Cardiff Elms by Gillian Clarke

Until this summer

throught the open roof of the car

their lace was as light as rain

against the burning sun.

On a rose-coloured road

they laid their inks,

knew exactly, in the seed,

where in the sky they would reach

percise parameters.


Traffic-jammed under a square

of perfect blue I thirst

for their lake’s fingering

shadow, trunk by trunk arching

a cloister between the parks

and pillars of a civic architecture,

older and taller than all of it.


Heat is a salt encrustation.

Walls square up to the sky

without the company of leaves

or the town life of birds.

At the roadside this enormous

firewood, elmwood, the start

of some terrible undoing.


by Gillian Clarke

from Letters from a Far Country (1982)

The Jolt by Anna Prismanova

The jolt must come from far away:

the start of bread is in the grain.

A stream, although still underground,

aspires to reflect the sky.


A future Sunday’s distant light

reaches us early in the week.

The jolt must come from far away

to trigger earthquakes in the heart.


A shoulder alien to me

controls the movement of my hand.

In order to acquire such strength,

the jolt must come from far away.


by Анна Семёновна Присманова (Anna Semyonovna Prismanova)

a.k.a. Анна Симоновна Присман (Anna Simonovna Prisman)

(late 1930s or early 1940s)

translated by Boris Dralyuk


Fun fact: She is considered comparable to her contemporary, the American poet, Louise Bogan.

Emerging from the Sea of Anonymity

Inevitably the first attempt at anything will be done falteringly like the stumbling belly slaps of a fish on the riverside silt having just evolved lungs. It discovers it can breathe air but can only throw itself forward on the terrain with its frail fins, eyes adjusting to the clear light of day and mouthing vacantly at no one in particular. That is how blogging feels right now. I have nothing of value to contribute yet and may never do. No doubt at some point soon after this initial venture a preying bird, which has been waiting diligently at the riverside to cease the opportunity, will swooped down and devour me alive having itself existed in this enviroment long enough not only to have adapted but thrive within it. So it is with any process of learning how to do something effectively… ‘practise makes perfect’.

This post already is certifiably terrible with the opening paragraph but I take heart that it will not be as bad as when a teenager in 2008, whose father (or close relative) was a senior journalist a the Guardian newspaper, was given a blog with a readymade national, if not international, readership and then provided the following insights into the prospect of travelling abroad:

It was apparently his first and last ever post which, even now, I remember reading the comments section of when he posted it back in 2008. Oh what a feeding frenzy day it was by those disdainful of nepotism and the clichéd, self-righteously, opinionated… However let me follow his lead and, now we are in 2014 where the on-line world has evolved for better or worse, do a Hollywood like ‘reboot’ of his original post taking its core grammar and structure and modifying it to more contemporary tastes. Let me address you then, the audience of late 2014, in the manner we now expect of today’s on-line public communications and tell you a little about myself.

Hello. I’m [REDACTED]. I’m [REDACTED] and live [REDACTED].
At the minute, I’m working in [REDACTED] with [REDACTED] people; writing [REDACTED]; writing [REDACTED]; spending any sort of money I earn on [REDACTED] and [REDACTED], and drinking [REDACTED] to [REDACTED] to [REDACTED] and [REDACTED]. Clichéd I know, but clichés are there for a reason.

I’m kinda [REDACTING] myself about [REDACTION]. Well not so much the [REDACTABLE] part. It’s [REDACTING] that scares me. The [REDACTABLE], the [REDACTING], the [REDACTIVE], [REDACTOR]. Don’t get me [REDACTED], I’m [REDACTABLE]. But [REDACTING] myself. And I just know [REDACTABLY] when I step off that [REDACTABLE] and into the [REDACTED] – well, actually, I don’t know [REDACTION].

(n.b. I copy/pasted the entry from Word without first seeing what options there were in the editing tool bar and discovered there was an option to strikethrough text making my efforts ironically redactable…)

The intentions for this blog are commenting on various current television or cinema, writing about things in my home town (though how much is truth and how much is fantasy I will leave for you to decide) and various miscellany. It is more of a post-by-post blog just to force myself to practise my writing and shouldn’t be taken seriously. I will try to update at least once a week but like anyone taking up a new pastime I will no doubt post a bit more often than I should initially and soon hit a rut if I do so. Once we are past the ‘3 month wall’, where apparently most people give up, it should all become a gradually evolving, maintainable, activity. Hopefully I have hit every possible cliché of starting a blog here and will rarely do so again without reason.
So let us end this first Quixotic endevour and quote the end of the first part of Mikhail Bulgakov’s ‘The Master and Margarita’:

“… it has come time for us to go on to the second part of this truthful narrative. Follow me, reader!”