The Poetry Bus

This Monday the bus is driven by Barbara, and I’m grateful to her for the suggestion.

Flax

Wee blue flowers filled the fields until wilting time, then cut off low,
seeds shaken into waiting baskets and the long stems water-rotted
so the fibres fell free of the slime.

And the fibres dried, washed, dried again, teased, split thin,
combed and singled, spun into threads, threads into yarn,
yarn woven into fine linen, a fine buff cloth, bleached white
and pummelled to soften, for shirts, sheets and table linen.

And the seeds ground till the oil oozed out, husks caked for the beasts
in barn and stable, a greasy satisfaction, and the smelly oil
boiled once for paint, twice for putty, thrice for linoleum,
air-blown, mixed with pine rosin, cork dust, wood flour,
poured on a backing of woven jute that began its journey in fields
by the Hoogli River. Floorcloth for battleships, stained and printed
for homes, a durable cover and a bugger to lay well.

You always got a man in to lay it, with fearsome knives
and a hot iron to joint the tougher rebates and recesses
of your kitchen. Afterwards, the whole house smelled of it
for weeks, and relatives, neighbours, sniffed and said
how much they liked the smell, reminded them
of their childhoods, an industrial freshness, new.

Colin Will
15/05/2010

Advertisements

About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The Poetry Bus

  1. Titus says:

    Ah, Kirkcaldy.
    Enjoyed this, particularly that final stanza.

  2. elizabeth rimmer says:

    I really liked this one Colin! Who’d have thought there was so much in lino?

  3. Gordon Mason says:

    Yes, trains through Kirkcaldy with the smell hanging on til Cupar!
    Great images and memories.

  4. my brain is just trying to work out how many flax seeds it would take to cover a kitchen floor with lino, I always feel awed when your think about how things are produced and the ingenuity of the human race.
    like this poem
    thanks for sharing
    crazy field mouse

  5. Jeanne says:

    Lovely, Colin! I particularly enjoyed the historical journey of linoleum in this piece.

  6. Twas part history, part poem, but all woven together as magic.Lovely!

  7. sunnydunny says:

    Thanks all. Barbara’s idea just seemed to hit the spot with me.

  8. Pete says:

    And there was me thinking lino was synthetic!
    A very carefully woven tale!

  9. Valentine says:

    my brain is just trying to work out how many flax seeds it would take to cover a kitchen floor with lino, I always feel awed when your think about how things are produced and the ingenuity of the human race.like this poemthanks for sharingcrazy field mouse
    +1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s