Richard Caddel : The Very Best Of
"Rivers of Babylon" : Boney M
for the Society for the Preservation of Rural EnglandI want to be as dull and barefaced
as the billhook in that hedger's
shaking hands: also as dangerous
and heavy. Nothing
can resist us today, rain-
water's so intoxicating and good.
Thorn! Ash! Dogrose!
Faltering heart's colours fading with the years.
Philips BF 1473:
"The sun ain't gonna shine anymore" : Walker Brothers
to Kenneth Clark, Radovan Karadzic and Martin WebsterThe baby was truth. When the song stopped
we saw her helpless on the
diving board. You were there,
remember, offering photos of her,
asleep, to the staggered crowd.
I got all breathless, trying to show them
the backs, where you'd typed "FURY"
"IGNORANCE" "MALICE" and "CONTROL".
Atlantic K 10827:
"Daddy Cool" : Boney M
to the Department of Education and EmploymentTo forget more than you ever knew
is no joke. The skaters
push out past last summer's
trees' leftovers, but do
fancywork, no straight lines.
Even now winter sun
may catch them, beautiful
ignorant shadows cast on fish in ice.
Epic EPC 4955:
"Knowing me knowing you" : Abba
in Cambodia, in KosovoAmoral and apolitical silly
seeks ditto, divine: must be
"docile and passive", unable
to pervert language.
O never teach me to understand:
my sick children's gaze -
years laid waste -
and we have made all this -
Panic NIC 2:
"War Baby" : Tom Robinson Band
to the Department of TransportKnowing who I come home to, trust
and the fighting continues. A small
wayside shrine will be lost
under the new road, our children
breathe perverted air. Government
shrug, you can't make an incentive
omelette, we can only walk
where we may. It's you. It's me. It's us.
Ember EMBS 261:
"Wichita Linesman" : Glen Campbell
in absentiaDear Flower, it's lonely here
only the ceaseless drip
keeps me from you.
I wire you:
stomp on that Chinese sage
saying how leaves feel good
Virgin VS 612:
"Karma Chameleon" : Culture Club
homage to Glen BaxterThey agreed it was a country of immense proportions
which seemed to move as the sun and clouds
passed over it. They agreed it was
a gila monster of immense
proportions which seemed to move
as the brushwood moved around it. They agreed
it was a politician of immense proportions
which seemed to move
"Bright Eyes" : Art Garfunkel
to the Department of the EnvironmentWe mask emotion.
City centre dusk,
London HL 10046:
"River deep and mountain high" : Ike & Tina Turner
for AnnThe message is old, and disregards
ache and frustration. I tear it,
post half, throw the other, bottled,
in the sea. It floats
over oceans, islands, jungles,
is misread by sailors and police,
but still beats the posted bit.
Forgotten what I wrote. You read. It's true.
Not all of the popular songs referred to are admired by the author. Some of the poems appeared long ago in magazines such as Atlantic Review, Chock and Divan.
Richard Caddel reading at Morden Tower, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1975, photo © David James 1998,1999
Richard Caddel forsook a classical viola training and played briefly, cathartically, with a Tyneside band called Snarlpantry in the early 1970s. He has spent the rest of his life as a librarian. He is the editor of Pig Press, and the author of three collections of poetry including Larksong Signal (1997), and editor of Basil Bunting: Complete Poems (1994). You can read Richard Caddel's Introduction to the Centenary Edition of Basil Bunting's Collected Poems in issue # 10 of Jacket magazine.
J A C K E T # 6
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