Second Guessing The Cabbage Owl

Catching myself and going in circles

(NB I started writing this 27th March, but ran out of road…)

Earlier in the week I was sent the proofs of a poem I have coming up soon. It’s in a mag that I am very happy to be in. This mag is a lovely thing to look at, is, I think, quite prestigious, and the list of poets that have been through its “doors” is very strong. I have been in there before, and I am honoured to have been included this time.

I was looking at the proof and I caught what I think was a line that could be construed as being ableist.

The original line was:
“Headphones had made me deaf, a lack
of lights hid me,…”

And it was only last week, three years after having written the first draft of that line, that I wondered if I had written a bad line (the rest of the poetic considerations and concerns aside**). Was I using a shorthand that was inconsiderate in order to fit a syllable count? Is it ok for me to say ‘had made me deaf’ given I am neither d/Deaf or hearing-impaired in anyway.? The magazine editor agreed with me, and this was after we had already had some back on forth on the overall form of the poem.

After several more drafts I’ve settled on the below:
“Headphones distracted me, a lack of lights,
left me unaware…”

I can’t be 100% sure that I wasn’t over-thinking it, that the original word wasn’t ok, but I’m happy with what I’ve ended up with. The new line is an improvement, IMHO. I was happy with the changes in form, but we’ve ultimately ended up back where I started. It’s now a case of waiting to see the poem in the wild alongside what I’m sure is going to be a dazzling array of other poets.

Regarding poetic considerations, etc we watched Dead Poet’s Society with Flo last weekend after a conversation midweek where she was talking about studying poetry. It reminded me of the film and its introduction to the “Prichard Scale“. I’ve not seen the film or thought about it in years, so it was something of a surprise to then see another reference to it on the Facebook page of my fellow Red Squirrel poet, Andrew Jackson, about ten minutes after the film had ended. He made reference to this coffee and I knew I had to have some. It’s available via Ovenbird Coffee in Glasgow. I already have a reputation at work as a coffee ponce for having a cafetière at work, but this should send that reputation stratospheric

Ordered from Walt Whittards**

*Obvs not…

A further (very tenuous) coincidences (if you like a hoot).

Last week I saw quarter of a cabbage sat on our worktop. It was after cooking and before I’d finished clearing up, FYI…It made me think of an owl. I may have made it a little more owl-like.

The greater lesser spotted Cabbage Owl

I’ve been a bit out of sorts of late, so haven’t been reading much…I’ve barely touched a book or magazine in the last couple of weeks, and so haven’t found many poems to share. So I was most grateful when the following dropped into my inbox a couple of hours ago (3rd April). Again, thanks to the Pome newsletter

Haiku by Kobayashi Issa (trans. Robert Hass)

O owl!
make some other face.
This is spring rain.

It also seems fitting after a weekend that has seen sun, rain and snow.

Right, so many things to read and catch up on…I’m looking forward to this Daniel Bennett essay about Rob Selby especially.


c.45K running. The mojo isn’t there, but I can feel it coming back
0 massive hangovers
1 belated Xmas do that involved one cocktail called a Banana Sazarac
40ish (at least) journeys to dance lessons and back for Flo
Many LFTs
1 rejections: Butcher’s Dog
0 poems finished:
2 poems worked on: Nature Abhors a Vacuum, Trajectory
0 poems published:
1 submissions: North
0 acceptance:
21 poems currently out for submission.
74 Published poems
38 Poems* finished by unpublished
25 poems* in various states of undress
554 Rejected poems* Eg I’ve decided they are not good enough
0 reviews finished:
5 reviews to write: How the fuck did that happen…I keep finishing them and then they keep coming.
1 day without cigarettes…I was doing so well, Oh well, back to it. As in giving up, not back to smoking.
0 Days since drinking
0 sleepless nights:
1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

* To date, not this week. Christ!!

Finial Demand
Kitten Bereft
Spare prick at a hedgehog’s wedding


Stewart Carswell: Earthworks
Rebecca Watson: Little Scratch


King Hannah: I’m Not Sorry, I was Just Being Me
Pictish Trail: Island Family
LCD Soundsystem: ST
Sinead O’Connor: The Lion & The Cobra
Sierra Ferrell: Long Time Coming
Trembling Bells: The Sovereign Self, The Marble Downs, Dungeness
Van Morrison: A Period of Transition
The Chemical Brothers: No Geography
The Lee Konitz Octet: ST
Lift To Experience: Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads
Electribe 101: Electrical Soul
Simone White: Silver Silver
The Lemonheads: Car Button Cloth
Fritz Pauer: Live At The Berlin
The Pretenders: Learning To Crawl
The Reds, The Pinks, The Purples: Summer At Land’s End
I Break Horses: Warnings
Michael Nesmith: Infinite Ride on the Big Dogma
Molly Sarlé: Karaoke Angel
The National: Alligator, Boxer, Sonic Juicy Magic
Beth Orton: Comfort of Strangers
REM: Life’s Rich Pageant
The Oh Sees: Floating Coffin, Drop
Tall Ships: Impressions
The Sundays: Static & Silence
The Wedding Present: George Best
Steve Reich: Different Trains/Electric Counterpoint
The Trashcan Sinatras: Cake
Mull Historical Society: Loss
Superchunk: Wild Loneliness
Self Esteem: Prioritise Pleasure
Explosions In The Sky: Big Bend
The National: I Am Easy To Find

Criminal Minds
Walking The Dead
This Is Going Too Hurt
The Ipcress File
Slow Horses


Tom Sastry: You Have No Normal Country To Return To

Not sure why YouTube stops things embedding these days, but it’s REM – Second Guessing

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