Friday, September 29, 2006

A Haiku with a back-story

I first fell in with one of my dearest Drinking Companions, The Arts Entrepreneur, many, many years ago, when we were both doing "the Paul Pennyfeather thing" (i.e. inspired by the great Evelyn Waugh novel 'Decline and Fall', we had fallen into teaching as a first post-University job - largely because we were too feckless to think of anything else; and at least it didn't hold out any threat of ever becoming a career [dread word!]; and maybe, just maybe [as in the novel] we might be able to get ourselves seduced by one of the bored, glamorous mums..... and find ourselves swept by chance into some far more exciting profession, such as white-slaving).

The environment we found ourselves in was so oppressively dull - a tiny boarding school in the West Country of England, bothersomely remote even from the nearest small town, practically out of touch with any kind of 'civilization' - that we turned to each other for subversion and solace on an almost daily basis. One of the few worthwhile perks of the job was that there was a comfortably appointed Masters' Bar, which sold draught beer and a small selection of spirits and snacks at pretty much cost price (and on an 'honour' system at that - often abused by others, but not by us: we were too grateful for the facility!). It wasn't long before The Entrepreneur, a much more determined social networker than me, had managed to charm himself into the good graces of the senior staff and got co-opted on to the Bar Committee: this gave him the privilege/responsibility/temptation of a key to the reserve liquor cabinet. Our first few months of late-night drinking together had been curtailed whenever the whisky or gin on the optic dispenser had given out; but now, The Entrepreneur could hook up a new bottle at will, and we could go on all night if the mood so took us.

It didn't often, although there were a few occasions when we continued until near dawn; many, many more when we carried on until 2am or 3am. However, the drink was merely a useful prop - a source of energy, a kind of fuel for the imagination. Ultimately, it was the conversation rather than the alcohol which made those late-night sessions such a joy.

It was around this time that I was first becoming fascinated by haiku. This, then, is one of my earliest compositions (and still one of my best) in this form, in honour of those times, that friend.

Night Talk

Now we dream awake
And conjure the sun's return.
One drink, one thought more.


Anonymous said...

"However, the drink was merely a useful prop -"

Ah Hah! So in the depths of Froogville I come upon some meaning for the other great blog.

I have to say, more than the mysteries of the "froogville" name, I'd been wondering what a "barprop" is. [the word brings to mind a the backwaters of Louisiana - lean to building constructed of vertical wooden 2x8x10 slats with a 4x4x10 foot wooden pole "propping" it up. I assumed that wasn't your meaning. (but having read your recent Mardi Gras post - maybe you're familiar with the area and have seen an actual Bar Prop of this type?) Perhaps it is a term for a type of drinker? Who by the end of the night of excessive drinking must be "propped" up. But you don't write about being pass out drunk and I've not seen you as such, so I thought, perhaps not.]

It could equally be some word born of your imagination or an actual word, related to the drinking world - I had no clue.

But here, from the pen of the author, lies a more probably explanation... the idea that the bar (the drink?) is used to fuel the conversation, the creativity ("fuel for the imagination").

your early haiku --- it is different from your current ones - your current ones seem more opaque.

Froog said...

A 'bar prop' is a customer who invariably leans at the bar... someone who is such a regular fixture that without him it seems certain THE BAR would fall over!

Not JUST a British English expression, I don't think.... but then you're not much of a bar expert, are you?

Anonymous said...

thanks. I'll check with the Prof if the term is used stateside. Indeed, I am not much of a bar expert.