Klubbe the Turkle and the Golden Star Coracle

                      Klubbe the Turkle and the Golden Star Coracle

Chapter One

Dawn Of An Idea

Deep in the midst of the cosmos, the planet Ankor spins. It remains, as yet, undetected, even by the most powerful telescope, and undiscovered, even by the most far searching spacecraft. Huge, rounded, as all of them are, for some geological, astronomical reason, it is rather primitive, compared to those others, which are like itself, inhabited, largely due to its guardian race, who are not very advanced. Turkles they call themselves, being close cousins of turtles, who they like to observe resting and flopping about on the shores of their oceans and seas. Unlike them, they walk on their hind legs, and they have the gift of language, and the ability to create their own culture.
On the west coast of Crustacea, the most massive mass of land on the planet, there lived a young turkle called Klubbe. He lived alone, because he was a hermit. His house was like an igloo, built of blocks of hard sand, rather than ice, and it was named Lone Lodge. It stood by itself, in a dip between two sand hills, which were covered in patches of shiny green blades of marram grass, near the edge of the Accumtumba Ocean with its ever approaching, numberless lines of waves.
Like all of his fellow sisters and brothers of his turkle kin, he had thick, tough, wrinkled, yellow golden skin, the same colour as the hard, dome shaped shell on his back, a bald head, stuck, like a turnip, on his short neck, bright brown, green speckled eyes, a broad beak for a nose, small, well whorled ears, a wide mouth, usually creased in a contented smile, stout legs and fairly long, flipper like arms.
Only recently left school, he had decided to live as a hermit, to give him the solitude and space he felt he needed to master his skills and decide what his future occupation should be. He loved living in his house by the ocean, preparing seaweed stew and green bean soup in his pans in his kitchen for his meals, going for a float on the waves in his coracle, made from golden reed and willow shoots, strolling on the shore, and drawing sea glorbs and salavandra fish in his sketch book, as he watched them brood, wriggle and dart about in the jewel stone rock pools, left behind by the tides.
On his school leaving certificate, he was pleased to note that his best subject was technical drawing, for which he got a gold star. It also made him beam with pleasure, to see that he was rewarded with a silver star for art and craft work, experimental science, fundamental arithmetic, basic cookery, original prose and poetry composition, hill walking, common gardening, primitive nature study and general sports, but he was disappointed that he only got a copper star for history, geography and woodwork.
“Not normal. Bound to be an exception. Expect to be alarmed by him in the future. Creative in the arts, stands tall in the sciences. A popular pupil, who will no doubt contribute well to the nut brown wholesomeness of turkle life,” wrote Mr Winkle, his headmaster, in his final comment.
If any traveller, wanderer, wayfarer, old friend or family member did happen to pass Lone Lodge by, Klubbe would invite them in for a bowl of soup and a cup of starberry leaf tea or maybe a tall, transparent glass of oysterwave wine or maybe, even, a mug of honey hill mead.
Often he liked to go for a long float on the ocean inside his coracle.
Once, while resting his paddles, far from the shore, letting his gaze wander over the vast, watery deep, he was overturned in his coracle by a succession of huge, white crested waves, caused by the sudden surfacing of a great globb fish, which are peculiar to the oceans and seas of his planet, as are much else to be found in them. Globb fish, being so massive, of great bulk, were sometimes mistaken by turkle mariners for whales or even kloons, which are ocean mammals, even bigger than whales, but they are in fact more rounded and bulbous in shape than whales or kloons, with bright yellow scaled skin, large, wing like fins, long, tall ended tails, and big, glinting, dark blue eyes.
The particular globb fish which unintentionally overturned Klubbe in his coracle just happened to fancy coming up from his middle depth ocean swim for a bit of fresh air in his blow holes and nostril tubes and a contemplative scan of the waste of waves and sky.
After a few moments of watery, wet, falling confusion, Klubbe found himself bobbing up and down on his back shell on the waves,
looking up at the blue immensity of the sky, with his coracle floating upside down, not far to his right, and his paddles drifting a little way beyond his head.
