waxed, you’re safe enough.

  86. Edward Taylor permalink
    October 31, 2011 10:11 AM

    Life vs. Art

    I stopped, tied shoelaces and looked up
    As towards me moved a cow.
    This cow made quite an impression
    Amidst various types of depression*

    The cow approaches me
    But how do I approach the cow?

    The beginnings of a bizniss bunging burgers on a bun?
    Or early memories dredged from as early as aged one**?
    Sensual – the sheer cowness of a cow doing
    What cows do, ruminating and mooing
    Black spots on white in moss and mud,
    Rain upfield turning downfield into flood.

    Levels and layers of objectivity to conceal
    That this is all about me and how I feel.

    I stopped tied up in thought, watching
    As towards me moved a cow
    I’m trying to get this scene spot on poetically
    Too late!! The creature’s trampled over me

    * Metereological mainly but also early morning blues.
    ** I grew up by a farm so must have something to use.

    • InvisibleJack permalink
      October 31, 2011 10:58 AM

      Love it!

  87. Reine permalink
    October 31, 2011 11:10 AM

    Jack, Edward

    Marvellous poetry on the bank holiday (as I procrastinate about preparing lunch for my inlaws, which I am not doing with altogether good grace). Beautiful version Jack and the phrase “as towards me moved a cow” is majestic Edward. Towards me moves a cow too but that’s another story. Now, should I put cumin in the soup or will the rural palate be up to it? “Miaow.”

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 31, 2011 5:10 PM

      Cumin. Absolutely. Hope you didn’t stint.
      We’re going to a little party tonight. I’m making my costume… It will be shearling snowboots and a re-purposed Viking helmet adorned with russet-toned shiny leaves, and a brightly foiled gurning-collar. I’m going as The Autumnal Sequinned Ox.
      No, that was a joke… I’m getting out my curly lamb collar (black), Venetian leather half-mask (off-white), and floppy velvet and brocade hat (purples/black) probably the rest of it very simple.

      Here’s hoping the cow has by now sloped off to graze other meadows…

    • Reine permalink
      October 31, 2011 6:02 PM

      …Only just, reeking of cumin.

      Ha. I am on doorman duty for the trick or treaters now; if you handed them a handful of fifties these days they wouldn’t wonder at it.

      Hey Ned. Happy Hallowe’en.

      On the subject of crumbles Edward, ripe plums are a good crumble fruit – they do need a little bit of (brown) sugar but not remotely as much as apples and if you squeeze a bit of lemon juice on them, it gives them a nice kick. They bleed beautifully into the crumble, looks very impressive.

    • Reine permalink
      October 31, 2011 6:13 PM

      Enjoy the party Hic, meant to say. I am sure you will look resplendent.

  88. Edward Taylor permalink
    October 31, 2011 11:54 AM

    Thanks Jack and Reine.

    Is it a bank holiday? I’m completely out of touch.

    I was up in Pict-country at the weekend – staying a in a remote cottage above Hadrian’s Wall but not quite in Scotland. 360 degree weather, Mel Gibson nowhere to be seen.

    I made an apple and pear crumble for the assembled hordes. The apples were very sour and the pears weren’t quite ripe ( apparently you pick pears in that condition and put them under your armpits to ripen ) so sweetened them up with sugar in the water they were stewed in plus a Keith Floyd dash of Cointreau that I found in a cupboard.

    The result was too sweet for this diabetic to eat but not so over-sweet that the taste of the fruit was overwhelmed. As they tucked in I consoled myself with the knowledge that the woman who won prizes for her Cornish pasties had never actually eaten one of her creations.

  89. Captain Ned permalink
    October 31, 2011 5:46 PM

    Deliver us, Lord, from the homo plague,
    Which blights our country with a homo fear.
    It’s already done for my cousin Craig;
    So I done shot him dead, the dirty queer.

    Rev’rend Gurglove says it’s a filthy sin
    To have carnal thoughts for another man.
    I hate the homo who, with lustful grin,
    Would try to tempt me from my sister Stan.

    My mission’s to keep America straight;
    Those goddamn homos are makin’ me ill.
    It’s time to make good on my righteous hate;
    I got the ammo and I got the will.


    Back in Wales now, alas. It should only be a temporary stay before I’m off to Korea, though – five months at most. Nice work from Jack and Ed. Cows are funny animals; you can never quite tell, when you come to a field of them, whether they’ll ignore you, regard you with mild curiosity or try to leave you a mess of blood, brains, broken bones and mud. I remember once, when walking my dog, we passed through the field without the slightest bit of notice being paid us by the herd of Friesians chomping innocuously on the grass. However, when we returned homewards via the same field, the crazed Bovine bastards charged us; it was lucky that the gate was close enough for me to sprint towards it in time. From one memory to another… I think fondly of the delicious steaks to be had in Buenos Aires.

  90. InvisibleJack permalink
    October 31, 2011 6:02 PM

    Heading out the door for a poetry reading in Cork city. A chance to meet some of my fellow poverty-stricken, raggedy-arsed poets. We’ll probaby all end up fighting.

    Mish, if you don’t think the above version of Montale too horrid, perhaps you might consider it for Perp Walk?

    Jack Brae

  91. InvisibleJack permalink
    October 31, 2011 6:05 PM

    Oh, and line 2 of the final stanza should read:

    … rent by sulphurous burst

    and not “….rent of sulphurous burst”

    Jack Brae

  92. Reine permalink
    October 31, 2011 6:29 PM

    Rent by the sulphurous burst*
    Of shite talk
    My features recompose
    From the rigour
    Of forced rapport
    As away from me moves a cow*

    (And towards me, a bottle of wine)

    *With thanks to Jack and Edward

  93. mishari permalink*
    October 31, 2011 6:36 PM

    Consider it done, Jack. I’ll hunt up a suitable image first (the ‘rent’ line now corrected). Have fun in Cark. And you have fun in your decadent New England/Venetian rig, hic; and you have fun handing out £50 notes, Reen, you madcap, you…

    Welcome home, Ned. Korea, eh? Interesting place and apparently, years ahead of us in internet connectivity and broadband speeds. Oh, and kim chee is nice (if something of an acquired taste).

    Another of St. Paul’s God-botherers has swanned-off. The late realisation that siding with the money-lenders did his temple no favours…until you look at a list of St. Paul’s board of governors and you grasp that the moneylenders are the temple.

    Bank holiday only in Ireland, Ed, where they’re celebrating the birthday of St. Freddie of Elm St..

    • Reine permalink
      October 31, 2011 11:40 PM

      I was reminded of MM the other day on the train as I read the William Trevor short story in the Guardian freebie which made reference to the town of the same name. I like WT but it was a peculiar piece of writing I thought. Too whimsical and yet not whimsical enough. Mind you, I think short stories are a very tricky genre. Anyhoo, hope Melton Mowbray, the man, is keeping well.

      St. Freddie of Elm St.’s feast day today and tomorrow, All Saints Day, a holy day of obligation. A girl could run out of mantillas at this rate.

  94. Reine permalink
    November 1, 2011 12:01 AM

    I was on the phone home earlier and Dad, who was just in the door, didn’t hang up properly so I could hear the conversation between him and my mother about what he might have for his tea. They were so kind to each other, he saying he was fine and would just have toast and she offering a rasher sandwich and “was he sure, it’s no trouble” and he telling her to “watch her programme, I’ll look after myself”. In the end he settled for some leftover potatoes and a cup of tea and then said “And Reine might come down for a night later in the week; I told her to come for two”. I hope kindness increases with age because if the tables were turned, they would probably hear me shouting “Do you want a fucking sandwich or not?” which I am quite sure might cause Daddy to tell me that such language is unbecoming.

