An extended tweet to Donald and Hilary


In The Waste Land, Eliot taught us the possibility of 'fear in a handful of dust',
Auden looked uncertain and afraid as he saw the clever 'hopes expire on
A low and dishonest decade' on 1 September, 1939; while Isherwood
Declared in A Single Man that 'fear, after all, is our real enemy. Fear is taking over the world'
And then came the Second World War. We still have so much to learn.

Tom Warman




Planted in the past

Jasmine planted in the garden
A smell that lingers on timid finger tips,

I drink it in and am brought straight home to it,
To Angkor Wot,
A terrible plot
To saffron robes,
Hammocked abodes…

Drinking the tea is not enough,
Even the steam, redolent of humid climes,
Does not tell the time like the living thing,
Sitting potted and ready.

To soak up the bad smells that linger out of anxiety,
Jasmine in the garden,
To combat an evil metallic taste.

I look away from the man-made elements,
Dreaming of Asia,
Wishing he could escape with me…
Through high horticulture
To Buddhist serenity.

Jasmine plants us in this garden,
Trapped between beautiful smells are ugly attempts.
Between ponderings of the past and acute fear for the future,
His future.
Jasmine plants us in this garden,
Trapped between beautiful smells are ugly attempts.

Elspeth Vischer

Clockwork


Patterned and regular like a sequence,
Sequenced so much I could count the cups of tea
And remember my first day of work, in the box room
With my boxy computer, organising the delivery of
Boxes.
Staring with vacant amusement at my own hands
I know each spiral print and invisible scar
Like the back of my hand… because it is.

The constant monotony gives me powers,
Abilities I would not have in some spontaneous world.
I could bet I can predict tomorrow’s events;
Know its intricacies and describe its minorities.
These premonitions: such wonders it can uncover… you would think.
The everyday drivel and dribble and drudge, unchanging
In its nature.
To break out of my cushioned cell, so familiar to me – unthinkable!

To walk down a bad alley where hooded figures skulk;
To opt for a Starbucks alternative could prompt that bitter regret.
Keep to the paths best trod,
Each footprint a foot deep for each year I tread it.
For the warm capsule of ignorance, I am ignorant,
And find myself musing and my thoughts wander
Hither and thither; flights of fancy litter my days.

A holiday: a hot one perhaps, could coax me out and make me stray
To give myself up to the sun and bronze and burn…
How reckless it would be!
To see the Eiffel Tower (I hear good things) and marvel at things
Or at least just learn to marvel.
To swim in the sea, the stain-soaked sea, and revel in its magnitude,
Embrace its mystery…
To improvise my performance, not sticking to my well-learned script
Finding a tangent and following it to nowhere.
To fall in love. Full stop.

To eat fast food everyday, ignore those repercussions, for at least for a few hours.
To look at the stars
And pluck them out of the sky, like crystals.
To climb a tree and feel the bark chafe me and cut me.
I climb until I touch the moon and scoop out its insides,
Malleable to my fingertips and sweet to taste.
My fingertips…

I know how those prints coil; I know them well.
How my hands quiver at the thought of Costa coffee, those stranger-beans.
The blank face of those boxes welcome me… taunting me,
My prison of boxes envelopes me.

Rebecca Lodo