Tuesday, 27 September 2011

30 down, 970 more miracles to find

Some daunting is experienced at this point. It is balanced by an increased ability to 'look fresh' at my surroundings. These verses cover, roughly, 0030 to 0050 hours.

An apple drops from its tree
Hits the ground with a cartoon thwack
Rolls and comes to rest 
At the foot of the tall grass

Leaves fidget, urging air into motion 
They unbudded on this branch 
With flowers that have swollen 
Into the ripe and falling fruit

In the room where the lamp is left on
The dog rolls over, sleeping
Four paws stretched out and her
Head rests on a cushion

Doors on the wood-burner closed
Damped flames burnt down to 
Beads of heat, timber structures are 
Residual shapes of ash

Next to the lamplit room, a row
Of barrels sing, this is blackberry
Wine fermentation, the happy
Song of the airlocks

The oven clock light is green
There’s a flicker in the kitchen
When the numbers change
The shadows jump

Dirty dishes in the sink, left
Till morning, if the tumeric stains
They will not worry, it is 
Another layer of memory

Layers of memory disguise the 
Coffee pot on the black stove
Above it a stain crosses the ceiling
Recollecting the time the pot erupted

Factories do not stop for any hour
Unisex teams in hairnets and gloves
Pack cream cakes into boxes
Lorries wait to fill up with cake

The pallets of boxes are loaded
By electric light, the shadows
Enhance the pleasing geometry 
Of the regular stacking

Headlights rise and fall
In passing, lorries carry cargo
Cars and suitcases head for
The airport

Saturday, 24 September 2011

19 first attempt miracles; 981 to go!

miracle = ordinary moment viewed with fresh eyes, made extraordinary 

This has taken the form of a poem, which gives meaning to what would otherwise only be a list. I have paid no attention at all to format beyond keeping each verse to 4 lines. Ideally they should be read one by one anyway. One a day should suffice but there are 19 here because this is just a first attempt, I'm mostly playing with the idea. If 41.66 miracles per hour equates to 1,000 miracles over 24 hours, these 19 are about half an hour of a day. I have started at midnight.  

At the zero hour it seems nothing exists
But the deep breathing of sleep
And the heaving of wind in darkness
Bowing trees as though dragons fly here

Down the wall a spider walks
Unseen, the whisper of eight feet
Unheard on the wallpaper, this is
A secret world, a spider’s world

Uncounted leaves stream, pulling
On thin stems, twisting loose, one leaf
Takes hold of the air, it has no plans
For landing, that will just happen

Droplets absorb the night, outside
Dark rain falls, the clouds
Thicken the sky, at the deepest
Point of our dreaming sleep

Too far above to permeate sleep
An aeroplane passes, full of journeys
Full of stories we will not hear, the travellers
Look down at patterns of streetlights

A lamp is left on, through a window
A dog can be seen twitching on a sofa
A coffee table supports two wine glasses, paper
Lists of what can be done when awake

The washing machine light is on
The last spin happened after bedtime
Fresh damp clothes wait inside
For the next phase

Curving further than the night sky
Of one mere planet, endless space
Light years of nothing, stars shine
Possibilities in the abyss

A sock lost under the bed, a left sock,
Literally. It will be searched for
And, from the odd sock pile,
Restored to a pair, folded together

Silence. The wind drops, the leaves
Hang in the still air, the spider pauses
The clouds are emptied, the dog sound asleep,
A scene encapsulated, like a microscope slide

From sleep, one sigh, for something
Aspired to, something that will carry
Into the day, follow the dreamer
Until the dreamer follows back

Limbs shift, covers uncover,
Disrupt rest, limbs tangle untangle,
Cozy back, settle, the drama
Resolves into contentment

Peaceful, acquiescent sleep
In this soft cotton dressed bed
The right place to be, the right time
Neither too warm nor too cold

Outside, a world the sun does not visit
Is familiar, the tides ebb and flow over sand
Dark waves roll, bring to the shore
The energy of night; endurance, catharsis

Deeper into the sea, sharks rest
In active currents, they have
Followed these instincts over
Millions of years

The spider crosses the floor
In stealth mode, a ripple of legs
A stack of eyes, ancient technology
In perfect working motion

Stars shine, always, above, between clouds
The light, the pinpoint light, streams
For years, it can be reaching earth
Long after the source has faded

The moon is not a light source
It reflects. Without the sun the moon
Has nothing to show in our sky
Moonlight is sunlight, diverted

This is a point, like all the others, from which
All other activity can be mapped
Lines can be drawn; if we drew them all
We would drown in ink

Friday, 23 September 2011

Can I find 1,000 miracles in one day?

