MEET UPS : February, April, , Words & Images, August, September
I sent the bird to a friend on her birthday and she sent me this picture of it in situ in her house! Along with a card that said “The little orange bird will take you where you need to be. I know you will succeed in creating your collection. Keep visualising that little orange bird!”
PROJECT: I am working on a first collection of poetry that will include a sequence of poems about my neurological condition Meningiomatosis and subsequent brain surgery and treatment – taking in recollections, thoughts, musings, observations from a wry eye and a radioactive mind and, above all, an awareness and celebration in the most direst of circumstances of “how ordinary extraordinary things are or how extraordinary ordinary things are” in the words of Norman MacCaig. I am thinking of calling this sequence ‘Velvet, Red, Face, Daisy, Church’ (or a variance thereof) after five words I was asked to remember in a cognition assessment by an occupational therapist following an operation during which I had a stroke. These words have never left me and I’m confident they never will. They are my hook snagging the “it’ll be fine” feeling.
The collection will not solely be about this subject. Like The Wasting Game by Philip Gross which contained a series of poems addressing his daughter’s life with anorexia, I see this as a sequence of poems contained within a wider collection. I will be revisiting poems I wrote a while ago, as well as including new pieces, on a variety of themes and thoughts. I will use poems by Julia Darling and Claire Williamson as guiding lights.
INSPIRATION : TWO POEMS BY NORMAN MacCAIG
An ordinary day
I took my mind a walk
or my mind took me a walk–
whichever was the truth of it.
The light glittered on the water
or the water glittered in the light.
Cormorants stood on a tidal rock
with their wings spread out,
stopping no traffic. Various ducks
shilly-shallied here and there
on the shilly-shallying water.
An occasional gull yelped. Small flowers
were doing their level best
to bring to their kerb bees like
ariel charabancs. Long weeds in the clear
water did Eastern dances, unregarded
by shoals of darning needles. A cow
started a moo but thought
better of it… And my feet took me home
and my mind observed to me,
or I to it, how ordinary
extraordinary things are or
how extraordinary ordinary
things are, like the nature of the mind
and the process of observing.
Events got him in a corner
and gave him a bad time of it –
poverty, people, ill-health
battered at him from all sides.
So far from being silenced,
he wrote more poems than ever
and all of them different –
just as a stoned crow
invents ways of flying
it had never thought of before.
No wonder now he sometimes
suddenly lurches, stalls, twirls sideways,
before continuing his effortless level flight
so high over the heads of people
their stones can’t reach him.
PROGRESS REPORT :