Bats, by D. H. Lawrence

I was recently on holiday in Katoomba where I found an anthology of poems called “The Poet’s Voice”. Printed in the 30s and edited by John Garrett and W. H. Auden, it contained, amongst others, the following poem by D. H. Lawrence.

While I rather liked the poem, especially the description of bats as “Swallows with spools of dark thread”, I felt I couldn’t let the opportunity pass to speak up in defence of an animal that I’m rather fond of, having become accustomed to their presence in the parks around Melbourne.

So, here is D. H. Lawrence’s poem, which will be followed in short order by my response.

At evening, sitting on this terrace,
When the sun from the west, beyond Pisa, beyond the mountains of Carrara
Departs, and the world is taken by surprise …
When the tired flower of Florence is in gloom beneath the glowing
Brown hills surrounding …
When under the arches of the Ponte Vecchio
A green light enters against stream, flush from the west,
Against the current of obscure Arno …
Look up, and you see things flying
Between the day and the night;
Swallows with spools of dark thread sewing the shadows together.
A circle swoop, and a quick parabola under the bridge arches
Where light pushes through;
A sudden turning upon itself of a thing in the air.
A dip to the water.
And you think:
“The swallows are flying so late!”
Dark air-life looping
Yet missing the pure loop …
A twitch, a twitter, an elastic shudder in flight
And serrated wings against the sky,
Like a glove, a black glove thrown up at the light,
And falling back.
Never swallows!
The swallows are gone.
At a wavering instant the swallows gave way to bats
By the Ponte Vecchio …
Changing guard.
Bats, and an uneasy creeping in one’s scalp
As the bats swoop overhead!
Flying madly.
Black piper on an infinitesimal pipe.
Little lumps that fly in air and have voices indefinite, wildly vindictive;
Wings like bits of umbrella.
Creatures that hang themselves up like an old rag, to sleep;
And disgustingly upside down.
Hanging upside down like rows of disgusting old rags
And grinning in their sleep.
Not for me!

Reading:Cultural Amnesia” – Clive James
Listening:Ocean Of You” – The Blackeyed Susans

Red Lobster

Now I knew of David McLauchlan’s tireless work behind the camera, and his marvellous record of the Melbourne poetry scene that airs on Channel 31 on Thursday nights. For one thing, it’s hard to miss a chap with a proper TV camera asking you to sign release forms after you’ve read.

However, it took a conversation with a colleague at work who saw me on the show (I can’t get Ch. 31 where I live), followed with more talking to fellow poets to discover that not only does the show have a website, but the website has video! He recently put up the Candy Stripes gig that I was part of and you can see it there, along with a bunch of others, some of which include me and a plethora of other magnificent poets.

Red Lobster. Channel 31, Thursdays at 11:30pm or see the website!!

Reading:Cultural Amnesia” – Clive James
Listening:Strategy” – Something For Kate

Short piece

Last night, I dreamt
the sea shaped by hurricanes;
each wave a shark’s tooth.

Actually, dear readers, while I’m enjoying putting this up in the name of new content I’d appreciate not only feedback but grammatical correction if it’s required. I’m not 100% certain that I have it right.

Reading:Cultural Amnesia” – Clive James
Listening:The Point Of It All” – Amanda Palmer

Candy Stripes @ The Candy Bar

Tim Hamilton reading at Candy Stripes
Tim Hamilton reading at Candy Stripes

Well, I had an excellent evening being part of a great performance at the Candy Bar on last Thursday night. Anthony O’Sullivan (of Spinning Room fame) was an excellent host as per usual, presiding over an enthusiastic turnout.

I was grateful to find that I was opening as it meant I would be less stressed and could enjoy the show in its entirety. This was handy as, apart from Josephine, I had seen little to no of my co-stars previously, knowing them only by reputation, and was able to enjoy their work with fresh ears.

The set list for me was: If Poetry, Mokita, Ballard Days, Eulogy for the Cassette, Eulogy for the Polaroid, Tomorrow’s Ghosts, Concerto in B-Flat for Piano and Phlegm and I finished with XXI – The World

If the night made anything clear to me, it was that I really need to learn how to perform without my notes! Apart from seeing some marvellous performances being done by people who were free of having to look at paper every couple of seconds, it felt a lot better being able to concentrate purely on what I was saying without having to read at the same time.

Photos of the night were taken by Michael Reynolds, who has kindly shared them to the world on this link.

Overload this year produced something of a record for me. Five gigs in one week I think is something of a record in the decade-and-a-bit that I’ve been attending and reading in open stage gigs. By the time Sunday’s closing event rolled around, I was too tired to attend. Hats off the Overload organising committee for bringing in festival number seven!

Carmen Main, Ian McBryde and Jennifer Harrison @ Spinning Room

A well attended night in Prahran saw the Spinning Room play host to three of Melbourne’s finest poets performing.

Recent returnee from abroad, Carmen Main opened the feature half of the evening, effortlessly demonstrating how she won this spot in a competition held a few months prior.

Jennifer Harrison and Ian McBryde read in tandem for what was to be a joint feature, taking turns with a fluidity that gave the feel of a single poem read in alternating parts. Columbine’s voice mixing with the whispers of an innamorato (perhaps Harlequin?). Masks, make-up and antique books added some lovely theatrical elements to their already wonderful performance.

Reading:Cultural Amnesia” – Clive James
Listening:Transmission” – Joy Division

Tim Hamilton @ Candy Stripes

Candy Stripes, part of the 7th Overload Festival
Candy Stripes, part of the 7th Overload Poetry Festival

I will be performing at Candy Stripes, a one-off gig as part of the Melbourne poetry festival, Overload. Along with me will be Josephine Rowe, Benezra, Jess Friedmann and Felix Nobis!

What: Candy Stripes
Who: Tim Hamilton, Jess Friedmann, Josephine Rowe, Felix Nobis & Benezra with your most marvellous MC, Mr. Anthony O’Sullivan.
Where: Candy Bar, 162 Greville St., Prahran
When: 8-10pm, Thursday 7th August, 2008.
How: much? $10 ($7 concession) entry.
Why: I’m featuring! My fellow features are made entirely of awesome! We’re reading in a really good place! It’s part of the Melbourne Showcase series for the Overload Melbourne Poetry Festival!!

Poetry at the Dan O’Connell

Had a marvellous gig on Saturday afternoon, thanks to everyone who showed. Had a rather good turn up, forced myself to read things that I usually don’t, aired a couple of relatively new poems. In short, I pretty much did everything I hope to for a feature gig. New stuff, fresh old stuff, entertain the crowd.