From The Emperor to the Poet and the Woodlouse…

Free Association Football

So this is a little game I play with myself, where I let my mind spiral out in mental fractals, with what ever takes my fancy…

I find a springboard and then hitch a wave and surf the google oracle…

I’ll share with you my starting point and finished (for now…) point… and you can make your own guesses as to how I got from one to the other…

Though… If you think you know the route, then let me know :D as often I don’t remember…

So… here’s one to kick you off…

I wonder how I got…


IV The Emperor (c) Jordan Hoggard 2010
IV The Emperor (c) Jordan Hoggard 2010


The Poet and the Woodlouse.

Algernon Charles Swinburne.

Said a poet to a woodlouse — ‘Thou art certainly my brother;
I discern in thee the markings of the fingers of the Whole;
And I recognize, in spite of all the terrene smut and smother,
In the colours shaded off thee, the suggestions of a soul.‘Yea,’ the poet said, ‘I smell thee by some passive divination,
I am satisfied with insight of the measure of thine house;
What had happened I conjecture, in a blank and rhythmic passion,
Had the aons thought of making thee a man, and me a louse.‘The broad lives of upper planets, their absorption and digestion,
Food and famine, health and sickness, I can scrutinize and test;
Through a shiver of the senses comes a resonance of question,
And by proof of balanced answer I decide that I am best.

‘Man, the fleshly marvel, alway feels a certain kind of awe stick
To the skirts of contemplation, cramped with nympholeptic weight:
Feels his faint sense charred and branded by the touch of solar caustic,
On the forehead of his spirit feels the footprint of a Fate.’

‘Notwithstanding which, O poet,’ spake the woodlouse, very blandly,
‘I am likewise the created,— I the equipoise of thee;
I the particle, the atom, I behold on either hand lie
The inane of measured ages that were embryos of me.

‘I am fed with intimations, I am clothed with consequences,
And the air I breathe is coloured with apocalyptic blush:
Ripest-budded odours blossom out of dim chaotic stenches,
And the Soul plants spirit-lilies in sick leagues of human slush.

‘I am thrilled half cosmically through by cryptophantic surgings,
Till the rhythmic hills roar silent through a spongious kind of blee:
And earth’s soul yawns disembowelled of her pancreatic organs,
Like a madrepore if mesmerized, in rapt catalepsy.

‘And I sacrifice, a Levite — and I palpitate, a poet;—
Can I close dead ears against the rush and resonance of things?
Symbols in me breathe and flicker up the heights of the heroic;
Earth’s worst spawn, you said, and cursed me? look! approve me! I have wings.

‘Ah, men’s poets! men’s conventions crust you round and swathe you mist-like,
And the world’s wheels grind your spirits down the dust ye overtrod:
We stand sinlessly stark-naked in effulgence of the Christlight,
And our polecat chokes not cherubs; and our skunk smells sweet to God.

‘For He grasps the pale Created by some thousand vital handles,
Till a Godshine, bluely winnowed through the sieve of thunderstorms,
Shimmers up the non-existent round the churning feet of angels;
And the atoms of that glory may be seraphs, being worms.

‘Friends, your nature underlies us and your pulses overplay us;
Ye, with social sores unbandaged, can ye sing right and steer wrong?
For the transient cosmic, rooted in imperishable chaos,
Must be kneaded into drastics as material for a song.

‘Eyes once purged from homebred vapours through humanitarian passion
See that monochrome a despot through a democratic prism;
Hands that rip the soul up, reeking from divine evisceration,
Not with priestlike oil anoint him, but a stronger- smelling chrism.

‘Pass, O poet, retransfigured! God, the psychometric rhapsode,
Fills with fiery rhythms the silence, stings the dark with stars that blink;
All eternities hang round him like an old man’s clothes collapsed,
While he makes his mundane music — AND HE WILL NOT STOP, I THINK.’

HTML edition by Ray Davis, free for any use

The Nature of the Monkey is Irrepressible…


It’s around a year ago now, that I decided to go back to art… though now, I realise that I’d not actually really left it, more mislabeled it…

So… It’s been an almost daily practice to get out a sketchpad, there’s been the odd day here or there where it’s been skipped but a couple of weeks ago, I went a whole eleven days without putting pen or pastel to paper… eleven days!

And it put me into such a tailspin! See… I had it in mind that I’d gone from 1985 until 2012 without drawing… and I panicked! I thought sh*t! I’m 44 and 3/4 that’s way too old to take another 27 year gap year… I may never draw again… and the more I fretted the worse it got! I put myself into paralysis until I could bear myself no more and thought – get a grip! that’s the most pathetic whiny crap I’ve ever heard! Never draw again you idiot! Just pick your pad and pastels up…

So… the Mandrill appeared…

My dear old husband found it all most amusing and he laughed at my pastel portrait and followed me around the house saying – Ah! Karen! My Monkey! The nature of the monkey is irrepressible hahaha…

Which made me laugh but then to be fair… most things do… but it also brought back memories of my first masterpiece…

So… from tailspin to tale spin…

So… again about a year ago… I’m sat with my sister having a conversation and up pops this tale from my very early days…

She said to me – you’ll never guess what I was thinking of the other day… remember when you drew all over the bedroom walls?

I said – yes! funnily enough I do, it also came to my mind a few days ago…

But turns out, I’d only remembered half of it… this half…

It was a summer’s evening and me and her shared a bedroom and we’d been sent to bed pretty early by today’s standards but probably a pretty average time for early 70s… what ev’… anyway.. It was way too light to sleep… And I had found a black biro.

I took this biro in my little hand and started to draw… birds and trees and houses and people and on and on and on it went with me chitter, chatter, chitter, chatter as I went and telling such a tale to my younger sister and yeah… on and on and on I went… until I had covered every last bit of paper I could reach. I’d climbed on the furniture and stretched as far as I could stretch until I ran out steam and flopped into bed to sleep happily exhausted.

I woke in the morning and I was elated with what I saw sprawled in all directions in black ink…

Not so much my mother! And while we’re on the subject of monkeys… I think it’s fair to say she went apesh*t 😀

I said to my sister – Oh! I got such a beating for that! But worse was what happened next… For the next week or so… every time there was a visitor to the house, I was dragged up those stairs for a walk of shame and to be tut tutted at…

My sister said to me – but don’t you remember what happened next?


So… here’s the half she reminded me of…

We got sent to Fred’s….

Oh… vaguely… oh… yes! yes I do! How could I forget that? Fred was our one legged Bible wielding Granddad… A booming voice that started most sentences with – Now then my girl.. then insert what ever bible quote you like… I’ve heard them all! He was a uniform toting member of the Salvation Army and for a group who preach temperance, they are pretty militant 😀

So… I said – Yeah… we got sent to Fred’s while the room was redecorated… So?

When we got home? yeah?


The big floral wallpaper?

Oh! Yeah! It was upside down! Yeah! I remember walking through the door now and being told – Right! You keep this room tidy now! No more drawing? What do you think?

I said to my sister – oh! I got another beating for saying it was upside down! 😀

She said – No… Karen! That was NOT what you got the beating for… That was met with dumbfounded silence… What you got the beating for was for standing there with your hands on your hips and your chin up in the air and saying…