I can’t remember if I’ve posted this one before! (Oh dear; I’ve just checked and see I have posted it before! Oh well, I suppose it can stand a repeat?)
The Bare Bones
They never lied to me – my parents:
Santa Claus wasn’t real and tooth fairies
didn’t exist. The guinea pig that died
didn’t go to heaven. I remember
holding my father’s hand in a museum,
gazing in disbelief, once the secret was out,
at a dog’s skeleton, a bird’s and a frog’s.
At seven my first occult knowledge;
a treasure I carried inside me.
A human skeleton was the jewel
wrapped up in a balaclava and raincoat.
Inside, where it was warm, I took it out
and learnt by heart each part – humerus,
radius, femur, pelvis and patella – counted
all the ribs to see if any were missing;
learnt that 24 vertebrae made up a spine
that kept me upright. A hinged framework
for nerves, arteries and softer innards.
When I looked at my mother and father
I knew they were hiding something.
It is a Father’s Tale
Time out of time I carried you in your dressing gown
downstairs out into the moonless night.
We gazed at a thousand suns studding the sky;
meandering along back lanes I lifted your arm
to point at Orion, drifting above rooftops.
We drew a ‘w’ and a triangle in the dark bowl,
traced a hunter’s belt and coloured in a lion,
a charioteer, a plough and a little bear.
I didn’t know then that you’d drift out of reach
when I reached for the thousand and one stories
to keep you listening – to keep you where
trolls, giants and goats sleep under bridges.
As an antidote to studying Dante’s Comedy I am enjoying The Cloudspotter’s Guide by Gavin Pretor-Pinney. It is very informative about clouds and the atmosphere while being written in a humorous style. His philosophy even echoes Zen in some respects as he says ‘watching clouds legitimises doing nothing.’ (However, it would be a mistake if readers unfamiliar with Zen thought that was all there is to Zen: I’m afraid the path of Zen is one of unfathonable psychological demands and by no means easy!) The author first set up The Cloudspotter’s Appreciation Society and only afterwards wrote the book. He describes how to recognise the different cloud families and peppers the text with amusing or interesting anecdotes inluding one about the pilot who ejected from a plane into a huge thunderstorm cloud and survived to tell the tale.
The picture shows a mackerel sky – or cirrocumulus stratiformis undulatus!
As light reading with lots of nuggets to chew on this could not be bettered; five stars out of five stars (or should that be 5 clouds?).