While he was wondering how he was forced into this reposeful posture on his watery mattress, he had an idea. An idea was unusual for him, an original idea, with no previous concept of itself, thereby signifying its new mintedness and its unique nature. He usually followed the one by one word flow of his customary, quiet, turkle thoughts, mostly about frabb fish, boating in his coracle, painting pictures of sea glorbs, wonda crabs, jewel shells in rock pools, coloured cloud dramas, looga snails on the sandy shore, and being a hermit turkle in general, and what kind of soup he ought to prepare in his pan for his next meal, and if he really ought to paint the pantry, and what kind of delicious stews he could concoct in his kitchen, and was it time to dig up the vegetables in his back garden and plant more seeds.
“Oceans. Space. Oceans of space. Oceans of air. Turkle travel. Turkle transport,” he said, quietly, to himself. “Coracles on the water. Coracles in the sky. What if I could build a coracle that could lift off from the ground and hover in the air, like a kleebee bird, then soar away to the stars? I understand. I know what this is. I have an idea. I wish now to make it visible, solid, mobile. I will build a coracle that can fly in the sky, around our planet. More marvellous still, to voyage out. To explore and see the ever turning planet wheels amidst the shining star belts in the vasty voids of space. I feel full of warm gladsomeness, for I have decided what I want to be. An inventor. I will be the father of the first flying craft. The Golden Star Coracle will be its most appropriate name. I like my idea. It is a good one. I will build it in a workshop in Unkka, our capital city.  To help me, I will hire craftsmen turkles with the correct certificates. First I must paddle home to the shore.”
Slowly, he flippered his way over to his coracle. Using his hands, head, elbows and shoulders, with a few butts and nudges, he managed to upturn it, quite easily, but he found it harder to heave himself back on board. When he did, he landed on his hard shelled stomach, over stretched his neck and dented his chin.
After a short struggle, during which he felt like a startled jelly fish, splattering about in a wash basin, he finally found himself sat upright on the bench in the middle of his coracle. His next task was to rescue his two paddles from the waves. Fortunately for him, it was soon achieved, as they drifted slowly, nearby. First one, then the other, he grabbed hold of with his right hand and flung them on board. Able to relax again and recover from his accidental back float, he looked towards the west. It was then that he saw, not very far away from him, the great globb fish, the cause of his marine mishap. Stationarily afloat on the surface of the ocean, like a bright yellow island, its mouth was creased in a deep, contented smile, and its eyes bulged and gleamed with unbounded pleasure. Larger than a whale, mightier than a kloon, its back was now the nesting ground for groups of sea gulls, cormorants, terns, shreekshrikes and sand parrots.
Klubbe was impressed. He had never seen a globb fish before. He felt privileged, for he knew they rarely came up for air, to rest on the ocean surface, to slumber and frolic, and hardly ever so close to the coast.
“Wonderful fish, great globbs,” he murmured, to himself, as he watched a shoal of sea glorbs swim by in a silvery flash.
Sea glorbs he knew well, and he had made many drawings and paintings of them. They were like large, charcoal black dog fish with four frog like legs and thick lidded, bulgy, black eyes.
In his inspired state, his heart thumping fast, his brain throbbing spasmodically, Klubbe paddled with great vigour towards the shore. He soon bumped into the edge of his old mooring site, Seahorse Bay, and there he dragged his coracle onto the sand and roped it to a wooden stump.
On his way to his house in the sand hills, he came upon an aged male karg crab, busily tugging a long stalk of pearl pod seaweed from a deep, rounded pool with its pincers. Polite, eager to help, as ever, he helped it pull the seaweed stalk clear of the edge of the pool. The dark brown shelled crab looked at him with its tiny dark eyes and gurgled a bubble from the short slit that was its mouth, as if to say thanks.  From a gap in the distant sand hills, an aged female karg crab came running,  followed by twelve smaller, younger ones. Soon the family of karg crabs were oblivious of Klubbe, as they feasted together on the seaweed stalk, bursting its pearl pods with their pincers, sucking and lapping its thick, sticky, white juice, and munching on its dark green rind.
