Outside the green velvet sitting room
white roses bloom after rain.
They hold water and sunlight
like cups of fine white china.
Within the boy who sleeps in my care
in the big chair the cold bloom
opens at terrible speed
and the splinter of ice moves
in his blood as he stirs in the chair.
Remembering me he smiles
politely, gritting his teeth
in silence on pain's red blaze.
A stick man in the ashes, his fires
die back. He is spars and springs.
He can talk again, gather
his cat to his bones. She springs
with a small cry in her throat, kneading
with diamond paws his dry
as tinder flesh. The least spark
of pain will burn him like straw.
The sun carelessly shines after rain.
The cat tracks thrushes in sweet
dark soil. And without concern
the rose outlives the child.
by Gillian Clarke
from Letter from a Far Country (1982)
Yesterday, the children made the street
into a stadium; their cat
a docile audience. As they cheered
a score it seemed there was a camera
in the sky to record their elation.
Men polished cars, like soldiers
getting ready for an inspection.
Women, of course, were banished
from daylight: the smells of roasts merging
like the car-wash channels joining.
Today, two horses trespass over boundaries
of content; barebacked, as if they’d just
thrown off the saddle of some film.
They hoof up lawns – brown patches like tea-stains.
A woman in an apron tries to sweep away
the stallion, his penis wagging back at her broom.
I swop smiles with an Indian woman, door to door.
These neighbours bring us out from our burrows –
the stampede of light watering our eyes.
By Mike Jenkins
from Empire of Smoke
The cat walks. It listens, as I do,
To the wind which leans its iron
Shoulders on our door. Neither
The purr of a cat nor my blood
Runs smoothly for elemental fear
Of the storm. This then is the big weather
They said was coming. All the signs
Were bad, the gulls coming in white,
Lapwings gathering, the sheep too
Calling all night. The gypsies
Were making their fires in the woods
Down there in the east…always
A warning. The rain stings, the whips
Of the laburnum hedge lash the roof
Of the cringing cottage. A curious
Calm, coming from the storm, unites
Us, as we wonder if the work
We have done will stand. Will the tyddyn,
In its group of strong trees on the high
Hill, hold against the storm Awst
Running across the hills where everything
Alive listens, pacing its house, heart still?
by Gillian Clarke
from The Sundial, (Gwasg Gomer, 1978)
Fun facts: Glossary: Welsh = English
Awst = August
Storm Awst = August storm
tyddyn = [farm] smallholding
Cars pass him by; he’ll never own one.
Men won’t believe in him for this.
Let them come into the hills
And meet him wandering a road,
Fenced with rain, as I have now;
The wind feathering his hair;
The sky’s ruins, gutted with fire
Of the late sun, smouldering still.
Nothing is his, neither the land
Nor the land’s flocks. Hired to live
On hills too lonely, sharing his hearth
With cats and hens, he has lost all
Property but the grey ice
Of a face splintered by life’s stone.
by R. S. Thomas
from Tares (1961)
It is a matter of a black cat
On a bare cliff top in March
Whose eyes anticipate
The gorse petals;
The formal equation of
A domestic purr
With the cold interiors
Of the sea’s mirror.
by R. S. Thomas
from Poetry for Supper (1958)
My purrpose, surr,
Is to make pusspurr.
– by Geoffrey Summerfield
I saw a mouse set cheese traps
One morning after tea.
A fly read the flypaper
And though it seemed strange to me,
A cat burglar was stealing dogs
And right across the street
A lollipop man was being licked
From his head down to his feet.
– by Mike Harding
The Oxford-Cambridge boat race. Big day. The women’s team, for the first time in the history of the event, not only row the same course as the men’s team but also on the same day. This is reported as if some great achievement has been made but it only serves to demonstrate how backwards these elite academic institutions are and how they indoctrinate the best and brightest of each generation into maintaining the old, if now ancient, status quo of conservative mentality. Other events had made such changes for equality decades ago but these icons of prestige now expect to be congratulated and lauded on having finally done this rather than offhandedly informed it was about time so they know their place.
The announcer at one point, after Cambridge’s loss, declares something to the effect that he couldn’t think of anything worse than this loss they have suffered. Cancer. Acknowledging you will never achieve your dreams. Death of a loved one. Witnessing first-hand the decline of someone mentally day after day until no glimmer of hope is left that they will be the person you knew and all you are left with is a stranger you are responsible for. Death of a child you raised. Knowing that you will never belong anywhere no matter how much effort you make. Loss of hope. Racism. War. Ignorance. Elitism. Prejudice. Wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. No there is nothing worse than losing this boat race which in no way affects the careers of the people involved. What they suffered was a momentary tarnishing of pride. The announcer reiterates that they have been studying and exercising. If only we lesser mortals had such dedication to improvement but alas we are but the lesser order concerned with base matters of surviving day to day unaided by the wealth accumulated by our ancestors nor the grants offered by government which often are gone within the first few weeks as students prioritise establishing social connections (which ultimately will serve them far better than their academic achievements) than budgeting and establishing their tuition.
