Thursday, July 30, 2009

Poem From a Three Year Old...

And will the flowers die?

And will the people die?

And every day do you grow old, do I
grow old, no I’m not old, do
flowers grow old?

Old things – do you throw them out?

Do you throw old people out?

And how you know a flower that’s old?

The petals fall, the petals fall from flowers,
and do the petals fall from people too,
every day more petals fall until the
floor where I would like to play I
want to play is covered with old
flowers and people all the same
together lying there with petals fallen
on the dirty floor I want to play
the floor you come and sweep
with the huge broom.

The dirt you sweep, what happens that,
what happens all the dirt you sweep
from flowers and people, what
happens all the dirt? Is all the
dirt what’s left of flowers and
people, all the dirt there in a
heap under the huge broom that
sweeps everything away?

Why you work so hard, why brush
and sweep to make a heap of dirt?
And who will bring new flowers?
And who will bring new people? Who will
bring new flowers to put in water
where no petals fall on to the
floor where I would like to
play? Who will bring new flowers
that will not hang their heads
like tired old people wanting sleep?
Who will bring new flowers that
do not split and shrivel every
day? And if we have new flowers,
will we have new people too to
keep the flowers alive and give
them water?

And will the new young flowers die?

And will the new young people die?

And why?

. Poem From a Three Year Old, by Brendan Kennelly
. Ever Fallen in Love, by liekeroomij and via her flickr stream

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Archipelago Of Kisses

We live in a modern society. Husbands and wives don't
grow on trees, like in the old days. So where
does one find love? When you're sixteen it's easy,
like being unleashed with a credit card
in a department store of kisses. There's the first kiss.
The sloppy kiss. The peck.
The sympathy kiss. The backseat smooch. The we
shouldn't be doing this kiss. The but your lips
taste so good kiss. The bury me in an avalanche of tingles kiss.
The I wish you'd quit smoking kiss.
The I accept your apology, but you make me really mad
sometimes kiss. The I know
your tongue like the back of my hand kiss. As you get
older, kisses become scarce. You'll be driving
home and see a damaged kiss on the side of the road,
with its purple thumb out. If you
were younger, you'd pull over, slide open the mouth's
red door just to see how it fits. Oh where
does one find love? If you rub two glances, you get a smile.
Rub two smiles, you get a warm feeling.
Rub two warm feelings and presto-you have a kiss.
Now what? Don't invite the kiss over
and answer the door in your underwear. It'll get suspicious
and stare at your toes. Don't water the kiss with whiskey.
It'll turn bright pink and explode into a thousand luscious splinters,
but in the morning it'll be ashamed and sneak out of
your body without saying good-bye,
and you'll remember that kiss forever by all the little cuts it left
on the inside of your mouth. You must
nurture the kiss. Turn out the lights. Notice how it
illuminates the room. Hold it to your chest
and wonder if the sand inside hourglasses comes from a
special beach. Place it on the tongue's pillow,
then look up the first recorded kiss in an encyclopedia: beneath
a Babylonian olive tree in 1200 B.C.
But one kiss levitates above all the others. The
intersection of function and desire. The I do kiss.
The I'll love you through a brick wall kiss.
Even when I'm dead, I'll swim through the Earth,
like a mermaid of the soil, just to be next to your bones.

. The Archipelago of Kisses, by Jeffrey McDaniel. via Bridechka
. photographer unknown, via Le Love

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Just when it has seemed I couldn’t bear
one more friend
waking with a tumor, one more maniac

with a perfect reason, often a sweetness
has come
and changed nothing in the world

except the way I stumbled through it,
for a while lost
in the ignorance of loving

someone or something, the world shrunk
to mouth-size,
hand-size, and never seeming small.

I acknowledge there is no sweetness
that doesn’t leave a stain,
no sweetness that’s ever sufficiently sweet ....

Tonight a friend called to say his lover
was killed in a car
he was driving. His voice was low

and guttural, he repeated what he needed
to repeat, and I repeated
the one or two words we have for such grief

until we were speaking only in tones.
Often a sweetness comes
as if on loan, stays just long enough

to make sense of what it means to be alive,
then returns to its dark
source. As for me, I don’t care

where it’s been, or what bitter road
it’s traveled
to come so far, to taste so good.

. Sweetness by Stephen Dunn
.Photograph by LifeLovePaper and via her flickr stream

Poetry is....

"...the art of using words charged with their utmost meaning."

"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry."

Some days poems are all that speaks to me. Words make no sense except in the fragile order that only a poet can capture. Other days it is pictures that move me, photos that open my eyes and stir my heart. This week I feel drawn to both, to words and to photos, written and captured by people with the kind of talent that I can barely dream of glimpsing, let alone holding. The kind of talent that leaves me empty, deserted of words of my own, my own pictures recoiling with humility.

And so this week I share some of those magical images, those magical streams of worse that inspire me and I will hope that they inspire you too.

1. Dana Gioia
2. Emily Dickinson

. photograph by Jaime M

Monday, July 27, 2009

their space

You can keep the news, the sport, the business section and the advice column (ok, I lie. I kind of like the advice column, you can't keep it) my favourite part of the Sunday paper is always the feature showing the private rooms of the talented and the famous.

The studio in which ethereal gowns of breathtaking beauty are designed, the bedroom where the crazy designer of bizarre handbags sleeps, the study where the former poet laureate writes his words, the conservatory where Britain's favourite fabric designer hides with her jasmine plants, the sitting room where the daughter of an icon and oner of a kinky boutique screens films about Burma for her friends and family (can you guess which room this is? Clue: the poet laureate doesn't have a marble cock on his sideboard.)

