Slow morning. Precious time after a late night and before I go to work. I'm looking out at my writing corner in the garden. Too cold and damp to sit there for a breakfast of fruit and first words.
But that yellow arc beside the swaying singing hedge is still a haven for my thoughts as if it holds a space for me, as if it gazes in as I gaze out.
From the bath, I look at a painting in the hall I usually only see in flickering candlelight. All those strands of music and words from last night are resounding inside my head, the interplay, the harmony, the freefall, the collision. Radio 3 plays a Beethoven sonata as clear as if someone was at the keys in the living room. I imagine wet footprints walking out from here just to check and see. Op. 109. I haven't played it for a while.
But today is the day for jigs and reels and diddley dum diddley dee. St. Patrick's Day. I turn off the 1 o'clock news and I try not to weep as I remember a fiddle player I once played such music with. Her home town is Sendai city. We never kept in touch.
My relatives in Christchurch and a couple of friends in Japan say they are ok. I have no idea what that might really mean. The web news misses out all the things I want to know.
I place four pears in the bowl, water the houseplants, re-run phrases from last night's gig, look back at where it seemed to work well and where it didn't, recall phrases from the wordplay loops we created, ad lib, off the cuff, in the moment. Remember the moments where sparks flew, where the energy made me smile.
Last Friday, I was delighted and totally surprised to hear that a poem of mine, inspired by the garden you can see in the shot above, won a poetry prize. "Overgrown" won the general public category of the Pighog Press Moss Rich 'Sounding the Site' Poetry Prize 2011. Click to read more about the prize on the Pighog site. It was also lovely to receive warm praise for it after I read it to a hall full of people.
I hope this poem will help to reassure you that when I wasn't digging, trimming, pruning and cursing the scratch of thorns this Winter, I was still writing, dirty fingers and all. Although you don't get to see much of my "real" work on this blog any more, things are very much alive for my work. Special thanks go to those of you who have supported my writing over the last few years.
Here's an extract -
After the wind cleave had bruised the panes,
she came with hand tools to hack through the thicket,
sat for a week on the back step
while storms pushed puddles into shallow tides.
Poked eyes of cobbles kept watch from the corners of old walls
as she wrestled with brambles,
scooped out the knotted ivy from taking root.
let the air soothe the clawed knuckles of frost-blunted stems.
The complete poem will be published on the web soon, so I'll post the link when I have it.