A is for architecture, advance warning and for arbres abroad, where chateau grounds now house contemporary sculpture much at odds with its surroundings.

Crude stone tablets attached to trees, a Scandinavian dwelling overlooking the lake where two bright orange forms break the surface and the garden designer's intricate plan.

A circle of stone on the edge of a lawn next to the bluebell wood. The rocks' positions in the circle do not match the postcard I bought. Things have moved, have been changed.

Wind through corn, metal windmills against the sun. Swifts picking flies off the surface of the water.


In the converted barns, clean abstract canvasses, mostly with all gesture and traces of activity removed. How welcome the scrawled and busy drawings later on, the scribbled and textured lozenge bottom left in a later work.

The surprising finds in an English bookshop in a French market town: Canadian and American poets; small press fiction from the sixties; and a book of interviews with contemporary artists, some of whom I know, which I missed on my first visit.

The paddling pool in the shade, towels drying in the sun.

A rainbow over the creek.


Reading the handwriting, I do not recognise the author. What did I mean by that? This conjunction is not correct; this hardly makes a sentence.

Death mask or merely a blindfold? Grubby rags tied too tight, putrid flesh a broken moon. A sense of overstretched religious metaphor and heartfelt incantation. This is the mystery, this is the sound of a burning-out machine. We seem to have stepped outside history and tripped over mild hysteria.

I am banging a nail into my head, a stake through my heart, am piercing the glass of milk with a straw. So many myths and fake assurances, casually used signs. Life now is mainly about technique, manipulation and possession.
Oh how I long to howl. And bite the hand that feeds my vivid imagination.

I am like a knot unravelling.


I am not going down this road. I recognise the lines dividing one side from the other and anyway the machinery is broken.

I need my fiction. Warm air blows from the vents of the hospital.

Perhaps it is paranoid but I am not comfortable sharing so much imaginary traffic. Don't ask me for directions. I will only point at something behind me or a sign-post you have already seen. Listen to the Doppler of the ambulance.

I want to go home but not the present one.


Hide and run. Always look left then right. Making things up does not help.

A is for anything you want it to be. Even this late sunshine, overdue since June and sprung on us now we've come over all autumnal.

Yesterday we watched the sun go down and the tide come up at a nearby beach, as the waves washed another sandcastle away. We will never see their like again.

I note that A is for autumn too. The apples are not ripe yet.

Always use the marked crossing. Don't cross the white line.


Since you insist, A is also for abstraction, a wall around the orchard and the enchanted happenings of ampersands. I presume it is now possible to progress: 'Dear Sir, we simply cannot refrain from becoming gerund.'

I see you at your desk tightening the knot and realise I am a glutton if I give enough. You must be some sort of Adam, eating the best animals first. Please tell me if you feel sick and I will arrange for a doctor's assistant.

Soon I will be bellied in the aching embrace of a whale. Fetch the harpoons! We must resist though we are fruitless. This is not a fiction.

I compare my situation favourably with the night. In here I am moving usefully back towards the Arctic. We have turned back the clock as best as we are able.


The leaves are turning according to routine. I follow each vein through its book of hours to the edge where it passes into nothing.

Whatever is going to happen is already stiffening towards winter. Happening is relative.

Warm hands corrupt every tree. The sun is a vast orange dream on the periphery of something bigger.

I am finished with scary stories. Against new masonry we re-erect the old rampart of bones.


The line pretending to be a line is a grass snake. It scared us on the way home then disappeared up a tree. We went online and checked it wasn't an adder.

A lion pretending to be a lion knows its power and place. I have the utmost respect and sympathy; then I turn and run. The antelope in the opening poem is not so lucky, but then it is a natural prey. Isn't the world a hard place to be?

The porous poem lets meaning seep away until only the words remain.

A is for and & ampersand, for all that is.

         Rupert Loydell & Nathan Thompson 2009