Lately I have learned about ‘poaching’ – I thought this would be a good start for this, the month of Salmon Spawning. An expression that has affected me somewhat over the years, but not in the culinary sense: poaching, to put it crudely, is the act of stealing someone else’s bird. Whereas, perhaps, in the past seeing someone in a steady and sturdy relationship put them in the ‘no-go’ category, now it seems they are fair game. After all, it’s a great test of the status quo, especially if all parties assume that any flirting is purely academic.
Having been neither poacher nor poachee but, in my unfortunate past, poachéd, I found myself drinking gin-and-tonic on my sofa with someone who described herself as ‘happily un-single’ – and knew she wasn’t telling the whole truth. Anything but. So, to charm her, I attempted to recite Ted Hughes behemothic poem, ‘Wodwo’ only pausing to breath at the commas. Don’t try this at home, kids. Or if you succeed, move on to the last few pages of James Joyce’s Ulysses without a breath, and see if that secures you a place in the poachability pursuit.
Yes, I cribbed, nicked, filched, pinched, pilfered, poached and outright stole from others to create these tales (but Ted Hughes, too, took his idea from an ancient tale, or teller.) Unfortunately I didn’t get the girl, in spite of plying her with Gin, reciting poetry to her and performing Schubert’s ‘Dichterliebe’ in her honour. Poaching, it seems, like poetry, works well on the surface. But when we break through into it, it seems there are greater truths, and freshness deep down things.
(And that I 'arf-inched from Gerard Manley Hopkins)
Moon Phases, September 2010
Last Quarter – September 1, 17:22
New Moon – September 8, 10:30
First Quarter – September 15, 05:50
Full Moon – September 23, 09:17
SEPTEMBER: Salmon Spawning Time
Man or beast, goblin or troll, reckless or tame,
Wodwo dwells deep in the woods,
in the dark intestine of the mind's green eye.
If curiosity killed the cat,
it procured this vain creature's survival,
climbing through the icy glass of its own image,
the reflection of air and sky and unseen trees
as nihilistic as the illusion it shattered.
However you doubt its existence
time and again the eternal questions exist:
Where did it come from, to where does it go?
Some rabbit-hole: clay's aorta, within, within,
unreckonable with any system or organ or engine,
hovering on the perimeter of existential reality
while sametime lurking deep among the myths of truth.
Not seeded, laid nor spawned, neither animal,
vegetable, mineral, flesh, fish nor foul;
both animus and anima, moon and mind,
lifeblood from the earth's deep bowel,
watered by the darkest beams of creativity.
Embryonic omen, could we dice with blasphemy
and say: beginning and end, death and birth,
swallowed, digested, cathartic, reiterated,
deep down things, in the soil, within, within, within?
There is no answer, save the perennial ticking.
Keep searching, Wodwo.