Markets are places I don’t visit very often and when I do go, I wonder why I don’t. But even when I remember to go, and am in awe of the cost savings opportunities, I find it hard to actually buy things. I am distracted by the many distractions. The shouts of the traders, the jokes they crack with punters, the ramshackle pricing structure, the feeling that I should be up for a haggle. As much as I am drawn in by it all, I am also repelled. It always seems so foreign. Foreign is not a word I like when applied to countries or people, but I am as unsighted down the road, in the market in the car park of the Southend Shrimpers Football stadium, as I remember being when I first arrived in Delhi. Roots Hall Market feels foreign to me.
I go there so rarely, that I noticed a difference from last time, which was probably last year, or the year before. There were not just the stallholders now; now there are cars, and the contents of the cars, tipped or arranged (depending on the driver’s disposition) on the ground in front of the car. It’s like a car boot sale mashed up with a market. It reminded me of the Hackney Wick market which I went to just once, despite living nearby. The Wick market was huge and intimidating. We bought a radio with no innards. Even now, I can’t see a blue plastic carrier bag without thinking of the Wick market, it was the mode of transport for the goods and the bads de rigueur.
The Wick market is long gone, replaced by the Olympic Park. Roots Hall will go in due course too – the football club is planning a new stadium and Sainsburys have their orange eyes on the site. I would like to get into the market shopping thing a bit more before it is gone forever. In the end, I overcame my nervousness the other day and bought 40 pegs, two tubes of Super Glue (one for glass) an Art Nouveau coffee tin (without a lid) and two books: one by Doris Lessing, the other by Enid Blyton. Total cost £4.30. I forced myself to not buy the Concorde Wedgwood dish, Concorde cutlery, stamped British Airways, and Concorde Royal Doulton side plates. Perhaps it is the hope of finding more British Airways crockery that draws me back. A few years ago I bought four British Airways duck egg blue, china bowls; I’ve only got one left now and, of course at the price, I wish that I’d bought a dozen.
In future, aside from hoping to see some more of those little blue bowls, if I get brave enough, I’d like to take a camera; in the meantime I took a mental snapshot with words, and fiddled it into a haiku.
Cheap seventh-hand books
fingertips, furtling, play spines
On dust, piano
This is a masterpiece, painted 510 years ago. The stillness, yet aliveness of the hare draw me in.
I never make haiku up, I write them direct from an observational moment in life. For me, this hare is the ultimate visual haiku; you couldn’t add to it in words for the last half a millenium, or the next.
Its eyes have a little fierceness to them, but it retains the hunted quality of a prey animal.
I wonder if, some days, I identify?
And, before you know it, you are onto the hard seagull seventeen-syllable gear, imported from Japan.
A seagull pimp rolls
the street, glares at pigeons. Then,
stops, to window shop.
A pigeon hangs tough
Chimney pot dipping, tipping
and fanning his tail
From Luigi FDV’s Flickr photostream here
Sometimes, words are inadequate, or surplus to requirements. I am somewhere between the two at the moment, but I don’t know which. On such occasions, there’s always haiku to turn to; the classical Japanese structure of 5-7-5 syllables is a comforting small space to stuff a passing moment in the wilderness into something that might turn into posterity, or not, it doesn’t matter really.
I’ve left out the part where I was crawling around on my hands and knees in the grass trying to more successfully ‘pap’ the insect wildlife.
Bumble bee topples
over the violet petals
bristling and bulbous
This morning I feel
last night. Grapes, hops, midnight chill…
Hair thick with woodsmoke.
Have strong seasonal and nature-related imagery. There is one about a plum that I love, but I can’t lay my hands on the book my mum bought me just now, so you will have to make do with one I wrote earlier. The Japanese also aim for a change of mood or tone in the last line, something I have not achieved entirely here.
Where winter birds wade,
tide’s salt and brown water wash
the great mud-glossed mouth
I confess today’s theme has been lazily borrowed from the Walking Ollie blog and I don’t even know where to start with the horses today, so I won’t.