    • mishari permalink*
      November 1, 2011 12:23 AM

      Too fucking right, it’s unbecoming…for shame. I wonder what happened to this weeks POTW?

  95. reine permalink
    November 1, 2011 9:46 AM

    I presumed it was something to do with the bank holiday until I realised it wasn’t one over yonder. Elly M has probably issued a writ against you and the lawyers are investigating.

    • reine permalink
      November 1, 2011 10:23 AM

      It’s there now, you’re off the hook.

  96. MdDogShite permalink
    November 1, 2011 5:53 PM

    There’s a right old ding dong going on with Rumens latest outburst about Michael D Higgins poetry being ‘mad-dog-shite’, and the mods have gone as nutty as Carol. I went in heavy at first writing

    Using the excuse of hearing Longley call bad poetry mad-dog-shite, in order to call Higgins’s poetry the same, is no different than me saying I heard person X who is well respected as a poet, call someone’s effort at poetry the arse dribble of an incontinent moron, and I, believing Rumens’s poetry the same, think her stuff is the shit of an incontinent moron.

    Classy or what?

    It lasted ten minutes, and they were removing lots of posts, the funniest being when I pointed out

    ‘Brendan Kennealy is spelled wrong, it is Kennelly.

    A poor article.’

    They removed it.

    But the one they didn’t like was

    It does seem odd that this poet found it necessary to publish, what reads as, a rushed piece of (non) criticism. A short, revealing and very negative text all round. Dashed off in five minutes. I don’t understand what her motivation is. Why is she so keen to abuse the president-elect of Ireland with intemperate speech?

    Doubly baffling when one takes into account the fact that many of the poems she praises to the skies on her regular poem of the week series, are weaker than the one she offensively dismisses here.

    There’s obviously some other reason behind her desire to deny this published poet the name she so freely bandies about on equal talents, week in and out at her other place. Professional jealousy perhaps? A cultural inferiority complex manifesting itself in this, clearly unprofessional outburst? Perhaps, being an English poet and measuring her own place in her tradition and community by very different yardsticks than they do in Ireland, the fact that a minor poet is now president of her neighbouring island, has set off some mad-in-the-attic outpouring related to poetry in England occupying a far less substantial place in the everyday culture than it does in Ireland. To be blunt, being somewhat of a joke, in need of blatantly fabricated textual support and gimmicky subsidies paid to the Sirs and Dames one must aspire to be in order to be taken seriously, to exist as a poet in England.

    God forbid any one from the 90% of normal people whose accent and voice exclude them from the make-believe aristocratic realm, should offend the English poetic sensibility by daring to call themself a poet without the express permission of people like this lady.

    I kept reposting it but, urging others to refer to it and another poster, not me, calling themself patrickavanagh re-posted it and was promptly removed.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care who says what and like Carol, treat it as a game of writing, but she’s made herself look very petty with this.

    But the thing that is serious is that the Guardian’s moderating policy is becoming more and more draconian. In the early days anything went, now it is blatantly hypocritical and increasingly transparent what the ethos is.

    Someone posted one of Carols ditties that was very poor, it had the word cunt in it, pointing out how it is poosible to trash anyone on the strengh of one poem, and whoomph, off in a flash.

  97. InvisibleJack permalink
    November 1, 2011 6:31 PM

    I disagree with what Carol says in some instances, but many of the posts against her are just bloody disgraceful.

    Do go over there yourselves and give it a look.

    Jack Brae

  98. Reine permalink
    November 1, 2011 7:16 PM

    G, Mary and J… I think in matters of presidential/poetic critique, some of us may still have a touch of the colonised’s hangover. I am sure Michael D. will bring us full circle.

  99. mishari permalink*
    November 1, 2011 7:19 PM

    I’m in two minds here: on the one hand, I’m fond of Carol (though I often disagree with her assessments) and the poem she analyses is not much cop. Christ knows I’ve written enough crap verse myself to recognise it when I see it.

    On the other hand, judging the man as a poet on one poem is just silly; who was it that said: “Even good Homer nods sometimes”?

    But more than that, Higgins seems like an overwhelmingly good egg. It’s almost impossible to imagine a man like him getting into Downing St., home of war criminals, thugs and corporate lackeys and currently occupied by a man whose highest accomplishment was to act as a PR shill for daytime television.

    I must admit, I’m baffled as to why she wrote it at all…it was not a piece that was crying out to be written and God knows, there are worthier targets (in my opinion). All rather odd. There’s something else at work here, i think.

    • InvisibleJack permalink
      November 1, 2011 7:34 PM

      A lot of his poetry is fairly dismal in some ways, but he’s quite serious about the composition of it. Many of the poems in “An Arid Season”, for instance, were composed while on an extended retreat in Glenstal Abbey. However, he isn’t all bad, and there’s enough there to be proud of. His respectful attitude to poetry is what makes him a poet. But sadly, it must be said, he’s no craftsman.

      Over here many poets have a love-hate relationship to the poetry, and I for one have often gotten into arguments against much of it, but that’s part of the point of poetry. Debate keeps poetry alive. One thing must be said for him, however: seeing him perform his poetry at a live event is something marvellous. He’s got great delivery and charisma.

      I’m critical of much of the poetry but I’m a great admirer of the poet.

      Jack Brae

  100. MadDogShite permalink
    November 1, 2011 7:27 PM

    She labelled his poetry ‘mad-dog-shite’, and anyone even remotely coming close to using similar language in relation to her own stuff, was immediately removed. One poster, Pecksie, reproduced a bit of crude doggerel Carol had authored, with the word ‘cunt’ in it, as an example of how easy it is to paint a poet’s ouvre as mad-dog-shite. Immediately removed.

    I pointed out a spelling mistake, immediately removed (probably guessed it was me), and many other posts not by me, that were not offenisive, were also disappeared.

    The truth is that since the Julian Assange fiasco when the Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger and his brother-in-law and head investigative reporter David Leigh, were responsible for a cravenly hypocritical and dissembling editorial in which they sort to shift blame onto Assange for Leigh’s mistake in publishing, contrary to all crytographical practice, the passphrase and salt that decrypted the Cablegate file, the true colours of the Guardian journalistic ethos has been plain for any intelligent reader to grasp. It is big on lipservice and moralising platitudes but when it comes down to brass tacks, they pull every underhanded stroke in the playbook to sideline, silence and smear anyone they have shafted or who counters thei official line. An ethos that trickles down to removing harmless poetry lovers with the insolence and gall to point out spelling mistakes on their book section.

    OK, fair enough, Carol thinks Higgins writes dogshite, who cares, but don’t make the mistake of believing the book section is a place of equality in free speech. It isn’t. And if your going to call something dogshite, surely it’s fair for anyone else to counter that Carol’s poetry, in their opinion, is worse than total dogshite?

    Fair play to her, but she flashed an ugly side today, that most hadn’t seen before but guessed was there, lurking behind the inclusive schoolmarmy shtick masking an elitist old bag full of her own importance, for example, one could say, as someone offering robust opinion in the same tenor as the mad-dog-shite-ist herself. You can;t start effing and blinding at someone and then call foul play when they dish it back.

    No, there’s more to this than meets the eye. Something she is unhappy about. Whether it’s the Irish being wankers in her eyes, or not, who can guess. I don’t care either way. I’m an English wanker myself, happy and proud to be one, when duty calls, or an Irish wanker, if the role demands it. But there is, and I know from personal experience of being one now and again when drunk, a leery and unpleasant side to us English, when the fairplay mask slips and the old ‘fuck-off you foreign cunt’, nasty side appears.

