Blue Hyacinth

      It's a fading thing here and now....

February 2002

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[ January ]

[ March ]

1 February 2002

The leaves are still bright, sharp and, growing taller. Around the base they are paler. Now the flower is over I keep forgetting to draw the curtains to let in daylight. The bulb sits in the dark all day. It's all just a matter of time now. The blue hyacinth has been, but has not yet gone.

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2 February 2002

Blackened leaves levitate, falling gently upwards from the pavement into the hyacinth sky. Beneath Westminster Bridge the wind has kicked up tiny breakers in its slurried surface.

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3 February 2002

buckets buckets buckets buckets buckets down with rain
on the side dry as sand sand sand sand sand
sits the blue hyacinth flour

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4 February 2002

Blue. Blue Savannah. Blue World. True Blue. Blue Eyes. Behind Blue Eyes. Symphony In Blue. Blue Hotel. Blue Moon. Blue Light. Misty Blue. Small Blue Thing. Blue Monday. Blue Morning, Blue Day. A Blue Hat For A Blue Day. Bullet The Blue Sky. Goodbye Blue Sky. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue.

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5 February 2002

The proprietor of the Pink Tulip nightclub stands in the alleyway, mobile phone still in hand. Across the road a blue neon sign flashes intermittently on the wall of a more popular club. He checks his watch, waiting for the bouncer opposite to slip inside and set off the fire alarms in the rival establishment, just as he has been bribed to.

When it happens the noise insists that there can be no retraction now. The story has already been written and he's just here now to watch it played out. He drops the phone underfoot, stamps to grind it into the pavement and then places the remains in the bin of a neighbouring premises. Across the road clubbers spill out on to the pavements, reeling slightly, tripping on their heels, laughing, squealing, grumbling, cursing.

The glass in the top storey windows blows out, showering those in the road. The DJ sits lamenting in the gutter. His decks are deep inside the building, probably already aflame. The crowd heaves aside a little when someone screams that the corner of the building looks unstable. Soon after this the emergency services arrive and cordon off the whole street.

The manager of The Pink Tulip has already left the vicinity, satisfied with the results. That's the last time for a while that The Blue Hyacinth will have a better week's takings than his own.

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6 February 2002

    H         B U N C H I L Y
    U               H        
    N         B     E        
B I T C H     Y     A        
E             T     T        
L           H E              
A           A                
Y           I                
            L U N C H        
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7 February 2002

While the potted bulb dies back at home new crocuses are lighting up in double yellow lines along the frosted verge. Here and there purple punctuation creeps in as well, perhaps a flaw in the selection process, indelibly inked alongside the road together with the gold.

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8 February 2002

Last night she said:

      So what should we do with it now? Leave it in the light, cut it back, tidy it away. Hide it? We could try feeding it perhaps, build it up again for next year although it's almost certainly gone. It just sits there, it's messy. I can't decide. What do you think?

So I, I turned around:


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9 February 2002

For her birthday he gives her triplet white bulbs in a terracotta bowl — three virginal sisters to replace the brother that died.

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10 February 2002

Her father reads the plaque aloud. Then the little girl runs and hurls herself up into the ruined window alcove of the monks dorter. Her muddied boots crush moss which has been allowed to enthuse over the stones of the monastery since the sixteen century. Her father joins her to look out at the river bank, hauling off her hat and ruffling her hair. In answer to her questions he explains with amusement that, "No, monks didn't generally have daughters," and how this isn't that sort at all. "It was the place where they slept."

Harriet, mutters, "Oh", solemnly and nods, taking it all in.

"What are those daddy?" She points to the small concrete pyramids with flattened tops which form an alien landscape beside the water, the rusted loops still protruding from greened over surfaces.

"They were the last line of defence against Hitler's armies. In the war. They attached chains to those across the river as tank traps. In case there was an attack up the river in amphibious vehicles."

"What? Like frogs?"

Her father laughs. "No, exactly unlike frogs!"

They race each other to the yew tree and marvel at the way the sinews of its trunk have invaded, captured a part of the ruined wall, swarming down and over it time after time, wrapping it round. On the way back to the car they find the bunkers and look those over as well, the space for the larger gun emplacement, the snipers cubby holes. Already small trees and colonising weeds are finding refuge between the hastily mortared bricks of these.

On the way home Harriet seems pensive. She is turning over in her mind how nature works to swallow the landmarks that men have built. Back in their garden she plunges her fists into the moss that lines the hyacinth troughs, pulling out clumps and marvelling at how something so simple, and ancient, will always eventually win.

