Wednesday, 17 June 2009

On the far bank...

The Bathers - José de Almada Negreiros (1925)

I have scrambled out onto the far bank
beyond the detailed auditing of marking
and the careful choreography
of examination board meetings;
the Finalists' barbeque,
dinner with visiting examiners
and meetings with students who have failed.

My mind has been quite empty of anything
other than the day to day requirements of my job.
I reached maximum capacity
and pebbles were tumbling out of the jar.
Yesterday I wondered if I would ever write again.

I tried to remember how I had done it before.
It was difficult to believe that
day after day
the words for posts
had obediently organised themselves
in neat rows
with very little effort.

Today I walked across campus to deliver the agreed marks
clutching the memory stick that represented
months of hard work by so many people.
When I arrived at the building
I could not find my way in.
I walked around the building twice
looking for the entrance
and eventually found a small door.
Then I got lost inside and had to ask
a socked and sandalled Mathematician
to show me the way.
It was a ridiculous end
and I thought...

I should write about this...

22 comments:

Eleanor said...

And I'm so glad you did.

Lynn said...

Alice, I suspect that you could turn even a mundane event such as brushing your teeth or frying an egg into something worth reading. Especially if the egg ended up on one of those stunning blue and white plates...

(Welcome back)

fifi said...

Phew!

For a moment there I thought you were going to tell of some untoward disaster befalling the memory stick!

Now you will enjoy the lovely summer ahead...

kristina said...

Ditto Eleanor and Lynn. K x

anne bebbington said...

And here we all are with the towel waiting for you :o) Sometimes when work is that intense you just have to get your head down and burrow your way through but the feeling of sheer mental exhaustion at the end is totally overwhelming. (ps do you suppose all mathematicians wear socks with their sandals?)

Dragonfly said...

And relax...

driftwood said...

hurray, you made it. sit, rest, drink tea, or even better G&T xox

Emma said...

I'm so glad you got through it. Now it's time to replace some of the smaller, more pleasurable pebbles - the ones that fall out when there's too much going on. Here's to this weekend!

dottycookie said...

I'm glad you're back. Now, can we offer you some tea and cake? We're deep in birthday season here there are a lot of cake and biscuit experiments to be eaten up ...

carolyn said...

Very please to see that you found your way back to The Magpie Files obviously you found getting out of that building easier than getting in!

The Coffee Lady said...

I was worried about you disappearing into a small door. Look what happened to Alice in Wonderland.

RW said...

happy end o' term.

take some time to revive.

revive - that was my word verification.

Gina said...

I'm so glad you decided to write about it too. Good to have you back.

Anonymous said...

Oh, good. I thought it was all my fault that you disappeared. You know, when you start commenting on a new blog and you believe everything you say is SO stupid and meaningless ... that's happened to me. Many times.
Paola

Ali said...

You're back. And all is right with the world (though I must admit, I had doubts when you uttered the words 'memory stick')

Tutta la Storia said...

What Lynn said! (hugs)

Ginnie said...

Must be like riding a bicycle - you never forget. Glad you're back!

BreadBox said...

Hmmm. A lovely story, as always.
Except.
Yes, you mentioned a socked and sandalled mathematician.
And I, neither socked, nor sandalled, wonder.
Would you have said that, two years ago, about a geographer?
Yours, flipflopped,
N.

Anonymous said...

it's probably because the mathematicians need their toes close to hand for complicated sums I expect

blackbird said...

I've been there - no, not the building with the tiny hidden door - but the place where I can't think of what I'll say and then the perfect thing will occur. And then, one must be grateful for the ability to find just the right words to convey it - which you always do.

Poshyarns said...

You found the words so well.

I have been saving myself a week of Magpie posts as my Friday night treat. I knew that I would be alone tonight and all week I have seen the tantalizing titles adding up in my Reader window and with remarkable self-control I have resisted the urge to peak. It's been worth the wait, I settled down with glass of wine, some olives, a super ripe nectarine and my collection of Magpie posts. Thank you Alice.

Paula said...

Here I'm again. Always looking for your next post.Thanks for showing a paint from one of the most talented portuguese painters in xxth century.