  101. mishari permalink*
    November 1, 2011 7:39 PM

    On the whole, I agree with you, Des, although I think you’re too harsh on Carol; but there is something else at work here. Maybe Higgins dumped her in the long-ago?

    Anyway, if she wants to be offended by politicians playing at what they are not, she should spare her ire for the revolting Middle East ‘peace envoy’, the notorious mass-murderer and war-criminal Tony Blair…

  102. MadDogShite permalink
    November 1, 2011 8:00 PM

    That’s it Jack. What matters over here is the intent, the having a go, a genuinely inclusive quality that is uniform across the board, generally speaking. Because the class system here is much less apparent, less depressingly obvious, much more subtle and, in many ways, the opposite of over there (for example, the ‘aristocrats’ here are people who had family in the post office in 1916), there’s a sense that anyone can become anything they want, without the silently coded mores and affections in play that serve to put you in your place in England. That make you feel, oh I can’t be a poet because only people who talk with a certain (posh) voice can be poets in England.

    What struck me when I first came here, and strikes all outsiders the same I think, is that being involved, having a go, taking part, the communal aspect, is more important than having talent. You get the feeling that no one laughs if your crap, and if your good, people will generally not try to hide it from you as they often can do in England because of the class system and culture. The longer you’re here the more you realise that what you first fell for on arrival, the smooth glide of the swan on the canal, the naturalness and Irishness of things, seeing five paddies and assuming by their behaviour that they are all bessie mates, is merely an illusion. The more you are part of the culture the more you start to see the furious paddling beneath the surface. That the five bessie mates, actually hate each others guts. That what you thought was no-one laughing at you and a respectful silence, was the acting of a people who were ripping the piss out of you as soon as you weren;t looking.

    The funniest is Irish poetry itself, a microcosm of life. At the top table, I could only find it comical, the whole scene of the Ireland poetry actors studiously ignoring one another, as if we haven’t clocked each other, aware of where every rival bore int he space is, and the pecking order, filtering down from s/he who needs not naming, stood there looking for all the world, to the outsider, as though in a bubble not being noticed, an invisible force-field around them, whilst the lesser hovering planets make small talk and seek out over acknowledgement from those just above us in the order.

    I remember being sat at a table in Stephens Green hotel after a bog Poetry Ireland do, a thrusting newbie trying to muscle my way into a seat with the important sattelites orbiting s/he who needs not naming, and poet X mately telling me poet Y was a cunt because they didn;t award them a literary prize when they were judging it, and smiling as they did so, less than six foot away from the ‘cunt’ who, when I fucked off, they no doubt said what a cunt I was to. Total comedy, the viciousness of the begrdugery, even at the top, the ones who are shamed into having only ten major prizes. The ones who didn’t win the Nobel fucking peace prize, actually, because that one over there, happy face, golden bollocks, lucky Irish bastard, who stole their dream, made it real, by cheating, having the fucking fairies on their side, the real poetry sidhe shite all them fuckers writing dogshite elsewhere are laughing at the unlucky bastards for not knowing. Cunts mate.

    You have to see the comedy, coz the alternative is just too depressing.

  103. MadDogShite permalink
    November 1, 2011 8:44 PM

    If you are reading this Carol, take no notice of me, we’ve been jousting avatars for far too long to take what is said with anything other than a large pinch of salt. The reasonable people at the Guardian did me a favor keeping me off the threads. I was re-reading some screeds of my own mad-dog-shite prose written over the years, cringing with embaressment at how transparently bitter and chip-on-the-shouldersih I was in most of the experiemental dreck my mind poured out. Now I’ve been away long enough to see the light, accept I was a lot of an idiot, unaware of what a holy show I made of myself in public, thousands of pages testifying to what I can now see that all you saw but which I didn’t at the time because I am so thick and pig-skinned, so monumentally sad a self-absorbed a wanker, I was an addict who had to do enforced re-hab to ‘get it’. The one comfort I can take is from the fact that at least I did my time, wrote a way to oneself, fell over again and again, but some sincere poetic nous homing along to here and now. This, a few million words later with the rough edges ironed out and a few punctuational tricks picked up along the way, the lyrical grasp a tad better than when I began ranting all those years ago.


    And it’s hotting up now. The latest deposit (not mine):

    ‘I remember Rumens at Queen’s University – she spent most of her time turning tutorials into cult masses almost exclusively about herself. She encouraged creativity only so far as it advanced her ‘legend’ in the faculty – there is many a self-published tribute to her genius among duped Norn Iron poets who now hate her guts.

    Personally, I never liked poetry – I always found it to be mad dog shite. But Rumens… ah, Rumens writes mad bitch shite.’

    Ah, don’t you just love the smell of poetic brawls in the evening?

  104. Reine permalink
    November 1, 2011 8:46 PM

    Could be just that an editor called her and asked for a topical piece – the “When Will my Time Come?” leapt into her laptop as the obvious choice; she was pressed for time and so a less than edifying piece of writing ensued.

    (Des, I mentioned the Kennelly spelling but it hasn’t been corrected,)

  105. InvisibleJack permalink
    November 1, 2011 8:57 PM

    Des, it’s dog-eat-dog everywhere. The social poetry systems all the world behave and operate pretty much the same, just like any other system for anything else.

    England might have a class “system”, or certainly the remnants of it, but there’s no less a class struggle in Ireland. As a working-class poet I do, admittedly, have a good whinge to other working-class poets (we’re actually in a minority) about all the middle-class porridge that gets passed off as poetry, but it’s very easy to lose perspective and get too carried away with the argument. Most of the best poetry is also written by the middle classes, and that’s an undeniable fact (being as they are, in the majority).

    I do have a personal perspective that’s working class, but I try not to let that perspective become degraded into a mere prejudice. And I really do feel compelled to say that when it comes to poetry I find most working class people a pain in the arse.

    It’s a tricky one. But the trick is respect fo each other, whatever “class”.

    Jack Brae

  106. MadDogShite permalink
    November 1, 2011 9:08 PM

    They won’t correct it anytime soon, I suspect. The true face is being shown. They don’t care about Kennelly’s name being spelled right, only that you, ie, us, ie the mugs who should just do as we are told, or rather, not told but sort of, you know, covertly taught to know, with their disappearing acts, the silent treatment that gets the message across, the divide and rule, don’t do that yes you know what we mean mug readers. Mess with us and, well, tough shit, it’s unfair but no posters are gonna come and speak up about it coz they know, it’ll be them next who’s removed, disappeared, and what can you do, hey, reader? F.A., so do as you are instructed and agree how fucking fab it all is.

    They won’t like it and will be in no mood to be nice to that fucking Irish woman whose just a bit too fucking pleasant, polite and not acting in a way that gives ’em the excuse to do what they want, remove a post or two to let you know who’s boss. You’ll learn. Maybe tommorow Reine, the mods are very busy employees doing nationally vital work on behalf of their Guardian ethos. Sarah Crown will be fuming. She’s already gone from a healthy blog with a few troublemakers ruining it for everyone, thirty posts a week, hundreds of comments, troublemakers shunted out and now, oh dear, five blogs a week Your Majesty? Of course, of course it’s a great success, your job, because less is more, of course it’s an improvement and every move you made, getting rid of the rowdy louts who weren’t polite, like you want, well, didn’t you do well?

    Nah, seriously though, thanks for letting me rant here Mish, it’s been great finally seeing the nails go into the coffin of that blog. The poetry crowd now, you’re the only ones with any real community.


    • Reine permalink
      November 1, 2011 9:15 PM

      I take the innocent flower but serpent under ‘t approach Des… I copied it just in case though.

