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Poetry, passion, pernickerty persusal and gi’s a job

“Gi’s a job”;  (apologies to my North American cousins, I’m about to talk down to you, since I doubt much whether you will understand the argot ) – vernacular for ‘give us’.

NB I blame it on the Vikings, or perhaps King Alfred and the Danelaw for ensuring we have rich dialect in the north of England, most of it incomprehensible to others, a case in point;

“I baint got my kex”… Answers at the bottom of the page.

“Gi’s a deck” .. ditto.

“I got owt to do, I’m skint”..

The hunt for a job isn’t something I thought I’d be undertaking at this point in my life, no, I had innocent dreams of rose planting, herb harvesting, and bread making to the sound of Radio 2, whilst gazing serenely over a spick and span house in the Cotswolds.  Right here, musing at financial ruin almost upon me, I realise that I have exactly all of the above and very much more.  I forgot to ask the Universe for plenty of money, though, yes, I left this off my extensive list of things I wanted. This long ,long list has been ticked and re-ticked so many times that it is almost dust in my hands.  I’ve been fortunate, I’ve lived so fully, I have so much to be thankful for.  Just sometimes, in the deep of the night, I feel a pervasive fear of the potential loss of the family home that walks stealthily alongside redundancy in a recession.

And then the morning comes and I get myself in hand once again, and I lose myself in simple things. This, for example, from Flora Poste of “Cold Comfort Farm” by Stella Gibbons.  On being asked by her PE teacher what she wants from life, she recounts to her friend, Mrs Smiling;

“..well, I was not quite sure, but on the whole I thought I liked having everything tidy and calm all round me, and not being bothered to do things, and laughing at the kind of joke other people didn’t think at all funny, and going for country walks, and not being asked to express opinions about things (like love, and isn’t so –and-so peculiar?).  So then she said, oh, well, didn’t I think I could try to be a little less slack, because of Father, and I said no, I was afraid I couldn’t; and after that she left me alone.  But all the others still said I was no good.”

Oh, well, I suppose that means I should take it easy today, off I go to bake bread.  But all of this levity and merriment in the face of disaster is sometimes a little challenging to pull off when a niggling voice whispers, sneakily, to go on and blame someone, for goodness’ sake!  Shall I point a finger at our Prime Minister (“terrified” he says, of sending his child to a state secondary school), or his Former (merci, Dieu) Number Two, the ridiculous Thunder Bird puppet that is Mr Gove (who calls privately educated children the “rich but thick”)?  You see?  There I go.  It’s so easy for the Ego to hijack any situation and turn it into a big blame fest.

Well I’m just not going to fall for it.  After all, my wardrobe needed thinning out, and she scales have fallen from my eyes in all things e-commerce (I do hope you enjoy your new clothes, girls!). After all,what does it matter when going for a job and looked upon with suspicion because I have too many qualifications?  I take whatever I can, how ever many hours I can physically work, for as long as it takes.  How noble.  And how arch, that sounds.

Here is the rub; I got myself into this.  I created this whole scenario, perhaps unconsciously, but still, I did.  I can’t point a finger at anyone and I don’t want to – don’t three fingers point back at me, if I do?  And anyway, what a waste of energy that is.  It calls to mind that wonderful idiom that goes something like ‘anger is a poison you want someone else to take, but end up drinking it yourself’.

I did this for reasons I thought I would never know.  But I do.  I have the luxury of the time, even in the dead of night, to figure this whole thing out.  And I have.  Can I say the same for my sisters in India, in Calcutta, in Delhi, living from hand to mouth?  Or my African sisters who give their children up for adoption because their whole family is starving?  These things I feel keenly.  These things I have seen with my own eyes.  Who am I to complain?  I live in the West, how lucky for me.  I’m out of a job, in the West.  But I’ll not starve.

I don’t know if it helps you, but I do think that although the barometer of human emotion must be the same for everyone, the chronic nature of pain and misery suffered by those who cannot get any sustenance from anywhere else but their own two hands is something that quiets my sulking mouth, my vituperative tongue, my blaming brain and accusing eyes.

This is the poem which sustains me now;

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the Pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

W.E Henley


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  1. Poetry, passion, pernickerty persusal and gi’s a job | inspirebreathecreate

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