Archive for January, 2019

My father-in-law died last year. He was 96.
So we had his house to sell – not done this before. The rather nebulous local couple, the buyers, wouldn’t say if they wanted furniture (new family). All the kitchen stuff, yes. No contact. Oh well.
First week this year we had our house roof retiled – been dreading it. An exhausting experience.
‘Now we can relax,’ we said.
An email: the buyers want to move in asap: 23rd Jan. Yikes! 6 days. My f-i-law had kept Everything, neatly ordered, but… everything. In a panic to clear the place we had to let important stuff go. We knocked ourselves up getting it ready. Took the keys to the estate agents (their rapacious natures came to fore – we’d still had to leave things because we don’t have, nor can afford, transport).
‘It’s 25th, they said. We have their email for 23rd. Went to notify the conveyancers that we’d handed the keys in.
‘Ah,’ they said, ‘we’d sent an email this morning…’ (we’d left by then). ‘It’s been changed to the 12th Feb.’
All those papers, items, we’d had to let go….
It has now moved to the 6th Feb. Ok, that’s doable.
Only we both came down with exhaustion, and a Winter bug – as time ticks away.

I was thinking, are there loose parallels here with the Brexit fiasco? The rather nebulous buyers image, for one: the unknown before us; those calling the shots.
We’d met a number of Leavers recently – and, boy, are they mad! They are furious. They are adamant, dug-in, come what may. No negotiation.
For whatever reason, 52% of people who voted want Out. It shocked us all. What infuriates them most is that there was No Plan. There’d be to hell to pay if the govt reneges on this deal. A new Ref would probably be the same result.
Because people don’t like to be pushed about, basically. And hurt pride? Yes; they know they have been made fools of. This arrogant stubbornness is the flip-side of the so-called ‘bulldog spirit.’
As for us: we will have to try and snatch-back as many worthwhile things out the jaws of suicidal, ruinous, Brexit.
But I wouldn’t trust my judgement, or that of anyone I have met, to decide on this vitally important topic. There are so many hidden levels of investment – from greedy-eyed Brexit MPs, making a killing off other’s misery, to rumoured ‘special relationships.’
So, who would I trust? Ah, yes, that question.
‘If Corbyn gets in,’ one Leaver said, ‘he’d bring the communists in.’
‘I didn’t think there were any of those left,’ I quipped. He chose not to hear. And Theresa May – surprised everyone with her tenacity, but there’s No Plan B. She was never a decision-maker.
I get the impression she has tried to appease both sides, and fallen down the gap in between.

I rather like that image: between two stools. An image doesn’t claim to special insight, truth, veracity; it just to be striking.
This is why the best cartoons are so important. They catch a fleeting moment, expression, in an image, and open it up. We love the entertainment an image gives. They can please, but also mislead. They don’t change anything, but they do ease the tension, allow in nuances.

And I feel for Northern Ireland and Eire in Brexit: what an impossible situation!
Scotland… I am a little wary. The hard-line Independence people are as furious and one-dimensional as the Leavers.
Think of them as the ‘Scots Wha-Haers’ that the great Scottish writer Hugh MacDiamid inveighed against, in his 1926, A Drunk Man Looks At A Thistle.

‘Scots wha hae wi Wallace bled’ (The Brus, by John Barbour, 1375: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/44292/44292-h/44292-h.htm
And get that date: 1375, ye Chaucerians) as the only criteria for Scottish identity?
And yet, I always preferred William Wallace to Robert the Bruce: Wallace, a man of the people, crushed by the English. And is there an echo of that ultimate religious sacrifice in that?
It is said the Independence Referendum in Scotland failed because the Media, Arts, Medicine, Health, Research, etc, were afraid of being shut off from sources of research grants, and knowledge.
Ahem? Nudge, nudge? But then the Tory Party of UK has  gone out of it way to ignore anything to do with Scotland, so…

The people: what are we, and where are we now?

On William Wallace: if anyone has a tour of the Houses of Parliament, stop in Westminster Hall for moment, because that is where Wallace was tried, hung, drawn, and quartered. Some authorities have it as Smithfield: See Wiki for English vindictiveness and vengeance: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Wallace

I’ve stood out by Stirling Castle, and gazed over the Firth of Forth to the Wallace memorial. It is a tower, set against high, dark, hills.
I felt a shiver of awe.

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Untitled

Posted: January 20, 2019 in Chat
Tags: , ,

1
We live our lives like baited traps,
hope to catch ourselves, or someone else there,
partner, politician, stance, or cause,
to validate us, perhaps.

As though our living on longing
reconfigures us
and the thousand compromises life is
are steps back – refusals – away
from our own responsibility.

The longing for authenticity
turning lives stale;
the precincts, parks, streets
we scabbed knees on, worked on,
the cities our lives made,
are provisional,
plaster-board mock-ups.

And to remember is an act of betrayal,
almost:
an action, yes, but not itself
the living moment.

2
Waiting with the patience of trappers in the outback,
on the edge of wildness, for whatever-it-is.

You will not know it until you name it, its features
figured in red in the sounding stomach, cave wall.

Your rites and enticements are enactments,
feints to habituate wonder, excitement.

Anything to keep out the emptiness that chills.
But waiting and arrival are parts of the whole;

it carries these shadows around with it always:
promise, possibility, renewal.

As long as they are near, you say,
if only to yourself, in private, at night.

 

From one window a woman’s voice
an aria from Mozart, a clear cool breeze
in thick night heat.

Another window, a parrot flying,
a tropical storm trapped behind glass;
a noise like heaven tearing.

This window is empty, no one home
or elsewhere: shift workers
before early call. These I have known.

Here a laugh, a conversation;
an insistence of children, rolling banter,
close-woven tones of communion.

Another a blue flicker of a tv
and nothing else; the curtains open,
the night falling in like isolation.

Here the crackle of an argument
already full-throttle, self-feeding;
ending inevitable, origins forgotten.

And in and between each window, holes
gaping in the night’s fabric.
The hot night stalking restless.