A Book of Days

Two Christmas presents from my husband this year, a bottle of Tullibardine, and this beautiful book, Patti Smith’s A Book of Days. When we saw her perform at The Bearded Theory festival last May, she began her set by reciting the footnote to Alen Ginsberg’s Howl, ‘Holy, holy, holy’, and she spoke it with such conviction the poem could have been hers. Everything is holy … ‘Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul!’


2 thoughts on “A Book of Days

  1. My wife’s cousin and lifelong best friend was hooked on Patti Smith. Looked like her in later years. Someone bought us a book of Patti Smith photographs this Xmas. So here’s Julie to celebrate the synergy.
    According to the specialists you died six months ago
    and I like sitting with you, proving there’s an afterlife
    as we roll cigarettes, you perched like a wire bird
    up on your kitchen top beside the angel
    that I made for you before I knew you weren’t alive.

    Your fridge’s crusted like a wreck, with magnets
    and pictures of BobDylan, and you show me
    that programme that Patti Smith had signed, for you,
    not knowing you’d been applauding from the Underworld.

    You make me laugh each time you tell the phone
    it can get stuffed because it’s your mad mother
    who will not believe that you’re not with us any more.

    Your eyes grow bright in your dead woman’s face,
    then sink, then glow like cigarettes, like the ironworks
    up the coast, or the small lights on the cobles
    tied up and tilted on the mud; like the strange flares
    from the stack high up on Boulby Cliff, where the shaft
    goes down a whole dark mile of ammonites, and heads off
    far away beneath the weight of oil rigs, and sunken ships,
    and shoals of cod, and all the grey North sea.


    • Hi John,
      I feel like this is your signature poem, the one that I know you by (although there are many of course). What’s wonderful is that it’s even more powerful than I remember. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m not sure I’ll be quite as productive after today – back to work tomorrow. Anyway, enjoy the Patti Smith photographs. They’re so true. You’ll lose yourself in them I promise. X

      Liked by 1 person

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