A walk on the shore was always an adventure for Klubbe. After leaving the feasting family of karg crabs behind him, he encountered a mammothurtuskian tortoise, nibbling on a patch of sea cabbage. He stopped to watch the enormous, ancient tortoise for awhile, in serene bafflement.
“One wonders why a tortoise needs to be that big,” he muttered, to himself, with a sigh. “And why is it that my name spelt backwards is Ebbulk?”
After a deeper sigh, and a shrug of his shoulders, he continued his tramp back to Lone Lodge.
Mammothurtuskian tortoises are rare reptiles, unique to the planet Ankor. Most of the time, they brooded and slept in the shelter of the sand hills, but occasionally they would come down for a plod on the shore, to have a closer look at the ocean, peer into rock pools, left by the tides, and to nibble on sea cabbage, seaweed and sand clover.
At last, Klubbe entered Lone Lodge, to find a yellow feathered sand parrot sat contentedly on his kitchen table, which was for him not an uncommon sight. After acknowledging him with a brief, friendly nod, he padded over to his stove and heated up an already prepared pan of green bean soup, his favourite meal. As he watched it bubble up to a warm simmer, and he gave it a slow stir with a wooden spoon, he began to wonder if he enjoyed being in his new, excited, inspired state. He was, after all, used to the monkish serenity of hermit life, the undramatic calm of his solitary crab like ways, but he also knew that he had to build his invention.
A short while later, he sat at his kitchen table, spooning down his bowl of green bean soup with great delight, aware all the time of the sand parrot, now perched on the window ledge behind him, eyeing his plate of golden crusted bread chunks with hungry fascination.
Klubbe finished his meal with a mug of red bloortel cherry juice, which was made from cherries he had picked himself from a nearby bloortel tree.  He then rose from his chair and walked over to the sand parrot on the window ledge, and carefully sprinkled a handful of bread chunks in front of its claws, below its brownish yellow beak.
The sand parrot eyed Klubbe with something like admiration and gratitude, opened its beak, and uttered a squawk of triumph.
“Now I can begin,” said Klubbe, quietly. “Time to sketch towards my master drawing. As for you, there are many nuts and berries in the woods and many seeds in the hills and fields, but I expect a few crumbs from my table make a change to your sand parrot diet plan.”
Quickly, he left the kitchen, entered his bedroom, and settled down at his desk, drawing on large sheets of white paper, in fine, light grey lines with his pencil, arithmetically accurate designs for the inside and outside of his invention, the Golden Star Coracle.
Following a simple routine of sleeping, waking, eating, strolling on the shore, and mostly, drawing, he was finally satisfied that his invention existed, first in his mind, now on paper. After he had drawn the master design on a tall, wide scroll, he made moving models of his invention inside the hut at the bottom of his back garden.
When all was well and in shape, as far as he could fathom, he stuffed his bundle of drawings, his master plan scroll, his notebook of technical prose descriptions of his invention and his tin box of pencils and pens into his brown cloth travel bag, strapped it onto his back shell, and strode out of the door of his hermitage, on his way to the city of Unkka.
“I feel that being an inventor is more adventurous than being a hermit, and it also requires more energy,” he muttered, thoughtfully, to himself, as he left the sand hills behind him.
Ever east, he walked, further and further inland, following lanes through crop fields, around walled orchards, down and up green mound vales, through woods, by rivers, until he came to his childhood home, a small village of dome shaped cottages, called Snug In The Pillow. It lay in a wide, wooded vale, at the foot of the Pillow, which was a green, fairly low hill with a broad, bumpy top.
Walking up White Duck Lane, the first building he came to was the village inn, which was inevitably called Snug Inn.
“Are you back with us for good, Klubbe?” asked Brull, the innkeeper, stood on his doorstep, his face taut in a curious frown.
“No, I am only here for a short visit,” said Klubbe. “I am on my way to Unkka.”
“Unkka. Will that be to seek your fortune?” asked Brull, impressed.
“No, to make my idea solid, visible and mobile,” said Klubbe. “What once was not will be.”
“Well, good luck to you, Klubbe,” said Brull.
“Thanks, Brull,” said Klubbe.
He walked on, along Pillow Hill Lane, round the village green, by the duck pond, up Lily Lane, saying hello to local turkles he knew on his way, until he came to the gate of his first home, Brigg Cottage, stood by itself on a bend in Brigg Lane, near the edge of Briggery Wood.