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11 February 2002

She moves the dead bulb into the patch of sunlight so that it can soak up some of the energy from the light. She doesn't exactly know why she does it. There is no intention to save the bulb for another year. Forced first in water it will be spent once over. She should throw it out now really, she reasons. It makes the place look untidy. But then so do her sons and she's not yet brought herself to kick them out of the house even though they're well past the age when any nurturing by her can save them.

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12 February 2002

Some days are blue days, days when your wings won't fold away right, when no one will wrap you in theirs. Days that are just daze, when everything it was grown for is over even though the leaves are still perky and in search of the light. Perspectives vary. The bulb is half alive. The bulb is half dead. We are unanimously in disagreement over that but then what does it mean. Nothing perhaps?

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13 February 2002

Hyacinth. Unlucky for some. We keep the windows closed all day. Late in the evening everything comes good and we figure out how to open them.

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14 February 2002

The baby hedgehog stops in the shadow of the hyacinth leaves. It's a small, prickly character.

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15 February 2002

I like to forget about the blue hyacinth. Out of sight is out of mind.

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16 February 2002

Each finger crackles dry as dead hyacinth. With a push each one will work.

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17 February 2002

3 a.m: She sees the morning through a blur of blue hyacinth. Doesn't want to stop to see it proper. Or take the time to make it pink. The day is already paned blue. Off and away we go.

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18 February 2002

I'm sick, sick, sick, sick...sick of it. "Aren't you going to cut that off?" he asks. I look at the bloom. It dangles down blankly, darker in death than in life. I can't even be bothered to truncate it so I say something mollatory like, "Oh no, that's all part of it. I'm going to write about that too." But I don't want to look at it. I have no interest. It just sits, sits, sits, sits...sits there.

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19 February 2002

The blue hyacinth is invisible, silent, motionless, intangible, odourless, undetectable, non-contactable, unimaginable and even ineradicable...but it's still there dammit!

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20 February 2002

The Sheriff tipped his hat with the barrel of his gun and looked up from his resting place on the dusty veranda to where the bounty notice fluttered in the wind that seemed to be whipping up as the afternoon wore on.


Rustling and Murder


He kept glancing at his wrist as though somehow, miraculously, Continuity might have failed in their duty and left him some concept of the time. The filming dragged on. He fingered his badge of office. It was all very well being 'in charge around here' but he was little more than knacker's meat really, only slightly higher in the food chain than the horse they'd had to put down following the accident on set last week. The real box-office draw was playing the anti-hero, The Blue Zinth, and the other star in the picture had the role as his own deputy and would, of course, nail the villain in the end, leaving him looking stupid in addition to not having any idea what the time was right now he grumped.

He tried to console himself by deciding which to bed tonight, the diligent continuity girl or the wardrobe assistant. He supposed that it was all very well being a hot-shot heart-throb with dozens of groupies but there were some compensations to being a character actor. His success with the women had never depended upon his age or looks and showed no sign of abating even now that his career was in decline.

The sheriff waited for Zinth to ride into town. When it finally happened they had to cut and film it all over again because his close-up just showed him dreamily lost with a rather self-satisfied smirk on his face.

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21 February 2002

You've taken on a tilt, a bowed existence. There's a curve to your leaves where you strain for the light.

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22 February 2002

The indoor hyacinths are nearly over now. The crocuses are lost, cramped in unco-operative pin-striped clumps. I pray with the snowdrops and narcissi, wait and watch, wondering whether the blind irises will find their blooms or go back to sleep unfulfilled once again this year.

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23 February 2002

Blue hyacinth draw to a close.

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24 February 2002

puce bull-neck protrudes
in filtered light awaiting
craven morning touch

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25 February 2002

She sits with the keeled-over hyacinth flower in the middle of the landing. The wind hits the panes of glass in the upstairs rooms behind her. Downstairs she can hear the same death rattle in their frames going on all around. The wind is actually making its way completely through the house. She pulls her skirts down over her knees and begins to peel off dry blue petals and collect them there.

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26 February 2002


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27 February 2002

We ran down each morning, under periwinkle skies, to see if they had returned. We were water off a duck's back, our fingers fat as butter on the latch of the gate to make it out down the lane to go and see. By dusk, when the great dark clouds had inked everything over to the hue of dead hyacinth, we reluctantly crept back through the garden and into our own kitchen, empty-handed.

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28 February 2002

This is a third-hand account, rather poorly remembered....She wore a grey beret and a calm heart. Her leaves fell in his water. His twisted vines clung to her arms. There was a bonfired stupor of sweetest blue which flew like a bird and sang a shower of embers into their journey. The sky emerged from a ship and a field flowed out of the hills. There was lightness, smoke and water...that, at least, I do remember really well.

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