  107. MadDogShite permalink
    November 1, 2011 9:46 PM

    Take no notice of me Jack, I fucked up here by getting back on the booze after five years of more or less sobriety and lost focus, slowly over the years. If I hadn’t of lost my way I would be a happy positive ranter, in poetry ireland review all the time. The very first time I met properly with Joe Woods was at the Irish Writer’s centre. I’d been here five weeks and the first time we met there’d been a slight and very polite bit of argy bargy over me putting up a poster for PJ Brady’s one man Heart Laid Bare show that is 95% Patrick Kavanagh in his own words, in the after-drinks at the launch of Peter Fallon’s Georgic translation laucnhed by Heaney.

    He nearly lost his cool, to my laughing newbie Lancastrian bogger self copping on the publicity gold he gave me by coming over and asking if I had permission to put it up and when I said yes, throwing him and him nearly going wobbly with displeasure and saying, ‘well, you’ll have to take it down’, and that, minor as it was, as you know, is a big event all the hawks notice whilst appearing to be oblivious to it, Woods remonstarting with a mid thirties new face they were all pretending not to have seen, me thinking they hadn’t and only with hindsight, with knowing what really goes on behind the mask, realising that of course they fucking spotted me, right away in the crowded room. Especially with my A4 journal, a keen interest but yet writing down naturally in the lair of the titans, the holy happenings occuring around me, fresh from three years writing school in England, sober, bright eyed and looking like a hot fucking prospect.

    I couldn’t have got more publicity for PJ if I’d tried, it came naturally, and as Woods said, ‘here, let me help you with that’ through gritted teeth and me copping on he was incredibly stressed out, probably because of the size and importance of the do and those attending, the last thing he wanted was a potential grey headed wierdo wielding an A4 journal, with stupid fucking posters, drawing attention to himself, unknowingly and poor Joe losing his cool and nearly tearing it from the window pane I was slowly, smilingly removing it from, buzzing on the free attention he was causing to come the poster’s way, until he copped on he was the one who acting oddly, out of the ordinary under the circumstances, and then walking away, quickly to attend to more important poetry lovers needs.

    The next time I met him was a day or two later, stood outside the writers centre spinning Sloppy Bob to Yvonne Cullen who had been trying to keep a straight face as she told me of her important work as a creative wirting teacher and I was offering my own take on it, as a recent graduate of a creative writing sausage factory in Lancashire, saying ‘come off it, it’s all bollocks all you can do is thumbs up, encourage peopel tow rite, no matter what their ability. The most important thing is don’t make them want to write less after meeting you, because that means you are a shit creative writing teacher, they must want to write more afgter being with you. Dead easy. She put up a solid defence but eventually agreed with me, laughing at the new arrival and his naive enthusiasm, not yet ruined by the begrudgery.

    After I finished spinning Sloppy Bob, I turned round and Woods was standing with a woman in silence behind me, obviously having heard me banter and the full four minute piece delivered from memory that was, at that time, my main party piece. He said to me that if I wanted to submit any poems to his magazine, to send them directly to him. He was obviously very keen to know what I had. I never bothered sending him any as I stopped doing so within ten months of arriving here, after discovering the Amergin poem and, having had about thirty poems published at this point, lost all interest after having a poem and prose piece published by the Galway Arts Centre.

    That was enough acceptance for me. I knew I could get published and that it was all but a game, and the Amergin poem was an ace card that negated any further reason to play the game of submit accept/reject.

    I got an Introductions Reading in the second year I was here, and was in the thick of running poetry gigs in Dublin and setting up the All Ireland Live Poetry Slam, and Joe set his All Ireland up one year after me. When this All Ireland competitive poetry event was sorted and transparently democratic by year three, in that each of the four privinces held open heats and two finalists got sent to a rotating final, Blefast 2007, Limerick 2008, Galway 2009, Dublin 2010, I offered it to Joe for free, on a plate, all the very difficult early bit donea nd dusted, and he turned it down. I dunno why. Said Poetry Ireland don’t get involved with competitive poetry, but when I pointed out the competitive event they do run, for schoolchildrem he said ‘that’s different’.

    Can’t see it myself but there you are, Joe has 400,000 a year to dish out and the unopen RTE slam that had folded a few years before, well, it was all there for the official body to take off my hands, but it was not to be.

    I can’t imagine why.

  108. InvisibleJack permalink
    November 1, 2011 11:32 PM


    Joe Woods is a decent man and I would consider him a friend. That isn’t to say that I’d have no critique of how he does his job, but I think he does it as well as he can. His position as Director of Poetry Ireland is a difficult one. He’ll reap fine benefits from it once he’s retired from it, but I wouldn’t want his job for all the tea in China. But please don’t think by this that I’m a member of some secret, priviledged club. I’m as out in the cold as anyone.

    I’m not surprised that he didn’t want to take your project under the wing of Poetry Ireland. Quite frankly, he has enough to be doing. If I were him, I’d be turning it down as well.

    Sorry Des, but you should be writing and publishing poetry. I’ve said it to you before. Agitating and shit-stirring and making a nuisance of yourself to other poets (and yes, I’ve been following your antics and it’s all very amusing) has fuck-all to do with poetry. We’re all here trying to get ourselves heard, and we’re all shouting above the din.

    The poet’s life is fairly miserable at the best of times. I spend most of my days balancing chaos on my ears. Getting to the next day is about all I can manage, and then it’s a stumble to the next one, and the next, and that’s about the size of it. I wouldn’t have it any other way because, quite frankly, this is the only way it’s ever going to be, so there’s no use in hoping otherwise.

    Richard Brautigan wasn’t the best poet in the world, but he had a list that sums up being a poet. This is the list:

    No publication
    No money
    No star
    No fuck

    That about says it all. That’s the expectation that most of us poets can ever have of any current or future prospects. The poet’s life is fairly shite. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a fucking liar.

    Jack Brae

  109. mishari permalink*
    November 2, 2011 12:16 AM

    Personally, my life as a poet is very different from yours, Jack. I’ll describe a typical day in the life, shall I?

    I’m woken by the peacocks on the rolling, verdant lawns outside my bedroom window. I rise, slip into a silk robe, woven for me overnight to designs that I had sketched out on a linen dinner napkin the night before and I step out of the french windows to take in the view, the majestic snow-capped Pamirs rising in the background.

    A chauffeur-driven 1936 Bugatti Royale pulls up silently (the wheels are wrought from eiderdown so as not not disturb my equanimity). I enter, recline on the otter-skin covered seat and am driven to breakfast in Rawalpindi, sipping fresh coffee made with the tears of Bernie Madoff’s victims.

    After breakfast (a songbird omelette and magic mushrooms lightly dusted with crushed pearls), the Bugatti whisks me to the airport, where my handbuilt Zeppelin awaits.

    Eblazoned with the family crest–a bailiff’s warrant couchant, a bar and grill sinister, an azure heroin dealer rampant and the family motto: “Volo meus jurisconsultus” (‘I want my lawyer’)–the vast airship rises into the empyrean while a string quartet saws away manfully at one of Bartok’s lesser know works.

    3 days later, I alight in Northern Ireland, where a distress signal has been broadcast by Seamus Heaney. He awaits me at his humble 36-room cottage. “Thank God you’ve come. I’m stuck on this limerick and it’s driving me mad.”

    I sort out Heaney’s dilemma and brushing aside his tearful gratitude and hand-kissing with a brusque ‘stop your slobbering, man’, I make for the aerodrome once again, where my airship, The Bjork rises once again and heads for London, where Pie Face Cameron (who fagged for me at Roedean) has begged for my intercession.

