Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Decision

Dark morning, frost heavy,
She woke, heart beating hard and fast,
having dreamt of death,
Yet not her own, but that of a child, not yet born,
Its spirit soft and loved, now returned to a breath,
Breathed in, and not yet breathed out.

Cold breath, scarf warming her
she found ice scratched purposefully
from the windscreen of her car,
Scraped away by a benevolent friend unknown, afar?
The sense of the soft shavings of snow
relieved the heavy weight
of her redundant files and still unmade decision,
And powdery confetti blew away on the subtle breeze.

The photos of her that night never came out,
The black dress a hole in the scene,
a shadow in the wings of the stage.
And all morning cars and people took her place in line,
One gone, one replaced, her role substituted.

And as she drove back,
the crack she had been peering through eagerly
widened and strengthened its grip on her reality,
A fatality of a dream dreamt too long, and too deeply.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Poetry of Thomas Hardy

Today i thought i'd share some other people's poetry. I drove through Dorchester at the weekend in my home county of Dorset, and thought of Hardy, a local writer of the 19th century born there. Although he is well known for his novels such as Tess, Jude the Obscure, Far From the Madding Crowd and others, he was primarily, and by inclination, a poet. It was poetry who first drew him towards the idea of being a writer, and for years Hardy didn't read anything but poetry. He described himself as an agnostic, and his work is concerned with suffering, and in particular with the human sense of impotence in the face of ruthless destiny. There is a tragic stoicism about his work, a blind will to go on living in despite of the malignancy of fate. and also from a considerable curiosity about human nature. It slips in and out of autobigraphy, and many of the themes you find in his poems can also be found in his prose. Today i thought i'd share one of my favourite of his poems.

Neutral Tones

We stood by a pond that winter day,
And the sun was white, as though chidden of God,
And a few leaves lay on the starving sod;
-They had fallen from an ash, and were gray.

Your eyes on me were as eyes that rove
Over tedious riddles of years ago;
And some words played between us to and fro
On which the lost the more by our love.

The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing
Alive enough to have strength to die;
And a grin of bitterness swept thereby
Like an ominous bird a-wing.

Since then, keen lessons that love deceives,
And wrings with wrong, have shaped to me
Your face, and the God-curst sun, and a tree,
And a pond edged with grayish leaves.

Hardy considered himself to be an agnostic, but to many he was seen more as an atheist. What i love about reading his poetry is that it never fails to transform me into a believer. His poetry is beautifully written, yet in many ways dark, hopeless, grey, and for this reason it always serves to reconfirm the fact that i do have so much faith in life, that for me fate is not ruthless or malign, even if at times it would seem to be. I understand why Hardy had a venomous dislike of Him (God) for not existing, and yet cannot share it. To me, God is everywhere all the time, spirit is unquestionably within me and around me, without doubt guiding me and revealing itself to me daily. I could analyse this poem easily, elicit the powerful symbolism and its effect on the poem as a whole, discuss how each stanza weaves themes together, etcetera, but then this would be an essay and not my blog. Instead it is suffice to say that reading Hardy's poetry reminds me of several facts: that all ideas, no matter how far removed we think they are from our own, can lead us to a greater awareness of ourselves: Secondly that poetry is an art form which can weave beautiful patterns of words when written well. And thirdly, that i must read more poetry...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Poetry Thursday: If The Walls Could Talk...

I thought that this was a great idea for poetry thursday, an immediate stepping stone into the realm of the imagination, something you could really get your teeth into. I'm certainly looking forward to reading other people's ideas this week, and wanted to note how great an idea i think poetry thursday is in order to get people blogging, writing, creating. I welcome feed back on this, be it a critique or not, as long, of course, as its constructive criticism, or else i'm not sure there's much point. Mostly i have found that visitors are hugely inspiring and positive in their comments, which can only be a good thing. So thank you. I will endeavour to do the same for others. My poem is influenced this week by Sting. There is a clear poetic slant to many of his songs, which has fed my work.

If the walls could talk,
A witness they would make
Of the light and the dark of this small person
who resides within them, from day to daybreak.

They might act as judge to this defendant,
The same old trial underway,
Ask the same old questions,
and face the same denial.

They might note, for the record,
the dark places i fear,
the dreams i have yet to fulfill,
the shadows which a dark ship steer.

They might note how much i failed to trust you,
How i clung to my addictions,
carried my tombstone on my back,
ran to escape my afflictions.

Or they might take into account
the deeper motivations of my acts,
see the light which springs from all of them,
see a soul enrapt

With the gratitude of having known
that even when running from the tide,
these mistakes were learning tools,
these mistakes stopped me from finding a place to hide.

So that when the prosecution rests,
And the jury now is out,
These walls have finally to confess,
That they were always, in fact, right by my side.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Turner Prize 2006.

I love the way the Turner Prize for art always engenders such strong reactions in people. It was created, after all, to do exactly that: to promote discussion about art, plain and simple. And it succeeds admirably. This year's nomainted artists, whose works are displayed in the Tate Britain, are comprised of two female and two male artists; Mark Titchner, Phil Collins, Tomma Abts and Rebecca Warren. Yesterday I went to see what they had to offer, and laughed at myself when i found that i was reacting to the work, discussing it fervently, doing precisely all the things which the creators of this prize would have wanted me to do. I also realised at the same time how much i need this stimulus, how i need to think and philosphise about the things happening in the world around me, in order to ground me and remind me that i am a part of this world. To do these things makes me as much me as sitting in a field and clearing my head of all its worries. I need it, in short, to be happy. My life seems to revolve around work, food, sleep, for much of the week, and to be able to involve myself in the ideas of others and travel into that realm of possibility again was like a breath of fresh air. Here are some images from the exhibition.

