Abraham wielded a watering can.
With star-mangled fervour
he sprinkled the Arctic, the Sahara.
Five years later, a riot of wild
orchids and tropical liana
convulsed the Arndale shopping centre.
Moths fled their equator.
With twelve-inch tongues uncoiled
they drilled for glacial nectar.
Some species perished: inverted
atmospheres, increased cloud cover
snuffed the jewelled frog, the grail spider.
When moonlight wobbled
Abraham knocked a nail through it.
About this poem
This poem was included in Best Scottish Poems 2010. Best Scottish Poems is an online publication, consisting of 20 poems chosen by a different editor each year, with comments by the editor and poets. It provides a personal overview of a year of Scottish poetry. The editor in 2010 was Jen Hadfield.
Just as well a selection of A.B. Jackson's 'Apocrypha' poems appeared in Roddy Lumsden's Identity Parade. The limited edition pamphlet from Donut Press was due out last year, and I've only just clapped eyes on it this morning. It's a delicious production, full of such satirical and hilarious, stern and rapturous parables as this one.
In the summer of 2004 I hit upon the notion of writing a series of small, up-tempo fictions which featured Bible characters (more or less) in the unfamiliar surroundings of contemporary 21st century life, each untitled, but going under the general title of 'Apocrypha'. The presiding spirit of the enterprise was Wallace Stevens, backed up by a chorus of Carry On actors.
It was impossible not to include a great deal of Americana in the poems, given the Allied Forces' invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the Bush administration's unflinching belief in its own fundamental Good. So here we have George W. Bush in the guise of Abraham, sowing the seeds of democracy with terrible results.
'One is drawn to Camp when one realizes that "sincerity" is not enough.'
Susan Sontag (Notes on 'Camp').