Friday, 30 May 2014


This is an etching by the artist Nick Richards. He tells me it is of a scene in Dorset. I have taken it to be something else. I spent time with this image, if I am honest it haunted me. Those figures emerging from the water to be greeted by a dog I found enegmatic. Eventually I wrote this:

The water became air in our lungs
then tickle nosed,
mercury balloons that rise to break above.
Indian file we move through weed,
I see her back, concentrate so as not to trip
on starfish, or stone hidden in the silt.

As I break through the interface
the halo of my hair alls in the sombre tension,
I gobble air for the first time,
then see that blue sky and I know 
our journey will not end here.

This dog, now the first animal, greets us,
wades into the water, impatient for it to start.
This time, she tells me, there will be no snake,
no partition of world in to garden, not garden,
chosen, not chosen. Instead all will be cherished,
nothing will be wasted or spurned, all will be equal.

I am scared of her vision, her clarity,
of the simple way she talks of these things,
for this world seems huge, far more complex
even than the sea which gave us form.

Naked on the shoreline, this cusp of past and future,
she points out our direction, her hand sketches
the casual curve of the bay. So much distance,
she knows, she says, this will all take time,
I worry future filigree will obscure her simple pattern.
Generations to come now crowd around us,

she is almost lost in the press of ghost bodies,
I am far from sure the beauty of her words 
which she uses to define this new world,
will not be lost amid the crying of these future souls.

I have no idea where this poem came from. It evolved in my head from Nick's etching. What do you make of it?

I shall leave you with Bill Jones singing one of my favourite English folk songs- William Taylor. Bill has not made an album for many a year and is sorely missed. 

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