This is by Tomma Abts. Her work is really well executed - she shows a great technical skill, and i love the way the image is on the edge of both realism and abtractionism at the same time. She paints her canvases simultaneously, so several will be on the go at the same time, and therefore they have no real identity without the other pieces. I loved this idea of one merging with the other.This is an image of part of Mark Titchner's work. The discs spin creating a hynotic effect, and i found myself guarding against being drawn in by it. I felt vulnerable as i watched the discs whirl around incessantly. And that's good, because that was preicsely the effect the artist wanted to have. His work approaches ideas about our mind's susceptibility to external influences and it explores the tensions between different belief systems that inform society, be they religious, scientific or political. It's supposed to question out blind faith in science and obedience to authority. I thought he conveyed this idea really effectively. The great thing about philosophy is that you can question everything, so i suppose it was highly fitting that i got to see this particular art....

But i vote for Tomma Abts. I have to confess that i liked the aesthetically pleasing qualities about her canvases, and i guess i relate to them most strongly in terms of my own art as well. As much as i like to philosophise, i still have to have my own preferences..

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Black Flower

Nothing to do with the prompt i'm afraid. I'm not going to explain this poem, (mainly because i don't have time!).... see what you make of it, if you care to. My kind regards to everyone.

Who was i before this dream?
The ground has shaken because of you,
Your black shirt atttractive and soothing,
ripping the foundations from under my feet.

Now i can see that there was a crack there already,
Waiting to be opened up,
By your hand taking hold of mine,
and leading me somewhere i now realise
i have desperately wanted to find,
by your glance, your knowing, the intelligence
bonding to me, weighing down my heart
with heavy bliss.

Your pull is strong,
far stronger than i could have realised.
Aa part of me has awakened, a black flower,
Which was budded deep within,
And its power consumes me, haunts me, feeds me.

Behind me is sweetness,
A love unconditional and tender,
Without thought, without reason.
If i turn back towards it i am softened again,
Yet longing, and without, in its beauty.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Poetry Thursday: Lying

I've got to admit, this was hard. But i really wanted to respond to the 'brief', and here it is...

I hate the sky at night while you're standing in a deserted place,
so empty and meaningless,
so void of beauty.

I hate the way you look at me,
Your eyes smiling,
Your love emanating
from you like waves of summer sun.

I hate the Suffolk coastline,
the North Sea so uninspiring and dull,
the shingle hard, cold, and uninviting.
Just like i hate those Devon enclosures of sea
which don't enrapture me or compel me to stay in them forever.

I'm angered by the cat crossing my path,
the shooting star i witness as i dream of higher things,
the love of my angel as i cry my tears.

And the healing that takes place in me
as everything i have asked for arrives,
suddenly, in my life,
surprise upon surprise.

But more than anything i hate lying,
about the things which i love,
and i embrace all the wonderful gifts of my life
the tip of an immense iceberg.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Poetry Thursday: Solitude

When i was little my father used to read Winnie the Pooh to me. How English. He used to work abroad and when he went away he would send us recordings of him reading it so we could still hear his voice. (And of course, Pooh wouldn't like to be forgotten). The author who wrote the book also wrote poetry, including a book called 'Now We Are Six' which was specifically for children. I still have the book now, its pages tattered and falling out, my name written by my mother on the first page, when she was so much younger than she is now. These things are so precious. The book exudes my energy simply from being a part of my life for so long, as if it absorbed part of me as things do when you are in possession of them for so long. I always find it remarkable how we attach to things we have owned when we are little, how we make comments like, 'Oh my god, i can't believe i still have this', or 'I remember that!', as if it has formed part of our identity almost. Perhaps it's because we are so much more in touch with ourselves in a very simple way when we are young, and our judgements of what is good or bad or morally acceptable or stylisticlaly fashionable don't get in the way. We just accept. How wonderful.


I have a house where i go
When there's too many people
I have a house where i go
Where no one can be;
I have a house where i go,
Where nobody ever says 'No'
Where no one says anything - so
There is no one but me.

This is a poem from this very same book, and i loved re-reading this. The child has found a place of solitude in their garden, and escapes there. For me this made me think of the place i can go to in my head where there is always peace, (or is it my heart), where there is also no one saying 'No', where no one can be (except me), which is my house and my home; a very precious and well protected space. I love the simplicity of this idea and how for me it relates to so much more than a place, but more a space. When i was little i used to spend hours on our swing in the garden, swinging all day sometimes it felt like, uninterrupted and alone with my thoughts. I need to get another swing... Because this is a space to be nurtured and where we can create, where we can be ourselves without the pressures and busyness of our world. In 'Conversations with God', God says,

"Begin by being still. Quiet the outer world, so that the inner world might bring you sight. This in-sight is what you seek, yet you cannot have it while you are so deeply concerned with your outer reality. Seek, therefore to go within as much as possible. And when you are not going within, come from within as you deal with the outside world. Remember this axiom:
If you do not go within, you go without'.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I Dreamt of My Birth

The full, fat moon moves across the sky while i sit,
the cool light reflecting on the pane of glass
which also reflects my face,
and the tree which sways in the wind not far from me.

Behind me dark walls of shabby, old wallpaper
Are being stripped off,
more quickly now.
My father helps to peel off the old remains,
My mother bustles in, forms the family i have become a part of,
strange and new.

I am soothed,
As what was sombre brown is becoming white at last.
I wish and i wish again,
For it to be complete,
This process of rejuvenation and of newness, wholeness.
Thank you.

