Surfacing from the blackness

Words by Vivian Stanshall, 1978:

Sir Henry Rawlinson surfaced from the blackness,
hot and fidgety,
fuss, fart, bother and itch.

Conscious mind coming up too fast with the bends,
through pack-ice thrubbing seas,
harsh croak Blind Pews
tip-tap-tocking for escape from his pressing skull.

With a gaseous grunt,
he rolled away from the needle-cruel light
acupuncturing his pickled-onion eyes,
and with key-bending will
slit-peered at the cold trench
Florrie had left on her side of the bed.

You may recognise this as the same piece as ‘English as tuppence‘.

I have known, admired, and loved it since 1978 – and so – to me – it’s an old friend. But if I hadn’t come across it then, it would have been lost to me – and we would be in the territory of ‘unknown unknowns’.

I’m not really sure of the significance of ‘harsh croak Blind Pews’. Otherwise the language is accessible, and means I can simply enjoy this account of Sir Henry, waking up.


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