Friday, 25 February 2011

Things to do after you're 30 (1)

The serendipitous nature of life is a wonderful thing; I was set up to post this even before the previous splendid showcase by FJ Riley of Jay McCleod. It counterpoints everything here. As an addendum to the previous post (and a kick start to the metaphysical meat of this one), I'd like to say good luck in doing line 30 - that's your cue to read McLeod's poem.

I am an interesting statistic - at last. I am one of a growing number of young(er) people who grow their own vegetables and fruit in an attempt to bring down the system. One of life's post-30 realisations is that the most effective rebellion against fascistic capitalistic apparatus is to start local, start immediately and start with yourself: in 'Beat'/Yogi terms to 'Be the light'.

I recently started writing again after quite literally not writing anything for an eighth of my life. One of the by-products of stopping writing altogether is that you have a lot of paper to get rid of. One of the most satisfying things I have ever done is to compost several years' work: it simply becomes more carbon to add to the nitrogen. The process of composting pre-poem research and leaves of notes, keep-sake tickets, multiple drafts, poems with strike-throughs and even bottom-feeding publications is amazingly cathartic. It allows you to be an archaeologist of the self. In short, I have seen where I went wrong. The word 'epiphany' has become something of a cliche, but it was minted for occasions such as these: turning over the soil, in the spring light seeing the first shoots of the year's new life for the first time - all of which are 'feeding' on the soil that is quite literally made of poems.

So. Things to do after your 30, number one: compost your work and go back to the drawing board. It's good for your Cartesian soul. On that note:


We grow best unseen, unwatched, unmarked, unsung -
become bulbous, slug-speeded, pregnant, curved.
Autonomously we writhe the tilth.
Our bodies: edibly rocky; one-purposed:
slim husks of muscle, strain struck against the soil -
sinews swell; primordial gunk gestates
each perfect, papery sac. Each clove muck-hewn
from other cloves and other muck, muck-hewn.
We like cold better than you; whilst you
lazed by winter fires and winter lights we
put down our roots, we founded land: we claimed
your ceded soil, ran up green flags. Danced
our chill defeat of these cadaverous months.

Andy Hopkins

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back to the crazy world of writing, Andy.

    Great post, great poem.