Your smile. Is. Sausages, sizzling in a skillet Sounds like sage leaves singing sadly From the botulum of their hearts While the parsley and potato purr The yellow of the egg yolks hurts my ears Avocado. Avocadenza Thanks. Don’t mind if I do.
I’ve just returned from another late night walk around the camp. Over on the other side there is a permanent site surrounded by pot plants, gnomes and ceramic frogs. I was so tempted to move the gnomes and other figurines around, and maybe kidnap one, leaving a ransom note for a pack of M&Ms – or the gnome gets it.
I do not like you little fly And I shall surely tell you why You walk on shyte and things that die And then you land upon my pie.
Don’t come here with your shitty feet And walk across the things I eat I just want pastry, gravy, meat, Not hours upon a toilet seat
So shoo fly, do not bother me Fly far away and let me be I only want to eat my tea Not Campylobacter jejeuni.
The poet has used several literary devices to consolidate his theme. Firstly he has chosen to write only three quatrains with a simple aaaa bbbb cccc rhyme scheme. This sets out the poem in a deceptive, child-like simplicity, almost as if the it were a nursery rhyme, seemingly concealing rather than accentuating the depth and significance of the tragic theme.
He uses internal rhymes, assonance and alliteration to establish a rhythm that seems to support the nursery rhyme theme, belying once again the significance, indeed, the very the depths of despair and desolation plumbed in the work. For it is important to know that this opus was written during the great pandemic of 2020, when people around the world sat isolated in in their homes, afraid of death, and talking to flies. And dying.
He hauntingly starts the first and third verses with clever literary references to great literary works written before; one an ancient Latin tale of distrust*, translated and extemporised, it is said, by Tom Brown himself during his schooldays, and the other a song now considered racist, by Brigham Bishop. It was ostensibly about a fly and a negro soldier in Company B during the American civil war. It may have deeper, darker meaning. He was not the boogie woogie bugle boy.
Both references reflect and project the anxiety and stress of the poet’s own times.
It is known the poet suffered a serious bout of Campylobacter diarrhoea shortly before he wrote this poem. It was severe, and lasted eight days, at the end of which he was beginning to fear he might not just pass more crap than should really be in one man at any one time, but actually pass away.
The poem ends with both a bit of scientific erudition, and poetic licence with the pronunciation of jejeuni.
So this poem can be seen not as simple doggerel, but a deep and meaningful metaphor describing the poet’s state of mind, and the state of the world around him, in which the pie represents a life full of happiness and fulfilment (meat and gravy), the fly a wandering traveller, unknowingly infected – or perhaps a thoughtless fucking food vendor who made a ham and egg burger after not washing his hands after using the toilet on Friday the 20th of last month at about 06:30 just after I picked up Lyn at the airport – (sorry!) – thus unintentionally bringing chaos and pain with him.
The brevity of the poem mirrors the brevity of life itself. The three verses represent the three stages of life; childhood, maturity and decrepitude, also known in literary circles as beginning, middle and end. The poet pulls no punches here.
In the poem, the toilet seat is a subtle metaphor for social isolation enforced as Lockdown, that leaves people sitting alone and lonely at home, unable to leave. Unable to be in company.
“Eat my tea” is a metaphor for “live my life”.
Campylobacter jejeuni is clearly also a metaphor, and a clever one at that, for the dread COVID 19 coronavirus that threatens the enjoyment of life itself.
By cleverly not mentioning toilet paper, a necessity when one has the trots, the poet brings it to mind by carefully not juxtaposing shitty and toilet seat in the same verse. This reminds us of the vast amounts of paper (read money) that the pandemic is costing society.
My word this guy packs a lot of meaning between a few lines.
You didn’t know I could be so bloody deceptively deep.
Where have all the toilet rolls gone? Long time passing Where have all the toilet rolls gone? Long time ago Where have all the toilet rolls gone? Hoarders bought them every one When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?
“I’ve had a colostomy!” said the angry man at the checkout.
“Then you don’t need to wipe your bum!” said the old woman clutching the last pack of toilet tissue.
“There’s￼ still plenty of baby wipes.” said I.
There was a stunned silence. Then everyone abandoned the checkout queue and rushed down the aisle.
It all makes sense to me now. Just staring into my coffee, I see it all clearly.
The Worm and the Salmon of Knowledge. Knowledge is not Wisdom.
My dog and my cat. Love and Loyalty are all.
Yin and Yang. There is a Tension and a Balance between Down and Up, Movement and Stillness, Entropy and Enthalpy, Chaos and Order, Cruelty and Kindness, Anger and Generosity, Pain and Cheerfulness, Sorrow and Laughter.
Here in a galaxy of crema and cocoa I see the Ornstein-Zernike relation of life.
My previous post led me to consider which books, or perhaps it would be better to say which works, I would put in my heavenly pile. I mentioned two already. To them I would add, in no order of merit, the following non-exhaustive list, all of which left an impression on me.
Jason, by Henry Treece
The Epic of Gilgamesh
The Green Man (Tolkien translation)
The Arthurian novels of T H White, Mary Stewart, Rosemary Sutcliffe, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Nikolai Tolstoy
The Mabinogion and the novelisations by Evangeline Walton
There is a word missing from English. I can’t believe we have managed without it until now.
We need a word for that joyously pleasant sensation you get when you bite into a service station meat pie expecting the contents to be so hot it will scald the roof of your mouth and destroy your taste buds so you won’t actually enjoy the pie at all BUT to your surprise and great pleasure the contents are exactly the right temperature to allow you to enjoy the life-doesn’t-get-any-better-than-this subtle gourmet umami and aromatics of the gravy to the fullest.