The child who has sat darkly within my heart is quiet now,
not needing to talk, but watching, and waiting.
Because she knows now that her birth is imminent,
that she can go and hug that man who busies himself behind her,
And embrace the mother who feels the need now to be by her side.

Happy birthday my child, she says,
Of course your time is almost here,
or else what would be the point?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Dark Days

It's getting dark, the days are going to really draw in now. The clocks going back brings a feeling of shutting down, closing the door on the summer, and in fact today it's really depressed me. I've visited my gran who is dying slowly of lung cancer. I've said goodbye to my sister, again... so many goodbyes, it makes my heart ache. I haven't touched a school book while having a week off, for which i am going to pay dearly tomorrow. Am i the only teacher in the world who has given up trying to conquer the work load? Probably. It worries me that i care so little about my job. Please don't shoot me for saying that. Oh dear, sometimes sundays can really be too much. When the light of tomorrow comes, metaphorically speaking as well as literally speaking, i will feel better. Even the antiques roadshow is having a hard time cheering me up today though.

All day i have laughed and made jokes, yet when i look deeply into myself, there is sadness in me, clambering to get out. To bathe me in its healing. A few days back i was sitting on top of a huge cliff, looking out on an ocean of possiblity, and healing then too. I have to remember that i can take myself back there in my mind whenever i wish, so that it can show me the truth again, and that really no doors are closing on me. And how ironic.. the album i'm listening to has just sung these words to me:

Don't let your soul get lonely, in time it will go by.
Don't look for love in places, in faces,
it's in you, that's where you'll find it.
Be here now.

And how true. And now my emotions are flowing again, rather than trying to survive in a stagnant pool of nothingness. Now my colour is returning, and i can remember what is important again.

Finding the world in the smallness of a grain of sand
And holding infinities in the palm of your hand

And Heaven's realms in the seedlings of this tiny flower

And eternities in the space of a single hour

Don't lose your faith in me,
and i will try not to lose my faith in you
Don't put your faith in walls,
for they will only crush you when they fall

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Waves crash past the stack, the rock
jilts out into the ocean and white stallions
force their might over it,
while i sit with him, sun on our faces
as we look out into the blue ocean.

A mother runs with her giggling child
as the waves move in further than expected,
Trousers rolled up, now edged with the sea
And with their laughter
And he places his arm around me, safe

A sleeping dragon lies behind us, the rock face
houses the Kite which flies above,
and as we walk up high, then higher, then higher still
i become small, a dot
on the great landscape of this earth
which is beautiful,
and wild
and home.

I remember walks from long ago,
How much i wanted to return home
and not be faced with this vast expanse
of air, and life and perspective
Whereas now i could stay forever
in this place, and remain identity-less
and without the mirrors of other faces and realities

This world is truly beautiful,
And how much it has to offer us
There's so much colour in the landscape of my soul
when i rest in this place
everything is suddenly possible again,
And i'm alive with it
A world of art born again inside me

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

10 Statements to Sum Up My Week

Doctors know NOTHING about our health. Never visit a health professional, unless you are bleeding so much that you are about to die, then i reckon they might help.

Bournemouth is an ugly place, full of losers in BMWs who think they've made it.

Full time jobs imprison you in their bubble and allow you to forget that you are alive, until you go on holiday, when you remember that you have a personality again.

Dreams stay dreams until you make them a reality. If you want something then you have to go for it. It might be a cliche, but it's a cliche for a reason.

Ray Lamontagne's album 'Til the Sun Turns Black' is one of the best albums in the world.

Life is full of poetry and full of art. These things give meaning to experience and allow all that we go through to become something living and real.

The relationship which we have with ourselves is the most important relationship there is, and it will mirror the relationship we have with everyone else. And the only thing to fear is fear itself.

King prawns are the best food of all time.

Sometimes i have to let out my complaints against the world, no matter how much i hold it dear.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

My Dream

When i lean in to it, through the crack,
sparkling down there is myself opened,
a diamond hidden within a mine,
the depths nowhere to be seen, fathomless.

With it deep bliss, i sink further into it,
away from this surface, this skimming,
and rest comfy in its immense space.
I recognise this place, of course
For millennia have familiarised me with it

A synaesthesia of colour: deep red, deep blue, pure white
Drown my soul and fill it to the brim
As i close the door behind me
A hand on my shoulder welcomes me back
Once more

And the longing surfaces again,
The longing to be back here, to live this reality
And not this dream
To find this secret stairway in the wall before me
And fall down it head first
To land, the moment my feet leave the floor.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

If I Could Have One Wish...

Love Monster

When i look back on my life i can see that i have always been afraid. And who hasn't? There isn't a single person on earth who doesn't carry some fear with them, or else they wouldn't be here you could argue, there would be no point to them living this life here in this place. But i genuinely feel that i have carried more than the 'average' person, whatever that is. I can see that even when i was a very little person i have felt this fear, unable to understand what it was, what it meant, unable even to comprehend it as fear rather than, at times, a feeling of near insanity and a kind of darkness in my soul. At times i have felt almost evil with it as it's coursed through my veins, felt that there was a monster living inside me.

I realise that sounds very heavy. Fortunately i have come to understand my fear, come to manage it, learnt how to deal with it and find light in my life more readily. When i left home i had to learn to deal with it or drown under it, which sometimes i felt close to doing. I have learnt to fight it through letting it go. I've realised just how irrational and outside life it is, and learnt through it who i am in a far more meaningful way. I am grateful that i have been so afraid of myself, as otherwise i would not know just how much point there is to life, just how beautiful our existence here is and why we must fight to attain light. I've come to realise that fear is in fact one of my greatest teachers, and that it has in fact shown me a path to happiness rather than driven me from it, because i have allowed it that. And all these things i am humbly grateful for, because i know that without them i would not be who i am now.

