Oftentimes, I write with an image close by. It is the peg for what I will write and this, a realisation of that creative process.
She stands between the front and back of her dress. A peg. A name. A coat. A shoe bag. A doll. A hat. A box. A tent. A dress. Her dress for the wash, a day coupled with night. Her own creased packet in the bright early light. A peg on the line. Secure. Random. Free. Nonsense. Impression. Connection. In the wash. A washing line. Disembodied. Unarranged. Configured. Framed. Context. Urban climbers. Exotic dancing menageries. Paper doll cut-outs. Atmospheric choreography. Dressing up undressed. Suspended. Dangled. Naked. Significant moments. Remembered. Imagined. She repeats as she takes in her clothes. Logical. A pattern. A cut. Instinct. Form.
Photo by Ezequiel Garrido on Unsplash
Photo by Killian Pham on Unsplash
After what felt like forever in lives other than my own, I spent time with a friend in this beautiful land of Penwith and this poem, its imprints.
You hold still the wings of flight
To sound the start and end of light
Time cut on caterpillar ground
A glasshouse inside out till night
No open door nor window to scent delight
There the beginning and end in sight
A clustered sun hangs on the vine
Circled in the ring of your eye
A momentary love, a purple shrine
A sweetness with a seedless taste
An imprinted song plucked to sound
The Chaise Longue a dog-eared page
A breath forms a drop leaf to leaf
You wing air to shivering crown
A Blackbird on the vine
Bird photo by Balint Szajki on Unsplash
Vine Photo by Robert Erskine
Their hands cut you to shape. A vessel in their likeness to carry their cry crying life. A painted self. A disguise. Their want, to walk on water to a salted land. You, their keel. Now pivoted on wooden blocks on a concrete floor.
You, the open scroll, the life goods. There is no grave. You, lie in state and I, pay tribute. No name carved in stone, no burial mound in soil. I enter your decay, a salty forest floor and taste your vulnerability.
A circling of time back on itself, time and time again. Is this your unnaming, a giving back of their peril at sea? Their mind for your spirit. The decay. A slow rotting away.
The beauty in a flourish of colour peeled back bit by bit in light. The iron leaching and cragged path of worm, fungi and mite. You, crumbling in my hand as we stand in the place where river meets sea. A movement into something else.
“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way… As a man is, so he sees.” William Blake
Photos by Su Ormerod
During Quay Fair Day in Penzance, I met Ruby with Hannah. Robert Erskine came among us in this singular moment. This blog, our response.
I felt your hands
An open book
Deep set inside
A figurative pose
The centre point
A translucent light
In the pointed nib
An inscribed sound
A universal cry
In echoing chambers
Drawn in pushed out
A deep red summit
To an open touch
A deft conversation
Arched to pure sound
You tell me: ‘Tell me now
Give me your hand
Who are you?’
I give you my hand
To give me a sign
Of who I am
Hand in Hand
“Her hand was delicate but sure; the one hand manipulating my clumsy fingers urgently and repeatedly to create a pointing hand, with the aim of pointing it to me, and to herself, in order to exchange our names. She was deft – I didn’t know at the time that she is a pianist.
It reminded me at the time of a man I once met who was disabled to the extent of only being able to move his right arm and hand, with which he was able to type messages on a typewriter. His first words to me were: “What do you believe?”
Although the two disabilities were different, the girl and the man had the same message. Forget the irrelevancies of polite conversation, and go for the most important need; our most important need: Who are you? I want you to connect with me.”
Photo’s by Su Ormerod
An airless room, music holding a silent score. Words penned to a straight line.
You play in harmony. Strum a rhythmic causeway. An entry step to hearth, to home. An inlay pattern to the door.
A washing line hooked wall to wall, painted, hung out to dry. A secure women’s ward.
Clothes suspended on a Venetian breeze. Taut pegged slack. An unknown known tipping the tongue.
A string strummed to a pitch high on sacred ground. Windows a light to slated dusk of falling night.
A choral ensemble. Each voice a part, a whole.
You play an odd note. Disharmony, the invisible peg plucks air to sound the score.
An unknown knowing known.
Photo by Su Ormerod
Standing time. Her feet, at the bidding of her mind. She caught my eye as I stood still. She, stood too. It was the sea in her eye.
A push out wave gurgled as it caressed in-between toes. Curling curiosity laughed out loud. Her beginning in sand.
The beginning. Unnamed. Free. Hands of mother and mother’s mother full of sand. She lived the next moment of her life.
She came to be. In a push pull wave, footprints forming and unforming. Creativity in motion. Nameless.
She scampered, a swashbuckle uprush wave.
Photo by Su Ormerod
When I think of being on the edge, I see a penny at the front of a coin pusher. Methodical movement back and forth, seemingly waiting for something else to tip the balance.
A mechanical tide moving metal like the cars I try to ignore, as I walk along the seafront to an art exhibition of invisible narratives. The sea on the left and town on the right.
There are waves projected onto a book of empty pages, on a desk with two radios. Each, broadcasting one voice. A monologue on the lack of dialogue in place, space and time, of what’s natural and what’s man-made. An installation.
Each, ignorant of the other, voicing over and over each other. A backing track of urban instruments. A constant throwaway into breaking waves. It feels like chaos.
The penny drops.
I walk back on edge.
There are no sides
Photo by Ameen Fahmy on Unsplash
The tidal waters drew them in sand back to the ocean. Soon, all water was gone. What was separate was one. Sea bed to land flats.
They lived near the sea, a place of escape. He built a boat of iron and laid anchor on a concrete floor. The bow sculpted motionless to the stern. Its touch, long gone cold. The chisel and hammer of time turning from west to east.
She rolled scroll after scroll. It was an empty vessel. There was paper, wire mesh, ceramic and lead. He placed each in the bottom. “A boat full of grave goods,” he said.
“No, no words are written here,” she said. “I am my own story,” he said. “In the telling, you will know,” she said. They listened in silence.
“A boat full of life goods,” she said. “Before time,” he said. “In sand and ruins and fish and fin and feet and lung,” they said.
Photo by Osman Rana in Unsplash
Photo by Christopher Sardegna on Unsplash
To walk the same path on occasion across life, is to stand in time as it passes. A ploughed field still to the sound of an ocean, a wave breaking green on a coastal path.
I wonder at earths stillness in life. At layers of soil footprints ground to a path, solid to rain homing to the sea. Time held in clods. An archaeological dig, comes to mind. A grounded memory. Earth to earth.
There is patience in winter silence. A field held still, in thrall to a plough shaping mud like water. A boat aground, a colony of gulls feather-light sailing in a prevailing wind. A blackbird singing of a tomorrow, hedged in anticipation. Like the taste of a lime sharp spring. A rustling ear at dawn.
Time laid in stone. A negative, the space. Earth to earth. Shoots of sun and rain, to leaf and flower. Green dug deep, inch by inch by inch.
Time, walk on.
Photo by Su Ormerod