Earnings

 

jcaob marley.jpg

 

There is a difference, is there not, between

The wealth we have in income, and our earnings?

The first is all the wealth we can obtain,

One way or another: while the last

Requires at first that we should give in turn.

The price we pay for gold is gold itself.

 

And though we take, we always will return:

All wealth is burrowed from the patient earth;

All words are borrowed words, and all our time

Is borrowed time. But the soil is its own rest,

Its own sweet grave, its own sincere concern.

The price we pay for life is life itself.

 

Hoard your treasure in the mountain, safe:

Keep it from the grapple of the poor,

Keep it from the greed of grasping death.

Linger in your cave. There is no gold

That will not be reburied in the earth.

The price we pay for greed is greed itself.

 

 

 

I am already preparing for the childhood tradition of reading and watching A Christmas Carol once December is upon us. Jacob Marley’s ghost, forever burdened by the chains he wrought in his lifetime – piecing together his own wealth and greed, callousness and selfishness, weighing him down and ensnaring him for eternity – is a disturbing but effective symbolism which haunts me to this day. You cannot take wealth with you, after all: but perhaps we do carry the chains we forge for ourselves. 

 

 

Dream-catcher

 

dreamcatcher 2.jpg

 

All useless things – numb limbs, oversized clothes

And frayed wires – they all dangle, don’t they?

As too does this circle of yarn

And its few loose feathers, draped earnestly

(If misguidedly)

On a curtain rod by the sleepless side

Of my bed.

 

Not so much a web as a flimsy net

Not fit to capture a falling acrobat,

Not fit to trap a passing thought, I think;

Let alone a persistent, creeping dread.

No safety in its sparse, fragile embrace.

 

If there’s no faith in it, then there are no dreams

To be caught, of course, I tell myself…
As though dreams could be stung

By such flimsy strings. I turn again

 

To the other side of the bed, the one

Away from the window, the darkened corners,

Where the certainty of the creeping nightmare

Weighs heavy on the duvet.

 

The dream-catcher has almost been out-dreamt:

 

And then, despite myself, near-somnolent,

I cannot help but wonder, of this web,

… Where sleeps the spider?

 

 

I frequently have nightmares. My husband gave me a dream-catcher to assist, and hung it by my side of the bed: he possibly had greater faith in its powers than I. And perhaps my lack of conviction has contributed to its redundancy. I have, consciously or otherwise, rendered it otiose and welcomed the nightmares to my bed. 

But the same principle applies to all articles of faith. We banish the bogeyman when we forget him; we kill the Gods we ignore. Perhaps a little more faith in the device would allow it, as it were, to work its magic.

 

The Inverse Rule 34 of the Internet

 

Just as true as the specious principle

That, if there is something profane

That men can imagine, one can obtain

It on the internet: so it is true

That if you seek something beautiful

And precious in this world, you will find that too.

 

 

Inspired after listening to Kate Bush’s Deeper Understanding. Of course there is a great deal of filth, degradation and debasement on the internet. There is in human life, wherever we turn. But so too, as in human life, we can find beauty, art, inspiration and hope there, if only we look for it. 

 

Writer’s palette

 

 

Don’t relish too much the

Sweetness of his prose.

For though his pen can paint

A calligraphy of arts

On the plate, the meal tiered exactly

Like a castle’s keep, the sauce

Delineated à la mode in a drizzle

Of colours to delight and tantalize,

When the pen runs dry, scratching out

Its hunger, and he licks the dagger

Of the nib to whet its appetite,

Whoever the chef, whatever the palette,

On the tongue all ink tastes black.

 

 

Deracinated

 

uprooted-flower

 

To take my heart by its very stem

And prise me from the loam,

Roots torn out, naked,

Loose, pale wires unkempt, inadequate,

Unwashed from the soil, vulnerable:

The softness of my home

Lifted from under me as I

Dangle, limp in your hand, inanimate.

 

Emergency Procedures for American Airways

 

Thank you for choosing to fly

With us. What now follows

Will be a short demonstration –

Flags burning semaphore, flight paths blockaded

While our engines slowly gain momentum –

For your security.

 

Emergency exits will be opened

After four years. In the meantime

Please look at the cabin crew,

Pass comments accordingly,

And strap yourselves in.

 

During our journey we will pass over

A number of commentators, viewpoints

And fundamental rights, which you would

Be able to see below, on the left, if conditions

Were less tempestuous.

 

In the event of a sudden incident

Or outright freefall, please remember

Woman and children, and ethnic minorities,

Must clear the way for long-suffering

Men.

 

Turbulence is highly likely. If we should

Encounter a storm,

Hold onto your principles – or you could

Always grab someone’s pussy – hold tight,

Cling desperately onto your convictions and await

Further demonstrations.

 

We expect to land

Some day. Until then,

Help yourself (only ever help yourself) to snacks,

Put on your blindfolds so you can sleep easily,

Have a pleasant flight, and thank you

So much for choosing us, today.

 

 

You may have gathered that I am Not Overjoyed by the recent election. Still: let’s see where this journey takes us, shall we?