Monday, 27 September 2010

By the Thames

Birch trees at the entrance to Tate Modern.

Pulling in the weekend crowds. Great to see a gallery of modern art so popular. Not the best day for browsing, but I was there for something a bit different.

Pascale Petit was hosting the launch of a poetry booklet that arose from a course she holds there called Poetry from art. Browse some great shots of the pieces that inspired the writers by clicking here. And read a couple of the poems that arose out of these workshops on another post here. Thanks to Pascale for organizing such a great evening. (There will be others like this so keep an eye on her blog if you might like to go to a course or a reading.)

What a great event - packed out with one of the most attentive audiences I have ever seen. 20 new poets in one gig against a backdrop of slides of the pieces that had sparked off each poem and with panoramic views of the city behind us.


It was a freezing cold night, the first this Autumn and I knew there was something else I wanted to try on the river walk back to the train.

The darkness elbowed me down the river steps, walked me too fast for my own strides down the granite slabs, drew me to the black beach of a London low tide where I was hidden and sheltered from the wind.

And so these are a few of the sketches I found in my camera afterwards. Cropped and left with a bit of camera shake from the fact that I didn't have a big coat and hat on! London was breathing hidden histories across the river.

I sat under the shadow of the widest bridge, in the place where the shadows are permanent black, waterproof ink bled across the poor pickings of a river that gets skimmed of flotsam.

And the night drank me in as the tourist cruisers passed by. I watched for the hints of metal cast by a reflected moon on glass towers, for the places where lights fall into mahogany highlights brushed wet in wet, dark copper giving in to the wake, chestnut without shine and worn out golds.

Colours of old wood, worn paint, dusty violins without strings, tarnished metal, tannin on unwashed cups after too many refils of tea, tired out possessions too worn to mend.

Then in the final yards to the station. the moon made the street look like something out of Dickens.