Pointless Connections 2016

A follow-up to ‘Disused Quarry 1956’

If smooth Alexander asked her, in his well-oiled way,    
how she’d spend the money, if she won,      
she’d say New York, New York. 
Everyone did, didn’t they?                  
She’d seen the men posing on the beam,             
dreamt of doing the Empire State Building,        
another must-have holiday                           
to pack away with all the others,                      
plus a time-cheating selfie taken                  
at the base of that huge erection,                   
its Keuper sandstone cladding                   
quarried in the Wirral, England.

Post-war the formerly Roman                  
now disused White Freestone Quarry           
had a don’t-go-near pond at the bottom                   
where, as a small boy, I emptied                      
my adolescent tadpoles                     
out of a fifties sweet jar                     
and watched them wriggle away                
to enjoy being frogs in my poem                 
half a century later                                                                          
before the quarry was filled in,                  
archiving privileged knowledge           
under excavated rubble                                   
from the second Mersey tunnel.    

Back from New York,                      
she’d show off her selfie                  
and enhance her life by assuming her friends                
would think she was the most important item                
in the photo, it never occurring to her                  
that her friends might just notice the cladding               
behind her, though, at the same time,                                                          
or any other time, not realising,                 
like millions of New Yorkers and millions of visitors        
since the building of that building,              
that they would be missing out              
on each stone’s silly story of privileged knowledge.            
But she’d have to win Pointless first.            



© Nemo 2020
critique and comments welcome.
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I can see the connection to the TV programme, Gerald, but the one to the old disused quarry seems to me a bit tenuous. Now how many tourists would focus their attention to the building’s cladding or consider that the most important item in that selfie is the Wirral-quarried cladding? And why would they?
Call me thick but I don’t understand why that same selfie is ‘time-cheating’.
A bit too deep for me, sorry.


Gerald, yes, I had the same confusion of importance as Luigi when reading this engaging work, as if you’d assumed your own personal knowledge about the stone-cladding, it’s over the pond use and origins, were general knowledge. If you had started the poem with …asked the contestant from the Liverpool…, it might have cemented (pun intended) the coupling together better as something she might have known and be interesting in seeing in NY. It is much more cryptic than is usual for you, but as always your descriptions and presentation style are as we’ve learnt to expect from your fine… Read more »


Two thickies, like Luigi and me, doesn’t make a defeat, Gerald. In using this well-known programme central to the plot perhaps you should have made it more authentic and understandable by making her response an almost definite pointless answer to the question or conundrum that Alexander asked her as part of the actual contest. But, by including that very personal and meaningful part written in italics, for me, the idea of it all being “pointless” is lost somehow? There is some incongruity here. But, after your detailed explanation I can see clearly now what you were hoping to achieve. If… Read more »


Ahhh….Gerald, there you go again. Please don’t have a hissi fit because someone does the get the meaning of life. Your words never fall on deaf ears. We all get misunderstood at times. You are one of the finest word smiths on this or any other site. Keep writing.
Ps I loved it

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