13 August 2010

August's cucumber days...

Summer recess and the Silly Season can be a difficult time, even for those of us who entertain pretensions to plough our own furrow. Our Dutch friends apparently call this time of year Komkommertijd. However, it is reassuring to learn that the frustrations of these cucumber days are nothing new. In the latest instalment of my transcription poems from beyond the grave, the ghostly outline of Thomas Hood (d. 1845) formed at the foot of my bed, and offered to share this early draft of his poem "No!", pouring execration on immobile November, when all life seems elsewhere. Turns out, he originally based the work on August, but despaired of the rhyme. With deft poetic legerdemain, he coaxed his grey spirit into similar gloom in the month of November and was able to finish the piece as we remember it today. Here, however, was his first attempt. He certainly captures my own, rather blog-blocked feeling in the prevailing atmosphere of this August...


"August"

Just nowt -- no news!
No PM -- FMQs!
No cut -- no thrust -- no stories to peruse--
No vent -- no blogable views--
Guilty longing for a death, or coups
Recess -- recess -- endless recess blues --
No start to any row --
Unjust disgust - where are you now?
No baiting bishops -- no pieties from the steeple --
No nonsense from the familiar people --
No legislation to mistrust, no events, no scandal --
No traveling at all-- no promotion --
No minister being spanked by a sequinned sandal --
No punch-up in the Cabinet --no scandalous demotion--
No mail -- no post --
No fun from any foreign coast--
No snark, no greedy son, no jolly ballyhoo --
No senility -- no surprising virility --
No fuss, no satire cussed, no gadfly tease,
No execrable spiel from any Member -
No writ, no case, no litigant disgraced
No moats , no duck house, no votes, no horses' oats!--
No more! No more! I'm about to encrust --
An end! An end! to this cursed --
August!

~ Thomas Hood (before he realised that November would scan much more happily ...)

2 comments :

  1. Methinks T.S. Eliot got it wrong, and August is the cruellest month, breeding torpor out of sodden soil, mixing verité and fantasy, stirring grass clippings with torrential rain...

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