Tuesday, November 20, 2007


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.


  1. I wondered when we'd see some more. Good!

  2. Anonymous4:36 AM

    Chris, I enjoyed both of the two that are up as of today, but I always do find great satisfaction in reading what you write. I suppose “Conflict” was intended to be so clear in its intent as to impart a reportorial feel, perhaps (as would befit this invasion) the viewpoint of a television reporter embedded with the Holy Spirit.

    “Mobile Bay” seemed richly complex in its sudden changes in focus, much as the eyes jump from point to point in real life, concentrating briefly and moving on. Even better for me was for you to bring to a place I know so well an alien hermeneutics, so that a parallel Mobile Bay now co-exists with the place where I have shrimped and crabbed and sailed so often.

  3. "hermeneutics"! I love it! And as for being embedded with the HS - a wonderful vision. Thanks, Walter!