I'm having a lazy day today - and why not, after the stress of yesterday. Training a group of 25 second-tier council officers, most of whom seemed to be reluctant victims. I could sympathise; the course isn't for them, and they ought to know most of it already, being in the positions they are.
So, what have I done today? A few emails etc, the bread of course, and I've been reading Briggflatts, Basil Bunting's verse "autobiography". He's difficult, but worthwhile, I think. It will take a few more readings before I'm really at home. Here's the second stanza:
A mason times his malletActually, I could have chosen a more cheerful extract, but I think that is typical of the simplicity of the language but the complexity of the allusions. The themes in this stanza repeat throughout the poem. It's good to be able to read something slowly, without any pressure to respond.
to a lark's twitter,
listening while the marble rests,
lays his rule
at a letter's edge,
till the stone spells a name
a man abolished.
Painful lark, labouring to rise!
The solemn mallet says:
In the grave's slot
he lies. We rot.
And I've now got very clean fingernails. (Anyone who's ever made bread will know what I mean.)