“Hello, Klubbe. Nice to see you’ve come to see us,” said Tilly, who was Klubbe’s mother, as she padded down the path, towards the gate in her front garden wall.
“Hello, ma,” said Klubbe, as he came to a halt before the gate. “My time as a hermit has proven to be worthwhile, as I thought it would. I can now announce what I want to be, an inventor.”
“Sounds like a good idea,” said Jubb, who was Klubbe’s father, as he strolled down the front garden path, to join Tilly by the gate. “Always knew you’d be a rare one. Inventors are few and far between in turkle history. I bless the name of Mattan. He invented the wheel barrow. Where would I be without mine? I love its silver box and yellow wheels. I hope it’s useful, your invention. If not, it will exist no more than a curiosity.”
“Oh, it’s useful, pa. It’s the first flying craft,” said Klubbe, proudly. “Nice to see you, pa. Hope you don’t mind that I decided to be an inventor and not a carpenter, like you. Anyway, as you know, I only got a copper star for woodwork on my school leaving certificate.”
“That’s because old Mister Wittwot, your woodwork teacher, was never generous with his marks,” said Jubb, welling up with welcomeness and fatherly encouragement. “A copper star is a high mark coming from him, as I always said.”
“Thanks, pa,” said Klubbe. “And you’re right. Some of my class mates got no stars at all for woodwork, just a low pass grade.”
“He was always good at woodwork at school was our Klubbe,” said Tilly, opening the gate, to let her son in, at last.
Klubbe hugged his mother, then his father, and followed them into his old cottage home.
After dumping his travel bag on his bedroom floor and splashing his hands and face with water in the bathroom, he shared a fine meal with Tilly and Jubb in the kitchen. It began with a brimming bowl of green bean soap, complete with a plate of golden crust bread cobs to practise the art of dunking, followed by a bowl of bilborra berry pie, splodged on by dollops of white cream, concluded with a mug of morka root juice.
“An inventor. Who would have thought of it?” said Tilly, her eyes large and shiny, under her lifted eyelids. “Only our Klubbe could have thought of it.”
“Only him,” agreed Jubb, with a beam in his eye.
“It seems to me, from my hermit musings, that for a parrot, it is enough to be a parrot, a walrus to be a walrus, an ape an ape, a crab a crab, but it is not enough for a turkle to be a turkle,” said Klubbe. “We have to do something, be someone, become the master of at least one craft, which is why I am glad I have decided what my occupation will be.  We have to dig deep, to find our roots, our skills, our bulb which will produce our stem, leaf, flower.
“That is why some of our poets in their verses praise birds and beasts for their perfection, for the truth that they do not have to be anything other than what they are, do anything more than what they need to do, and so, for that reason, they reveal a wistful envy of them. But I think as long as you are happy to be who you are, everything falls into place, like jewel specs in a mosaic.”
“As long as you’re happy, Klubbe. That’s all that matters,” said Jubb, smiling, approvingly.
Jubb was a carpenter, making tools, furniture and toys for his fellow villagers in his workshop at the bottom of his back garden. He spent as much time as he could in his garden, digging, hoeing, planting, raking, pruning and mowing. His hobby was playing tunes on his set of spiral shell horn bagpipes. When he was in the right mood, he would play a few pipe tunes in his back garden, even sometimes in his cottage kitchen, to entertain Tilly, while she made bread, cakes, pies and soups.
“Fruit growing I like and painting pictures, like our Klubbe, ” said Tilly, when asked what her hobbies were.
A short visit is soon over,  Klubbe thought, as he stood on his cottage doorstep, his travel bag strapped to his back shell, to begin his journey to Unkka.
“Time to go. A traveller must make his way to earn his title,” he said, smiling at Tilly and Jubb.
“Got everything, Klubbe, including your map?” asked Tilly.
“Everything, ma. Goodbye,” said Klubbe.
“Goodbye, Klubbe,” said Tilly.
“Goodbye, son,” said Jubb.
“Goodbye, pa,” said Klubbe.
Without a word more, Klubbe left his mother and father standing in their cottage doorway, and let Brigg Lane lead him through Briggery Wood. Following paths through farmland and grassy hills, he walked, ever towards the north east, until he came to the Old Stork Inn, near the village of Mukkmud. There he boarded a barge with fifteen other turkle travellers. In his seat, near the rudder, he relaxed, to enjoy his long, peaceful float down the Black Carp Canal to Unkka, the capital of Ankor.

