Tuesday 29 November 2016

From Bagpuss to 'an emergency of the too realized'

The adorable granddaughter Summer, being a three-year-old of taste and discernment, is a big fan of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin's classic creation Bagpuss. Yesterday we were watching the very first episode, the tale of a ship in a bottle - or rather a shipwreck in a bottle, which is repaired and restored to ship shape by means of a little Bagpuss magic and music.
It put me in mind of a Kay Ryan poem, which I pass on with a tip of the hat to the incomparable Dave Lull...

Ship in a Bottle

It seems
not just a
ship in a
bottle but
wind and sea.
The ship starts
to struggle—an
emergency of the
too realized we
realize. We can 
get it out but
not without
spilling its world.
A hammer tap
and they’re free.
Which death
will it be,
little sailors?

No one shakes things up quite like Kay Ryan, and in so few, so precisely placed words.


  1. Banished To A Pompous Land29 November 2016 at 16:57

    I have to say that of all the Postage/Smallfilms Bagpuss is my least favourite. It's Noggin The Nog for me everytime.

  2. The Nog is indeed very fine - as are the Clangers and Ivor the Engine - but for me Bagpuss reigns supreme. Maybe we've hit on a new division of the human race - Bagpuss people and Noggin folk...

  3. Clangers for me, but they are all wonderful!!