    I’ll not trouble you with an account of how I calmed the City with a word, reassured the markets with a gesture and brought peace to the Israelis and Palestinians but I think you’ll find that this is a typical day for most poets. I don’t recognise your description. In fact, I wonder if you’re a poet at all?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 2, 2011 12:51 AM

      The Björk, eh?
      It was going along all uproarious til you had to drag my family into it…

    • InvisibleJack permalink
      November 2, 2011 1:11 AM

      Sounds to me, Mish, like you are part of the Elitist Right Wing Well Dressed Arch Conservative Zionist Catholic Salvation Army Conspiracy of Po-Tasters that Des is always warning us about. If only Mowbray was here to save us all.

      In the meantime, however, please remember that I always speak kindly of you and I have tugged my forelocks bald from tugging and I gaze at the ground in reverance whenever you are present.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 2, 2011 1:29 AM

      You’ve done robust work on several threads today, Jack. You have earned a rest.

    • InvisibleJack permalink
      November 2, 2011 1:33 AM

      Perhaps in the morning there will be a new thread on PP and I’ll be inspired. But perhaps not.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 2, 2011 1:54 AM

      Either way, as it may be a bit soon for the next one, what would you wish for for Christmas?

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      November 2, 2011 8:45 AM

      Christ Mishari I didn’t realise you were such a puritan.

  110. MadDogShite permalink
    November 2, 2011 7:04 AM

    I don’t think Woods has a particularly difficult number Jack. Benefitting from the arts council funded trips to America to read his poetry with those he chooses to take with him, doesn’t seem a bad lot to me.

    As for the competition, I disagree. Most other countries have a national live poetry competition, and I think it demonstrates a lack of vision on the official side, who are very content to cater to a small in-crowd who, like their counterparts in England, benefit most from the largesse of the arts council.

    The comepetition itself is wholly democratic, and the structure now in place with various organisers voluntarily putting it on, set up by the people for the people, needs no funding. The total cost of the thing is less than a 1000 euro a year, for a national slam, in Ireland, the cost of a few reading fees for some middle aged privileged poet from Poetry Ireland.

    I think that the ethos in the current set up is far too insular and reflects the jobs for the boys mentality of the previous government. Know your place in Ireland, do the right thing, lick the right ass and you too might get a pat on the back, a few quid reading fee now and again.

    Why would the national poetry body of a country turn down something that is win-win all round?

    The grass roots poetry scene in Ireland receives minimal attention and support, instead what support there is goes to wealthy middle class poets who don’t need it, and when the riff raff come knocking, well, it’s OK talking about the dead riff raff like Kavanagh and Hartnett, but not the living lovers who are poor and working class.

    Maybe I’m wrong. Either way I am one of the very few of many who think this way, but one of the few who will come out and say it.

  111. mishari permalink*
    November 2, 2011 8:32 AM

    I would say that what you describe, Des, could be equally applied to any ‘art scene’ in almost any Western industrialised country.

    The ferment happens at the bottom (just as it does, most usually, in nature). The ideas and themes and styles percolate slowly up the hierarchy until they’re taken-up by the ‘establishment’ (by which time the dynamic, restless, inquisitive mob at the bottom have moved on and the ‘establishment’ clucks just look hopeless; ‘trendy vicars’ floundering).

    Remember Bowel Motion’s ‘rap’ poem? Jesus…he should have got a stiff prison sentence for that one.

  112. InvisibleJack permalink
    November 2, 2011 9:34 AM

    Des, the jobs for the boys thing operates everywhere. Being sent on foreign junkets to read a few poems to people who couldn’t really give a shit isn’t much different to reading your poems in a crowded pub down the road to people who couldn’t give a shit either. Generally with these things you get an invite from a foreign body (a bit like contracting a disease) and then you have to apply to Culture Ireland for a grant to cover flights and lodging. The grant pays for those things on receipt. There’s nothing glamorous in it. Joe goes abroad more than others but he’s no more regarded as a poet because of it than anyone else.

    Being based down here in Kerry I’m excluded from the po-biz carry-on. Everyone ignores me too. Even Mish. I sent a distress signal the other week and was totally ignored. He only leaves his bed for the likes of Heaney. It’s a crying shame.

    The only thing I can say that I’ll get out of it at the end of the day is a handful of poems with my name on them. (Yep, that’s it, that’s all you get.) As I’m always telling you, it’s about writing the poems. And no one will ever give a shit.

    I am now off to make a mug of tea for myself. I am so poor that I can no longer afford tea bags . For the past month my tea consists of an infusion of old socks steeping in the pot. For Christmas all I want is tea. My needs are humble. I would stand for nomination to the Presidency of Ireland, but I can barely remember who I am. Poetry has done me in. And I love it.

    Jack Brae

  113. mishari permalink*
    November 2, 2011 10:08 AM

    I feel for you, Jack, despite the ‘poetic’ life you describe being utterly, utterly unfabulous, my dear. I was going to suggest that you adopt my own method of preserving and disseminating your verse but a man who drinks sock-tea is unlikely to afford the freight. Here’s what I do:

    I engage the services of 1000s of illegal immigrants and have them sign contracts that give me copyright control of their skin. I then have my deathless verse tattooed on their epidermis’s (epidermi?).

    Afterwards, I ship them to Switzerland, where they undergo extensive anti-ageing treatment at a gerontology clinic I own. With their modified DNA, they will now live forever, as will my verse (and deservedly so, I’m sure you agree).

    Later, they are shipped around the world, where I encourage them to enter countries illegally. This is part of my on-going performance piece, entitled The New Cartography, that is setting the world of poetry alight.

    There has been talk of a Nobel Prize, a peerage, even the coveted San Serafino Order of Purity, Truth and Chastity 3rd Class.

    But you know me, Jack. Baubles mean nothing: I live for Art (swoons briefly but becomingly).

    PS: forgive me but I forgot to take care of your Montale poem above; the pressures of world affairs, dear boy; I can scarcely snatch a moment for a quick lunch of Panda ribs without Pope Adolf on the blower, whining about his ‘image’ and begging me to make him as popular as Justin Beiber.

    However, your poem goes to the top of my ‘to do’ list, right above ‘invent perpetual motion machine’. I just need to search for an image…

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      November 2, 2011 10:28 AM

      Mishari. Your MO is familiar. You are Jeff Koons and I claim my £5.00 ( after tax )

  114. InvisibleJack permalink
    November 2, 2011 10:28 AM

    Mish, two of your living poems appeared at my door yesterday but I mistook them for Jehovian Witnesses and sent them away. Perhaps Des could apply to have one of your poems tattooed to his boy, and in that way he could live forever. I’d offer him one of my poems, but it’d probably kill him.

    This morning’s sock-tea was a bit off.

    Jack Brae

  115. InvisibleJack permalink
    November 2, 2011 10:31 AM

    By “boy” I meant “body”. Just a misspelling, before anyone gets the wrong idea and posts a funny remark. I know that’s unlikely on this blog, but you never know.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 2, 2011 12:45 PM

      Many words I take to be slang are probably such typos.
      Hmm, well. I didn’t ignore you; I made you a little poem. What you get Jack-a-Napes, if I may chastise you gently, is company, Pastime with Good Company. Exceptional Company in fact, such Company as not to be replaced though you were to wander the rounds and flats of the globe. The forum is being held open, and that itself is a service of attention.

      For Christmas all you want is tea? Are you sure? You, of all two-leggeds, I should think, would know better than to waste your wishes.

