Sunday, 16 November 2014

Sitting in my father's study - Putting a collection of poetry together

Up to the right there is a clock he has had for years. I can almost read the formal Arabic now: al bank yamani al isha' wa al taqmiir...The Yemen Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Hmm, I am not certain enough. I will have to put the English through Google translate, then look more closely at the calligraphy with the extra decorative dots and such.

The family tree goes from 1227 to 1965 when my younger brother was born. We are both little handwritten footnotes squeezed in at the bottom. We used to look at our names when this chart was on the wall of the landing at Ovington Square and we were free to just wander about in the house.

There's a sheep's skull up between some books near the ceiling. We found it on holiday in Scotland in the 70's. It used to be on the drawing room mantle piece for years. Now it has been here for years.

If I crane my neck to the left there is an old jam jar of what can only be potassium permanganate. Bright blue crystals. I am no longer surprised by anything in here.

This desk is a sea of papers, glasses, old calculator, cup with coins in it, nice fountain pens and...surprise: more Arabic on some sort of luggage labels hanging from the angle-poise lamp.

al afdaliya - something about pleasing?

'anatiya khasa - ? ?
darja awf - class ?
as-s'awdiya - the Saudi created thing, untranslatable.

ad-darajat alawla - first class

This is very hard. I can't read plane labels yet.


Jeffrey Levine on the thinking and reflecting work needed over a long period of time. Measured and clear, read this first.

Katrina Vandenberg on the passionate reasons for a collection, from the innuendo of the space between stanzas to the necessity of revealing your obsessions. This is a fantastic read.

There is no reason why I shouldn't play around with what I have written in 2014 and see what I can make of it all, for my own pleasure.

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