A sturdy stockman’s cane, made of ash, octagonal in cross-section, with a rather large crook, the kind of stick used to prod unwilling cattle into a pen or up a chute.
Tag Archives | memory
Walks become botanising expeditions to an internal litany of names. Heal-all, toad flax, cranesbill; yarrow, tansy; a rare moth mullein, the ubiquitous birdsfoot trefoil. When a name escapes, the thing has escaped and the world is lessened until the name is recalled, rehearsed, fixed again in place.
The Third Epistle of John, the shortest book in the New Testament, is tucked away in a sort of water meadow between the towering peaks of St. Paul’s dialectical masterpieces and the terrifying bog of Revelations.
I have only now learned of the death, over a year ago, of Fr. James Coutts, former vicar of St. Mary’s, Monmouth. The news brings a rush of memories of a most gentle and saintly man, and a reminder of a debt.
I’ve reached an age when anything accomplished invites the pleasingly macabre thought that it might be the last, and it is with something of this feeling I publish my new book.
The methods and the tools would have been recognisable to Gutenberg and Caxton. Slugs and leading, furniture and quoins, composing sticks, a small hand-cranked platen press for proofs, a big motor-driven one (ker-plunk, ker-plunk) for print runs.