And yet today i wonder, how much more fear can i release now? How much longer will i have to go on battling with myself, sacrificing my darkness, letting go of the knot in my stomach which prevents the light coming in? When will i learn to let my life flow, to have in my life those feelings and those things which i image so frequently which are full of life, full of meaning, full of hope and love? When can i have them? I know that i will never be totally free of fear, or as i said, what would be the point of living? This is what makes us human after all. And i know that i am much closer to achieving this state that i dream of. But still i want to feel my own self without consciously having to make an effort to do that. This is what i yearn for. If i could have one wish, it would be to have this. And to give out this knowledge to all those who feel themselves amidst the darkness.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Eyes That Shimmer

How you look at me with those eyes,
Child-like, smiling, reflecting my face in their squinting happiness,
Just a glimpse before you lower your head, hide from my gaze.
Can i box those moments up please and carry them with me?
A friend for my lonely soul.

How you pierce me with that fragile face,
A wide eye of fear and love, emptying you out, bottomless, void,
And it draws you closer to me, and i pull you in, shield you from all that torments you,
And a tear rises up from my heart.

How expansive is my future when i look into your eyes,
Light-filled, deep red and dark blue
And i ride the wave onto new shores which lie far from this place.
An ocean travelled, the distance between my love and me.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Mounted High Your Fortress

My love, i can see
Mounted high your fortress, majestic legacy of war.
Lit by moonlight, soft and eerie,
Its armour a deep shade of grey, walled high above the sodden land.

Encircled in deep waters, there you take rest alone,
Your lookout far from the touches of the armies which attempt to conquer you.
Driven here in time now forgotten,
Often you will sit with a blind eye, head lowered, your waking sleep a cosy blanket.

From your tower the view is beautiful, although a little far removed
High above, stars will watch over you peacefully.
On clearer days you have often imaged someone coming in the distance,
From that place you once called home.
An old, old friend, her footsteps sunk deep into the mud.

You have felt that the key which you have long held close
Is about to be offered to another,
And sure enough you are right.
Invisible hands wind up the chains, allow your visitor to gain entrance.
To join you in your empty palace, just for a little while.

Enraptured in remembrance you dine with her, rest with her,
It is wine, not blood which drips from the knife
Pillows are softened by sweet carresses
The emptiness of this place masked with your eye for detail

And in rooms where the walls have no pictures,
You allow her to speak of where she has come from.
That land of peace and beauty nigh unimaginable
Which you had long forgot.

But speak just a little, you say:
Too much and the pain of what is lost becomes too apparent
For you lived there once also,
Your place there lost to stronger forces within you.

You will her to stay, to accept the warm generosity of a welcoming host
Who has forgotten the nature of his environment
And for a while she agrees,
For rarely has she felt so welcome, so comfortable, so surrounded

Yet these walls are so high, so grey, so strong
Here she cannot sink her feet into the ground and let it cushion her voluntary falls.
Her privileged place in your tower allows her a view of the place from whence she came
Sparkling dimly in the distance, she knows that it is home.
And yet she knows also that no visit was as richly lived as this one.

And so he wakes to find her gone
Just a saddened shadow moving through a hidden door
And once more his walls become the bars of a prison self-constructed long ago
And as he sinks to his knees the cry is let out
Shattering the windows once clad shut
Anger rising from deep within his belly, lighting a spark within his soul

Pushing outwards it moves to all around
A ripple of fiery energy conquering all
Battlements are rased back to the ground from which they sprung
Burning long through the night

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Moment I Let Go of It....

The moment i let go of it
Was the moment i got more than i could handle
The moment i jumped off of it
Was the moment i touched down
From Thank You, Alanis Morissette
Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie
I am always in awe of musicians and poets who seem able to express ideas imaginitively and get their meaning across so universally. Probably because i've never felt that gate to open easily in myself, although i'm getting better at allowing that. Alanis Morrissette is one of these people. This woman is a woman in touch. Her music is often raw, awkward, i just can't listen to a lot of it, and yet there is no denying for me that her words will so often resonate inside me, give expression to feelings i have not been able to put words to. In her song Thank you from the album Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, she gives thanks for things in her life which have brought her happiness or understanding. She talks about dangling carrots and things she doesn't need anymore, and thanks India, disillusionment, frailty, consequence, silence for bringing her greater understanding of her life. But it's the lines above which have special relevance to me today. Because i've realised that having let go of something really major in my life, i've gone and got it more than i ever realised.
It is a fundamental law of nature. When you release something into the world, when you give it up and allow it to leave you, like a boomerang it returns to you and smacks you one in the chops. If you're reading this then you may have read my piece a few weeks back about a moment i experienced at a pool table, when i realised i hadn't achieved any of the things i wanted to in my life, and this was making me desperately unhappy. I was distraught, i couldn't believe that i wasn't about to have a family, wasn't about to settle down, wasn't about to get married, wasn't about to get a joint bank account. My life had none of the things i wanted in it...
I realised after this moment of anger and frustration that i had wanted those things for a long, long time, since i was quite young really. I'd seen my sister married and have three beautiful children, and at the time i believed that she and her husband were the embodiment of happiness - a pillar of marital bliss. I was so unhappy in myself that to me that was the only visible route for achieving happiness again. But a couple of weeks after the pool table incident and i realised that in fact i didn't need or want any of those things in reality.
That in fact this was a mind set which had served to make my present life unbearable and which was part of a darker side of me which liked to tell me i've failed, i've not been capable or worthy enough of achieving these things. And as the feelings rose in me that night, a structure was breaking down in me, pushing out and disbanding itself so i could move on. A few weeks on again and i realise that i have let go of all that torment, i have thrown it all to the wind. The most liberating and peaceful feeling.
But it seems that having done that i'm attracting back into my life the things i really need. Feelings of togetherness and trust in my relationships which i've never had before. I feel more cared about and loved than ever, and more seen than invisible. Where before there was always a reason to see an end, all i'm seeing now is beginnings and futures panning out before me. Where hearts were once firmly shut, now they are beginning to blossom. I'm wondering what else i can let go of, so that i can get more of it than i can handle..... Thank you Alanis.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Meeting

