Thursday 19 March 2009

Change: How Turtles Turn

The preferred English method is one leg at a time, say every ten years, each leg elastically stretched backwards over the head for as long as possible, just to make sure. Actually, it’s agony, but it’s kindly intended to reassure those parts of the turtle that never wanted to turn in the first place that nothing’s really changed. Intellectually, it’s one way to express notional fairness to both sides.

But turtles could do far more than turn. Poems on the Underground, launched in 1986 by Judith Chernaik, brings poetry to London Transport. On a great working day with archdeaconry colleagues, I spotted this, from her collection Carnival of the Animals:

Under the mottled shell of the old tortoise
beats the heart of a young dancer.

She dreams of twirling on table-tops
turning cartwheels,
kicking up her heels at the Carnival ball.

“Oh, who will kiss my cold and wrinkled lips,
and set my dreaming spirit free?”

And, on St Joseph the Worker’s Day, still on the subject of change management, I see somebody the other side of the pond has been plotting the demise of a very dangerous, if influential, candidate for high office:


Anonymous said...

I remember poems on the underground! I was working in Parliament in the mid-1980s. It was an interesting feature, coming as it did in the midst of the Thatcher era there.

Anonymous said...

nice post, good video

Alastair said...

the turtle reminds me of -

"like a mighty tortoise
moves the church of God
brothers (sisters) we are walking
where we've always trod"

berenike said...

St Joseph the Worker is on the 1st of May (easy to remember). The 19th is St Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Bishop Alan Wilson said...

Thanks to all — Not being RC I don't of course Joseph the worker on 1 May, but follow ancient practice of celebrating SS Philip and James that day. On a kindred topic, I wonder how long it will take Apple Computer to claim St Joseph of Cupertino as their patron?

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