Gravestone of William Blake at Bunhill Fields.
One of the most visited posts on this blog is, 'a field student of Blake, Bunyan and Defoe stays at a bug hotel'. Last weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to return to Bunhill Fields with a friend to pay a little homage to the artists, authors and poets buried and commemorated there. On that occasion Blake's gravestone was topped with the gifts or offerings of numerous copper coins. Quite how the spirit of William Blake receives the offerings is probably beyond the sphere of this here field student's research capabilities however I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate the gardeners and keepers of Bunhill Fields Cemetery for the fantastic cultivation of the tree next to Blake's grave; a marvelous chthonic emanation rising like the Hydra of Lerna from beneath the paving stones. That tree is, for me, a fine celebration of the artist.
Bunhill Fields Cemetery
I fancied I could hear a new trunk emerging, hissing, from the ground as I placed a coin on the gravestone. Hissing? Perhaps the hisses were actually the softly sung rhymes of innocence and experience being drowned out by the relentless flow and congestion of traffic from nearby Old Street - a noise less filtered by the autumnal denuded trees. Can anything more than a tenuous connection to Walthamstow be made from this place in the City of London?
We both admired the fabulous entwining of the tree with the railings; a union of great power. See how the tree has enveloped the railing and is pulling, stretching and buckling the fence with a sort of mythical grace.
I am on the look out for these sorts of union closer to home in E17. One site to witness such an odd coexistence of the man made and natural is by the path next to Walthamstow Dog Stadium - here. I wonder what will become of that tree if the Dog Stadium is demolished to make way for a housing estate. Would the tree be left; growing for a while with a flat faceted trunk as a bizarre ghostly trace of 'the Dogs'? If the tree is an ash, might it be thee Ash that holds the code, the power of resistance to the fungus, Chalara fraxinea - the cause of Ash Die Back? Imagine a new resurgent population of flat trunked ash trees, a collective Yggdrasil, growing in memory of August 16th 2008 - the last night of racing at the stadium.
Apiary 16th December
I was still immersed in this fanciful muddle of mythologies and memory when I made my weekly visit to the allotment the day after revisiting Bunhill Fields. That Sunday was indeed a 'sun-day', welcome respite from the deluge, and to draw out further the homage to William Blake, I danced a waggle dance of Albion to tell my fellow Bee(re)s where they might find (the) Albion Rose - a mythical source of pollen and nectar to replenish their dwindling stores - so that their flights might (or might not) be waggle dances of eternal death.
I fear though that my lack of rhythm and precision may not have done my fellows any favours. I wondered at the 'unhappy' dances of the bees on that day. To gain a more rational insight into the mystical or mysterious choreography of the bees you might do well to visit this site:
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