This poem is entitled The Meeting. It's about meeting a shadow side of me (if you hadn't guessed already) which i used to do a lot of and have been reminded of through recent conversations. In lots of work i've done on myself i've used symbolism to help heal darker aspects of me, and this poem is highly representative of that. I found the most effective way to deal with shadows is to see their beauty, so often i have been given an image of a jewel or flower to place deep within the heart of something which represents my fear. It's really worked to help bring in compassion for that side of me rather than judgement.

I can feel her pushing inside me
Beautiful wretch
Feverishly she attempts to bend the bars of her lower prison
Lifts a stilted eye to the gap where a shaft of light sparkles
Fighting desperately for recognition, for breath
Scratching at the chain

She has been there too long
But to go meet her eye is to be afraid
Don't bang so loud, dear one
Yet guided by your hand, a voice which has no sound i arrive
To open that door and burn her
Put a match to the fear of her desire

Hand trembling i see her now
She flickers in and out from the deepest shadows
Crawling, pitiful, hidden
Hold the diamond against her mass of darkness, shamed and sorrowful
Time and fear's blended creation

Step forward, i'm moving closer in now
Revealed to me her broken face
I cut into her heavy outline
As black layers fall to dust around
And as the tears fall bitterly from her face
She can die now
And be born again

Monday, September 18, 2006

She Will Consume You

Either you change or you die in me
That is my choice
This invasion stops here
Now face the wall
and see it transform to a pathway
If that is your desire

See her beauty
For it is eternal
Unknown to you it contains you
And breathes your life, your breath

You may think her power dead
but she will rise with a force which you have never seen
and consume you

You may see her lying broken
But her wounds are nothing
When you realise the damage you have caused yourself
Would you like to try it out, try her?
Please, go on, walk on and test that space
Your path will lead to a forest of darkness

Whereas she will be filled with light
Growing stronger by the hour
She could shine her light upon your path
And set you free, if you just asked

You could join her
Close your eyes and hold on
To some form of belief
And see yourself grow from nothing to everything

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Blog, blog, blog

Blog, blog, blog. Seeing as this week's prompt is to google something you want to find out more about, i googled the blog itself. Apparently it first started to take off in 1999, and today there are more than 20 million blogs worldwide. Dictionaries now house terminology related to this phenomena, such as

'blogorrhea': Typically refers to meaningless ranting and raving on a blog

'blogrolling': Creating a blog. Blogrolling tools are available to simplify the job of adding and removing links. It also may imply trading links between blog sites to increase the list.

'blognosing': Sucking up to people with the hopes of getting linked in their blog. From "brown-nosing."

'War blog': A blog that came into being after 9/11 and deals with the war against terrorists.

'dooced': Neologism. To get dooced is to lose one's job because of one's website. The term was coined by blogger Heather B. Armstrong, after she was fired for writing stories about her colleagues on her blog Her advice to bloggers is never to write about their work on the Internet unless their boss knows and sanctions the fact that they are doing so. (Who would do that?)

'Escribitionist': a person who keeps a diary or journal via electronic means, and in particular, publishes their entries on the world wide web. The word was coined in June 1999 by Erin Venema, an online diarist, in the course of a discussion on a mailing list for web journalers. At issue was how to distinguish web journal authors from keepers of traditional paper-and-ink diaries.

"moblogging": posting to the internet from a portable or mobile device

'blogdote': jokes, humour, anecdotes and funny stories posted on a blog... such as this one from Rach's blog:
Japan Police versus Darth Vadar

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Thank you, my love

Is it ok to slip into the shoes of another of my selves? Here isn't a place that i go very often, and i realise that i should more. Expressing love isn't half as easy as expressing fear, not for me anyway. As i've heard the lyrics of love songs and lines of love poetry, i've always thought it was too hard for me to be able to express that kind of stuff without feeling plain stupid. I have incorporated the style of other poets in my piece, but it's a mish mash and has no single inspiration.

Thanks for looking at me not through me
I need a love like that
There's a little sun on my back
As i laugh your laugh and cry your tears

Thanks for putting my world at stake
I need a love like that
There's some rain to quench my thirst
Even though i teeter on the verge of everything

Thanks for turning my castles to sand
I need a love like that
As i see your soul older than the ocean
There's a breath of wind through an empty desert

Thanks for loving my light and loving my dark
I need a love like that
To open up my past
And cast out the deep shadows of the earth

Thanks for enjoying and not competing
I need a love like that
So when the stars all burn away
The love we've shared stays forever
In everything

Monday, September 11, 2006

Only 19, Paolo....

If you don't have the new Paolo Nutini album, then go buy This Italian-sounding boy is in fact Scottish and from Paisley, and is also in fact a 19 year old genius whose album i'm finding hard to put down, so to speak. I didn't realise he was so young ...i feel a deja vu coming on:-) he's clearly going to go far. In "Jenny Don't Be Hasty' he feels his age acutely as he tells Jenny, well, not to be hasty, when he realises that she does in fact care that he's not 23 but a mere 18, (now 19!) and that now she's looking at him all 'disgusted' and treating him 'like a baby'. He questions who makes up the rules about age and who she's answering to, and only wants her to forgive him and 'smile and change her mind'. But will she? To him it doesn't sound like it, poor baby. I hope she did change her mind, in the end, and doesn't 'kill him so'.

