Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Castle of Hope

from Mallarmé

Your pale hair undulates
in the perfume from your skin
the way a white flag frolics
its silk showing blond in the sun.

Tired of beating time in tears
on a drum that is warped by the water,
my heart renounces its past
and, rolling out your hair in waves,

marches to the assault, climbs,— or rolls drunkenly
through mires of blood, in order
to plant that banner of fine gold
on a sombre copper castle

— where, whimpering with listlessness,
Hope ruffles up and smooths
without a single pallid star arising
Night black as a black cat.


A reunion of actors from Only Fools and Horses is taking place in a pub: Del Boy jokes to Rodney that he has placed a “not in” sign outside the pub to keep them all at bay, but the other actors are approaching anyway. As Trigger arrives, he is joined by some actors from Coronation Street, followed by the entire current cast and every former character, including ones who died, either as characters or in real life. Crowds of people are converging on the pub in bright daylight, including grown-up versions of characters who died as children, rejoicing in their unfamiliar adulthood. Someone recognises and greets Tony Warren, and Ken Barlow approaches and greets him warmly. An elderly actress who at first seems to have Alzheimer’s and to have had a stroke, walks in, smiling and confused. As I look at her, she becomes a beautiful, young, red-haired smiling actress…


I am either travelling to Venus on a spacecraft, or more likely I’m controlling the spacecraft from Earth using a sophisticated imaging system which lets me see everything on board in 3-D. The spacecraft is filled with small, vaguely humanoid figures, brightly painted like matryoshka dolls but lacking heads (the effect not unlike electron micrograph images of tardigrades). I can’t figure out if these are living creatures in charge of the spacecraft, or if they are simply patterns, perhaps shadow-patterns, formed by turbulence in the liquid with which the spacecraft seems to be filled — I keep noticing obvious signs of conscious interaction between the figures, and then a jolt seems to return them to being accidental patterns in the liquid. The last thing I remember is when they all take part in a stage presentation given in honour of a sixty-year-old — I don’t know whether he’s a man or a larger cousin of the small humanoids, as he doesn’t seem to have a head — who was born severely disabled but has been able to live a full and active life with the aid of the small humanoids. He performs a very slow but quite creditable dance.

Notes towards “Les noces d’Hérodiade: Mystère”

from Mallarmé


the ambiguity of Hé-
rodiade and of her

         she masters this
rebellious head
                 which wanted
to think more highly
where the idea is extinguished
unprecedented and rich



from which she benefits
covered in diamonds
                   and dying
evokes the human
beauty of life
which cannot be surpassed
at the same time that she
represents the old


she leans to one
side — to the other —
                   showing one
breast — the other —
               and scission
                             with no gossamer

according to this breast, that one


and having done that — one
foot upon the other,
         both feet
                       upon carpet
a kind of dance
dreadful   sketch
     — and fixed to the spot, without
             — null place