Monday, 22 February 2010

The well wrought iron...

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I love the intricacy of this picture; the shapes, the lines.  From the lower curve with its inbuilt arcs and swirls, to the upper fan of straight lines intersecting, this snapshot of the Eiffel Tower tells only a part of the tale.  Standing beneath it, on a cold and monochrome April day, I set it against the pale grey sky, thereby capturing and emphasising its artistry; bold inked geometry gives way to a backdrop awash with lightspun clouds...

Sunday, 21 February 2010

My Desert Island Book...

...would have to be Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.  I first read it for my A Level English Literature course, two years of trepidation at the hands of a teacher who began our relationship with the observation that I'd failed to reach the heights predicted of me in my school examinations.  Another puncture to my already pin-cushioned self-esteem; I'd been gradually convincing myself that those grades wouldn't matter once I took my place at the local sixth form...

Try as she might, she couldn't stop me loving English; she couldn't stop me being excited by the new things I was reading.  And when Wuthering Heights showed me what pre-twentieth century fiction could be, when it took me away from prim ladies and conventional gentleman, I was captivated.

Today, over twenty years later, I still feel a sense of wonder when faced with Bronte's narrative - non-linear, multiple-voiced, the confident immediacy of the opening line ("I have just returned from a visit to my landlord--the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with").  The extremes of love and hate, tenderness and violence, life and death that provide the novel's pulse are, in my opinion, unmatched.  From the wrist rubbed to and fro on the broken pane to the "eternal rocks" of Catherine's love for Heathcliff, the writing exemplifies Bronte's brilliance. 

For some time, I read the book again every summer.  I never tired of it... but I did run out of time for re-reading; my bookshelf began to buckle under the weight of unread texts, and so Bronte was put aside.  Nevertheless, as difficult as it would be to discard Larkin, Woolf, McEwan, Keats, Owen, Waters and Longley amongst the others who people my personal library, if I were to be cast adrift on an island with just one book for company, without doubt that book would be Wuthering Heights.  

Monday, 15 February 2010

She, she, she shine on...

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The Three Sisters, Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia.  I took this in the summer of 2007, in the midst of an amazing trip up Australia's east coast, starting in Melbourne and ending in Port Douglas, with stops along the way in Sydney, Brisbane, a 24 hour sunset and sunrise trip to Uluru, and a brief stay in a stunning rainforest treehouse...

Everything came together perfectly at the moment the shutter depressed.  The winter sun illuminated the Sisters, bringing them sharply into focus, setting them alight and adding a warmth to a day more suited to gloves, fleecey hats and gradually numbing toes.  The shadows in the background, stretching towards more distant mountains and the horizon beyond, create a textured backdrop, naturally supporting the Sisters and allowing them to shine for this fleeting moment.

Sunday, 14 February 2010



The Sunday lunchtime surge is over.
Clearing crisp packet origami
from parasoled tables
she inhabits the limbo between
now and when.
Checking her watch she looks forward
and catches the wind.

In a poltergeist moment
the glass in her hand fills with sand.
Time did not stop.
She did.
Disbelieving, she turns,
only convinced by the dying umbrella and
the grit in her eyes.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Bright Eyes and beauty...

'This is the first day of my life' sings Conor Oberst...  From the delicate acoustic opening, to the final hopeful words bred out of previous failure ('I mean I really think you like me') this track is a thing of beauty indeed.  If you have ever been in love, skirting around the edge, too scared to articulate the reality in case the dream fades, then this song will sing to you.  The fragility of chance juxtaposed with a pragmatic conviction - 'But I'd rather be working for a paycheck / Than waiting to win the lottery' - conveys the mutability of a lover's certainty.  Everything is new, different, known but unknown in a way that leaves you wondering if you've ever really seen before...  'I think I was blind before I met you'.

The simplicity of Oberst's voice - gentle, tremulous at times, emphatic as he extends those final, personal syllables - conjures images of shyness, hesitancy, the simultaneous isolation and embrace of moving beyond 'like'...

Listen to this song.  Play it again and again as you sit in the dark remembering how it feels to be overwhelmed by something so beautiful that you need more time to look, and look, and look again.

'I'm glad I didn't die before I met you'...  the intimation of futility...  the understatement of relief...  the 'I' and 'you' separated only by 'met', a word in which the two are brought together in a glimpse of a life as yet unlived.


Monday, 1 February 2010

And so it begins...

My blog.  A place to write about poetry, books, music and other stuff...  A place to think...  A place...

I'm not yet sure how this will turn out.  But it's a new way of quenching my thirst.

Hello.  Come right in.  Pull up a chair...

Let's do this.