Notes on a Beggar Woman        Tim Sillence  66

Looking. Treading metropolis streets for the bus-stop sign saying hebrew things. Going away to Tiberian, block english capitals under hebrew non-sense on this sign i can’t find.


Legs walked me a long way today, hot legs, hot miles no smiles, looking for this sign. Spoke mad numbers to mad bank slaves selling me english paper queen’s heads for hebe lira. Wanted these sterlings for the blue cruise boat to Marseilles so I can sit upright on a french train to Calais going to England, home greyland cold cold oldland.


In a street! A street: the heat tolls me hazy rushroars; a street? Crazy chasm between unReich architects’ new city business concrete boxes, where chrome cluttered drivers blare, tearing in the workrush overproduction panic, roaring horns blasting hurt me, - racing nowhere I walk looking for my signpost over downbent heads of workworld people; queuecrowd push peoples and see this man skullcpped shining shoes, shows me a way.


Going across the thinstream tarway safely halfway on a concrete nockstone island (two dead flowers, a white dogturd) see the sign.


Body close, bodypush; pither; smiling European richsuits - then gone. Long street. My sign, a seat, some people. Staring buswaiters hostile long hair scandals dustjeans disapproving, not smiling; (native smiles for sicksmiling American hands across the sea dungdollar tourists); wait on the seat because this is the bus for crumbling seaside Tiberias Galilee, near my place. i get sick, avoiding cold eyes and run out of Buddha in my dustgrave, through windows. Midday 105 degrees.

Alone, unlike, alone. Haifa. No warm eyes smile in the unReich concrete of immigrant faces, chosen races, sadly Third Reich faces. Yes, sadly like. No rhythm towncentre, no pulse jazzless newtown.

Getting imminent flip warnings stop thinking. The heat. Eyes down hating away the waiting by the bus sign, still frozen eyes despising, uncool bore stares.


TIN! Round rattling tin. Thin brown arm under my down gaze, my inside sightless hategaze, frightened. Brown old face, rag wound brown skeleton, rage binding malnutrition sores on sticklegs stuck in cloth bundles, This printed dress, old pink fading flowers. i’m sad.

i see penny fractions in your begging tin: cameras:suits:longcars:jewels:tears.


Thin woman, you made me lift my eyes to yours.

Your old face, your tears longdried uncried, no more crying eyes, always distant eyes, always deep. I gave you change-coins in your tin, my pocketful. I want to give you notes, brown sadness! Town ragged woman! Yes! You are still a woman. I see your lines puckering mouth and i know motherwoman.


Turned away, tornup thoughts sickness of deadtown changed to unbursting quiet love, unexpressed; a handful of coins only.

But you came back! Your sad agedry hand took my hand, your distant things, saying everything. Your dirt and your illness brown mother, do not make me sit writing November nostalgias, it was your kiss, your far-away eyes seeing old things, lost scenes, like mine. You: out of all Israel: you. Brown mother, Peace.




To be sure, there was a little confusion over these beautiful small press editions made by Pete Hoida. But he cleared it all up for me: It started as Disinherited and (and for some long-forgotten reason) became Inherited. It goes like this: Disinherited 1, 2 and 3 and then becomes Inherited 4, 5, 6 and 7. Copies 1-5 were made in Cheltenham and 6 and 7 in London. Pete said that the influence of LSD becomes apparent through issues 3-5.


So above I have pictured Disinherited #2 (Love Poems) and Inherited 4, 5, 6 (left to right) and the bigger silver machine Inherited 7. Not quite the full set - even Pete says he hasn't got a copy of Disinherited #1 but we know it has some Sillence in it as #2 says so. Two Ted Sillence poems dated to 1966 were published in Disinherited #2 which are shown below. The Tea Garden ends quite abruptly and looks like I have missed a bit. "Bubble" and "Miss Janeburger"" were published in Inherited #6 and are reproduced on the Sillence main page.



If we were to talk about Tim's most famous poem, or perhaps best remembered lines, it must be from the Shorts poem published in Imprint in August 1968:


Norfolk is a flat county

Within easy reach

Of the Himalayas


I was pleased when I found it. I had a meeting with Shaggsys, (custodian of the Sillence archive) in Norwich's central library where he showed me one of Tim's early notebooks. It is full of fascinating information but the only thing I used was a small note I scribbled saying that he had been published by Imprint. I bought two other copies before I found the one - Imprint #4.

fair poem shorts poem

"Shorts" speaks about the search for Enlightenment on the hippie trail and how it can be found anywhere just by observing life.

The "Fair Poem" should not be overlooked either - Norwich had a Christmas Fair on the Cattle Market which came alive at night time.

Scan_20170804-_2_ Scan_20170804-_10_ Scan_20170804 (7) Scan_20170804 (12) Scan_20170804 Scan_20170804-_9_ imprint 2 imprint 3 imprint #4

Notes on a Beggar Woman was published in Norch #3 but the photos I have are a bit blurry so I have rewritten it for clarity. Tim's grammar and perhaps speed writing bring the heat and stress alive...