SHORTCOURSE/UK/Cornwall III – archipelago



a seriously frivolous yet scilly tale by peter ward

swimmer, troytown, st. agnes (pward 2011)

We never really went out to sea – not out of sight of land, says starfish to the Scilly shrew (the chap with the extraordinary nose, sniffing his insectivoretical insights), but instead there were monsters big as buses that could swallow us whole (wouldn’t that be fantastic!?), and bridges built of quartz crystallized our imaginations toward the islands of the dead, the buzzing brimful, radiation guzzling blobs of grizzly granite, sent running into the big wide ocean for their misbehaving…

(Or was it more likely that excess of gingeryness talking – if the sea didn’t make us sick then the ginger will do dear – such a stupendous bag of sugary lumps did I ever see and hopefully never will again!…)

And accompanied by gannets, gulls and thrice-legged shearwaters we danced in onto warmer water, balanced bouyfully in our belief of better things ahead, in search of a round or two – this evidence and obvious similarity, or hilarity, I spied of greens and flags, but alas to no avail. We lurched full steam ahead to the tepid-tropics, shrouded in cocoon-like silence, a dementiated ship stall, albeit temporary, the smell deep in my mutilated lungs – this is fresh air then – as mutinous millions march morosely, hands outstretched, invaliding these dreams – I have no food for you, my lunch sadly amiss, left behind to unfill my belly ache – the turbo charged buggies trundled traffic to the spinney-ships – lifting up and off most regularly – four times the fuel of any other airship indeed – but never mind, somehow we are exempt here from any global threat of warmth and warfare and waters rising – we are within the shield of an illusory, ageless archipelago…

 a tribute to mr john fanshawe 1, troytown, st. agnes (pward 2011)

How the dead got here all those years ago we never did discover, but now they just jump, resplendently and brazenly bold with cloth caps and shiny cagoules – no romantic umber-ella, but pack-a-macs; and plenty of dirty-dogs, shaking from the sea swell – you are my trusty companion in life – I will take you with me to my death place too (“bastard master!” the bitch barks back)…

wind break, abbey gardens, tresco (pward 2011)

But you shouldn’t be here, nor you, and you, and as for you – what can we say or do?! Were you brought in on the waves or the wind or by some exquisite enthusiast before he worried too much about the confluence of imperial anarchy – today we have created rules that might determine how and what should live and die – what is good for this and that and, of course, us in particular – we have somehow come to believe that in our infinite infanticide wisdom we can be all and see all and that by computing models of correlated contortions – this will be this and that will be that – I am no longer the soothsayer, the dreamer of futures, the guesser of gifts – I have become the unquestionable truth of science – perhaps the probable probabilities will not pervasively pervade, perchance!? So are you friendly or foe-ful? “Kill the blighters!” she cries, the invasive intrusions, the impudent immigrants, dillutants of such insular purity – or maybe, just maybe, the wheels that work the world are simply turning somewhat more slowly or sharply but differently, inch by inch, centimeter by centimeter our evolution is evolving in ever more immanent intricacy – it has not always been the same nor will it ever be…

 stones aligned, troytown, st. agnes (pward 2011)

So here has been a good place to contemplate my place, betwixt and between the stony outcrops, the post shop and gift office – we are welcome if we quietly attend to our frivolities and don’t upset the somnambulant sightseers – privileged in our pilgrimage to strange waters and ground together in earthly powders, pleading pleasure and peace, a place to swim, to glance into the distance on a rocky pier – our futures we might share if we do dare – our dreams could rightfully and richly blend, bringing beauty and bounty, while we dwell in this darkness screaming cold to your birdsongs, shivering at the thought of another voyage on the gale-some, plastic-strewn ocean – will it seem quicker on the way back like it often does, pleasantly perceptual permutations of the temporal plane but without the air-miles, and no crafty carbon hoof-print to give the game away (no, it did not, damn it!) – and all good luck in your questing, although chancings could be a better word – without even ever mentioning again the neo-shamanic shenanigans of streetwise becoming…

 6 minutes to save the world 2, st. agnes village hall (pward 2011)

Now I am home, and everything is different – more difficult maybe to accept that this beauty that was is no longer, in light of your shining comparison. I have learnt at least a lot, I have developed a plan for another perfect plot – but tomorrow it will be as dust, my memories will have turned to powder and I can only glimpse their brightness amidst the mist and clouds, the gales and rain blowing away the tactile tenderness of embrace and goodbyes – let us not forget the promises we have made, the marks upon the stone, the messages from gorgeous giantesses, confident and foot sure in drunken reveries reversed to close with a kiss – just one hop, skip and jump toward forever – I dedicate my life to life, and leave the dead behind, trapped in their rocky form – no corvid there, no cawing red-legged know-alls, no secrets of universal law as even the sparrows throw themselves in front of the moving car – yes, just the only one, that’s how sad it did be – and even thrushes look to me for company – I do not know your speak although I hear you loud and clear – so please do not ask for my various variety it is not in my power to give it to you – at least you can learn to fly as the time comes…

 five spot burnets, troytown, st. agnes (pward 2011)

Today the ravens are teaching each other mathematics, calculations of wing-swept joy, borrowed banter of a better time before the egg-break-beaks look out at the sunshine for the first time and we shall be waiting with our superlative supper-time suggestions – come with me, come with me, I know a safe place – across the ocean, where we can surf the daydreams and mutter mutiny with the malignant rock-cleft dead, the age-old time-told ignatious intrusions, the glittering ghosts of stars and spirits across the sorry sea …


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