Monday 30 May 2011

Words from the Captain's table

Why Magpie Bridge? A number of reasons, it was important for me to have the word magpie in the title of my revamped blog. The magpie is a very special bird to me; I am one of those people who always say “Good Morning Captain”, so it seemed right to name the blog after this most beautiful bird.
There is a Chinese legend about the seventh daughter of the Goddess of Heaven who grew tired of weaving colourful clouds and escaped to earth where she fell in love with a cowherd. They married and were very happy until the Goddess discovered them. She dragged her daughter back to heaven but after disguising himself a cow, the cowherd followed with their two children. The Goddess grew angry when she discovered that they were reunited, and taking her hairpin scratched a river in the very firmament of heaven separating the lovers. This river is the Milky Way between Altair and Vega. Once a year all the magpies in the world fly up to heaven to make a bridge across the rift so that the lovers can meet.
This story resonates with me, I see words as being like the magpies, and they can form a bridge between our different experiences. Here is a poem I have recently written:
He sleeps with a magpie on his tongue,
Night creep, nostril lithe,
He will dream himself an eel,
Or covered in sea swimmers grease
Will seek out the reptile brain,
Slide in through her dark eyes, still black mirrors,
In that lizard space he will rejoice.

Next day, she will say,
A man ran through her dreams,
Botched the table cloth trick,
Broke the china, then was gone.
You would not know him this morning
As he smiles, politely listens,
Tonight the Trickster will dance.
Don’t forget that I am reading at the Open Mic at the Brewhouse Theatre & Arts Centre, in Taunton this Thursday (2.6.11). Please come along if you can.