Monday, 20 July 2015

Experiment with cutting right back, not poems as such, just ideas

Cutting too much leaves a heap of sawdust. An online friend and I are choppers, we laughed that my poem would be a haiku by lunchtime during one morning of editing. It's happened here.

F ..  Just 3 lines

1986 - print was made
1987 - I bought it
1988 - year of marriage

E .. Now 3 words per line

playing with blutac
suddenly tearful again
feeling my heartbeat

needing to understand
how our complexity
arose back then

Now go further, what would have never emerged without this pressure, D:

D ..

If I stand and look from the side I see the indentation of the printing process

This is all physical, transitory: the print, vases, knowledge of eras could all go

The knowledge would be rediscovered; new vases created; new museums built

All this knowledge is to comfort us, carriers of one combination of dna

My dna is merely a collection of many fragments, they are all out there in others

I think culture is a quirk which seems to help transmission of the dna


The piece A below is very long. Regard it as preparation. What did I really get from thinking about this picture of mine? First I got to B, then left that behind and got to C.

C .. I reacted to the even colours by thinking of the shadows left of the people incinerated at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Then I thought of a phrase in a book I was reading at the JR this afternoon, about the ghosts of knowledge left behind when someone dies. The book was 'Al Mutannabi Street Starts Here'.

B .. Calm, stillness, peace, contentment. Differences of design, but a permanent acceptance of each other. A space between them which is also beautiful, allowing each to breathe. A symbolic representation of a relationship.


A .. I spent a weekend at a family house after some weekends at hotels. The difference was that all the items in the house would have had a story behind them, even the strip of decorative edging along the top of the wall in the downstairs bathroom! Each of these stories would have involved people and particular events. What a thing, a household of stories.

I could take photos of things which have a story behind them, then tell the story.

(Imagine the photo)

This picture is of 2 vases or ewers - print by Betty Schlesinger

I bought it already framed for about £50, which was a bargain considering its size

I was the first person outside her family to buy a picture from her, so this was a significant sale

I knew her because I was renting a room in her parents' house in Durham

I had the money to buy a picture direct from the artist because I didn't drink, smoke, eat out, buy clothes...

I clearly wanted to spend what small amount I had on art and books even then and not on anything transitory

One day I happened to be in the V and A Museum and saw them in a cabinet in exactly the same relationship to each other as in my picture, so I realised that Betty must have stood there, just like me, and appreciated them enough to make such a large version of the cabinet. The cabinet was in the centre of that dark room.

The picture used to hang above our bed in the house in Hackney

I took a lovely photo of S sitting on the bed under it

It was above our bed in the house in Shillingford too, so T would have rolled on the bed as a baby under it

There is a lot of glass in a picture that big, now I wouldn't want so much glass anywhere near my head

Strangely my side of the bed was under the right hand side of the picture in both houses, even though the window was on opposite sides. Given that I prefer to be beside the open window at night I don't understand that, perhaps I needed to be by the door so I could get up and go to see to T in the night as a baby and toddler. We moved before he got any older. That overrides any need for fresh air doesn't it?

For many years the vases were not on display at the V and A. All I had was the print and the memory of them

Then the picture spent some years not being loved until I decided to rehang the hall way and up it went again

I happened to go to the V and A in London recently and spotted the 2 small ewers in exactly the same formation, but by the back wall of the Islamic Room this time around. Someone must have remembered how they were set out before and decided to recreate it. Or perhaps it is an instinctively correct and beautiful arrangement. Maybe they only have those 2 vases, so are not likely to do anything else with them.

Apparently they come from the 2 main empires, Ummayad and Abbasid. The U came first, then the A. Mind you, which vase came from which? More of my endless questions.

Since I have visited various places since then I now know they might be water jugs for the loo. That didn't get mentioned in the captions in the museum. I viewed a flat and saw exactly the same jug there on the floor in their bathroom :)

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