  116. Parisa permalink
    November 2, 2011 3:14 PM

    Yeah, cheers Mish, this site is a lifeline for me. I love nowt more than a good old row with plenty of disgusting and offensive insults that appal the squares into ranting how vile I am, and being locked out of this is the only place I can vent off and not feel not totally locked out of the Higgins ding dong.

    There’s now an ever growing list of anonymous people who post on potw, queuing up to lick Carol’s ass and say how proud they are to be associated with that august institution. Princess Parisa’s glib obsequious toadying, coming out with a line about freedom to opine, and agreeing with Carol the poem is shite. This is the first time I have heard her voice a negative opinion. No doubt if Carol said it was great she would think that too. And coupled with Pink’s routine about freedom of speech and how important it is to tell the world this man writes doggerel, lacking all irony, as if his ir her own doggerel is any better, made me want to vomit on ’em. Pink asks why Higgin’s couldn’t have used a pseudonym if he was going to write such dross, projecting her or his own cowardly ethos about not wanting to reveal who they are because of national security issues, onto him. The world may end if s/he reveals who s/he is. When s/he first appeared, and subsequently as s/he loves to tell us, because of his or her job being connected with the ‘industry’, s/he can’t really reveal who /she is as this is too terrifying a prospect.

    Don;t worry hic, I am not having a go at you, just the way Carol’s most loyal disciples are conducting themselves, going on about freedom to speak and yet not one of the cunts would dream of doing anything if it threatened their own username coming to the negative attention of the mods. Like thirties Berlin, loyal little nazi tossers, and the worst is, a poetry site, they are too fucking scared to be themselves and have the front to claim they are some kind of freedom fighter on behalf of Art.

    Wankers. I’m gonna show ’em. I’ll strap on two potatoes, three carrots, several sticks of celery and a banana to my body and go cause some carnage with the vegetables.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 2, 2011 6:07 PM

      I do feel a certain loyalty to Carol, Des, enough to at least try to discover some perspective on whence she managed to trigger such deep offense among so many.
      You may have a go at me anytime I deserve it, but no, I didn’t recognise myself in your comment here.

      I do feel it’s fully available to be oneself under a pseudonym. I’d go so far as to say, I’m more of myself, since expectations that attend certain roles become irrelevant.
      Also, some of us are not fully anonymous, but prefer nevertheless to maintain one or two degrees of separation. Nothing to do with your po-biz, in my case, just discretion and valour and that.

  117. November 2, 2011 4:37 PM

    Apropos of nothing, just the ramblings of a civil servant on a grey old day. The title is borrowed from Michael D’s now widely publicised poem, When My Time Comes…

    Tyranny of the Head

    Caught in this rip tide
    I struggle for air
    Pulled under and sideways
    I watch how my hair
    Splays and weaves all about
    As if dancing in tune
    To some melodic backwash
    Of impending ruin
    I am clear in my mind
    That this isn’t my fault
    That I didn’t ordain
    Death in watery vault
    But I wish now so dearly
    That I could turn back
    From the cold and the dark
    No light now … just black
    I don’t know if I’m crying
    For obvious reasons
    But I’m sad for the trouble
    I caused and the treasons
    I’m sorry I left you
    So I send you these words
    On the wings high above me
    Of seafaring birds

  118. mishari permalink*
    November 2, 2011 5:25 PM

    When my sober Timex comes
    (Argos had it, cheap, on sale)
    I’ll beam like super-nova suns
    for that’s a watch never fails;
    and like the watch, so goes the bard;
    this life can be so very hard:
    like Timex, I can take a licking
    and like the watch, I keep on ticking.

  119. November 2, 2011 6:26 PM

    Shit, premature return. To be read in Michael D’s melodramatic, halting style with rolling r’s …

    When My Time Comes

    When my time comes
    I will look at my sean-uaireadóir
    Perched between liver spot and tufty wasteland
    And I will thank God for this seven years past
    When I have been diminutive king of this castle
    Mightier in every way than the giants who preceded me

    My country men and women will be happy once again
    They will roam their lands free of the tyranny of red
    And I will write a paean in their honour
    Which I shall have the temerity to call “Poem of my People”
    When my time comes

  120. November 2, 2011 6:37 PM

    Well, damn and double damn, there is a rogue “that” requiring excision in line four, m’lud.

    sean-uaireadóir – old watch

  121. mishari permalink*
    November 2, 2011 6:44 PM

    Taoiseach and Awe

    When my time comes
    four-weeks off with pay
    I’ll make a little trip
    to the horrid, grey UK;
    a little trip, a tripeen:
    I’ll show that bloody woman ‘mean’.

    I’ll seek out Rumens, Carol;
    seek out her ivory tower
    (must don the right apparel)
    don’t want to be a culchie
    or any of that shower.
    No, like lovely urban Reen
    I am meself a proud Jackeen.

    I’ll show that bloody Rumens
    just who’s got bloody ‘soul’;
    meself and Juan Bitumen
    will boot her up the hole.

    Bloody poets.

  122. mishari permalink*
    November 2, 2011 6:58 PM

    I must admit, this comment from @JewellyBird made me laugh:

    Ireland is, actually, a meritocracy for the most part.

    I can understand some of these people getting het-up about the perceived offence to their beloved hobbit but now they’re just being silly

  123. Edward Taylor permalink
    November 2, 2011 7:17 PM

    To get in the mind of poets
    You have to understand certain factors
    But when push comes to shove
    They are worse than bloody actors.

    By day they sit at home working
    Searching for that poetic knack
    By night they are in pubs squabbling
    Stabbing each other in the back.

  124. KatyMiller permalink
    November 2, 2011 9:55 PM

    One analysis of this short piece can posit that it’s fairly plain for an intelligent reader to grasp that the author of it was uninterested in undertaking any serious poetic inquiry into the merits, or otherwise, of this poem – weighing up all sides with thoughtful and mature consideration before delivering an opinion expressed in clear, concise and civil language – that engenders a healthy debate this forum claims as its sole focus; but rather, she had a visceral loathing of the poem in question (and possibly the author) to such an extent that she, essentially, in her haste to insult the poem with the most vulgar mad-dog-shite epithet she thought permissible to publish, chose to dispense with the usual norms of serious critical behaviour.

    The piece itself seems merely a knee-jerk desire to mock, goad, sneer and be disrespectful, by uttering the insult ‘mad-dog-shite’, upon which is hung and around which is framed, a flimsy psuedo-critical patter attempting, and failing, to pass itself off as the real thing, in order to justify what, if written on its own, would rightly lay itself open to a charge of being wholly offensive, uncalled for and, most importantly of all (for its author), unprofessional.

    It’s the same impulse that motivates an imperial power wishing to exercise its full might upon an innocent other – to fabricate evidence in order to justify a pre-determined course of action, without which the naked unfairness and disproportionality of its actions are immediately and embarrassingly obvious to all rational observers.

    The author of this piece, the theory goes, sought to indulge in a bout of boorish behaviour and loutishly did so under the cover of it being a valid ‘critical’ act of the responsible academic poet. It happens all the time. Great fun. And tellingly the blog author has absented herself from the debate she knew would occur and the tenor of which, one could guess – misjudged.

    But the sign of healthy debate is allowing ourselves to look foolish now and again, and this author, to her credit, rarely slips up so fully and, in the grand scheme of reality, comedically.

    In the trajectory of her career as a poetry journalist for this media organisation, this piece will be remembered more than most of her very many other, more thoughtful ones. Life goes on and we all learn from our mistakes. The tenor she sent into the world has been roundly returned and I am sure she will be cringing somewhat at the unflattering attention she has drawn to herself for all the wrong reasons; but when the dust settles I am sure most will recognise the inherently comedic nature of this minor spat between a poet and the public on whom she relies for validation.