It is mourned that the women’s team has had to make do with a lean-to in which to practise. This is stated over footage of them sat in a row on top-of-the-line rowing machines practising in synchronised motions within the confines of a well-lit, immaculate, gym. Truly there is no humanity that they are forced to train in such inadequate conditions. At such a rate some common person with wooden shovels tied together, just doing the motions of rowing while sat on their council flat floor as the mould clinging to the windows and water stains, brown like diarrhoea, descending the wall may have a chance at competing with them. Neptune, Poseidon, all gods of the waters will you not aid your daughters in their hour of need? Rather than those in true need let us raise alms unto this sisterhood forged in rowing! Let not one moment more pass in which they strain unnecessarily emitting sweat using the obsolete equipment which had led their predecessors onto victory and achievement previously in less enlightened times. Let carbon fibres be formed, let electronic readouts herald their speed and calories burned. But let not the effort of training show upon their brows, for lo, are they not but women? Do they not know their place and now expect to be considered equal unto their menfolk? Truly a lean too is less than inadequate to these goddesses of galoshes, these muses of the mind, these Amazonians of academia! Give them their custom built training resort and let the lesser people of weak flesh rot for only those of perfection in form and figure should be made into living gods cascaded with a cornucopia of offers and made not to suffer the indignity of we lesser beings. No do not entertain that the disabled, the poor, those unfamiliar with the proper order of things need more aid and this allotted money could ease their desperate burden. Nay I say and nay again! Those who excel, even amongst those who already are proving themselves amongst the best of us, should only be given more and more than expected to endure the strain of physical training and suffer the indignity of hard work as might be expected of others when training. Where is the ever present medical staff? Where is the cool chamber so they may train more efficiently? The masseuse? The dietician? The personal assistants? Man cannot live on bread alone and these paragons of virtue cannot be expected to train hard to achieve, as the lesser orders would, but should have every boon money may buy so not an ounce of their effort is wasted.
The captain of the victorious Oxford men’s team ascends the stage. A blonde giant of a man, legs like tree trunks, chest like a barrel, mounts the stage as if it was a step and holds the gigantic trophy as though it were a baby’s feeding cup. Sir Steve Redgrave, 6 foot 4 inches, 36th greatest Briton ever according to the BBC, 5 time gold medal winner, Britain’s greatest Olympian and a rowing demi-god made flesh stands next to this successor of his legacy, cup in hand ready to hand over the reins unto the captain ceremonially. The announcer declares the captain a meek man as he speaks in booming, confident, tones that echo across the river’s waves and can be heard by those upon the other shore without the aid of microphones. As the fountain of champagne his team mates douse him in cascades off his form, the likes of which ancient Greek sculptures would immortalise and poets celebrate, truly there can be no lesser an image of modesty and restraint as he lifts the trophy aloft and casts it carelessly aside to one of his lesser team mates as the midget cox man looks lovingly if not longingly up, from the monolithic shadow drowning him, at his captain’s Herculean visage is framed, in shiloette, by the sun’s light. This is no rowing captain. This is a saint in the flesh whom we should all aspire to be akin to. Including the ill-fitting wellies.
The boat race was a nice event despite my vitriol. It was more about the mindless ramblings of the announcers making out everything was such a great struggle when this boat race is more about friendly completion between the two academic institutions than being a serious sporting event. Everyone seemed to have fun although Cambridge lost they seemed to take it in good their stride. A ‘nice day out’ sort of gentlemanly event. It is just unfortunate that because the BBC were reporting on it for so long prior to the event they ended up having to fill the air time with ill informed rambling and supposition. Inevitably it becomes a lot of didactic rhetoric embellishing any minute piece of known information rather than being able to give concise, enlightening, information in preparation of the event. The competitors are not professional athletes with established, recorded in detail, careers to comment on admittedly so perhaps, as it is a once a year event, they could have discussed the history of the race or some better form of preparation for the announcers to fill the time would have been adviseable rather than rely on them to fill it on their own with small talk. Everyone seemed to have had fun though so overall it was good coverage with all the technical aspects of it being performed exceptionally.
