Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Walking Cure

It's a boon being bipedal; it wouldn't be much fun having to hop everywhere, and I imagine being three legged would (although efficient in an ungainly way) produce much derision from the fag smokers outside pubs.

The walking cure's the thing. Speech and walking are similar in their cadences. Many's the happy drunken hour I've spent stomping the streets to Hamlet's Greatest Hits or Yeats coming over all grandiloquent. Some people call it pub crawling, but I see a more elevating aspect to this pursuit of the kebab shop.

If I hadn't hiked so far and sat on so many park benches contemplating beds of geraniums while staring at the moon the world would be a poorer place.

This is one of my favourites:

As I Walked Out One Evening

As I walked out one evening,
Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
Were fields of harvest wheat.

And down by the brimming river
I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
"Love has no ending.

"I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street,

"I'll love you till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
Like geese about the sky.

"The years shall run like rabbits,
For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
And the first love of the world."

But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
"O let not Time deceive you,
You cannot conquer Time.

"In the burrows of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
And coughs when you would kiss.

"In headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
To-morrow or to-day.

"Into many a green valley
Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
And the diver's brilliant bow.

"O plunge your hands in water,
Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
And wonder what you've missed.

"The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.

"Where the beggars raffle the banknotes
And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,
And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,
And Jill goes down on her back.

"O look, look in the mirror?
O look in your distress:
Life remains a blessing
Although you cannot bless.

"O stand, stand at the window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
With your crooked heart."

It was late, late in the evening,
The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
And the deep river ran on.

W.H. Auden

Try it next time you've been on the piss and crave carbohydrate sustenance. It might get you arrested or punched, but it might just get you the girl.


Madame DeFarge said...

I'm not sure that I will embrace grooving to the Beat Poets, but walking is a cure for many ills. Fresh air and clear thinking. Works wonders. Or works wanders.

KAZ said...

Rather strange that Auden didn't mention the kebab shop.

Jimmy Bastard said...

Walking in tis beautiful country of which we both share my friend, is one of the greatest joys that a man can have without either sex or alcohol to hand.

MJ said...

I'm craving poutine as we speak.