Thursday, 4 June 2009

tim turnbull

it should come as no surprise that tim turnbull is a bit of a favourite in our house. so here's this from stranded in sub-atomica which, along with caligula on ice, people should run out and buy. one slight problem tho is that the page doesn't reflect tim's treacle thick yorkshire accent or delivery. he doesn't speak like this because he's not a wee lassie but it's round about there (and it was the first one of youtube).

i'm aware that simon armitage's poetry has caused some discussion in these environs. as such, and thanks tim, here's this.... (if it's not immediately obvious tim turnbull did used to work in forestry)


Simon Armitage has his own chainsaw,
a bobby-dazzler with a bright orange flex.
He uses it to cut his pampas grass down
every year, which does rather suggest

he's never had to struggle up a bank side
laden like a mule with a canthook, tool-kit,
hammer, wedges, fuel and a Husqvarna
262, through brash up to his armpits

until he's found the face and had a fag
watched the rising sun, stripped to the waist
and yo-yoed the saw into crackling life.
Or stamped down the leaf litter at the base

of a hundred-and-twenty-foot Douglas fir,
smelt cat piss and turps from the first day's cut
and felt the hungry saw pull, trimming up.
I can't think he's checked the sweep of the butt

and the lean of the pole before he carved the gob.
And he won't have fought the gyroscopic thrust
of the engine and juddering Oregon chain
or snatched lever, shouldered up and pushed

as the tree sat back, grabbed hammer and wedge
and heard the valley echo with the ring
of steel on steel and felt his muscles knot
and felt the tree yield as he drove the wedge right in.

I'll hazard he hasn't heard the creaking hinge
and rushing air as six tons of timber and branch
come roaring, like a train crash, to the ground.
And done this ten or twelve times before lunch.

I don;t suppose he's set his bar in a stump vice,
straddled the baking saw, sun on his back
and stroked with a three-sixteenths round file
to make each cutter bright and sharp, in fact

I bet his teeth are black where all the chrome's
peeled off. I bet his chain is slack and blunt.
Yeah, Armitage has a glorified hedge trimmer
and he thinks it's a chainsaw.


Rachel Fox said...

I thought you didn't like rhyme...

Rachel Fox said...

Or is that just doing it yourself, as it were?

swiss said...

this isn't one of his particularly rhymey ones but just because you don;t like a thing doesn;t mean you shouldn't try....

but me rhyme! how very dare you! lol

Andrew Shields said...

I was going to say the same thing about rhyme!

And here, part of the overall effect of the poem is the deviation from the rhyme scheme in the final stanza!

Niamh B said...

Simon's chainsaw sounds a bit like my lawn mower, probably literally as well as figuratively. Nice poem

Rachel Fox said...

I really REALLY want to see/hear a Swiss rhyming poem now! So yes, I dare you...