Early Works:

Back of Van II


In his earliest years as a poet, toiling away on working construction sites in England, John Pat began to write poetry in the back of the workers van in which he travelled daily. To avoid the ridicule of his workmates he developed a simple cipher to enable him to experiment with poetry without arousing the suspicions of his fellow workers, who presumed he was adding up costs or numbers or wages. Below is a transposition of one of those poems. Followed by its actual meaning. (Again the Poem below the cipher appears to be typed on screen, refresh this page to see it being typed again.)

1,0,19,13,9,18,11,0,2,5,3,1,13,5,0,19,13,9,12,5,0,1,14,4,0,7,18,5,1,20,0,20,9,13,5....

1,0,23,8,9,12,5,4,0,1,23,1,25,0,23,15,12,4,0,18,5,3,5,4,5,4,5,0,1,19,0,1,0,4,18,5,1,13....

1,23,15,11,5,0,20,15,0,13,25,19,5,12,6,0,1,14,4,0,23,8,1,20,0,9,4,0,19,5,5,14....

1,0,22,9,19,9,15,14,0,15,6,0,1,0,12,21,13,9,14,15,21,19,0,2,5,9,14,7....

1,7,1,8,14,19,20,0,13,5,0,23,9,20,8,15,21,20,0,15,16,16,15,19,9,20,9,15,14....

20,8,5,0,20,8,18,5,1,4,0,20,8,1,20,0,7,5,11,4,,13,5,0,2,1,3,11,0,19,15,1,16,16,5,4,0,1,12,15,21,4....

1,12,12,0,4,15,21,2,20,0,5,22,1,16,15,18,1,20,5,4,0,1,5,25,15,14,4,0,19,15,6,20,0,3,12,15,21,4....

3,15,13,6,15,18,20,9,14,7,0,23,1,18,13,20,8,0,3,14,18,1,16,20,21,18,5,4,0,20,8,5,0,19,21,14....

9,0,19,23,1,13,0,9,14,0,20,5,14,4,5,18,0,4,5,23,0,1,04,18,15,16,0,1,23,13,15,14,7....

9,0,7,1,4,0,19,21,3,3,21,13,2,0,19,21,18,18,15,21,14,4,5,4,0,2,25,0,25,14,21....

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