    Posted under the name KatyMiller and lasted five minutes before being removed entirely. Seeing if this’ll get through. If not will commit suicide by overdosing on Zen FM.

  125. KatyMiller permalink
    November 2, 2011 9:56 PM


  126. Reine permalink
    November 2, 2011 9:59 PM


  127. mishari permalink*
    November 2, 2011 10:20 PM

    “…can you hear me in back there?…456…1,2…1,2…1,2…(crowd goes berserk, frantically buys t-shirts and takes photos of one another)…thangyew…are ya feelin’ awright, Dublin?

    Which gobshite said ‘No’? You there, the short fella with the pipe and the slim volume of verse…what the fuck’s yer problem, granpa?”

  128. November 2, 2011 10:28 PM

    I will arise now and go to Áras an Uachtaráin
    Where I’ll lodge money in various accounts
    And juggle it
    While the rest of ye
    With your diminishing amounts
    Of fuel can vainly try to smuggle it
    Past a discerning electorate
    Who put me on the throne
    Leaving ye in the ha’penny place
    To moan and ullagón
    As my stock rises
    Here on this isle of the blessed
    In you and yours (one surmises)
    Na Daoine will be losing interest.

  129. Reine permalink
    November 2, 2011 10:38 PM

    “Are you talking to me you impertinent pup? Here, lads, grab a hold of him til I recite a poem to him… that’ll soften his cough.” (I like this one…)

  130. mishari permalink*
    November 2, 2011 10:54 PM

    Without playing it, I have Higgins saying: “It’s my new collection of pomes…you’ll be wanting a copy, of course…what’s that? Weeell…can ya put a price on Art? Oh, g’wan then…to you, £25…I’ll just sign it for ya, so…”

  131. Reine permalink
    November 2, 2011 10:58 PM

    And Norris is saying “Well, one way or another, one of us will be taking it up the áras by the end of the week”

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      November 3, 2011 8:56 AM

      Higgins is saying “This one is surely better than anything Carol Rumens has ever written”. Norris is saying “Heaneyesque Michael, Heaneyesque”.

  132. mishari permalink*
    November 2, 2011 10:59 PM

    Ah…fer fuck’s sake…the amoral bastard scum are starting up the ‘Bomb Iran’ mood music. I despair, I really do…

    War with Iran is the last thing Barack Obama needs with the American economy in dire trouble and a tough White House election campaign looming next year, according to officials in Washington as well as political analysts.

    But while the Obama administration is desperate to avoid another conflict – it would be America’s fourth in a decade – the drumbeat from Israel has been growing louder.

    The Israeli cabinet was reported on Wednesday to be debating whether to launch air strikes on Iranian nuclear sites in the coming weeks. The prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and the defence minister, Ehud Barak, are lobbying in favour of action —The Grauniad, today

  133. mishari permalink*
    November 2, 2011 11:16 PM

    Sorry, Des..I only just noticed that a few posts of yours were in the spam trap…no idea just happens sometimes. It’s posted now. Just going to check if the other two are the same (duplicates) or not…

  134. InvisibleJack permalink
    November 2, 2011 11:34 PM

    I’ve been out until a while ago. Just posted a fairly long and considered piece to the Mciahel D thread, only to have it disappear into cyberspace. Totally pissed off.

    Have had a fucking headache all day, am feeling cranky and restless.

    It seems foolish, and I realise that this is an understatement, that a tiny country like Israel, surrounded as it is by large and powerful enemies, should be threatening to bomb anybody. That America will excuse it, is a given.

    Jack Brae

  135. Reine permalink
    November 3, 2011 12:12 AM

    Jack, I’d say it might be time to break out the chamomile. I would tell you a joke but I don’t know any.

  136. mishari permalink*
    November 3, 2011 12:16 AM

    Jack, Israel’s military is the most powerful (and best equipped: nothing but the best and latest US tech) between France and China…that’s in addition to having an estimated 300 nuclear warheads.

    Contrary to Israel’s constant playing of the victim-card and claims to be under ‘existential threat’, the only countries that are facing an existential threat in the region are those that Israel gets in its sights.

    But, war with Iran? Iran is not and has never been Iraq, much less Afghanistan. An attack on Iran could rapidly turn into the ugliest and most frightening catastrophe in our lifetimes.

    We know that Israel is governed by certifiable lunatics, racists and apocalyptic fanatics.

    That the US would allow itself to be dragged into this disaster suggests a country run and controlled by the profoundest of imbeciles (in addition to the bedrock chiliastic/millennial/’we love the prince of peace, baby Jesus and that’s why we’re gonna bomb you into the Stone Age…amen’ nutcases and morons).

    What a fucking world. A drink’s not going to cut it; must have something stronger.

  137. InvisibleJack permalink
    November 3, 2011 12:47 AM

    Agreed, Mish. But Israel hurling bombs at countries with larger space is ultimately foolish. It wouldn’t take much, quite frankly, to reduce a relatively small Isreal into a steaming radioactive tip with a population of immortal shadows. The way things are going, this seems sadly inevitable.

    David and Goliath is a myth. In the end, Goliaths genrally win, toppled only by other Goliaths.

    Reen, in my opinion Chamomile is best left growing in lawns. For me, a bowl of Jasmine tea.

    Jack Brae

  138. November 3, 2011 7:44 AM

    Thanks Mish. The one you rescued from the spam nailed it in a civil and pleasant tenor, and it lasted five minutes before the mods took it down. The moderators have made their first mass mistake on that thread, that I’m aware of at least, and lots of people have commented on it, most of which were removed.

    I was like you when I read that article, just seeing it, thinking, no, is this all part of some mad conspiracy, has it been fixed and now they are just joining the dots.

    I remember a few years ago when it was announced, during a G20 summit in Pittsburgh, with big fanfare, that America had just been made aware of some urgent news concerning the Iran ‘nuclear weapons’ fiction, and Obama, Zarkosy and Brown taking centre stage to face it down as John Wayne and his morally scrupulous sidekicks, and there were many op-ed pieces all trying to appear reasonable and speak without sounding like deluded cunts about the ‘threat’. Amongst all the vaugue nonsense of the reapeters talking big-picture and painting broad-brush, concentrating not on the facts but the opinion, I stumbled across this piece by Scott Ritter, in which he communicates, in a calm, reasonable tenor, the facts about what was really going on, and it was totally at odds with the version being spun by the war-mongering media on behalf of the Pentagon hawks.

    The facility in question, said to be located on a secret Iranian military installation outside of the holy city of Qom and capable of housing up to 3,000 centrifuges used to enrich uranium, had been monitored by the intelligence services of the US and other nations for some time. But it wasn’t until Monday that the IAEA found out about its existence, based not on any intelligence “scoop” provided by the US, but rather Iran’s own voluntary declaration. Iran’s actions forced the hand of the US, leading to Obama’s hurried press conference Friday morning.

    Beware politically motivated hype. While on the surface, Obama’s dramatic intervention seemed sound, the devil is always in the details. The “rules” Iran is accused of breaking are not vague, but rather spelled out in clear terms. In accordance with Article 42 of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, and Code 3.1 of the General Part of the Subsidiary Arrangements (also known as the “additional protocol”) to that agreement, Iran is obliged to inform the IAEA of any decision to construct a facility which would house operational centrifuges, and to provide preliminary design information about that facility, even if nuclear material had not been introduced. This would initiate a process of complementary access and design verification inspections by the IAEA.

    This agreement was signed by Iran in December 2004. However, since the “additional protocol” has not been ratified by the Iranian parliament, and as such is not legally binding, Iran had viewed its implementation as being voluntary, and as such agreed to comply with these new measures as a confidence building measure more so than a mandated obligation.

