The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde


On sunny days the boat is full of rainbows, thanks to friend John who brought me bits of a disembowelled chandelier

Matt destroys my pontoon

Matt destroys my pontoon

to hang in the windows and make watergaws. On rainy days it is full of rain, despite our recent work on the portholes. Boats and water don’t mix, as any boater knows – so this year’s task is to sort that out. As I type, marina wunderkind Matt is ripping up the rotten pontoon outside. A large and nameless neighbour went through it the other day, so there is much banging and sploshing as a new one is built (pontoon, not neighbour). Friend John drops by to tell me that my new haircut makes me look like Joan of Arc. Thanks John.


Last week it was 24° and I got sunburnt. Today, as I valiantly puffed through misty Macc in woolly hat and gloves, it was 7°. I am forlorn at the prospect of another English winter closing in, without even the memory of a boating summer to sustain me this time. But it has its compensations – autumn winds set Tinker to making lovely creaks which whisper ‘it’s cold out there, but you’re warm in here’. Andrew Rudd left me a little poem about it the last time he came for dinner….


I love the way

the boat

groans in its sleep

as if digesting

a particularly




Photographic artist Valerie Dalling has kindly asked to use one of my poems in an exhibition of her brilliant photos (below) at Derby Hospital. The new über-hospital has an enlightened policy of bringing good and thought-provoking art to all who pass through its corridors. It beats the usual medical approach of ‘you’re all ill anyway, so why expect to enjoy yourself?’

Lake District image by Valerie Dalling

Lake District image by Valerie Dalling

Juggler Dave Jellybean brightened the gloom with a text. ‘Same apartment’ it said, mysteriously. I waited a moment and sure enough a message followed to explain it. ‘Same apartf’ it said. I was about to ring and see if he was having a stroke when a third message came. ‘P’ it said. I decided he was being held hostage and desperately trying to communicate with hands tied, but it seems that his phone was just falling apart. He never explained what the intended message was.


I bought a compilation of the London Review of Books’ famous lonely heart ads. For obvious reasons I like ‘Poet, M, 32. My career demands you break my heart. It also demands you buy all the drinks and have lots of strange sex with me. I’ll give you an acknowledgement in my next volume, so it’s not an entirely unrewarding relationship.’ I also enjoyed ‘Slut in the kitchen, chef in the bedroom. Woman with mixed priorities seeks man who can toss a good salad’, but my favourite is this one: ‘Less Venus in Furs, more Derek in Buxton.’ Less is more, Derek, as the poets say.


One comment on “‘P’

  1. Derek
    October 7, 2008

    Don’t know what to say about that, so I’ll sat nowt.
    PS. will be in Matlock soon!

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on October 4, 2008 by in Writing exercises.
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