Furthering my quest to appreciate life, to actually be bothered to find the extraordinary in the ordinary detail of life, I have set myself this task. I use the word miracle to describe the act of seeing the moments where something wonderful is happening (if you are looking at it correctly.)
I think I need about 41.66 per hour to cover 24 hours.
Further miracle reports to follow.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

A brief explanation of why I would be a brilliantly intolerant God

‘In so far as you may be aware, you have this one life. It is an exceptionally precious gift, though I say so myself, and I stayed awake for six consecutive days and nights, knocking back enough espresso to kill a minor deity, creating the earth and heavens so that these freely given lives could be played out under the wide sky, under the variations of sun, cloud, mist, moon, stars, eclipses, meteor showers, rainbows and weather systems that give each day, each season, each year its own particular feel, to make each life specifically different. Don’t just look up; the terrain under your feet, the horizon around you, the subterranean rock textures, the leaves on trees, the light configurations in a block of high-rise flats are just as variable. Don’t just look; use every sense you have. Hear it, taste it feel it: every moment you have is unique. But are you paying any attention? Have you looked at the sky in the last 24 hours; have you noted the clouds, or the breeze or the fineness of the rain? Have you looked at the ground, observed the grass that has dried out in the sun, or the reflections in puddles? Have you held another person’s hand, smiled at someone, patted a dog, have you ever saved a toad from being run over? 
I’m watching the news and tapping my fingers on my coffee table. All of that spectacular distinctive unique amazing creation, huffed off in favour of what?! The next rainbow I make will have a sharp edge, and I’m going to twirl it round the earth like a pretty nun chuck, because you are wasting my time and space.
Find something to marvel at before I get mad. You have 10 seconds.’

This was, admittedly, quite an ambitious job application, and I haven’t heard anything back.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

We Really Ought To Tidy The House

These pictures were taken on a winter's day when instead of tidying the house as planned we wedged bodyboards in our armpits and trekked out to hurtle ourselves down a bumpy snowy field. Then we came home with cold wet limbs, dramatising our bruises into near death experiences while the espresso pot bubbled on a dirty hob.

There was an element of pride at the mess the house was in, with some simultaneous revulsion. It's a lively mess, because we are always busy. I like it as long as it's lively. When it gets stagnant then I get cranky and start to tidy up. There needs to be a process, so we can keep seeing that this is a reflection of how we have chosen to live, this is what the mess represents. 

These are not great photos, but they represent something important to me, something specific to me; the splendid dirty funny dance of my only life. 
Living is the most important creative process.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Wishbone Soup

It's a real soup. It's also a state of mind, which, if by cure we mean 'make better,' does cure everything. 

To explain, here's a brief autobiographical tale.

Once upon a time there was a wonky cottage with two tiny open fires and an impressive collection of cold damp draughts. There was no telephone, no internet, TV reception depended on the weather, and whether they could afford the electric bill. Living in the cottage was a growing family with a shrinking budget. When the gas bottle ran out they cooked on the fire. It was impossibly picturesque, so don't feel sorry for them, and most weeks they could buy a chicken from the supermarket. It was one of those value chickens; kept in crowded filth for a short miserable life and its bedraggled body injected with water to give an impression of plump health under glossy cellophane. Not the happiest purchase available, just the cheapest. In death, the sad straggly bird was greatly appreciated. Roasted with lots of cheap potatoes on Sunday, Chicken Pie on Monday; cheap flour, thick pastry; by Tuesday there were only bones left. The feasting was over. The bones were simmered into stock, and called Chicken Soup at first, which caused some disappointment, because there was only stock and the cheap potatoes. So, the wishbone went back in the pot, and the soup was renamed. Now, it had a prize in it, an actual wish. Now, it made them laugh. 

Eventually, the laughing became more important than the wish.