    In March 2007, Iran suspended the implementation of the modified text of Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements General Part concerning the early provisions of design information. As such, Iran was reverting back to its legally-binding requirements of the original safeguards agreement, which did not require early declaration of nuclear-capable facilities prior to the introduction of nuclear material.

    While this action is understandably vexing for the IAEA and those member states who are desirous of full transparency on the part of Iran, one cannot speak in absolute terms about Iran violating its obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. So when Obama announced that “Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow”, he is technically and legally wrong.

    What happened on the Higgins thread, the way in which the hypocritical moderating practices were becoming overt, was mirrored, on a far more massive scale, obviously, when I read that article trying to introduce into the frame the possibility of bombing Iran, on nothing but a desire by an imperial power to exercise its full might on an innocent other, and having to fabricate evidence in order to justify a pre-determined course of action, without which the naked unfairness and disproportionality of its actions are immediately and embarrassingly obvious to all rational observers.

    And you notice Kennelly is still spelled Kenneally. The pyschology behind the eyes has been interesting so far this week, all round.

  139. Edward Taylor permalink
    November 3, 2011 9:12 AM

    It’s impossible to understand why Israel does what Israel does. They are a Middle East country surrounded by Arabic countries so you’d think diplomacy would be the first tool to use in any discussions. Instead it’s sabre-rattling paranoid belligerence all the way. I suppose if your “enemies” aren’t actually warmongering land-grabbers you have to turn them into warmongering land-grabbers by any means necessary.

  140. Edward Taylor permalink
    November 3, 2011 10:07 AM

    I have to say that from what I’ve read I don’t think Michael Higgins is a particularly good poet either

    The misfortune for Carool Rumens is that opinion pieces about the man are extremely thin on the ground in the Guardian so it looks like her blog is the editorial line. A conspiracy? I think not. But you never know. Or do you? Perhaps you do etc. etc.

    She would have been better advised to post it up as a Poem of the Week where I’m sure it would have been battered around in the age-old tradition.

  141. mishari permalink*
    November 3, 2011 10:18 AM

    Entirely agree, Ed. published as fresh POTW-meat and thrown to the wolves, it would have been torn to pieces, without raising any of the political, oh-but-he’s-a-lovely-man stuff. In fact, aside from the usual suspects, nobody would have noticed.

    As you say, the way it’s been presented, you might be forgiven for imagining that this is the editorial-line.

    I certainly can’t remember anyone defending a poem on POTW on the basis that the poet was a lovely person. They would have been laughed off the thread.

    • Reine permalink
      November 3, 2011 10:36 AM

      Time to move on now I think; Parisa spectacularly missing the point over there.

      It’s not allowing me to post a comment on that thread, which may save me from myself. Perhaps I have been blacklisted.

      I am heading to the wilds for a couple of days to commune with my poetic self.

  142. Reine permalink
    November 3, 2011 10:38 AM

    But before I go… Michael D. in cursing shock!

  143. November 3, 2011 10:40 AM

    The ‘editorial line’, as far as I am aware, is what Claire Armistead thinks, along with her deputy lit-ed Justine Jordan. I know Armistead is a fragrant flower exuding that yummy Englishness that’s not beneath baring its imperial sneery teeth now and again.

    If anyone below the line used the term ‘mad-dog-shite’ to describe a poem in the ‘debate’, I imagine it would stand a very strong chance of being removed for contravening the ‘community standards’.

    I don’t care, I think it’s all good fun, but let’s not do a Princess Parisa and make out the article is some genuine critical piece. It’s now. Carol wanted to insult Higgins, for whatever reason, certainly not literary, and used one of his poems as the excuse to do so. Who knows what the real motivation was. Some byzantium trail might lead back to Carol wreaking revenge for some percieved snub or slight she suffered as a poet when at an event where Higgins was. Maybe she tried to speak to him at some do in Belfast years ago and he made a comment that made her feel thick and twenty years later it results in this.

    I had pne comment that stayed up a few hours until it was removed, by GarethReid, making the point that here we have someone steeped in the buzzwords of ‘widening participation’ and ‘inclusion’ publically adopting a position that poetry is a democratic art where anyone can and should be encouraged to have a go, like the rest in the pack who make aliving on the back of acting as though they are on a mission to bring poetry to the masses; yet when someone who makes no claim to being a major poet, who everyone, in Ireland at least, knows to be an amatuer hobbyist (and good on him), then the theory is immediately jettisoned and a ‘professional’ comes in acting like the most amatuer of internet trolls.

    Fair play, she and the rest of the world may think it is mad-dog-shite, but why bother kicking fuck out of someone who nobody considers a professional poet anyway, and in the process revealing the hypocrisy of her act about wanting only for everyone to understand how poetry is for everyone and not just a narrow band of English wankers who think they are royalty?

  144. November 3, 2011 10:47 AM

    But Reine is right, time to move on, this pony has been bummed to death.

    I think the Guardian may have new software that makes it more difficult to go in. Previous to today, you could join and not need to validate it from an internet address, when you went in by a certain route, but that has been closed now, at least for me. Before I could sign up and be on in literally, less than a minute, but now it all goes the same but when I hit send, the thing doesn’t go to the next step of publishing the comment. Maybe they can now target isps, but I think my internet provider doesn’t have a fixed isp.

    A great blow for democracy. I will be complaining to the appropriate authorities about this. Write to Claire demanding she do something jolly.

    • Reine permalink
      November 3, 2011 11:01 AM

      It’s letting me sign in but not post the comment. Jesus, if I’ve done my mild mannered Máire routine only to get my posting rights cut anyway, the Reenimus gloves will come well and truly off!

  145. InvisibleJack permalink
    November 3, 2011 10:59 AM

    In common with Reen I have tried to post to both the Michael D and the POTW threads but without success. It might just be a glitch, but either way I’m not going to bother with it anymore today.

    • Reine permalink
      November 3, 2011 11:03 AM

      Me neither, Jack. It’s a sign. Hope you are feeling better today. “Au revoir dear hearts” (waves jauntily for the barouche).

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 3, 2011 12:24 PM

      “I told her to come for two”… Safe travelling!

      The glitching seems to relate to the new direct response format. Aha.

  146. November 3, 2011 11:28 AM

    I think it must be a glitch affecting everyone. I just looked the the Iran editorial and the last of the 300+ comments was an hour ago. Prior to that they’d been coming in at the rate of one every three or four minutes. I can’t see the comments on a topic like this suddenly stopping in the first few hours of the blog appearing. No, I am saved and can get back on when the rest of you do.

    For the mods to recognize my writing straight away, even when I do my utmost to not be ‘myself’, ie a ranty swearing boor, by changing stuff like, ‘the author is a fucking arsehole’, to ‘the author, in her her haste to insult the poem with the most vulgar mad-dog-shite epithet she thought permissible to publish, chose to dispense with the usual norms of serious critical behaviour.’ That they do recognise it is a psotive sign, I hope, that my own voice is coming through.

  147. mishari permalink*
    November 3, 2011 1:22 PM

    I saw your GarethReid post, Des. I was quite surprised when it got a bullet in the back of the neck, considering how measured and un-shouty it was: what a pity they actually read it and realised that they were being called sanctimonious wankers…

    Yeah, your (and everyone’s) posting hiccups are a software cock-up; it would be a shame if your method of signing-up for a new username didn’t work anymore; it’s handy as fuck and is responsible for ‘oldpossum’…

  148. November 3, 2011 5:19 PM

    It’s still working when you go in the same route, the glitch must have been related to the new reply-to function.

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