Diary of the Plague Year: Day 29 13 April 2020: Rock cakes

A wild and windy night, rain.

Woke up to the sun with the wind rollicking around the house.

Went to get petrol and deliver soup and Panadol to B and to discuss our plans.

Came back to post my poem.  An illicit meeting with R who arrived with rock cakes from Hurley’s Garage Shop, very welcome.  We had a little tour round the garden – R’s enthusiasm very infectious.  Plans for a pond and a hawthorn fairy fort.

We decided the present situation is like going back in time when hardly anyone would have had cars and would have walked/cycled/bussed everywhere and that our isolated existence, when we are actually getting to meet our neighbours out walking and chatting over the garden wall, is very like the old days.

I am actually breathing a huge sigh of relief.  My working life up till now has been one of scrabbling about/having to shift/keeping my studio going on a pittance/doing part-time jobs I loathed in order to keep going/worrying incessantly about money/having to give up the studio eventually/leaving my beloved garden to move to house where I could live and work. Now that I cannot work and am not feeling under pressure to get a job I feel I have shifted down a gear and have time for the necessary daydreaming and drifting about that is so necessary …. given the horrible time so many people are having it seems wrong but there it is.

Paradoxically I have been watching Call My Agent set in Paris pre-Covid, chronicling the histrionic day-to-day business of a theatrical agency. I love it, it’s hilarious full of French stars doing cameos and obviously having the time of their lives, Natalie Baye! Cecile de France! and it is so gloriously urban. The first thing I am going to do when this is all over is take the ferry to Roscoff and the train for Paris, sit in a cafe and then lunch at Le Chartier.

Spent the afternoon writing an application for Arts Council funding. It would be interesting to do a project based on postcards. Am working on it.

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 29 13 April 2020: Quotidian Poetry Kathleen Raine (1908 – 2003)



Gather while you may
Vapour of water, dust of earth, rose
Of air and water and light that comes and goes:
Over and over again the rose is woven.

Who knows the beginning?
In the vein in the sun in the rain
In the rock in the light in the night there is none.
What moves light over water? An impulse
Of rose like the delight of girl’s breasts
When the nipples bud and grow a woman
Where was a child, a woman to bear
A child unbegun (is there
Anywhere one? Are the people of dreams
Waiting – where? – to be born?) Does the green
Bud rose without end contain?
Within green sepals, green cells, you find none.
The crude
Moist, hard, green and cold
Petal on petal unfolding rose from nowhere.

But the perfect form is moving
Through time, the rose is a transit, a wave that weaves
Water, and petals fall like notes in order;
No more rose on ground unbecome
Unwoven unwound are dust are formless
And the rose is over but where
Labours for ever the weaver of roses?



Kathleen Raine
Selected Poems

Golgonooza Press