star jelly

Star Jelly: Handmade Artists Book
Contains 9 photographs, 8 photograms and text.
Thermo-chromatic cover, hand bound using a coptic binding with found Dartmoor pony hair
Edition of 1


clawed earth

tyre tracks

black and white figures
like lookout posts
in the distance

following a worn path through the ferns
three bicycles and a horse have passed this way

my path is intersected by a narrow trail
trodden by sheep I wonder

I follow the sheep trail towards the sun
the trail is not straight
its line wavers for no apparent reason
it has lead me to a point where several trails intersect

skeletal remains

twisted spine

ribs pointing towards the sky

I hear the clatter of a train in the distance
a crow is perched on a rock just up the hill

off the track
the ground is soft
a mattress
tracks are laid deep here
hoof marks the size of a teacup stain
I find a single tooth
the base of a bare tree is generating fungus

a rust coloured pool of water
just ahead
a raven perched atop a cairn
it has flown away by the time my feet arrive

a small globule of star jelly

the first time I saw star jelly was the last time I walked on Dartmoor
I had no idea what it was
this large mass of translucent gelatinous matter
I remember assuming
that it could have only come from a cow
after having a bad time coughing up mucus
I was wrong
but my theory seemed much more likely than what they thought
in the middle ages
that it was literally ‘star jelly’
that fell to earth having been deposited during meteor showers
it seems scientists are still unclear
about what the substance is composed of
and where it comes from
one theory is that it is a fungus
a type of slime mould
another suggests star jelly to come from the
ovarian ducts of frogs
having been rejected by predatory birds
due to the unpleasant taste
the substance lands on the ground
and expands
as it absorbs moisture from the ground

following another animal trail
this one is used by the cows
I see them uphill
the trail leads nowhere
so I follow it back

my limbs are marching uphill
a gloss black slug secretes a fine film

a herd of cows
each cow divided in three.
I hear them tearing the grass from its roots

following boundary stones
marking the parish boundaries
but these are boundaries that lack containment
I weave through the stones
their boundaries are not my boundaries

two lovers embrace on a cairn
by gelatinous yellow and brown fungi
light is fading

a glossy black slug
the same as before
if so
it has moved about twenty metres since I last saw it

a fly flew into my eye
I stick my finger in to remove it but could not
maybe it wasn’t really there

a whole network of animal trails comes into view

spreading out
and then