( Here ends Dawn Of An Idea, being Chapter One of Klubbe the Turkle and the Golden Star Coracle, which I hope to publish one day.)

 

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Happy Hogmanay

                                                    Happy Hogmanay

Och the loch, another year
out stays its welcome,
and I will forgive a tear,
as I drink a wee dram to toast
what leaves and what draws near.

Now even Sassenachs,
tuther side of Hadrian’s Wall,
will be singing Auld Lang Syne,
but never shall toss a caber tall.

Knowing only a few words,
not knowing what they mean,
but I will not begrudge them
in my kilt of tartan brown and green.

Robbie Burns was a Lowlander,
but I can forgive him that,
up here in my Highland croft
where no field is ever flat.

An Irishman once told me
he saw a haggis hopping in the glen.
A rare sight, I told him,
and wrote down the where and when.

I will drink to my bonny Flora,
she still makes my bannocks burn.
I will play the old pipe tunes for her,
till she grinds me like a quern.

Though mist may gloom the mountain,
and rain may flood the brae,
I wish you not thorns and thistles,
but a happy Hogmanay.

Christmas Eve, 2014

                                      Christmas Eve, 2014

Wind blows down the chimney
to remind me it is there.
No fire lit in the grate,
up there is only air.

No smoke floats up the chimney,
now gas fires warm the rooms.
Shovelling coal time gone,
like leaves swept away by brooms.

No coal stoked in the fire place,
for flames to die to embers.
I do not hear coal crack and spark,
but still heed what my mind remembers.

Christmas Eve could make you cry.
Its magic will never fail.
Yes, once I listened for sleigh bells in the sky,
I built a boat for starry seas to sail.

Wind blows down the chimney,
tells me there is something there.
Star above the stable roof
guides me up the hidden stair.

The Oxen by Thomas Hardy for Christmas Eve

                                       The Oxen

by Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
written in 1915
A poem for Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, everyone.

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock,
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come, see the oxen kneel

In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom
Hoping it might be so.

 

Look Up

                                     Look Up

Look up and see.
Star over the stable shines still.
Sheep still bleat on Bethlehem hill.

Look up and see.
Angel carved in the cathedral nave,
above the tides of wave by wave.

Look up and see.
He holds in his hand a sandstone scroll,
etched with words from the holy foal.

Could be a scripture quote,
a prophet long ago once wrote,
an announcement that speaks
of the spirit inspired,
the soul as a clear lamp lit,
a flame with no heat or smoke.
Study the sentence revealed:
The fire kindled
and I spoke.
Wonder what words were spoken,
and when they were what woke,
truth to survive the thunder,
withstand the winds like a mountain oak.

Look up and see.
Angel above the organ pipes,
his horn lifted, blown to heaven,
not sky to open, but spiritual space,
where the body is forgotten,
its weariness, illness, decline, death.
While you walked the city street,
like others you only looked before you,
and what lay at your feet,
drawn to the light of shop windows,
but here in the cathedral nave,
be brave, look up and see.

Listen. The choir sings
In The Bleak Midwinter.
Remember when you came to know
Christina Rossetti wrote the words,
inspired by the London snow,
someone set to a tune.
So what she wrote will survive as a carol,
to be sung whatever winds may blow.

No matter what words are said,
the thread will not be broken,
the cord will not be cut,
will never sever.
Down in the tomb garden,
stone angel, head bent under wings,
weeps for them forever.

Look up and see.
Attend once more before you go
to words held clear above the flow.
Remember when your spirit first woke
to the angel announcement:
The fire kindled
and I spoke.

 

Poetry Book Review Attempt Number 217

                         Poetry Book Review Attempt Number 127

Her poems are words fiddled fine,
harmonically tuned strings, line by silver line,
like a steam roller broken down on a motorway.
No, that is not right.
That is not the way to review or write,
not even close to what I want to say.
I was moved by the way she used words
like whithersoever and then.
No, have to change that.
That does not indicate how she directs her pen.
Poetry is more difficult to review than prose.
It is easier to smell out a pair of socks
or tell a camel not to change its pose.
I think this book deserves five stars
for exceptional merit.
No, that will not rouse any reader
to rise up and buy it.
Think I will have to throw
this review in the bin.
I cannot even end,
never mind begin.
Her poems remind me of the works
of Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
No, that’s not clear.
He was an engineer, not a poet.
Crumbs. This is not going well.
More reviews like this
and no book will ever sell.
The length of her poems
lie somewhere between the Homeric epic
and the Oriental haiku,
but someone had to fill that void.
No, that will not do.
This has become an essay
on how to make oneself self annoyed.
Certainly, she knows how to spell.
No, that will not go well.
Being a wordsmith means she ought
to know how to bong that bell.
To conclude, this book is worth a brood,
a pristine potent pack of mind food.