On the Farm – SOC

I’d like to go to Baabados, or Buck-buck-buck-ingham Palace, or even the moo-n, but I’m stuck here on the farm, all mud and squelch, and the smell of animals. I’m up before the sun, milking and minding. I’m late to bed, after feeding and cleaning out. I work in the sunshine, I work in the rain. I’m asset rich and cash poor.

I work with the basic elements of life. I’m an alchemist, weaving sunlight and water, earth and oxygen, into bread and cakes, cheese and pancakes, apple pies and beef bourguignon. Without me, you’d be a hunter gatherer. Without me, there’d be no Taj Mahal, no Mona Lisa, no Romeo and Juliet, no  Spiderman, no Statue of Liberty. I’m the foundation on which all culture was built. It was my work, my labour with dirt and muck, my grubby hands and aching back, that freed mankind to gaze at the stars and to dream of glittering cities, mirrored ballrooms, and the Ode to Joy.

I’m there beside you at the breakfast table. I’m there when you pull on your cotton socks, your woolly jumper. I’m there as you stir sugar into your latte, as you snap off a piece of chocolate, as you pull up the zip on your shiny new boots.

I’m the story under the story of civilisation. Don’t forget me.


This is for Linda’s Saturday Stream of Consciousness. The prompt this week is “on the farm” – with extra points for incorporating animal noise puns. I thought this was going to head off in an amusing direction after those excruciating puns, but it didn’t. That’s SOC for you. 


Bun – SOC

Buns are children’s parties – back before fairy cakes and cup-cakes, there were buns – soft sponge, vanilla scented, iced with dribbled glace icing, topped with a lurid cherry. Glace cherries, too, as if the whole thing were some frozen creation, sugared with frost, preserved in the freezer of memory. We use those icing metaphors – so obvious, when you see snow. Frosting, icing, the white sugar coating.

Technicolour, too, the artificial well e-ed icing of childhood, when we were expected to scream around the garden, wild as wilderness, free of bills and mortgages and working out what to make for dinner. Buns are not dinner. Buns are tea, with tongue puckering orange squash and thin, pale sandwiches. Buns are shiny.

Bread buns, currant buns, hot cross buns – it is Easter, after all – they are sitting downstairs, plump and glossy and stuffed with fruit and spices. I’ll split them toast them butter them try to make them last but they are best eaten warm with the butter a liquid golden lubricant. My fingers will be slightly sticky.

Linda prompts us with the word “bun” for the Saturday steam of consciousness. Five minutes, unfiltered, unedited, still warm from the oven. 

Green – stream of consciousness

Green, obviously, is the colour of life. From my window here, most of the world is green. Maybe not most – there’s a lot of sky, but of the ground I can see, most of it is covered in grass. The trees are bare, but now, in March, there’s a shiver of green, a whisper that there will be leaves. Ivy, of course, dull, dark green, there all winter, and the laurels – which I hate. All that green is a miracle, a massive factory turning sunlight into sugar. That is the colour of life, out there. And death, too, of course – though that mold that disgusts us is just more life. We privilege human life – there’s a hierarchy of life forms, starting with us, working down through animals we can identify with, like dogs and lions and elephants and deer, and ending up somewhere down the bottom with molds and fungi and jellyfish – because no matter how much you can admire them and use them as a metaphor, you can’t feel that fondness for a jellyfish that you feel for a kitten or a puppy, or even a baby calf, all wobbly legs and big brown eyes. It’s easier to identify with something with eyes. Aliens are green. That’s a given. Little green men. And it’s the colour of the uncanny, the elfin, the leprechaun. This most fundamental colour, this background shade, mundane, disregarded, is the colour of the strangest things of all.

For Linda G’ Hill’s Saturday Stream of Consciousness. A 5 minute flow of words, unedited. Today, of course, is the greenest day of all. Happy St Patrick’s Day to everyone who is Irish, loves Ireland, finds their feet tapping to an Irish tune, or their heart swaying to an Irish poet’s words. 

So Far

Well, so far it’s been a bit of a disappointment, this journey. I thought by now we’d be getting somewhere, getting a glimpse of what it’s all for – True Love, Endless Riches, Cloak of Darkness, something like that. Inner Peace.

I left everything for this, you know – soft bed, fresh bread, sitting by the fire reading – left it all. It’s been so long now, I hardly remember it.

How long has it been? I don’t remember. Weeks. Months. Years, maybe. We spent weeks crossing the desert, and months in the mountains. And now this forest. I’m scratched and torn, and dirty. It’s endless. Walking, foraging, battling to light a fire. Some nights we sleep in a barn, next night under a tree, once we were fed by a village, once by a farmer. Some nights we’re boiling roots to make soup.

I’ve seen things I never would have seen otherwise. Snow topped mountains catching fire at sunset, raindrops gathering on pale green leaves, the desert like snow in the moonlight.

Some of the old ones say that is enough. Not for me, though. I want more.

For Linda  – a Stream of Consciousness. Unformed, unedited…

Fine – Stream of Consciousness

Fine is an angry little word, that comes out through clenched teeth. It’s a lie. It’s always a lie. Fine is the thing you say to shut down a conversation. Fine. I’m fine. It’s fine. Fine is a red hot lie dropped into the ice of misunderstanding. Fine is a door closing, a back turning.

Fine shuts me out. Fine shuts me in, slams a barrier up between me and you.

Fine is breezy. It’s a fresh, summery breeze that blows away detail. It’s the wave of a hand after a near miss. It’s a cloudless sky.

Fine is a cost. You end up paying, anyway, so why not pay now? Fine’s just storing up the shit.

Fine is the end. The finish.

You know what? Don’t worry about me. I’m fine.

This is for Linda G Hill’s Saturday Stream of Consciousness prompt. Reading it through, I could have structured this as a poem. It’s unedited – well, it’s a stream of consciousness.

Door – stream of consciousness

All the doors at work are fire doors, so they are really heavy. I have to walk through 6 of them to get from my office to the waiting room, 6 on the way back. I wonder what we’re keeping in? Or keeping out? Technically, fire, of course, but there’s so much fear and pain and anxiety and anger in what we do, deal with, perhaps it needs to be kept in, perhaps at the end of the day the cleaners let it all out, in a great black writhing cloud that lifts up over the building and floats away, drifting in the air, heading out to sea, or over the moors. Maybe that’s why we have so much rain at the moment, it’s actually pain, falling down around us. Or maybe it just seeps into the walls, filling them up, so that they gently swell. Maybe one day the whole building will lift up, ballooned with anguish, and go flying off to somewhere tropical, or a desert, where all that stuff can dissipate. Maybe I’ll turn up to work and there’ll be nothing there, just a void. Or maybe I take it home, maybe it’s wafting out of the car window as I drive, the ultimate pollution, swirling down the plughole in the shower, spinning down the drain. Or maybe it just sinks down through the floor, deep deep deep to the centre of the earth. Does it really go away? Is it drifting out into deep space, a sobbing wail of dull despair? I hope it goes. I hope we’re doing something. It’s hard to hold on to, sometimes. But maybe the doors act to hold it in while we turn it into hope, or love, or determination. God knows, we need it. Anyway, there are 6 doors between my office and the waiting room, and I feel every one of them. Maybe they shut the world away, so as we pass through them we get to somewhere safer and safer, until we are in a safe enough space. Maybe that’s what they are for.

This is for Linda Hill’s Stream of Consciousness prompt. It’s the first time I’ve done this. It was really interesting to see what’s in my head at the moment…