My closest friend is always rebuking me for forgetting or misremembering stuff. I’m talking to him later on and I fully expect to be reminded of some detail from our shared past I’ve not remembered.
I don’t know about Eugene (He’s not called Eugene, by the way), but I pretty certain I’m missing a gene that allows me to remember things. I struggle to recall e.g. the scores of football matches from ten years ago (eg Ah, yeah that game where Eddie McGoldrick scored a glancing header in the 94th minute to clinch the game, etc*), or, for that matter, what I was going to say when is started this post. Did I come in here for my slippers? I don’t have slippers, so why would I do that?
I also struggle to remember poems or lines of poetry. I’d be dreadful if ever asked what’s your favourite poem, etc. I’m not saying the work of people that I’ve read is not memorable, I absolutely love it when I’m reading it and the sense of what I’m reading stays with me, but the actual lines are trickier. Even my own work is often a blur (and that’s possibly for the best). Is this the internet and the like making my short term memory rubbish? Who knows, but I’m pretty sure it was shocking before the internet became mainstream.
(Yes, I am old enough to remember this time…Flo is incredulous about this when I tell her. It wasn’t around when I was school or University for that matter, but I can remember using it for book orders after that when I worked at Bertram’s. Better stop with the brackets now)
Anyhoo, imagine my surprise this week when a poem came straight to mind, albeit not the actual lines immediately, but let’s not quibble.
I decided to start Tuesday off nicely, R had woken up in a bad mood and so I headed out to fetch us both a “fancy coffee from that new place” (NB, if you’re in Beckenham check out Shotsmiths). On the way there, I had Radio 4 on the car stereo and caught the start of a series called Nature Bang. Yes, it was me being lazy to drive there, but I was thinking about getting the coffee back while it was still warm.
Anyhoo, the episode was called Dog Poo and the Challenge of Navigation. I was nearly put off, not by the title, but the relentless cheeriness of the two presenters (Becky Ripley and Emma Knight). Not to cast aspersions on them, I’m sure they are lovely, but it was a bit much at that time of the day. However, I kept going and early doors the conversation was steered towards Sun compasses, Magnetoreception, and the way dung beetles can navigate by starlight.
And my tiny little mind went
Not only was I reminded that I was convinced I did something similar when I used to get myself home from our village pub after a lock-in (or Friday as we liked to call it), but an actual poem leapt into my mind. And not just a poem, but a whole bloomin’ book.
See if you can guess how I made this amazing leap.
I’m pretty sure I bought this book on a whim at a Poetry Book Fair a few years (5??) back, but I was reminded immediately of the wonderful first (and subsequent lines) line of the title poem.
Look at that for a first line. The last three syllables are all strong, but the iambics of “I track my treasure home on star beams, hide” (my italics) are lovely. However, what I love about this poem the most is the ending, not just the what is said, but also the what is said of being grateful for what we find, for what might turn up.
As far as I can tell, Sarah Watkinson hasn’t got any other collections or pamphlets out there, but I’m grateful for this one. Also, her website has what I assume is new work on there that I’m looking forward to working through.
It’s also worth noting the radio show mentioned homing pigeons and that Maggi Hambling has been in the news this week. Just sayin’.
Not sure what, but I’m just sayin’ it anyway.
*NB I can’t be sure Eddie McGoldrick ever scored a glancing header or in the 94th minute to win a game, but just be pleased I remember Eddie McGoldrick.
THE WEEK IN STATS
60k running – Solid increase on last week thanks to a half marathon run yesterday and for remembering I can actually run during daylight this week, so some 10ks at lunchtime.
1 day of 2x 7-minute workouts, but the above means I don’t feel so bad
0 x rejections: All good.
3 poems worked on. Lucky Foot, Shipping Container, Masks
3 poems finished: See above
2 Submissions: And Other Poems (It’s ace to see this back) and The Telegraph Poetry Comp.
10 days without cigarettes…I think. Certainly haven’t this week. Weird, barely even thought of it. Maybe, just maybe this is the time…
1 Podcast recorded (Although at the time of writing it hasn’t been, but in theory the latest ep of Grandbag’s Funeral is happening tonight)
1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green
His Name Is Alive: Patterns of Light
Jonathon Wilson: Dixie Blur
Eels: Earth To Dora, Blinking Lights And Other Revelations
The Fall: Imperial Wax Solvent
Pearl Jam: Yield
The Stranglers: The Raven
Gazelle Twin: Pastoral
Second Hand Poet: An Avenue of Honest News
Caspian: Live At Larcom, On Circles, Live At Old South Church, Dust & Disquiet, The Four Trees, Hymn For The Greatest Generation
The Luxembourg Signal: The Long Now
Laura Benanti: ST
Adrianne Lenker: Instrumentals
VA: Can’t You hear Me? 70’s African Nuggets and Garage Rock from Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe
Gwennifer Raymond: Strange Lights Over Garth Mountain
Katy J Pearson: Return
Mono: You Are There, Nowhere Now Here, One More Step And You Die
National: Alligator, I Am Easy To Find
Ana Roxanne: Because of a Flower
The Flamingos: Flamingo Serenade
The Felice Brothers: Tonight At The Arizona
The Boys S1,E3
Big Trouble In Little China
Mum’s Xmas present
Rach’s Birthday presents
Mum’s Xmas present
Arch’s Birthday presents
Maria Taylor: Dressing For The Afterlife
Robert Tombs: The English & Their History
Benjamin Cusden: Cut The Black Rabbit
Cathy O’Neil: Weapon Math Destruction