Friday, 10 March 2017

Rapid Cycling

The sky was streaked with pink,
At six twenty five,
Which made me think
There was joy in being alive.
And I was full of happy ambition.
But by six twenty seven
the sky was dull and pale grey
And my glimpse of Heaven
Had become a premonition
Of a pointless, crappy day.

'Brown Furniture'

There are three types of old, fermented grape juice:
Red, white and pink.
It's OK to buy your own, like Michael Heseltine,
All wine is fine, 
Anything goes, everything goes,
All down and out the same way,
All just p*ss waiting to happen, as they say.
But if you are lucky enough to inherit,
Don't worry about formalities
Such as which is more valuable or desirable,
All old grape juice has merit.
Just think, 'what would my guests and I like to drink',
And say things like: "I know we'll have three bottles of that old Tokay 
Made into a punch with some of that Prosecco from Lidl
To go with the chicken pie I bought for lunch".
It's a much more quirky and modern approach.
It doesn't matter at all if you're entirely ignorant
About grapes and vintage and soil and climate.
That's the advantage of relativism,
You can just claim all things are equal, 
No need to discriminate.
Nothing has intrinsic worth,
And this way nothing goes to waste,
It's all just a matter of personal taste.

(This was inspired by an article in The Spectator money section about how to fit out your Georgian rectory.  Apparently 'brown furniture' is acceptable)

Wednesday, 1 March 2017


Today I have been mostly
Painting the coal stains on the Chinese carpet, chrome yellow.
Using Dylon fabric paint, 
But it may as well have been emulsion.

And yet this strange compulsion,
Which is part of spring cleaning and lent,
Restoration, resurrection
Is not really a sign of insanity,
It is quite artistic and intelligent
And the sort of thing Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell
Might have done, and not even needed to justify their actions
With historic argument
In favour of Chinese yellow in an 18th century, English drawing room.
And it is cheerful and looks forward to daffodils 
And sprigs of forsythia in the blue and white vases on the chimneypiece
And banishes winter gloom.

I know other people's reactions 
Might be less appreciative, and that they may think old cocoa spills
More suitable additions to the colour scheme
Than my efforts to capture something of the garishness of the carpet's pre coaly days.
And though the original shade was more subtle,
Less gorse or skip or number-plate,
Still, there is a certain authenticity
A certain realistic Chinese flavour,
A dash of visual monosodium glutamate
About this one and there's nothing wrong with a little eccentricity
If it is an act of preservation.
And besides, I have been wearing grey tweed all winter.