Jenny don't be hasty
You said you'd marry me if i was 23
but i'm one that you can't see if i'm only 18
tell me who makes the rules
obviously not you
who are you answering to?

Oh Jenny don't be hasty
don't treat me like a baby
let me take you where you let me
because leaving just upsets me

and i'll be round again
to see these other men
that are more adequate in the age department
i did not think you'd care
there'd be no problems here
but now you're looking at me like you're disgusted
and i'm deftly waiting for you to smile and change your mind
then i'll say i'm sorry and i'll wrap my arms around your body
i really hope that you forgive in a hurry and don't just ask me to leave

Oh Jenny don't be hasty
don't treat me like a baby
let me take you where you let me
because leaving just upsets me
oh Jenny you are crazy
first i'm perfect then i'm lazy
i was calling you my baby
now it sounds like you've just left me
and it kills me so

you said you'd marry me if i was 23
but i'm one that you can't see if i'm only 18

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Poetry Thursday: Blue Landscape

I opened the gate to the blue landscape of my heart
And crawl on, slowly, concentrating.
The leaves wither and retract as i walk past
Once compelling, now anaethetised, withdrawn.

Birds fly up and fill the broken sky
In the distance the sun begins it's quickening rise
I walk now, more assured, across the resistant bridge
And i am home, i can feel that i am home.

I glance behind to catch an outline of myself
Now fading
To turn is to see the prize of my journey.
Brought to me silently, lovingly, outrageously
Other paths disappear in the light of it's glow

A search light shoots overhead
And comes to rest within my midst
It reveals all recognition of this haunting and beautiful place
How did she find me, and how did i ever leave at all

At the cliff i hear the rocks fall into the sea
While the stars align in a dark blue sky
I've left no footprints, scatter ashes around me
And i am home, i've found my blue home

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sunday Scribblings

My ego has really got me today. It's had me in its throes, its little voice arguing with me as i just let myself be me, stop fighting with myself. It doesn't like it obviously as having cleared my head of its ramblings and having found a centred place, it has no room to live. I often find that times where i'm contented and feel peace of mind are followed by surges of self doubt and hesitation. It's like a machine that's had its usual workings blocked, so that everything comes crashing out in an overload of energy. It needs putting in its place or else it will easily get the better of you.

My ego works more subtly than that though on a more everyday level. Tomorrow i go back to work. I've had six weeks off now (i'm so lucky), and this space has allowed me to see myself more objectively. I've begun to see how my ego works in me to try to keep me in a safe place which it knows and yet which suppresses me.

Playing a game of pool a few weeks ago, the most unlikely setting for something so major, and something opened up in me, part of me came rising to the surface which had long been hidden away. All my frustrations and anger at not having achieved what i want to achieve came flooding out, and it was only the start of something much, much bigger. I don't know how long it's been now i've thought that i wanted to have a family; to settle down. The crazy thing is i think i've wanted it since i was young, really young. At that pool table all i could feel was that i hadn't got it, it wasn't there in my life. I was overwhelmed by the fact that i simply couldn't seem to grasp it.

But now, a few weeks later, that angst and frustration has cleared from me. That moment at the pool table was it all rising to the surface so that i could finally free myself of it. I can see so clearly that my need for this has in fact been a good way for me to put extra pressure on myself, growing stronger as i've got older, and that in fact i don't need, or rather i don't want, any of that yet. It's like i don't know the person who wanted those things anymore, as if she's dead. Someone new has been born into my life. The ideas i have held on to so strongly, like a child with a lolly, have worked against me rather than for me. I am still young and still have so many things which i want to do before my life becomes dedicated to other people. Having my sister's children here reminds me that i like my freedom, thank you. They are the best children in the world and i love them with all my heart, but i don't in fact want to recreate that for myself yet. I've only just found a bigger part of me, a more expansive part of me. I'm going to enjoy being with that and enjoy integrating her back into my life.

The urgency i felt for this family of mine has also been a good way for me to make the circumstances i find myself in impossible to support. And what i mean by that is that by putting this pressure on myself i'm in fact making where my life is right now something which is impossible, something which can't possibly make me happy and which instead is something i've been striving to change continually. That's a lot of fighting and it wears you out. I can't fight anymore. It's a massive change in my outlook and it's like i've dropped this weight i've carried around for so long. Metaphorically speaking i've changed the clothes i'm wearing because they were way too worn out. I'm ready to go back to work tomorrow now. I'm ready to give myself up to that lifestyle again, now that i have found something so much more important to feed my life.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sun, Sand and Ice Cream, Well, Almost

I have a very special connection with the Suffolk and Norfolk coastline. I spent seven years living around there and i miss is desperately. Southwold, Aldeburgh, Orford, Thorpeness are wild places with a grey and heavy North Sea which inspires many an artist and poet. The skies are expansive, the light is somehow more luminescent than in Dorset. These places feel untouched to me: it's such a shame that Bournemouth has become so commercialised and touristic. These places allow you to feel part of something much bigger, much older; ancient even. I went back this week with my sister, and travelling to a place so special to me made me realise how short life is and that it's so important to do what you love, rather than what you have to... at least some of the time. It was not sun, sand and sea though... the English summer meant it was cloudy at best and people ate their fish and chips with cardies and jumpers on, followed by anoraks and umbrellas and people heading for the nearest shelter. England is the best, huh?... I wonder whether i'll ever make it back there to live as i want to. I wonder whether i will be free of the ties i have here and i can finally go home. If life is what you make it then what on earth am i doing here? I love my family connections here and i am settled, relatively. But i know in my heart that it's not my home and that for some reason i have to head, emotionally, spiritually, and physically, back to that place.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Poetry Thursday - on Friday

