Pandemic Pondering#253

Two sentences, part of a poem by Amy Rafferty stopped me in my tracks yesterday.

Here is the whole poem.

Here Come the Crows

I drew a sudden dark line under it all.
and with the fulsome flourish of a full stop dot.
Knowing that this was not what I wanted:
the rows of chimney pots, red-rouged and boring
in the dreich, mossed and encroaching in sombre lines.
The antennae and the satellite dish,
mournful and grey faced,
desperate to spill the beans of bad news and scandal.

I ignored it all, and ploughed on regardless,
watching the neighbours’ windows for inspiration,
waiting for the curtains to rise or the blinds to roll,
a patchwork of frosted tiles diminishing as sun rises behind buildings,
the shadow of the cloistered tower sliding slowly down the roof.

And with these words you now have the tools to orient yourself within the poem,
to settle down with a cup of tea,
and wait for the tropes to arrive, uninvited and well worn;
here come the magpies,
here come the crows,
that speak of dead fathers and family heroes
The seagulls, who glide and circle through the ghost smoke,
heralding rain,
the offspring of the offspring of the offspring
of those before them, who bore witness to my childhood days
and my insomnia, staring into the endless grey window of mornings.

Amy Rafferty is a writer, photographer and musician based in Glasgow. Her writing has been published in Magma, Envoi, the Interpreter’s House and From Glasgow to Saturn.

She is currently working towards finalising her two collections, Tenement and All Songs in Order

Amy is friend in the digital sense, I’m sure we would also be friends in the real sense too. Facebook tells me we have three friends in common. Amy owns one of my paintings and I love her poetry. It is as simple as that.

Inksweatandtears describe her as “Enigmatic, unnerving and rather wonderful”

I can’t better that, I don’t have the words. Those first two sentences exactly describe my current feelings towards 2020. It is a year, just like any other, that needs to be lived through, experienced, recognised for what it is, both good and bad. History will underline it. Individuals will be able to give it the fulsome flourish full stop dot. And then we will move on.

Pandemic Pondering #197

Wave is the prompt word of the Art Group. It would be easy living, as I do, close to the sea to share pictures of lapping waves. But today the word Wave gives me a direct link with our other home zone, Lambeth, London.

Not Waving but Drowning is a poem I loved as a teenager. Filed in my mind but not actually reread until today. I find it’s exquisite accuracy even more moving with a perspective altered by many years of adulthood, and the growing understanding of the fragility of young male mental health.

It is the most famous of Stevie Smith’s poems,published in 1957, it addresses death, as much of her work does, without sentiment.

And so on to the Lambeth connection.

Not Waving but Drowning is the second album by Loyle Carner a Lambeth born Hip-Hop artist. I’m not sure I’ve worked out why the album shares its name with Smith’s poem but Loyle is an Ambassador for CALM which is a charity working to support mens mental health. Hip Hop might not be your thing but Carners lyrics are as sharply accurate as Smith’s poetry.

Both the poetry of Smith and the lyrics of Loyle Carner use words to create a wave of emotion

I am in awe of their ability. I hope you are inspired to read more Smith and listen to Loyle Carner. Follow this link.

Not Waving, but drowning is the inspiration for this painting #mensmentalhealthawarenes

Not all creative ideas go to plan.

I wanted to push this image into a less figurative work. Unlike poetry or music some things are not great when reproduced. This print only really works if you can see it.

Man overwhelmed @theoldmortuary

Loyle Carner on Table Manners Podcast.