Friday, 30 November 2012


Regular readers of this blog may remember that I have gabbled on, at length, about this idea that poems are all, around us and that the poem begins not with the blank page but the idea. Well the above photograph is one such idea.

I captured this sad gaggle of billboards on Monday in Taunton. The heavy rain, and I suppose the direction from which it came, had caused the paper adverts to fall from their place. It is not the first time this has happened, back in April, the last time the allotment was flooded, I noticed as I walked to the train station the same phenomenon. Then I was thinking that it would be a good subject for a poem, but nothing really came to mind. However this week...


The point is reached.
Either it is the weight of the paper
Versus the friction of the paste,
Or the cumulative capillary power of the water.
It matters little which it was,
The outcome is as dramatic.
The posters curl and fall,
Like wet towels on a vacated hotel room floor,
It seems to be saying that Nature has had enough,
Of our advertising and our lies.

I am not sure that the poem works without the image, but I never envisaged it without the photograph. In my head as I used my phone to capture the scene I saw it as a whole. What do you think? I am too close to make it out, if I am honest. But I felt that it was a good coda to the latest floods.

Last Saturday in an apocalyptic frame of mind, well at least of poem, I came up with the following after reading a book review in The Guardian.


I suppose it is fitting that we europeans
arrived only a hundred years ago
just in time in fact to see it properly
before the heat we generated to develop
the means to take us there and all
the hot air we spoke about the place
started to shrink it down
rendered frozen water into our tears
here where the snow ran red
as amundson slaughtered half his dogs
just to ensure he reached the pole first as if it mattered
now we weigh up our chances of grabbing
the slowly revealed resources
once the ice sheets were beautiful

they will be again when we are gone

I am leaving you this week with a series of photographs that have no relevance to anything. Have a good week.

On Tuesday I shall be posting a rather special interview. Pete Frame, he of Rock Family Trees fame, and Zigzag, once said that you should never meet your heroes as they are never what you think they will be. but my guest on Tuesday is everything I have always thought he was and more...


  1. Wow - I saw this same phenomena in Southampton. All the sloshy paper had fallen off into the road and the truck I was driving slewed a little on it. It is an excellent poem. These days I like videoetry where the picture goes up with the poem. Photos are quite transcendent. Is there a Christmas tree in there?

  2. 'Fraid there is no Christmas tree but it's a good guess, it was a series of photos I took in the summer of a tree in a city, I used no flash or setting, consequently the exposure time was quite long and human shaking did the rest.
    I think there's a poem in your experience, you are driving a lorry am imagining packed with the products advertised on the billboard and you slide one the remains. Worth thinking about that one.

  3. Oscar gulps as Paul contemplates killing him off for a poem. The lengths some people go to!

    The hotel towel image is good. I reckon there's more mileage in that. Maybe you could work in one of their customer messages about how they're so caring about the environment that you can hang your towels up if you don't want them replaced every day.

    I read the poem before I looked at the picture. Don't know why I did that, but it was totally clear what you were talking about. Maybe you could try it out on a bunch of people without the picture or just signal early on that the action takes place on a billboard.

    I like the last three photos with their parchment like subtlety.

    1. I love it a murder of poets!I shall take the poem to the next group meeting.
      The photos are of branches through a canvas awning, I liked the idea that they looked like wallpaper.
      Thanks Brendun.