Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Begin at the beginning

Since I have promised that this blog is to be about writing and food, and, since I have been persuaded that any serious aspiring writer MUST have a blog, I am starting off with a poem about the island that has given me shelter.

The Islander

Patches of fog, lifting heavily from the water into the warmer air; the planes didn’t fly last night because of it. Most of the stranded Tallinners took the earliest busses – homesick I guess for solid ground. The air is full of water; white dolomite churches rising steeply, snow-still

So many shades of grey: the sky, some trees, water in a drainage ditch, ice along the edges of a pond is silver pools of snow-melt reflected in a leaden sky, framed by dead grasses

Stonewalls are blue, lavender, yellow & green; however, moss is emerald – always, unless it’s velvet brown – the colour of a collar on a child’s Chesterfield coat.

Pines are a different green: murky and dusty – hidden

Scents of burnt brush and rotting leaves, mould turned over: ochre, damp, brown, muted steel, soggy mist, whispering around the roof tops hunkering down, a shaggy rumbling bear turning round and around, flattening the lair before sleep; twigs of pine, birch, ash and oak;

the oaks are making a come back I hear.

There is no point in describing the rest; the details are too well known by those who know, and those who don't know by now would never understand. It is enough to say that I did not return from the cold land. But sometimes, in that few moments between day and night, in that blue instant between death and life, I can see her and I remember home.

Its cold here always, very cold; bodies in the permafrost take a long time to decay. Perhaps that's why, even after all this time I can still hear their voices: my friends, neighbours, family, desk-mates, shop clerks, teachers, the gulls, fish, pines singing in the wind, the dead, the unborn and the living.

Published in an anthology on house / home / shelter / homelessness by University of Central Lancashire, August 2007

1 comment:

spacedlaw said...

A touching tribute.