It’s been a quiet week on Grieve-Not Lake.
Yes, I only just realised that Garrison Keillor’s Wobegone has the same root. I used to know his son-in-law; maybe I could ask if the Minnesota-China reference is intentional.
Anyhoo, apart from climbing one of Embra’s seven hills, sorting out round three of the Scottish Arts Club short story competition and a few other admin tasks, it’s been a week of poetry and disappointment.
Disappointment because the Traverse Theatre didn’t want the play I may have mentioned in previous blogs. And poetry because I is trying to write me a sonnet for a competition to mark the four hundredth anniversary of that there Shakespeare bloke.
I think I got me a sonnet, but I can’t share it with you, gentle reader, because it can’t have been published anywhere before them lovely judgey people sees it.
But I have scribbled another piece. I have a book or two in my bog (bathroom), poetry for shorter visits, short stories and novels in case of dyssentery, and one of them is a collected pomes of Philip Larkin, him of They fuck you up, your Mum and Dad fame. And I was reading one from 1958, called Home Is So Sad, which goes like this …
Home is so sad. It stays as it was left,
Shaped to the comfort of the last to go
As if to win them back. Instead, bereft
Of anyone to please, it withers so,
Having no heart to put aside the theft
And turn again to what it started as,
A joyous shot at how things ought to be,
Long fallen wide. You can see how it was:
Look at the pictures and the cutlery.
The music in the piano stool. That vase.
and that, in turn, set me off to write this …
Starting from a Line of Larkin
The music in the piano stool
included ‘Furry Liza‘, and (so
typical of me) I tried to learn
the piece, with
x no prior knowledge,
x no technique,
x no practiced scales,
x no finger exercises.
the tiny numbers had to indicate
the fingers meant for notes and where
upon each stave to find a middle C,
precocious logic worked out
all the rest.
what was lacking was determination:
determination and a willingness
to take instruction, practice. And,
the slightest smidgeon of an aptitude.
Whatever failings may take on the task
x of justifying mediocrity,
x of excusing poor results,
the simple moral still remains:
reason alone doth not an artist make.
x And there, bound in a nutcase,
x you have the story of my life.
My main activity just now should be learning the ukulele daily (if not gaily). I need to play it in my turns for the Edinburgh Fringe in August, and, as this video explains and demonstrates, I can’t.
Meanwhile I also made a bit of progress on a more salacious and silly bit of epic verse, the beginning of which I shall leave you with for now. Hopefully the whole, disgusting saga will be available one day …
I sing the young lad’s apish essence,
The piquant joys of adolescence;
With lazy bones and potty mouth,
And brains inclined to travel South;
That fascination with one’s bits
That stiffen at the thought of tits.
Young Hamish, aged about fifteen,
Invented a ‘cheap thrill machine’
He showed his chums, with great elation
His novel aid to masturbation.
With straps around his waist and thighs
It could adjust to any size.
Likewise the sleeve around the Hampton* —
As soon as it was firmly clamped on,
Small servo motors did the work
To give a steady, rhythmic jerk,
Perfect for leaving both hands free
To deal with the pornography
to be continued.
*Cockney rhyming slang for ‘prick’, from the place near That London called Hampton Wick.