No 170 - 2002
Even Winston Churchill, the greatest man in the smallest
room, had to resort to his initials at regular intervals,
quite often, I suppose, before passing a motion.
The private hobby of the Prince of Wales is collecting
lids. It makes you wonder why it used to say in trains
GENTLEMEN LIFT THE SEAT.
At home, our loo was almost a grotto, blue-distempered,
damp and cold with a red-tiled floor. My father spent hours
reading a book in there by John Addington-Symonds
called In the Key of Blue, and on the wall was a framed rhyme
that began ‘If you’ve got a job to do, do it now’, next to
a reproduction of the Mona Lisa. For the first time, perhaps,
she really did have something to smile about.
Ludwig the Second’s was a massive mahogany throne,
the nearest thing in Neuschwanstein to reality.
An old professor I met once at a Tokyo seminar had extreme
difficulty pronouncing the word ‘laboratory’, almost as if
he was caught in a House of Commons men’s room
with some uncertainty about British political parties.
I remember a place in Naples where you had to squat
quite high up with your feet on steel footrests, which
somehow made me feel like a woman in a delivery room
doing a big brown baby. We all have stories like this,
but some of us, declining even to mention the subject,
have to resort to words like comfort stations or rest rooms.
But isn’t it perhaps dishonest to try to negate something
which after all is more essential than procreation?
We can’t get away from it. Perhaps that’s why we have to
make jokes about it. All the time. The bowl of necessity.
I wonder, too, why whatever I do gives me olfactory bliss,
but never (just after they’ve been there) what others do.
Is it because we love ourselves better than other people?
People do lots of other things inside those little rooms.
You can’t deny that on occasions nowhere else in the world
can offer better renditions of paradise, often the only real
heaven we can enter in our lifetimes, and we have to enter often.
You’re going to have to go there any minute now.
A good place to think, perhaps - to think of the entire
system of the universe, black macro in the white micro.
And even spending a penny can be liquid gold.
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review, The
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Private Tutor
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
- Strange Faeces
- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The