At this time of year, with the afternoon turning dark at 3.45pm (it's turned into a very grey day indeed after a cold, bright morning), I find myself once again contemplating what it is that makes Advent so powerful in this northern outpost of civilisation. I never thought about it when I lived in the city, but looking out at the large sky and the grey sea focuses the mind somewhat.
And it is perhaps this focus that has found me writing four poems in as many weeks, after months of feeling I didn't have poem in my head. Two of them were stirred up from the sediment of memories by my finding notes made in my diary while I was in the States, at moments which especially struck me - sunset in the somehow disturbing surroundings of Fairhope in winter, the wonderful language of the conductor on the Amtrak to New York, which I copied verbatim each time he spoke. Reading them when I should have been checking dates for a Lay Worship Team meeting made me long to be alone, to do something with them, to set down the lines which even then were forming in my head and which I feared I would lose.
The fourth poem was inspired by a photograph in the guardian's excellent Guide to Photography the other weekend. A small monochrome picture of an old woman in a cafe had me instantly reaching for the pencil and the used envelope which are my preferred tools at such a moment. I suppose it was in the same mould as Edwin Morgan's Instamatic Poems. Anyway, I shall not be posting them here, but over on frankenstina, beginning today with "Mobile Bay". Do leave me a comment if you visit.