When i first heard it, i really didn't gel with Nerina Pallot's album 'Fires'. I can honestly say that the image of her on the front of the album affected the way i perceived the music... a total lack of objectivity. But as i've listened to it more and seen her sing live on TV my affection has grown, and i find her songs (contrastingly) inspiring and heartfelt and intelligent. In short, a complete turnaround. Not like me at all then... So i have written a poem for poetry thursday (sorry it's late) which is inspired by the song Idaho, because not only is it a great tune but because i connected with the fundamental idea of it: needing to leave a place (whether physical or emotional). I can't seem to leave it though, even though my intentions are good. I find it really hard sometimes to trust my intuition and follow my feelings. Clarity of heart and mind really is a gift.

Unsteady Ground
One minute i pack my bags full and i'm ready to go
I'm driving down that highway with the lights all green
It's dark, but in the distance I can see a land full of hope and power and freedom
The headlights are on and i've a reason to go

But a whisper, starts low, starts slow, starts to breathe
In the background
Of the song which i sing to help hurry me home
In the headlights shoots a shadow, now there, now gone
Flickering familiar, sweet, haunting.

And now i hear them, louder, clearer
Your sweet words... naive and beautiful
Are dragging me back home
The lie is caressing me, but is it your lie or mine?
The ground here is becoming unsteady now
The road sweeps me up in its undertow

The light turn to red and now i'm sick of it all
I'm sick of myself and of you who wants to love me so
I'm sick of my need for the sun and the breeze
When i don't have the will to go that distance within
Blocks forming prisons instead within my soul

And as i fall back in i'll be kind to myself
And whisper those sweet lies in return for yours
I'll paint my new walls a different shade of blue
While from a crack in the glass i can see a glimmer of that place
Where i have been so afraid to go
And the clock hands turn backwards as you come to me
And whisper sweet everythings in my ear

Monday, August 28, 2006

100 Things I Love

Now i'm finally getting the hang of this blogging lark, i'm going to congratulate myself by taking up the suggestion of my friend Sue, who has inspired me with her list of 100 things which she loves, to celebrate her 100th bloggy post. (See Ink on my Fingers blogspot link). She has suggested that we all write a list of things, and so this is my list. Thanks Sue for the idea... x

1. forgiveness: of myself
2. love of my family
3. chatting with kerry
4. The Bourne Identity (of course)
5. chicory coffee
6. big hugs
7. rainy days snuggled up
8. watching Bend It Like Beckham with my sister's children
9. long msn chats with certain people:-(
10. painting
11. drawing
12. visiting the tate and feeling so alive with it all
13. realising something that i haven't realised before
14. reading signs along the road of my life
15. Getting lost on the road only to find my way again
16. Dreaming of Norwich with its expansive skies
17. Listening to Porcelain by Moby
18. Watching free theatre on a warm evening by the Thames
19. Doing yoga and then eating like a pig
20. Knowing that someone is interested in me

21. parmesan cheese
22. eat natural bars - only the fruit and nut ones
23. cats, cuddling cats
24. flying
25. completing really hard sudoku problems
25. the smell of freshly cut grass
26. running hard and then relaxing lots
27. crying unabashedly
28. the sound of the sea
29. replanting a plant and watching it grow tall
30. saturdays in town
31. buying new music
32. finishing a painting
33. managing to upload a picture onto blogger
34. finishing work and driving home
35. baggy jeans
36. visiting somewhere i've never been before
37. romantic conversations in Devon fields:-(
38. the remarkable clarity of a hangover
39. breaking free from my mould and screaming it out
40. prophetic dreams

41. facing a fear, finally
42. turning the alarm off because i can stay in bed and snuggle
43. singing as loud as i can
44. feeling deep compassion
45. After You'd Gone by Maggie O'Farrell
46. Getting a first for an essay
47. 2 for 1 offers on anything
48. The beauty of Hengistbury Head in the winter
49. University ziggurats
50. Feeling safe in the sanctuary of my home
51. Max Sebald, for whom i have a profound affection and respect
52. Sitting on the steps at UEA in the summer sunshine
53. Writing a letter, and posting it too
54. Foreign friends who i miss
55. Rachael Yamagata's Happenstance
56. Blackberry smoothie
57. The smell of honeysuckle
58. Fixing a problem without any help (am i a man?)
59. The look of recognition on someone's face when a concept is finally understood
60. Tandoori King Prawns

61. A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time
62. Big earrings
63. Putting a good picture in a frame
64. Having my fortune told
65. Long baths in winter
66. Dying and being born again
67. Healing another
68. Doing a headstand in front of other people
69. Learning the meaning of words i didn't know
70. Watching Friends (the programme), over and over again
71. Burning CDs and listening to them in my car
72. Swimming
73. Dancing, especially with another, cheek to cheek
74. The first kiss on a first date (only if it's good of course)
75. Finding peace of mind
76. Helping someone out
77. Feeling abundant
78. Artemis Fowl
79. Edinburgh
80. Camping with every known piece of equipment possible

