Tag: other

At the sign of the loving loaf (for my lover and my good friends)

I dreamt of a bakery the other night
and woke with a heart full of such delight.
Noj is the name of the lovely man
who had the skill and had the plan.

I’d met a comrade on the road,
walking on stilts with a tasty load,
it smelled so good, we just had to find
where we could get some more of its kind.

We went off to look for this magical place –
a derelict block. just off the main ways,
it was near to our pub and it seemed alright
to make a diversion and go for a bite.

A maze and a warren, an unfinished plot,
but the ovens were working and the bread was still hot;
he also serves coffee that’s fragrant and strong,
you can drink it short or you can drink it long.

We sat down and crumbled the loaves in our hands
and ate it like that, without butter or jam;
it was wholemeal and filling, but light and delicious;
he asked for a name that was warm and auspicious.

I thought of ‘corn flower’, but cornflowers are blue
and could be confused with maize flour too;
someone else said ‘cornfield’ and that had its charm,
‘the fruit of the corn’ or ‘the fruit of the farm’.

We chatted and laughed and honoured our host
and demanded to know how he’d achieved most
of his vision with so little finances,
what would come next and what were the chances.

The future looked good and I wanted to stay,
I woke up so happy and ready to play,
I know I’ve felt that way before
and that, for sure, I will do some more.

I know I’ve met Noj and will do again –
he’s a cook, a musician, a drinker, a friend,
I know the place and where it is found –
not far from here or another town.

I know he’s long had this beautiful scheme –
it isn’t just me who’s had this dream –
it will all come back when I’m fully awake
then we’ll get together to party and bake.

rs 26.8.04

Summoned by drums (for Bruce Chatwin’s detractors)

Don’t know ‘bout you but I can sense
the sounds of walking in the beat,
the clash of gourds and cooking pots,
the bells of beasts, the bangled feet.

Some music swings, slides and sways
with a camel’s winding gait,
other kinds, like ponies, trot
or tread as oxen, slow, sedate.

You may reject this as the work
of a wild imagination,
that we learn dancing in the womb
on our regular migration.

It may seem mystical or trite,
yet I’ve no problem with the notion
that our rhythms are the product
of former modes of locomotion.

Composers now quite consciously
choose the pounding of the wheel
on railway or road to give
their accompaniments a modern feel.

This has still to penetrate
into the roots of memory,
where our bodies catch the spring
to the step of melody.

But, thanks to our technology,
I can hear right round the earth
and all the way into the past
to where these patterns had their birth.

That’s why the drums can spark across
gaps in our cultural education
and teach the ignorant to move
without further explanation.

She stands there grieving (The fall of Srebenica)

In the front-page picture
she stands there grieving,
head bent.
Even in profile
the resignation on her face
cuts under the ribs
of any observer
like an ice stiletto,
to make you catch your breath
with dreadful expectation.

There amongst the green bushes,
under a tree,
she weeps in silence.
Only when you unfolded the paper
could you see,
did you notice
her feet were not on the ground
and the rope at her throat
pointed like a rod
to heaven.