Spectacles. Essential poetic accoutrements. Just try to imagine the bank manager-ness of T S Eliot without his classic horn-rims, or Librarian Larkin without a pair of half-moons to peer over. Of course, they don’t work for everybody – Dylan Thomas’ carefully crafted wildman image was one of unbespectabiliy which would have suffers had he sported a set of swotty specs, and punks like John Cooper Clarke made sure that their face-furniture was shaded and inscrutable. But in general, our glasses are the windows to the windows to our souls.
This week’s workshop was typically clear-eyed. Martin Choules had a gleam in his eye as he compared Hounslow’s present doldrums with its glorious past, followed by Marilyn Keenan musing on the daily crepuscular transition, complete with arabesque and salty lighthouse. Notions of evil and its effect on us were being eyed-over by Clare Chitan, and Owen Gallagher gave some career advice to a pair of enterprising young tearaways. Finally, Alan Chambers cast his mind’s eye to a songful morning on the water.
According to the Pitshanger archives, a good pair of lenses were in much need the night Lewis Carroll visited in 1870. He had a new poem he was keen to present, but alas he had forgotten his pince-nez. Struggling with his cramped handwriting, he was clearly stumbling over his words as he garbled them into ‘brillig’, ‘mimsy’ and ‘borogoves’. It of course made his meaning into complete nonsense, but one wonders what he might have meant to say.