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I have no blueprint. I’m getting younger. One poem does not have to sound or look like the next. I make coffee, sit down and see what happens.

Before I begin, I check if a payment has gone from the bank account. A message pops up: We’ve made some exciting changes to our Log-In Page.

A brochure for community living for the Over-60s drops through the letterbox. A home is built on laughter and good company, says the brochure. Enjoy stress-free retirement living, says the brochure. There are friendly faces everywhere, says the brochure. Our friendly on-site staff ensure everything runs smoothly, says the brochure. Our friendly team will be happy to help, says the brochure. Find out more about our affordable way to buy, says the brochure.

I make another coffee. Look out at our lawn full of forget-me-nots, daisies and dandelions. The neighbours, who will mow their grass if they spot a single daisy, call it a jungle.

Whatever happens, happens.

An image arrives: I wander through an abandoned theme park. The helter-skelter struck by lightning. (You can imagine it, I’m sure. Split down the centre, charred.) The wooden floor of the dodgems track rotted away. The cars suspended on rusty poles. Weeds grow tall through the girders of the big wheel. Crows nest in the roller coaster. Real ghosts, Pentax cameras hanging from their skeletal necks, inhabit the ghost train.

The phone rings: A friend reminds me we’re to have a drink together this evening. He says he will collect me. What’s it like to be collected? As in, gathered together into one structure, one piece, whether identifiable or obscure?

I remember an image from, perhaps, a day in Paris, of a man on a park bench reading a newspaper, as a dozen young women, factory girls on their lunch-break perhaps, or on a day-off, or celebrating a birthday, or the beginning or end of something, run past the man, arm-in-arm, laughing on a path that curves out of the picture into the future. The man folds his newspaper, lays it on the bench beside him, takes a sandwich from its foil wrapping.

A fact, again without warning: The Moroccan cartographer, al-Idrissi, cast a map of the world on silver plates for King Roger of Sicily.

I check twitter: a tourist who climbed Ben Nevis is complaining that it’s very steep and there is no café at the top.

Still on twitter: a poet says poetry is hard on the nerves. (I doubt it is.) He says he wrote a series of poems in precise rectangular blocks only for the publisher to use a different font which threw all the rectangles out of shape.

A famous Ukrainian violinist has died at the front line near Bakhmut. A Ukrainian soldier speaks about how he played his violin so beautifully one night when they were at rest and says another of his friends has been killed. As if struggling for some kind of connection, he says his dead friend’s ambition was to swim The Bosphorus.

I find a documentary on television: Children sing in a Himalayan temple. A monk pours tea from a jug into a bowl and offers it to pilgrims with a smile. Another monk speaks to them, The sub-titles translate: Follow the track up the mountain if you must. It leads somewhere. There are borders we all must cross.

I travel slowly into the touchless land, the out-of-touch land where each of us is a rolling storm of cloud, sun, rain, snow, ice, where we are the earth baked dry, the earth flooded.

Whatever happens, happens.

I make more coffee.

I remember a devout man once told me: Emptiness leads to bitterness for those who would seek fulfilment. Emptiness leads to peace for those who would seek no fulfilment.

There are those who want to touch but don’t want to touch.
There are those who don’t want to touch but want to touch.

Rain again. The ground is too wet to dig and plant, the temperature too low for seeds to germinate.

The television newsreader says a gas and oil company has announced a four-billion-pound profit for the first quarter of the year.

I imagine a chess game where the pieces have grown bored and begin to move themselves. A bishop tells a rook Let’s swap. You go diagonal, I’ll go straight. The knights, though, enjoy dodging around, two back one sideways, one forward two sideways. Nobody waits for their turn. The pawns skitter about, this way and that, knock the king and queen off the board. All the chess pieces fall about laughing.

Up on the cliffs by the ruined abbey, two shadows walk hand in hand, fingers entwined.

Ah, but I was just a girl then, she says. There is no record of her fate.

A message pops up on the computer: Accessibility, Good To Go.


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