Théodore Monod’s flan

Place some pastry in the flan-tray
in irregular masses, these
are the Precambrian mountain chains.

One fine day, while iguanodons
are blundering around in Picardy
and swarms of ammonites
are scudding around in the Parisian sea
a second tap is turned on again
and adds another layer,
this time of cream.
The sea re-invades a good part of the Sahara
and deposits the usual sediments —
Cretaceous and Eocene.

Gradually, the country comes to be
like it is today;
sprinkle with granular sugar
(fresh-water Quaternary deposits)
and icing sugar dunes.
Serve hot or chilled.

(From French naturalist Théodore Monod’s Méharées: Explorations au vrai Sahara, 1937)


Almost mid-way betwixt
Scarborough and Bridlington,
Filey Brigg,
being a nose of cliff thrust out into the sea
to form a horn of Filey Bay.

Here, there, are sands
i n o n e v a s t g l o r i o u s e x p a n s e,
from the Brigg to the Bempton Cliffs –
six miles of them all round the bay,
so spacious that there could never be
any overcrowding.
The beach

(From Every Woman’s Enquire Within: A Complete Library and Household Knowledge for all Home-Loving Women, 1939. Submitted by H L Foster)

A Hiding Darkness

The monsters
in our cupboards
and our minds
are always there
in the darkness
like mold
beneath the floorboards
and behind the wallpaper
and there is so much darkness
an inexhaustible supply
of darkness.

The universe is
amply supplied
with night.

(From Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning. Submitted by Anabella Maria Galang)


in the
real sense
of the word,
pro that
fun, and
deliciously creative
force that
bathes the body
in delight and pleasure,

and what you are actually against is porn sex?

a kind of sex that is debased dehumanized formulaic and generic a kind of sex based not on individual fantasy play or imagination but one that is the result of an industrial product created by those who get excited not by bodily contact but by market penetration and –


(From ‘Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality’ by Gail Dines. Submitted by Rosa Walling-Wefelmeyer)

Some Sort of Shining

I can still see the bright-crimson glow.
This wasn’t any ordinary fire,
It was some sort of shining.
I’d never seen anything like it in the movies.
That evening everyone spilled out
onto their balconies
and those who didn’t have them
went to friends’ houses.
We were on the ninth floor,
we had a great view.
People brought their kids out,
picked them up, said, “Look! Remember!”
They stood in the black dust,
talking, breathing, wondering at it.
People came from all around in their cars
and their bikes to have a look.
We didn’t know that death could be so beautiful.

(From Voices from Chernobyl. Submitted by Howie Good)

Soil, sand, dust

If anyone sees that sand or dust is falling on him,
then he will become very rich
and own a lot of property.

If he sees that he is walking in dust and sand
or he sees that he is loaded with the soil,
then he will have to toil much to get wealth
and he will get plenty of it.

If anyone sees that dust is suspended in the sky,
then it is a sign that his affairs
will become complicated.

If a person sees that he is digging the earth
and eating its oil
then he will be devouring wealth
with deceit and falsehood,
because “earth” means
a false religion.

A wilderness of horror
has the same interpretation.

(From Interpretation of Dreams, 1979). Submitted by Dale Wisely)


In this quiet inlet,
some eddy has collected
and drowned at the bottom
of the mire, now turned into marl,
enormous heaps of shells
of every shape and size.
It is a molluscs’ burying ground
with hills for tumuli.

I dig up oysters a cubit long
and weighing five or six pounds a piece.
One could shovel up in the immense pile,
Scallops, Cones, Cylheridae,
Mactridae, Murices,
Turretellidae, Mitridae
and others too numerous,
too innumerable to mention

You stand stupefied before the vital ardour
of the days of old, which was able
to supply such a pile of relics
in a mere nook of earth.

(Jean-Henri Fabre on fossils in The Faber Book of Science. Submitted by Taidgh Lynch)

auto-destructive art

Man In Regent Street
is auto-destructive.
Rockets, nuclear weapons,
are auto-destructive.
Auto-destructive art.

The drop

of HH bombs.

Not interested in ruins, (the picturesque)

Auto-destructive art
re-enacts the obsession with destruction, the pummeling to which individuals and masses are subjected.
Auto-destructive art
demonstrates man’s power to accelerate disintegrative processes of nature and to order them.
Auto-destructive art
mirrors the compulsive perfectionism of arms manufacture – polishing to destruction point.
Auto-destructive art
is the transformation of technology into public art.

The immense productive capacity, the chaos of
capitalism and of
Soviet communism,
the co-existence of surplus and starvation;

the increasing stock-piling of nuclear weapons – more than enough to destroy technological societies;

the d i s i n t e g r a t i v e effect of machinery and of life in vast built-up areas on the

Auto-destructive art
is art
which contains within itself an agent which automatically leads to its destruction
within a period of time not to exceed twenty years.

Other forms of
auto-destructive art
involve manual manipulation.

There are forms of auto-destructive art where
the artist
has a tight control over the nature and timing of

and there are other forms where the artist’s control is slight.

Materials and techniques used in creating
auto-destructive art

Acid, Adhesives,
Canvas, Clay, Combustion, Compression, Concrete, Corrosion, Cybernetics,
Elasticity, Electricity, Electrolysis,
Heat, Human Energy,
Light, Load,
Mass-production, Metal, Motion Picture,
Natural Forces, Nuclear Energy,
Paint, Paper, Photography, Plaster, Plastics, Pressure,
Sand, Solar Energy, Sound, Steam, Stress,
Water, Welding, Wire, Wood.

(From Gustav Metzler selections. Submitted by David Verghese)


Look over there!…An antelope…






…stupid crocodiles?


…a lion??


…why not rabbits?


…an elephant


Come on if you dare, mighty buffalo!


Grrr! That’s us. Bold as brass. Keen as mustard.

(Lines from Tintin in the Congo. Submitted by Cathy Barber)