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The Texts

Sheds 6 x 8 x 6

Angry at the ***** time computers steal



like Railtrack. Angrier with myself for lack



of knowledge. Molested hard drives. Quirky files



cluttering the registry remind me of Le Carre.



I've no loyalty left to give to MS, Amdhal



or Dell. Encrypted online, I visit Siemens and



Linux like a traitor, hankering for Acorn and Sinclair,



when the smell of English plastic promised much, and delivered.



 



While technical supports gloat over phone bills I ring my wife



to explain the situation, the lack of emails, the shed



cut off from the outside world like America, a temporary



structure that seemed a good idea at the time but takes



so much technology and resuscitation to keep it going



I'm getting tired of it, feel like knocking it down.



Then I remember the shed in the film of the nuclear test



and worry about flimsiness, lack of protection, armaments.



 



I watch the shrubs move like dancing women outside



my shed in time to Bach. Through the glass I see



blue *****, a wren, the ducks who spend an hour



on my pond. Gulls laugh on the roof.



In February, beneath the floorboards, I find



a family of hedgehogs blind asleep. I can't resist



disturbing them and seeing if they settle once



again in a cloche of rhubarb, unwilling colonists.



 



A romantic visitor draws a map showing the way



to the best shed in the world. Here be treasure, he says



from his state of smash. A chest sits within it, containing



nothing. This empty hut could be a Castle Perilous



at the heart of a wild wood, pressed hard on all sides



by tourist attractions, camp sites, and pubs serving bbqs.



I'm planning my trip fearful of a thing part natural, part



manufactured, beyond the ken of naturalist or engineer.



 



On my way, I meet an English sports teacher,



a shed in the back of his car en route for Burgenstock.



Coals to Newcastle, I say, thinking of chalets



and the sad tune of my mother's Swiss musical box.



In spite of temperatures fifteen degrees below,



he boasts these British planks survive well enough



on mountains in continental Europe, home to



measuring equipment and downhill competition.



 



Flying home to Gatwick over county boundaries,



over perimeter fences on industrial estates,



seeing sheds, large and small, familiar and painful,



I make a scale model of a new kind of space.



At the threshold of my shed my cat greets me.



Animal bones are scattered round the room. I have



been away too long. It's time for a return.



I find a can of creosote and start to paint.

 
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