Words and Pictures by Joshua Cialis & Reece Merrifield
“The closer you get to real matter, rock air fire and wood, boy, the more spiritual the world is.”
― Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums
Inspired by Jack Kerouac’s novel the, Dharma Bums, Foxtrot Uniform’s Joshua and Reece travelled to the Lake District to walk Lake Windermere; here is the account of their trip:
This was a literary adventure, as well as an adventure into nature, we explored Wordsworth’s sublime landscapes and the nature that inspired Beatrix Potter’s children’s stories, while also channelling Ray Smith’s – Kerouac’s Dharma narrator – wild zen outlook. In order to channel Kerouac’s novel we travelled light and carried only what we needed: a blanket, bottle of water, tarpaulin, loaf of bread and cheese, and for warmth in the cooler night a bottle of Port.
After an early train journey from Chester, we caught a bus to the edge of the lake and started our walk. Catching the ferry from Bowness to Claife and in true Kerouac style spent all our money on a great breakfast at the Café in the Courtyard. Our walk around the Lake bought up lots of haiku including:
Babbling brook –
Across the lake –
(by J. C.)
Gaggle of geese
The next adventure
(by R. M.)
After 16 miles we arrived back at Bowness to catch a ferry again to Claife lookout where we had decided to sleep overlooking the lake. As the sun set we ate our bread and cheese while drinking our Port. It was as the sun got to its lowest point that we began writing Exquisite Corpse poems (for those who don’t know exquisite corpse poems are a surrealist experimental writing exercise which involves passing a piece of paper between two or more people blindly). The following are a couple of poems written by the both of us while looking out over the lake:
Exquisite Corpse from Claife Lookout pt. 1 (by J. C. & R. M.)
Two lights attract my sight
reflected on dark crystal waters.
The shallow water tempts me further
The tales this water might tell:
The boat behind takes centre stage
A goose’s honk and birdsong in the silence.
A warmth emanates amongst the crag
Seldom people pass in this kind dark.
Ripples call out to hush the geese
The light in my eye is fading.
Claife Lookout pt. 2 (by J. C. & R. M.)
Tell me lies about the city
and find me the truth in tarpaulin.
Where is it that we’re going?
Subliminal hill overwhelmed by black cloud.
Silence but the goose’s honk
lost in the low Bray camping ground.
Lights reflect on an evening slumber
although we may see no stars tonight.
The ferry will guide us home tomorrow –
Tell me lies about city life: give me nature.