Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Serious Concerns about Making Cocoa in my Prehistory of Mind

It is strange the tricks the mind will play on you from time to time. For instance, I have a book which I quite like, Wendy Cope's Serious Concerns - or perhaps I should say that I had this book. Because I certainly can't find it now.

I can remember quite vividly the last moment I held this book in my hand. I was going rummaging around the bookshelves, you see, for a number of poetry books. At the time I was looking for the other book by Cope I have, Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis - a lovely book with a lovely title, I think you'll agree. Here's what Cope had to say about it (from memory (though obviously my memory isn't the best, as I'll go on to demonstrate)):

I thought of the name in a dream
And some sort of record seemed vital
The poem isn't up to much
But I love the title.

I flung books here and there, occasionally shouting out like a maniac, 'where is Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis? Where is Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis?' After about a half an hour of this modest archaeological exercise, I had uncovered several poetry books by Komninos, Geoff Lemon's Sunblind, a book of poems by Brian Aldiss called A Prehistory of Mind, the Book of Bellerive, a William Blake anthology, and more. Then, on an unimportant shelf on an irrelevant part of the bookshelf, I found Wendy Cope's Serious Concerns. I gave a small cry of joy, because it was, after all, a book which I quite like (I think I said that before), and turned over a few poems. It was good to be holding it again.

Then there are a few moments that I cannot recall - after which I returned to the search for Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis. And I did, eventually, find it, and took it triumphantly over the pile that I had amassed to reunite it with the other Wendy Cope book, the one which I quite like, Serious Concerns. But, as you may guess, and as I recall, by this time I had lost Serious Concerns. It happened, you see, in those moments that I cannot recall.

I have since been over all the bookshelves in the house several times - this all happened about four weeks ago. I have not been able to find Serious Concerns again. I have no idea what I did in those unrecalled moments. Did I think the Wendy Cope book was a steak, and return it absent-mindedly to the freezer? Did I go and waggle it triumphantly in the Baron's face and then place it confuddledly in her pile of library books? Did I go and hide it behind the fridge, where I could be certain no-one would find it? Did I eat it in a moment of passion?

What I am saying is, these moments that I cannot recall are of Serious Concern.

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