81. Kahlil Gibran
82. New shoes
83. Definitely being in love
84. Finding freedom while i work
85. Spending lots of money
86. Going out for dinner
87. Weddings
88. Feeling safe
89. Publishing my art
90. Trusting someone utterly
91. Letting go of the past
92. Playing pool (even though i'm rubbish)
93. Meeting someone new
94. Obstacle courses
95. Shopping in Waitrose
96. Giving something up which is no longer good for me
97. Dreaming of all the things i want to have
98. Being me and accepting that
99. Gifts from above
100. My open heart

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Bourne Identity

I've been trying to work out what it is that i love so much about this film. Whenever anyone asks me what my favourite film is, I have to say this one. I think it's because Matt Damon plays a character who is born into a world (no pun intended) where he has no identity, where there are only a few reference points which are hazy at best and where he has to use his innate intelligence to find a way home, to find the point. There is one person who is there to guide him, and she provides him with a framework which he never realised he needed before. It's a constant fight against forces which work against him, yet his resourcefulness is too strong and in the end he wins over his past. Not to mention that in this film at least, he's gorgeous. At least i think so. Could this relate to me:-( ?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Something To Lighten Up Your Day...

Here's some art appreciation for you...

There was this guy and he had a girlfriend called Lorraine who was very pretty and he liked her a lot. One day he went to work to find that a new girl had started. Her name was Clearly and she was absolutely gorgeous. He became quite besotted with her and after a while it became obvious that she was interested in him too. But this guy was a loyal man and he wouldn't get involved with Clearly while he was still going out with Lorraine. He decided that there was nothing for it but to break up with her and get it on with the new girl. He planned several times to tell Lorraine but he couldn't bring himself to do it. One day they went for a walk along the river bank when Lorraine slipped and fell in to the river. The current carried her off and she drowned. The guy stopped for a moment by the river and then ran off smiling and singing: "I can see Clearly now Lorraine has gone"

Sorry... I know, I know..

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Why will my computer not let me upload some of my images? Stupid damn thing..

It seems very typical that when I want to post some more of my art, this computer simply will not let me. Uploading jpeg images that are fundamentally no different whatsoever to other jpeg images already uploaded is clearly an impossible task. I really don't get it. Fortunately these ones let me. I hope you like them, or at least appreciate them.

Oh well, here's one anyway which decided it could deal with being moved. It's an extract from 'Higher meets Lower', again it's painted in oil and again in 2005.

'Sometimes Rivers Aren't Always Made of Water'.

Emotionally and phsically i felt very strange when i painted this piece. I physically cut in to the card i was painting on because i was angry and frustrated. It turned out to be a painting i love because of its raw energy and it's spontaneity. There was no pre-drawing, just layering on of paint again and again until i'd had enough.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

An Introduction to the World of Natalie

What's a blog for anyway?

It's fascinating seeing how people use their blog to talk about so many different things and in so many different ways. I'm blogging because i wanted to share my art in particular with anyone who cared (or could be bothered) to see it, and to express myself in terms of my art and my family and my life in general. Who knows what may arrive.. Definitely some art (see underneath), and some pictures of my family, to give you a start. I would love to hear any comments you may have, but please make them constructive:-(

And what am i like? Well, i'm difficult to get to know as i'm extremely self-contained, and i often present people with my art which is a representation of me, expecting them to understand me more through that than by talking to me. I'm creative, reflective, love learning about everything, and child-like in my humour (although not child-ish i hope). I love reading and walking, and cats are just the best...

A proper introduction has, therefore, to include some of my art work. I paint, i draw, i make collages from anything i can find, i use photoshop to colour and define scanned images. When i'm drawing i go into an indescribable place where my mind is at ease and i feel at one with the world. Part of me rises to the surface which in day to day life is often shamefully pushed down. That's why it often seems to say more about me than me myself. I'm inspired by Franz Marc, Delaunay (Robert), Auerbach, Kandinsky and Braque. So here goes...

This one is called Edinburgh... i was inspired by a visit, felt as if i merged with the place almost. It was completed in 2005.

This is 'Extract from Flower'. It was also completed in 2005, but it's not the full image i'm afraid.. I used oil on canvas to paint this one. One of my prettier paintings...

This is 'My Dark Embrace'. Well i did say i was a fighter of evil... (1997).

'Spider'. A collage made from scraps of magazine and coloured paper. I was feeling particularly spiky the day the original drawing was created. 2004.

This is a study of a 20th century painting by Franz Marc, 'The Waterfall'. It is far more beautiful in its original form. Check him out on the net if you don't know his work, it's amazing stuff. He was killed in Verdun in 1916, and only painted for a relatively short period of time. What could he have produced had he been around for longer? I guess we'll never know..

Franz Marc: Horses with Eagle, 1912.

Another Marc: Roe in the Forest, 1913-14

And a final Marc piece: Blue Horses, 1911.

So there is an introduction to my art. I have also to include some pictures of my family, who i am close to. I have a twin sister, Kerry, my beautiful friend, and an older sister, Madeleine, who has 3 children, another beautiful friend. I also have a brother, much older than me, and of course there is my mum and my dad. My extended family includes a step-mother, step-brother and step-sister also, as my dad is remarried.

These are the gorgeous children of my sister Madeleine: George (in the middle), Oscar and Torin. I love these guys more than i could ever say.

This is my mum, Madeleine, and Torin gets another showing. We were on holiday in Devon in August. Great fun.

This is the lovely Suzy Q, a friend who came to Devon with the family. She's super cool and has a link at the top of this page, Ink On My Fingers. as does Madeleine, MePlus3.

And the lovely Kerry, my twin sister (on the right). Kerry's super clev and also great at art. Madeleine is also a fantastic artist. (I think my family are obviously all great!). Me and Kez are also chalk and cheese though, in many ways.