Feb '12 27
I rescued this poem from Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt (p115) and Secret Wisdom – Occult societies and arcane knowledge through the ages by Ruth Clydesdale (p148).

Note: 'jakes' is pronounced 'jacks'. It's an old Irish slang word for 'toilet'.

Asylum renovations

Her alchemy torments the planets,
his philosophy:
sour sweepings
from desperate universal truths pamphlets;
the lunatics, understanding divinity, drink hard.
        teihr wolrd reraangred
their asylum
they throw themselves reality
bake     flour       bake
pints         drink                 pints
now, drinking champion
bring the loaf of science
bring the pint of politics
Copernicus is in the jakes:
you’re the astronomer.

Posted by Jennifer Liston

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  1. Jen says:

    *I'd be very interested in hearing interpretations of this strange little rescue-ee! ;-)

  2. Mike says:

    *Fascinating. I'll have to ponder it for a while before giving you an interpretation. Well done. Loved "Angela's Ashes". The Clydesdale book sounds like the sort of book they pull out on "Spicks and Specks", and get their guest to sing the words.

  3. Jen says:

    *Thanks Mike!... and yeah, 'Angela's Ashes' was a great read wasn't it? My mother grew up in Limerick so we knew the places he mentioned. There was quite a backlash against him from Limerick people because he showed up a lot of unfavourable attitudes. I went to a talk he (Frank McCourt) gave and he emphasised that the book was a memoir - his impressions of how things were - rather than an autobiography - how things actually were. An interesting distinction.

    Maybe we could do a spot of poetry singing at Poetica!

  4. Mike says:

    *I've spent a bit of time in Limerick over the years. My mother is from North Kerry, and I have an aunt in Limerick, whom we always used to visit on the drive over to Kerry. She used to live in Thomas Street, opposite O'Maras Pig Factory - I can still hear the squeals and smell the pigs! Later she moved to Mulgrave Street, near (I think) St. Joseph's hospital.

    Limerick got a bad rap over the years, it didn't start with Frank McCourt, I don't think. "Knife City" was what the Dubs used to call it. No doubt it deserved some / a lot of it.

    As for poetry singing, what did you have in mind? And are you a soprano or alto?

  5. Jen says:

    *Haha, yes, very bad PR. 'Stab City' was the moniker. I think that even made it into the Lonely Planet Guide!

    Hmmmm, I didn't really have anything particular in mind when I wrote 'poetry singing'. But maybe we could make something up and establish a new genre. Oh wait, there's rap already! I think I'm somewhere in between; probably less soprano and more alto. Listen to this and you can decide: http://soundcloud.com/thekrakafaktri/the-krakafaktri-feat-jennifer-liston-serenity-now


  6. Jen says:

    *PS ....and isn't it a small world that we're talking about Limerick on the other side of the planet (where neither of us is from originally!). That's gas!

  7. Mike says:

    *Very "Enya". I like it. You are truly an all-rounder aren't you. How did you do the backing?

    You might have enjoyed the gig I went to last night at the Wheatsheaf. Max-Mo. Mike Ladd and Amelia Walker with backing band, and some Jude Aquilina thrown in. Love it.

  8. Jen says:

    *Aw thank you... although I don't necessarily want to be Enya-ish! I've been collaborating with a DJ/guitarist/production guy who calls himself the Krakafaktri... he comes up with some hooks and puts down the track then I come up with a vocal line and the lyrics. Even though I've always been a muso myself (keys) I've usually only done backing vocals, so this was my first foray into front-of-house! Hoping to do more with him.

    I would have LOVED to have gone to that gig, sounds like a great line-up. We had a 13th birthday to host, however, so I couldn't have made it. Were there many at it?

  9. Mike says:

    *There was a decent crowd. Smallish venue. Maybe 50, but high quality! I went on my own, but I found myself sitting at a table with Mike Ladd, Jude Aquiliana, Jules-Leigh Koch, Raechel Mead and her husband Andrew. Lovely company, if a bit daunting! Also ran into a few people I hadn't seen for some time, so I was really glad I went.

    Great to have that collaboration thing going with yer man. Very impressive.

    Here's a musical foray I did a few elections ago. You might just be able to pick out my voice amongst the basses:


  10. Robert says:

    *Someone has just left for the stars but I can't for the life of me work out who!!

  11. Mike says:

    *O.k. so this is my theory, and my theory is this:

    There is a 'lunatic asylum', as they used to be called. There are 3 inmates: 'Drinking Champion', 'Copernicus' and an unnamed woman. Copernicus has a stomach upset and is in the gents. The asylum's security system is being upgraded. They are in a role playing therapy session, playing roles of baker and publican and astronomer. Because Copernicus is indisposed, its 'Drinking Champion's turn to be astronomer.

    Marks out of 10 for reductionism?

  12. Jen says:

    *Nice work, both of you... both equally plausible. I ain't too fussed about the interpretation! ;-)

    As for your Howardz End venture, Mike, well done! Yep I'm sure I could hear you.

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