Walked 2 circuits equating to 12 km in one uninterrupted walk. It wasn’t as far as I thought as I hadn’t done it in a while. The air was cold and there was a stiff breeze and so not at all taxing so I should have kept going and just kept doing curcuits all day until I could walk no more. At least I mixed it up a bit and went down one or two alternative, but parallel routes and found some random religious graffiti. I could have easily kept walking but I wanted to see a film. Later I ooked at an online calorie calculator and it seemed as if it was nothing. I couldn’t even afford to have a soft drink according to the calculator…
Watched some films. Watched Saturday night television. Watched some Welsh programmes. Wrote blog. Wrote other things. Read. Had a nap. Went to bed early. Had tried to talk to someone about one or two things but ultimately that was pointless.
I can tell how things will progress now and know who will be awarded what… as the elite of Oxford-Cambridge learn: Work smart not hard. Make sure people notice every little achievement and bit of effort you make. Social skills are far and away more important than merit. We do not living in a meritocracy. Meritocracy was the basis of the Soviet/Communist system and quickly became corrupted within years so that the old order of keeping the elite and the lower classes separate was reinstated. The faces changed but the attitudes remained. It’s just human nature as a social animal.
It hasn’t worked. It is just that way…The darkness encroaches and you are expected to put up and shut up and not be a burden to others. ‘Do unto others as you would have done unto you’ is a lie. Survival of the fittest and most capable of adapting is the only rule that is true. T. S. Eliot, in The Waste Land, considered April to be the cruellest month. Maybe he was right albeit obviously he was talking about post World War 1 where an entire generation had been lost. To see the renewel of things, new life and potential and the abandonment of the old which is soon forgotten. That which is no longer of use to people is cast aside without hesititation. Spring cleaning for both one’s house and life.
Woke up frequently during the night with pain in my ear as the cat watched over me from the window sill pulled by by his paw. Not an infection but something has happened to the external part… Maybe Ican apply heat or cold to amend it I do not know.
My cat goes in and out the window today. He wanted access to the outside but now seems to have quickly grown bored of it. He destroyed his fishing line toy and now brings me the soft toy bird shaped ‘lure’ to throw for him. He is becoming a dog…
I was hoping to do something today but the ear thing has put me off. I may have done another few circuits but I will leave it for tomorrow and just try to not eat more than I need today. I already eat 4 doughnuts this morning so that has already failed… Everyone would be better off with me removed from the equation. All people want is happy stories and to be surrounded by positive people even if they do nothing but speak negatively of others in order to forge an alligiance through shared opposition. So is life. Just accept your lot in life. Don’t aspire. Don’t complain. If you wanted it enough you would put more effort in even if it broke you. Its just how life is…
This was suprisingly long for something I hadn’t planned to write.
So they say if you behave happy then you will become happy. Did it work?
…No not really but then it is something you have to do continuously for a long time until it becomes second, then first, nature so it should come as no spurise a single week had minimal effect.
The cat is named. It sits over my shoulder as I type this watching the flicking lights of the screen.
My knuckles have calloused over. The skin is finally healing progressively without the threat of splitting and bleeding as it had done.
The inevitable things happened where they had to happen. I saw the headstrong laid low by their frail flesh. The strong cower due to weak wills that led them to commit to no action. Those who consider life a game to have revealed their strategies and those who wished for eternal balance discovering for themselves what an ephemeral thing it is, requiring unending attendance at every moment, to maintain.
I have things to do but I put them off because the consequences are definitive and lifelong effecting.More minor things I have attended to instead when there was no need. Procrastination…
And I also did this quiz. Idealism and pessimism are but two sides of the same coin. One seeing all as good while the other sees it all as bad. At my core I am an idealist however but I do wish I could temper it with logic. I see things logically but my heart often overrules my mind in personal matters.
You’re an Idealist! Idealists are abstract and compassionate day dreamers, activists, writers, diplomats, counsellors and healers. You’re the magician or medicine man of all the personality types. You’re a deeply emotional and abstract thinker with cooperative and communitarian goals. You long for deep, meaningful relationships and you constantly contemplate how you can help the common good. You’re guided by strong personal ethics, and you often have an ideology, cause, or way of viewing the world that you take very seriously. You’re easy going until someone challenges your values, at which point you can be the fiercest of opponents. At heart, you’re a natural healer with a great depth of empathy for those around you. As an Idealist, you’re in impressive company! Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Princess Diana, and Oprah are all famous examples of Idealists!
A number of who were killed… But then being an idealist means not seeing the clear and present danger I suppose or being so open to accepting others that you in no way protect yourself.
What will I write about next? A food review? Prehaps finally get around to reviewing something literary again as I haven’t done that for a long time now. Prehaps a padding ‘short movie reviews’ entry. We will have to see. Don’t pretend like you are excited as I get no feedback about any of these posts usually.
