Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Ugly Aunti

Some years ago I contributed to an art student publication called 'Ugly Aunti'. I never found out where the name came from, or if it had any deeper meaning beyond the possibility of insulting all of our Aunties.

I think I wrote something for an issue of this zine that never got made (or maybe it did and I just never saw it). I was trying to find this never-published piece of text in the never-made issue on Sunday, when I came across a couple of pieces that had made it into earlier issues of the zine.

I thought perhaps they had something to them (if some of you might reasonably think that what they have is nothing more than debt to Borges) - so I'm putting them here on the blog.

The first of them was for the issue entitled 'Dad'.

Eachan's father was a horse. Sometimes language would escape Eachan. Other times he found himself running, uphill and against the wind, the world full of scent and absent of artifice. He would reach the crest and stand, chest heaving, forgetting entirely his name, his home and his duties; and at the same time remembering exactly who he was, where he belonged and what he was put there to do.

The horse's father was a diamond. He was so hard he left hoofprints even on rock. In the mating season and the disputes that went with it, both stallions and mares were astonished by his heritage.

The diamond's father was a bomb. When the diamond was displayed in collections, visitors stepped around it tensely, cautiously, as if they feared their tiniest movement might trigger an alarm.

The bomb's father was a key. The bomb was used to open a door.

The key's father was a piece of silk. The locks slipped over themselves like tongues.

The silk's father was a grain of pollen. In November one year a sensitive girl had worn it to a prestigious ball, and found her eyes and nostrils streaming as they did in June.

The pollen's father was a lead weight. The bee who gathered it flew in encumbered zigzags to its hive.

The weight's father was a crooked coin. It could not be relied upon to give a true measure.

The coin's father was a secret. It was passed covertly from one gambler to another, and more than once slipped clumsily into hands the wrong side of the table.

The secret's father was Eachan. Some things are beyond our reason.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Mayoring Sunday

Written for the Civic Banquet and Thank You Party of the Mayor of Glastonbury, Denise Michell - Glastonbury's first Green and first Druid Mayor; June 2015

image copyright (c) Bill Nicholls
appears here cropped with colours enhanced
licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons licence

I suspect it may come as a surprise to many outwith Glastonbury
That our famous town’s Mayor has not already been
a Druid Green
Who has also been known as the Fairy Queen.

With Glastonbury's reputation for alternativity
(as keen to mark Beltane as the Nativity)
What took us so long?
Our Town Hall has stood since 1818.
That's as long as London’s Old Vic, which in the intervening 190-odd years, has seen
Thirteen productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream...

But perhaps we shouldn't be too hard on ourselves
For, alongside their many magical features
Fairies are notoriously elusive creatures.

Until today, some would have thought it no more possible
To put chains on a Fairy
Than put an anchor on a cloud
Tie the shoes of a ghost
Harness a tide
Send a sunbeam down a wire,
Or fashion a plough out of stars.

And yet here we are.
Our Mayor is solid and so are her chains.
Which might serve to remind us:
Green can be fairy.
Green can be airy.
But green can be for grass,
For turf, and earth.

Well, now the long green wait is over: We'll see now what the wait was worth.

- Wes White 10th Chaired Bard of Ynys Witrin /|\

Saturday, 13 June 2015


on the appointment of the European Robin as the National Bird of the United Kingdom; June 2015

Photograph by Tony Hisgett, reproduced under Creative Commons License 2.0

When we named you ‘red’,
We didn’t have a name
For that stain on your chest and face;
Your unashamed orange blush
That says,
“I have something to say”.

Down the centuries, we’ve made you friendly,
Here in the land of Goodfellow, And that Hood fellow.
Leaving you unharmed
In countless nods to folklore:
Sit on our garden tools.
So say it you do.
You come to us, here with the voice of the brook,

Singing phrases we will never understand.
But Robin, did you get the message?
Ruddock, Redbreast, have you heard?
Who will tell you, rubecula?
We’ve made you our National Bird.
- Wes White 10th Chaired Bard of Ynys Witrin ('Bard of Glastonbury') /|\