March 27th, 2007

Gates (Not Bill)

They are putting gates on the alley at the back of the house. The idea is that all residents will have a key and transients and hoodies and mischief-minded kids will be kept at bay. I take it as a sign of the times.

Class solidarity is dead. Everybody mistrusts everybody else. Get the fuck off my land.

I'm in two minds (when am I not?)   

On the one hand I'm as mistrustful and fearful as the next man.

On the other, I'm all about liberty and the right to roam- and gates are against my religion. 

When I was a student some fascist bought a field we were in the habit of walking across on our way to the pub. We broke his fence. He mended it. We broke it. He mended it. We broke it.  He mended it.  We got bored and found another way round. 

And so the world wags. 

But the feeling when you rock a concrete fence-post back and forth until it cracks and then you twist it round and round until the steel rods inside overheat and snap and the thing breaks off and you toss it aside- that's a very good feeling... 

Secret Gardening

The grassy bank that slopes up to Meldrum Street has been fenced off from us as part of the alley-gateing scheme (see previous post).  I used to view it as a sort of secondary garden and I'll miss it.

Here's a poem I wrote about it back in the day. 

                                    SECRET GARDENING


                                    The bank at the back that slopes up from the ginnel:

                                    I cherish it as a stretch of wild Nature

                                    Where various kinds of grasses tangle

                                    And cats- our cats- go hunting for mice.


                                    I lift the little, chewed-up corpses

                                    Off the floor with dustpan and brush

                                    Then sling them back home up the banking-

                                    Earth to earth.


                                                            There are few wild flowers-

                                    Loosestrife chiefly and lots of nettles-

                                    Stuff that will settle for builders' rubble.

                                    We had a four foot foxglove once,

                                    Heart-stopping,  purple.  A selfish neighbour

                                    Carried it off to her own back garden.



                                                I work the other way,

                                    Removing plants to the bank I don't want

                                    Choking my borders.  I hid a little

                                    Ash tree there in a nettlebed.

                                    I pay it visits.  And yes I know-

                                    How very old maidish of me.  So what?

                                    I mean to be shameless as I grow old.