Culture

Week Twenty-four – One Day At a Time

By Bernie Bell

Pics by McB

June the Eleventh…………..The Return Of The Peedie Chippie!!!!…….It’s not been there for 2 weeks……Engine conked out……We can make chips at home, but we can’t make scraps……We enjoyed, appreciated and admired our chippie tea…..Can’t beat it.

June the Twelfth…………….Last time we had this for tea I said to Mike that he should have it as his pic for the day ……..It’s fish (cod or haddock are good), on a bed of lentils and carrots cooked in cider, stock and garlic …..It’s ab-so-lute-ly  bloody gorgeous!…….

June the Thirteenth……………Spirally Snail…….Time & Patience………….

June the Fourteenth……………I said…”But – but – but?”….Mike said “You can tell it says ‘World’”….I said …”It’s your thing, do what you wanna do” – to quote The Isley Brothers……….

And, just as we were going to bed……we looked out the window…to see a hedgehog, trundling along the path at the bottom of the garden.  First one we’ve seen this year. It was a perfect evening for hedgehogs – warm and soggy – brings out the slugs and snails.

We wished him Good Hunting.

June the Fifteenth………..A different Orchid appeared in the meadow…….

……………Googled…..’Pink Orchid with spots on petals’……and I thought it was a Common Spotted Orchid……..it turns out they were last recorded in 1973!   We came to the conclusion that it’s likely to be a hybrid – possibly a cross of a Heath Spotted and Northern Marsh Orchid.  Not exactly another Hybrid Swarm https://theorkneynews.scot/2021/05/01/week-seventeen-one-day-at-a-time/

– but equally pretty!

June the Sixteenth…………..The Rendall Doocot……… peeking through the Cow Parsley………..

June the Seventeenth………..

‘Big Poppy’ by Ted Hughes

Hot-eyed Mafia Queen!

At the trim garden’s edge

***

She sways towards August.

A Bumble Bee

Clambers into her drunken, fractured goblet –

***

Up the royal carpet of down-hung,

Shrivel-edged, unhinged petal, her first-about-to-fall.

He’s in there as she sways. He utters thin

***

Sizzling bleats of difficult enjoyment.

Her carnival paper skirts, luminous near-orange,

Embrace him helplessly.

***

Already her dark pod is cooking its drug.

Every breath imperils her.  Her crucible

Is falling apart with its own fierceness.

***

A fly, cool, rests on the flame-fringe.

***

Soon she’ll throw off her skirts

Withering into vestal afterlife,

***

Bleeding inwardly

Her maternal nectars into her own

Coffin – (cradle of her offspring).

****

Then we shall say:

She wore herself in her hair, in her day,

And we could see nothing but her huge flop of petal,

***

Her big, lewd, bold eye, in its sooty lashes,

***

And that stripped, athletic leg, hairy

In a fling of abandon – ‘

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3 replies »

  1. I’m not much of a Ted Hughes fan, and then you pop up with the outstanding “Big Poppy”. Thanks for the gift, Bernie.

    • Hi Rosie
      I do like what Ted Hughes writes – or, a lot of it. I remember reading ‘Crow’ when I was about 20 years old, and being very, very disturbed by it – I think that’s the idea.

      I kind of met him once. I was at Lampeter university and he came to do a poetry reading. He read out a poem about a lamb being born – a difficult birth. There was a crash behind me, and a young woman had passed out – it was too much for her. Being from farming stock what he was describing didn’t hit me so hard – I appreciated how well he was describing it. I think maybe it was something out of her ken, and ….she fainted. She was taken out, given a drink of water, had a sit down and picked up again.

      Then, Ted Hughes was in the Union bar sitting with some of the English Department lecturers, one of whom said me to come and meet Ted, as he knew I liked his work. So, I did. And………he said hello, he was ok with me, but……I felt like he was a weight, sitting there. There was a heavy…thing, hanging over him and around him. I sat for a few minutes, but found this hard to take – though he was being fine – talking a bit with the people there. Then, I said something or other and left.

      Later, finding out more of him and his life – ( I also like Sylvia Plath’s work – ‘The Bell Jar’ – chimes with me – greatly) – and …..phew, if each had been with someone more steady, maybe they would have been happier? Or maybe that’s how it has to be sometimes).
      Anyway – I could see why I’d felt that weight around him – there was a weight around him – that weight being – his way of being.

      Now, I might have been able to deal with it better, then, I was young and dealing with my own weights.

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