Tuesday, January 9, 2007

I stroke the scudding clouds with laughter

Image courtesy of cognitive psychologist, Steven Pinker, Harvard University
(his books are pretty good, too!)

I May, I might, I must

If you will tell me why the fen
appears impassable, I then
will tell you why I think that
can get across it if I try.

Marianne Moore

Last night I discovered Google Reader, which looks after all your blogs for you and which has revolutionised my life. All my favourite blogs are now stored in one place and I know exactly when they are updated - perfect. Ah, the wonders of modern technology.

I am glad that my other readers have maintained the high ground by abstaining from the childish debate that has become my DJ name competition. Shonagh and Matt - you're swines, proper bounders, the pair of you and I shall say no more about it. Both lists have, I think, caused especial joy to those who often feel the rough side of my own, too-caustic personality. I am certain I heard the Chief laughing hard enough to fall off his chair at those lists in the Ministry today, and I know I heard him mutter with a giggle, "A head like a small ginger pea!" Well, did you ever?

I took some comfort from an email from the London Boss tonight though, when I finally got around to catching up with some emails. He sent all his team a Christmas and New Year message in which he described me thus as:

"Sarah, regally perched in her seafront facing flat in Portsmouth, humming tunes and stroking the scudding clouds with laughter."

This is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful ways in which anyone has ever described me. The London Boss is thus my favourite thing of the day, fickle in my favour as I am.

Another great day at the Ministry though, mixing both fun and frantic hard work as the New Year sweeps in. The highlight of my working day, though, was definitely going through the Disney process with Lisa Clark, published author extraordinaire. We both climbed beneath the desks of our pod and had a long conversation about life, work and the wonder of local authorities. And you know the strangest thing about it (yes, other than that we were both sat under our desks, I mean), although several people noticed - including Human Resources, who are extremely liberal about such things, and whose tolerance should be applauded - no one said a thing.

Hats off to the Chief though, who came back from an important meeting, utterly ignored us and then called our bluff by sitting in my chair until my shocked giggles at being face-to-face with the Chief's left thigh caused him to drag me out from under my desk by my ear. Well, not quite: he merely regarded me for a long moment and stated, "I knew you were there, I could see your boot as I came in."

After work, I spent the evening with Shonagh, which was glorious. I met Shonagh first when I was about ten years old and we became firm friends some months later when she had settled into our school. Our friendship has never wavered over the two decades which have passed in between. She is my yardstick, my measure for what love is meant to feel like, and she is consistent proof that as long as I have the love of someone so bold and so beautiful, both inside and out, that I must be doing something right. Though we have passed many long periods of our lives in which we have not been able to see each other as much as we would like; even after the longest separation, when I'm with her it's as if we have not been apart.

We didn't do anything dazzling, we sat on the couch and chatted and swapped commentaries on CBB, but it was one of the best evenings I've had in a long while. Tonight's poem is dedicated to my Shonagh, who possesses the unique gift of looking straight into my soul and making me feel safe and beautiful. I have grown up with you from a girl into this woman I am now, and I'll grow up with you a hundred times more before I'm done.

(for Sian, after thirteen years)

oh this man
what a meal he made of me
how he chewed and gobbled and sucked
in the end he spat me all out

you arrived on the dot, in the nick

of time, with your red curls flying
I was about to slip down the sink like grease

I nearly collapsed, I almost

wiped myself out like a stain

I called for you, and you came, you voyaged

fierce as a small archangel with swords and breasts...

you commanded me to sing of my redemption

oh, my friend, how

you were mother for me, and how

I could let myself lean on you

comfortable as an old cloth
familiar as enamel saucepans

I was a child again, pyjama'ed

in winceyette, my hair plaited and you

listened, you soothed me like cake and milk...

when we met, I tell you
it was a birthday party, a funeral
it was a holy communion
between women, a Visitation

it was two old she-goats butting
and nuzzling each other in the smelly fold

Michele Roberts


Dill said...

It is 8.17am and i am already crying in my little office.....tears of joy and of love. Thank you Saa, what a beautiful message, a beautiful poem and a truly spectacularly beautiful friend you are.
We are only, at the very least, a quarter of the way through our friendship and that isn't counting what we witches will get up to in the next life.

I love you and i thank you.....for making me feel like the best an most magical witch in the world. We both know without your double water influence to my double fire things would be pretty impossible for me and others around me....thanks for the water!

Most importantly thank you for always being my best friend....i am swelling with pride.

Shone.x xxx

P.S Matt could always be DJ i only have long hair because my ears are soooooo big!

Anthony Burt said...

Hi Sarah,

Just wanted to say "hi". Shonagh is a fantastic, lovely person and I can see why you and her are such great friends (as you are very special too). I know Shonagh thru work as you know.

Hi Shonagh - hope you're good!

See you tomorrow night, Sarah. I think Lisa's very nervous...

Anthony xx