new year, new thoughts

horses in a field
A few years back, I wrote the post what’s in the poem, where I said that I didn’t like how poets tend to use an explanatory “blurb” between pieces at readings to tell the audience how they should understand the poem rather than giving listeners the chance to respond for themselves.

This week, though, I attended a poetry reading by Michael Hulse and saw just how well that inter-poem blurb can be used.
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no movement but sound

I went out early today, but the birds must all have been awake long before me and when I left the house the noise in the street was startlingly loud for a Sunday morning. I suppose they were busy discussing air pressure and wind speed, temperature and flight paths or whatever it is that birds talk about before they get moving in the morning.

There was so much sound, but no movement and not a single bird to be seen even though the trees are bare of leaves and they must surely have been visible as dark blotches among the branches.

Telegraph pole silhouetted against sky at daybreak
I remember thinking as a child that the insulators on telegraph poles were birds perching; I reckon it was a reasonable mistake.
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Easter gifts

Book: Oscar Wilde Fairy Tales

It’s Easter and I’ve realised that I don’t remember any of the Easter eggs I was given as a child, though I’m fairly sure there must have been some and I’m sure I was quite excited about them at the time.

Later on, I may have been given chocolates, flowers or other gifts by friends and lovers; no doubt they put a dutiful amount of thought into the choosing and the giving.

Perhaps I even gave presents to other people. If I did, though, I don’t remember.

In fact, from all the Easter gifts given and received during more than fifty years, I only remember one – the book in the picture.

The dedication inside shows just how long ago I was given it:

Book dedication: Easter 1967

Half a century from now, how many people will reach for their e-reader and bring up a digital file that will have the power to connect them to the past in the way this book connects me?

for the record


I’ve been making some voice recordings over the last week for various projects. There’s been a scripting and voicing of a promo spot for a new online kids’ radio station, a reading for a friend who is setting a Spanish poetry book to music, and also a reading of some of my own work for a soon-to-be-announced e-book (of which, more soon, I hope).

I’m not an expert with sound-recording software, and I’ve been having some problems deciding on the settings to use, particularly with respect to the different effects.
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full moon behind tree (winter)

I become more and more dependent on my glasses, but even when I am wearing them, letters dance on the page – and they do so even more when the text is on the screen.

The following sprang from a misreading of a perfectly normal expression:

Phrases of the moon

A single quotation mark
opens the discourse, which swells
to a full-mouthed ‘O’, then fades;
a silver comma follows, and then