Monday, December 09, 2019


Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata). Swindon, 9 December 2019.
 Before I get down to a day of cards, carols and cookery, a hasty blog post. Actually just a wander through my backpack.

The possibility of life in the mind
of you living on such a brink table
top, ice of the Gospel giving
out tickets to hunters of wild angels

or furriers blazing search in gorse
for mice, hardly in winter, ticking
over of engines and popping warms
honey-coloured blood with sparks

from their halos or the circuit held in place
in barrel-chested batteries like treacle.
To see you all gripped by fire
and to see a summer walk

round the Ewyas with sky for
a canopy are two indefinite futures,
the catastrophe eliminates any
indifferent particles, hunters ......

The beginning of "S/ledges" by Andrea Brady, from The Strong Room (2016).

If nothing else, the sound and movement of AB's poetry are utterly distinct. Because of my preoccupations today, I'm reading this fairly securely as a family Christmas poem, but AB's poems can flicker into hellish dystopia at any moment, and reading them is a far from secure occupation.

Surely there should be a new book soon? Here, anyway, are links about the most recent poems I know, the drone sequence The Blue Split Compartments.


For the first time she noticed there were tears in Sal's eyes. 'All you know is 2010, Maddy. You haven't seen my time. You haven't seen New York in 2026 or anywhere else in 2026!'
   'No . . . I haven't, but that's --'
   'It's all so shadd-yah. It's falling apart! And we know it gets worse!'
   'Sal!' warned Maddy. 'We're not doing this now! We're not doing this in front of Adam!'
   'But it does! You know that! I know it! It all gets worse and worse. The pollution. The whole global warming. The Oil Wars! And we don't know how it all ends up. But this . . . look at it! This is better!'
   Adam looked taken aback. 'Oil wars?'
   Maddy waved him silent. 'Sal . . . listen, we made a promise to Foster. To keep history on track. To keep it the same for better or worse. ...'

Time Riders: The Doomsday Code (2011) by Alex Scarrow.


I did not: he was but a fool that brought
My answer back. Brutus hath rived my heart:
A friend should bear his friend's infirmities,
But Brutus makes mine greater than they are.
I do not, till you practise them on me.
You love me not.
I do not like your faults.
A friendly eye could never see such faults.
A flatterer's would not, though they do appear
As huge as high Olympus.
Come, Antony, and young Octavius, come,
Revenge yourselves alone on Cassius,
For Cassius is aweary of the world;
Hated by one he loves; braved by his brother;
Cheque'd like a bondman; all his faults observed,
Set in a note-book, learn'd, and conn'd by rote,
To cast into my teeth.

(from Julius Caesar, Act IV Scene 3)

Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata). Swindon, 9 December 2019.

Alliaria petiolata (En: Garlic Mustard, Sw: Löktrav). A plant I should try to make more use of; it seems there are lots of cooking possibilities. At most times of year I've found the flavour of the raw leaves unpleasant, but these midwinter ones were milder and tasted pretty good.

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