‘So in your silent still small throat …’

By | 1 May 2020

[1]So in your silent still small throat my broken voice may sing. I’d say a mile off the shore is the wind farm. One hundred and sixty eight windmills. I wonder what their sound will be. As they were being hammered into the seabed the pile drivers sent their echoes to the surface of the water. I stood there by the pebbles at the edge of the water on a very cold and still night. The sound was barely audible yet so completely full. It seemed that the sound was coming up from the smooth flat surface of the water – that the smooth flat water was somehow projecting the sound into the still night air. I fell forward in my bed with a gasp and my eyes shot open. By the edge of the tidal flow I watched. We watched as the water found its passages towards the sea. We watched it come back. We were stranded and we were also drowning and we were also breathing and we were also silent. We were also speaking. We were speaking as the water was projecting itself into sound, into the air, into space, into our minds. We were also no longer alive and we were also completely full of life. In fact you and I, we told ourselves, were the life and soul of the party. And so we stepped from room to room, our vast economies, our limitless data. Conversations. Stepping back and forth against the tide. A colossal warning on the beach. People must not come onto the beach from the sea whilst they are alive, unless sanctioned they must first be dead people. We do not speak ill of the dead, or of newborns. It is everyone in the middle we detest. The young know nothing. The middle aged are themselves. The old are stupid and angry. The dead are perfect. We do not speak ill of a tide once receded. The stones and jetsam it leaves behind it. They are its clothes. The discarded. Speaking like “a dotard”. Fire and fury. The sound that rose from the water was so terrifying. You told me that it was the piledriver. Similarly when the tide has totally receded the wreck of the SS Vina comes into view. Its mast pokes through the waves at a high tide. It was left at the outflow, primed to explode, you told me.

The Fleet arrived at Invergordon on Friday, the 13th, and shore leave was given that night. There was some disturbance in the Canteen and several men addressed the other men present on the subject of the reductions in Naval Pay. On Monday, the 14th, the WARSPITE and the MALAYA proceeded to sea to carry out Exercises. On Monday night further meetings and disturbances took place in the Canteen and the men present agreed that the Fleet should not be allowed to go to sea the next day. On Tuesday morning [in some ships] the men fell in when ordered and carried out the normal work of the day and prepared for sea, but in other ships the men refused to fall in.1 Fall in too be as a lost face my tiny voice to sing. Still, small, gut there’ll uh. Assailed laughter slipped across the salt. “We had some drinks, we danced, we kissed, that’s all.” [3]. Arrested on 9 January 1954, in March of that year Pitt-Rivers was brought before the British courts charged with “conspiracy to incite certain male persons to commit serious offences with male persons” or “buggery”. It was the first time this charge had been used in a British court since the trials of Oscar Wilde in 1895 and it led to public criticism that the police were pursuing a McCarthy-like purge of Society homosexuals. [2] The father of participant Jeff Tefft felt he needed to post a letter in a local newspaper disavowing his son. Pearce Tefft says that although he and his family are not racists, once his son’s face and name were posted on social media they became the targets of people upset with his son.3 The distance is non-metrical. The movements beneath your feet. The inclination of the voice to turn back, to give in. The speculation of credibility. The meanings in the bitten tail. The hazardous examples. The set in stone, in stomach. The fact of victim. The fact of aggressor. The proximity of love. The traction of disrepair. The normality of sustain.

The pang of forced closure. The pressure to be. The iconic nature of being alive. The games, e.g. Golf. The analysis of the subject. The descriptions of illness. The testimonial. The cement of disdain. The barrel, the captain, the boson, the peninsula. Being afraid. Being tested. The elegance of the shrapnel. The hyper intelligence of quantified freedoms. Speaking. The endless glib section of the auditorium or of the galley or of the lips smacking together in. Or of the eyelids smacking back and forth, closing with a colossal loudness in the dark. The intrepid pioneer for example. The Royal Air Force used it for target practice leading up to the invasion of Normandy, and in 1944 a gale carried the SS Vina to a sandbar where the hole-covered boat took on water and stayed. [4] The company’s staying power, to give but one example. We gathered at the top of the field and walked. We were unquestioning of our complexion. The skin, for example. What it has given us. Speaking of that us. How uncomfortable you are now. What pain! The plaiting water snaking out through the marsh and the birds that narrowly asses the ground for their landings. The twist of a kind in the stomach. The change in public opinion from pre-op to post-op, to the dead, to in gradients at a fast incline a living face. The violence always in inaction. The wreck loaded with explosives. Things like that.

1† Extracts from a letter to Sir Clive Wigram, Private Secretary to the King from Sir George Chetwode, the Naval Secretary, 16th September 1931 (ADM 178/129)
2† NON
3† NPR
4† NON


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