Friday, 23 October 2015

WE'VE ALL BEEN THERE

I keep my poem drafts in a large notebook. I write longhand and I will revise a poem a number of times before I type it up on the computer. I think it is useful to keep a record of a poem's evolution. If I ever loose my way when revising a poem then I can go back to the original idea.
Some poems fall by the wayside in this process, today's poem being one of them. I was looking back through an old notebook and realised that by shifting some of the poem around and by adding line breaks I could complete the poem.

We've all been there.
Isherwood was offered China,
but only if he held his lover's hand and jumped,
that very night, from the Weimer frying pan,
into the fires of the advancing Japanese army.
He chose not to do this.
Perhaps that's why we remember such moments.

The conversation halts,
you look at me across the debris of the meal.
I let that one pass, twice.

Outside the Bluecoat, sunset in your hair
and eyes I could have fallen into.

There have been others,
in those instants there is a nexus.
Maybe this reality we live in
is the negative result of all those opportunities
we didn't take.
The poem refers to Christopher Isherwood's autobiographical book Goodbye To Berlin. He tells how his lover, one night, said they should go to China and leave the horrors of Hitler's Germany behind them. 
Many years after I read the book I was reflecting on the opportunities that we decide not to take and how our lives would have been different if we had.
The Bluecoat is an art centre in Liverpool.
Here's Mikey Kenney and Laura Spark's amazing animation for Council of Owls.
For some reason the full animation isn't on Youtube so here's a link to Vimeo.
Mikey Kenney again with Bottom of the Bottle [all of it this time].

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