That title should drive you nicely away. But Katy Shadie died this week, and she was a poet: and when I found that she wrote a poet about Mansfield, who is a set text in NZ (Female, died young, tragic, wrote about how provincial we were, ran away to London, got TB (Consumption) and died) then the poem for the week chose itself.
These cows’ loud smell Is their garments’ hem— An antique peasants’ cure— So says Gurdjieff,
Who made the other patients Build this balcony for me— A gallery of wood that juts Above the stable floor.
If only I climb up here, Breathing deeply daily weekly— Simply pump this green gas Through my crumbling lungs—
Then I’ll be healed; Reborn, perhaps—a crocodile— (Or so I read: the only beast God built that never coughs…)
What God? Where? I wonder if— Is God Gurdjieff? My god— He looks like he sells day old Rugs in Portobello Road!
I know: his so-called “Russian” Is a bag of broken bones— And every time you say his name, You sneeze—
But I’m a drowning man now— Can’t be ill another year. One look or word from him will Bake my bloody breath to bread.
The smell’s not that rank really— Almost sweet (or, rather, fresh) And a monkey’s being trained To sweep the stalls;
A nearly-famous painter’s Easteregg’d my walls, besides: A nursery-rhyme garden of aquamarine— Tree ripe with hippos & cats!
(Nicer to stare at than cow’s behinds.) And o it does get stale up here And all this breathing in & out— I’d never guessed what raw work living is…
But a divan’s been provided And I lie down quite a lot— And speaking as I was of rugs: It’s covered with a Persian one—
Quite ugly—but it’s real— So I think I’ll take it with me when I go.
*** Katy Shadie (Mark 5:25-34)