Tag Archives: Obsessed With Pipework

Day 61

Day 61 came. Day 61 went. I slept through the end of it and am writing this a little late. That’s the trouble with Julia being on holiday, there is no bustle and packing of bags in preparation for tomorrow. It was one of then better things about lockdown and something to look forward to when we retire. That and getting up when I feel like it instead of when the clock demands it.

Counting the days is becoming more difficult now that I have three months to consider. I will, no doubt, get used to it.

In poetry terms, Obsessed with Pipework is out, and I am in it. I can’t point you to a link because it is not online and I can’t quote myself because I should give them some time before I do that. Not sure how long as, unlike some magazines, they don’t specify. I will do it in a couple of months if I remember. I like OWP because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Nor does it let the process of not taking itself seriously become too serious, which is a fault of some magazines that try not to take themselves too seriously, if that makes sense.

Quality poems, captivating covers, laid back attitude and the editorial good taste to accept my work. That is an excellent magazine.

Today’s vegetable soup, which saw the end of several manky carrots, a fossilised parsnip and half a bag of ready cubed swede  from the supermarket, turned out to be quite good. It also had onions and chilli. It was golden beige in colour and quite tasty with little red spots from the chillies. I foolishly put my taste-buds out of commission during the cooking because the chilli didn’t seem to be flavouring the soup. I added more, then more again. Still no result. So I tasted a slice (I was using fresh ones from the shop). Turns out that the slice I tasted was a great deal hotter than the previous slices I had added to the soup.

D H Lawrence Wonders What’s For His Tea – A Poem

Here’s the poem I had published in Obsessed with Pipework back in February. It is published in paper form rather than on the internet, which means I can’t link to it at the time of publication. I’m not sure what the precise etiquette is with quoting it after that, but it seems reasonable to do it once the next issue is out. That arrived this week, so it seems as good a time as any.

It’s meant to be tongue in cheek, but I’m worried that published alongside more serious poetry it might look like I’m being serious. This is not a poem about the dietary requirements of a well-known Nottinghamshire writer, it’s a poem showing that even serious literary heavyweights get hungry, and that they just dawdle about waiting to be served. D. H. Lawrence does not strike me as the sort of man who would make his own tea. I know he was considered advanced for his time but I’m not sure that this extended to housework.

I should read up on him, and as Julia’s uncle wrote a couple of biographies of Lawrence, which we have in the house, I have no excuse.

It has the rhyme scheme of a villanelle, but I couldn’t get the lines to the correct length without adding words to pad them out, so I gave up. It’s probably best described as “modelled on a villanelle” but ” a poor attempt at a villanelle” would also be fair. For a good villanelle, try here, or here.

In the end, as has been said by many people, you don’t finish a poem, you just abandon it. After hacking away at this one for nearly three years, I decided it was time to set it free.

D H Lawrence Wonders What’s For His Tea

The kettle sits on the hearth and sings
and Eastwood seems so far away.
He writes of snakes and other phallic things
and wonders what teatime will bring,
coughing gently at the close of day.
The kettle sits on the hearth and sings.
Dusk closes in on phoenix wings,
with thoughts of mothers and mortality.
He writes of snakes and other phallic things,
thinks of muffins, jam and apron strings,
and crumpets laid out on a tray.
The kettle sits on the hearth and sings
as he stretches out his stiffening limbs.
Could life have gone another way?
He writes of snakes and other phallic things,
ponders the fates of men and kings
and wonders where life went astray.
The kettle sits on the hearth and sings:
he writes of snakes, and other phallic things.