My cat was very playful. He still has no name. He now has a bald spot on his neck.
My skin is healing.
Watched a ‘let’s play’ through of ‘Life Is Strange’ published by Square Enix (with a very sad reference to their film ‘The Spirits Within’ not being a bad film but a cult classic as if they still cannot let go of how much of a major let down it was both financially and critically for them even all these years later…). It is a game in a similar adventure vein to those of TellTale Games escept you are able to see both outcomes of a decision by rewinding time immediately to see how the other outcome will come across. This actually limits its replay value ultimately as you will just choose ‘the best outcome’ in your first playthrough and not replay the rest of the game to reach these points again. You play as a college girl who has returned to her home town aftera number of years away who discovers she has the ability to rewind time with which she must solve, with the aid of her rebellious childhood friend, a missing person’s case and protect the town from a severe storm arriving in 4 days. It is episodic and only the first episode, ‘Chrysalis’, has been released so far. It has some real promise although the first episode has a number of generic elements (hopefully to be subverted in later episodes) but despite all the side activities you can do it doesn’t have the polish of TellTale Games’ recent releases so far.
I watched ‘The Wind Rises’ / 風立ちぬ / Kaze Tachinu on FilmFour. It is a Studio Ghibli film so it goes without saying it is fantastically high quality. However I understand why, on principle, many political groups took umbrage with a romanticised depiction of the life of the engineer who designed the Mitsubshi A6M Zero plane the Japanese used in World War II. However it is actually more correct to say the film is based on a short story by Tatsuo Hori, with parts of the story Hori based on Jiro Horikoshi with aspects of his own personality (for example the fictional account of Horikoshi’s wife suffering tuberculosis which Hori’s wife actually did suffer from and his chain smoking when Horikoshi was a lifelong non-smoker) amalgamated into a single character as the fictional Horikoshi’s of the film. An excellent film tinged with an awkwardness as you can’t escape that in realising his dream the character ultimately saw his realised dream used for war. The film tries to address this with his dreams where Giovanni Battista Caproni addresses him as a spirit guide but it falls flat due to the real world implications and for once sadly cannot be chalked up as simply ‘cultural differences’ as is the excuse often used when certain aspects of films are viewed unfavourably in different markets worldwide.
‘Forest of Drizzling Rain’ – Another ‘let’s play’ through but of an RPGmaker horror game. It was okay and had an interesting concept but ultimately the story was not well implemented and so failed on it’s potential with some very weak endings and not enough character development.
‘Prinny, Can I Be The Hero?’ – Yet another Let’s Play I watched. An action platforming PS Vita game spin of the Disgaea strategy RPG series. I still have very fond memories of playing the Playstation 2 games in the series but as I never got a PS3 or PS Vita I never kept up with the later entries. The humour is still there but this spin off seems far lighter fare gameplay wise compared to the main series. It looks fun but also quite short if you are not into purchasing download extras.
The Voice – A 16 year old mother from Bridgend. Her mother is in a Wheelchair ticking the sad background that these sort of talent shoes feel the need to shoehorn into their constructed narratives as part of an ‘overcoming adversity’ storyline. It demeans the individuals concerned and makes them figures to be pitied instead of respected in publicising their circumstances and makes it harder for an audience member to be unbiased in their assessment of the performer’s talent. Unfortunately their accents made them sound far duller than… it made them sound dull. And so Bridgend is not only the ‘suicide ring’ town of South Wales but also of tattooed underage mothers. Tidy…
National Lottery game show – I forgot what the name of it was but there was a Welsh couple on it. The guy reminded me of someone I know. They seemed really affectionate and to get on well unlike some of the more nervous couples in previous weeks. It was nice to see though it was clear the wife was the one who wore the trousers in the relationship as she was quite ‘don’t be so self-deprecating’. Also one of the things they were trying to win were proper wedding rings as theirs were from Swansea market. There’s nothing wrong with that just… you just know someone is judging them for it somewhere and thinking the Welsh, as a nation, are poor… which is sadly true as we are paid less for the equivalent work when it is done in England.
Nice relaxing day.
HAPPINESS WEEK IS OVER!
Normal services will resume in due course… or maybe I will do a ‘Misery Week’ which would be cathartic. Or ‘Absurdism Week’ which would be fun. Or maybe I will just leave it a few days and resume the usual update every few days. Maybe even lower it to once a week. Let us see…
Did people enjoy reading this? It seemed to be just the same few points being reiterated time and time again each day over the week.
I uploaded this with mere seconds left before Sunday began. I almost forgot to post it at all. An achievement in time management which I was quite happy with.