Wednesday 24 February 2010

Notes from a Fantasy

he house faces west, looking over mountains and the sea. He comes to me in the evening and we sit in the garden, eating apples and watching the sun set.

The house changes shape and its windows move.

There is always a bath in the garden. The water is heated from beneath. I lie there for hours, reading and watching the sea.

Three houses in all: mine, theirs and the empty one.

A jetty. The shlop-shlop of water on wooden posts and the underside of the boards. The hollow sound of a dog's claws on wood.

Oyster mushrooms found in the woods. I leave a note: 'Enjoy. S x'

The carn. A candle and a lighter left at the door. Scramble inside and sit in the darkness and mud. Wait for your eyes to adjust. Try not to think about the weight of earth above you.

I play him the music I love and we listen together in silence. I sit on the arm of the sofa. The room darkens.

Wednesday 17 February 2010

Card Game

With thanks to the very gorgeous:

And thanks too to the even more gorgeous Rebecca for sending me the link. What larks, Pip!

Sunday 14 February 2010

A Wedding Shanty (for Jo and Mash)

I cannot write your love.
I have an inland hand
and insufficient ink to fill the sea of it.
But I can look into the waves
and see if I can find you,
beneath the water or above,
swimming, fishing,
or sitting on the beach,
drifting on the quiet comfort
of your togetherness.

The sea is yours. It reflects you,
first alone, now together.
Your movements are mirrored in the tides.

Even at home you can hear it:
it flows nightly through the hall,
along the skirting board,
as far as the kitchen,
and out, waterfalling down the steps.
It laps at the foot of your bed
and soaks the sheets.
It sloshes in your wine glasses,
your record sleeves.
Even Gloria must lift her paws to let it pass.

You've always heard it:
its beat and retreat,
its echo in your dreams,
as if you both knew it was waiting
to roll and tangle you in love,
to press two holey stones upon your fingers.
It remembers you, and sings to you
two halves of a sea song that are now as one.

And so, for what my earth-bound hand,
my land-lover's words are worth,
this is my shanty to you both.
Yours is the sea. You have its blessing.
May you always go to it together.

***My brother, Mash, married Jo last weekend at Huntsham Court in Devon. It was a great wedding and a fun weekend, and I read this piece during the service.

Jo and Mash live on the Sussex coast and share a great love of the sea. When we were children, one of Mash's greatest pleasures was to be taken down to Seaford on a windy day to watch the waves.

Gloria is a very black cat who lives with Jo and Mash.

Wednesday 3 February 2010

A Totem Animal Speaks II

got to know Jenny Walters and Rebecca Hurst a few years ago when we decided to form a small writing group, meeting in one of our local pubs every few weeks. They have become two of my dearest friends. Together, we share ideas, images (I have stolen snails shells from Rebecca, sea spray from Jenny) books and dreams. The evenings we spend together feel somehow alchemical, as though there is something essentially, magically potent about our meetings; and whether we are whooping with laughter or sobbing and throwing our sceptres at the injurious gods, they are always powerful and precious occasions.

A few months ago, zig-zagging our way home from Jenny's house, Rebecca and I rescued a hedgehog from the side of the road. It inspired me to write a short prose poem.

Last week, Rebecca wrote a rookish response.

And now Jenny has replied with her own animal:

Jenny Wren

(for Sian and Rebecca)

I am russet brown on top and pale below. I am soft and round with long thin legs.

In the daytime I am alone but I am busy, busy, busy. I fly here and there and perch and peck and twist. Watching through my eyes both dark and light.

You glimpse me in the hedges. I will only give a little.

I am strong and brave, bold and clever.

But I am tiny.

Underneath my feathers I am brittle. You could break me with your hand if you wanted. But I can fill my lungs and stretch apart my mouth and shout until I am heard.

I have an incredibly loud voice for such a small bird.

At night, in the house that my husband has built and I have feather lined where I have laid my eggs, I will close my eyes and be calmed by familiar wings.

You can read Rebecca's introduction to our Jenny here.

Finally, the decorated initial seems completely wrong for a post on the warmth of friendship. However, it's what happened when I started drawing the I; so I've decided to use it. Perhaps it means I need to meet up with J and R again soon and defrost in their company.