11 April 2011

Soup: how they roll

I am to blogging what Bono is to humble pie. Not frequent bedfellows. Sin embargo, in the spirit of Kate Bush, who has re-imagined songs from two of her albums, the blog is going to repost some poems I wrote a few years ago. They continue to amuse me and the Artist, at least.

I've just been re-visiting Nancy Mitford's Love in a Cold Climate via the joys - wait for it - of an audio-book on my ipod. Only three years ago I was delighting in slipping disc after disc into my portable CD player and watching the passers-by whoop and grimace in horror and disbelief (equal amounts). Thanks to itunes I am now able to inhabit the Mitford then whilst traipsing the Scottish now; I am fully modern and laugh out loud as I loll. It reminded me of a sextet of soup-drinkers I wrote about a few years ago, thought it might be time to re-visit them too.

This is the story; six dead writers eat soup. Gore Vidal isn't dead, actually, but he has always kind of acted like an aloof sort of ghost - I mean he isn't the guy you turn to for line-dancing and bourbon, and never was. I also hope he lives forever - it isn't hard to imagine a creaking, sharp-boned Gore intoning and looking markedly disinterested as the world turns. And the rest will do their thing - this, my friends, is how they roll. With soup.

Ted Hughes:

Cracking pepper into
Brothy depths recalls the
Brackish marshy moor;
Here I lie, Nature’s son,
Sucking in soup and my soul
As I gulp it down, barking.

Gore Vidal (no music here, just a ticking clock):

This soup; my endgame, and
America’s last soup, embittered
With corrupt carrots and the
Last aristocrat of the modern
Empire: Me! Cold dish
Clutched in my cold dead hand alone
Except for my close circle of carefully selected famous friends.
I shall never speak of them.

Sylvia Plath:

Suppe, monstrous soup of
My loins and one final meal
Before bed; lead – my head
Swims in it:
Ach suppe,
You really did it this time.

Patricia Highsmith:

As we slice the onion, slicing
By rote – who knows why the knife
Slips to a passing throat,
Ripping the jugular? Tom and
I’ll consult the severed
Head in the handbag, readers.

Nancy Mitford:

, soup-making is
Mindboggling and to top it
All Non-U. I ran a soup
Kitchen in the blitz – utter
Hell, too awful, and the
Clothes too English. Admit.

Edith Sitwell (set to music as yet unwritten):

You’ll remember I make soup
With the hands of a cripple; croup
Dictates these Elizabethan moon-boiled
Poetic talons must not be soiled,
But photographed.
I’m not at all the type to cry
But this soup rankles. Why?