I love these rooms because they're lived in. Yes, of course they're edited and polished and the mugs housing banana skins and an inch of cold peppermint tea have been removed before the Observer comes to call but there's still something gloriously real about each and every one, wouldn't you agree?*

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Blackberry picking

Just when I feel that summer is creeping to an end, when I feel the dreadful melancholy of winter approaching, I remember that August is still to come. August with its blackberries and its languid days and its burning sun. August with its memories of picking fruit on the canal banks with my gran, during summer holidays that I hoped would never end.

for Philip Hobsbaum

Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots

Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full,
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's.

We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.

. poem by Seamus Heaney
. image by Sacredlotus and via her flickr stream

Thursday, July 23, 2009

thanks yous....

thank you sweet chickens for all your well wishes. I still have the lurge but your loveliness makes it all the more bearable.

I offer you hearts and flowers and cakes with flowers on. By means of thanks yous.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The lurge

I'm sick. After extensive research I've narrowed it down to either flu, swine or otherwise, or lyme disease*. Of course there's absolutely no reason that I can't have both. I probably have both. And maybe ebola too.

Sleep ought to help. On a squashy sofa

with a glass of lemony, vitamin C filled water

some potions in jars

a warm blanket

and fantasies of living in a house with hot running water.

* when we were camping earlier this month I got bitten by a tick. The little bugger nestled himself in no more than two inches from my lady bits. It was quite the traumatic experince. Not least for the boy who was happily eating breakfast when a Carrie-esque scream issued from the bathroom. I've been having panic attacks about intravenous antibiotics and spinal taps ever since.

. photos by Mari Eriksson

Friday, July 17, 2009

A hundred years ago I tried on a dress, it was brightest bright blue and I tried it on just for fun because I was in a grey mood and brightest bright blue seemed like it might help, even though I would never in many many years wear such a colour (such a colour is altogether too look at me for a girl who really isn't very look at me at all*).

I loved that dress, it turned out that I quite liked being look at me and that the colour perfectly suited my so-pale-it's-slightly-blue-and-oh-my-god-is-that-your-internal-organs-that-I-can-see? skin and dirty blonde hair. It make me all strutty and pouty and I may even have winked at myself in the mirror. Just a little. But alas, the dress was three hundred million and sixty two pounds and I was getting married and had just bought one rather expensive dress, a second one was really not justifiable, and so it went back on the hanger and with it went my strutt and my pout and I haven't seen them since.

This dress is the same colour. That perfect colour that I've been dreaming about ever since. That colour that I can't quite find the word for. And I want it. And it's reduced. And yet again I've blogged about it so yet again I'm not going to be able to buy it, sneak it into my wardrobe and tell the husband that it was such a bargain, only £10, reduced from £100 and wasn't I clever to snaffle such a deal!


* although I suspect that this might be changing. Last week I saw a girl in pink, leopard print skinny jeans and I thought, oooh, I like those, I wonder where I can get a pair? She had to be at least a decade younger than me though and for the first time in my life I wondered if I was just too old to be wearing such a thing. Which was depressing.

. dress by Rachel Comey, from Frances May
. photo courtesy of Frances May

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


smooches for you. bunny smooches. because I'm all out of words today.

(although, do these bunnies with their red eyes look a little like they have myxi to you? but they can't have myxi, they're smooching, which means they're happy bunnies, so shall we all just carry on and pretend that the rabbit lover didn't just bring up myxomatosis? good, agreed.)

. illustration by Marie Isabel Arango and via polyvore

Monday, July 13, 2009

fruffles and flappers

Lest you think I don't appreciate pretty dresses, fruffly shrugs, vintagey headpieces and improbably beautiful friends....
Align Centre

. photos by Josh Goleman

Friday, July 10, 2009

Goats and guests

So I know everyone is all about the dress and the shrug and the headpiece and the inconceivably beautiful friends. But there was a baby goat at this wedding, A BABY GOAT PEOPLE. Just look at the cuteness...

If I'd been a guest at this wedding there's no way in hell I'd have been dragged away from such adorableness for anything as pedestrian as a wedding.

. photo by Josh Goleman

yes, yes please...

feathers and sequins and grey, oh my.

dress. from ChickDownTown

Thursday, July 02, 2009

bags packed...

Bags packed, tent aired, food gathered, sleeping bags stowed, summer shorts bought, midge repellent found, car repaired, dreams dreamt of ducks in the woods.

Boy and I are off for a few days. A week actually, the first two days of which will be spent in the woods, camping by a pond populated by lazy ducks. After years of proclaiming 'don't like camping' whenever the Boy would wistfully suggest that we might like to make use of the tent sitting in the cupboard, I've discovered that the thought of unzipping the hatch, crawling into our own little softly lit and softly furnished cave and falling into a cosy sleep while birds twitter above gets me through each and every week.

Days spent sitting in front of the computer, waiting in queues in the supermarket, fidgeting awkwardly in suspicious smelling waiting rooms are the slowest of minutes ticked off on a clock that counts down day by day to the moment we throw our bags in the car, turn the radio up and pull away from the street where people live stacked one above the other.

. photograph of Audrey by Bob Willoughby

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

a little thank you....

... for all of the suggestions and links you left in your wake when I asked for a little interiors inspiration. I'm now set for inspiration for the next year. In fact I've discovered so much inspiration that I'm spending far too much time being inspired and not nearly enough time fixing the holes we've made in our house.

. image by Antony Crolla