29 Aug 2014

Achievements: Few.

Yesterday I took out the trash. Later I fetched in the empty trash can. (SometimesI forget I'm not an American because I watch so many US series on DVD.) 

I also lay in bed comfortably reading a crime novel from cover to cover.  'Broadchurch.' The book of the TV series by Erin Kelly. She's a good writer so although I knew the story it was still an enjoyable, even engrossing, read.

Finally, at 7pm, I did do something creative. I joined a local group putting together a sort of multi-media montage of our town. It was initiated by a ---- um.. er … I'm a little unclear on this …. a student or a professor of the newly formed University of the Highlands and Islands. I came to the group after they had already been through several meetings and found myself enjoying, for once in my life, the feeling of cooperating on something arty, local and possibly of universal interest. There could be similar projects in all small towns and communities to  reflect, give voice to, their pride in their community. 

The idea was that the locals should be the creators and the prof. and student should stand back, helping only when invited, suggesting but not directing. There is lovely original music from violin and saxophone; singing (she wrote her own song and set it to music)  films of dancing on Findhorn beach, a 'coffee-morning' dialogue, (the town is practically famous for its fund-raising weekly coffee-and-cake mornings in the Town Hall), two old boys gurning about the state of the world, and poems by several of the writer's group I belong to, including, I'm proud today, one of mine. 

As I have written virtually nothing for months (in my own defence I have had some health blips) and almost all the feedback I've had from the handful of submissions I've roused myself to make have been: 'Thank you but no thank you', it was nice to have a piece welcomed into the fold and be usefully put to work. 

Probably the very best thing has been the easy feeling of cooperation toward the best result possible in a very short time. No ego-blasts and no prima-donna stuff from any of us - not even me!!

Small Town.

The queue for pensions forms.
On the street, nods and smiles 
make light of life’s dark Sundays.
Glad to be alive and on the go again
women talk cheerily of ailments,
their grandchildren. 
Sometimes of their husbands.

Men, not old, but unemployed,
look for motivation,
buy themselves a pie and a newspaper,
warm themselves with women’s gossip.

Tired mothers lean on buggies,
bite a surreptitious candy bar,
feed their toddlers crisps to get a minutes’ peace whilst they gaze through glass
at flighty shoes and teasing fashions,
dreaming of future days
when they might be themselves again.

At 5pm a lull. A hiatus.
An extinguishing of windows, 
a pulling down of blinds.
Doors locking on another day of retail.
The final ring of tills and card machines.
The reconciliation.
Shopkeepers take change to buy a pizza,
Pity the 8-Till-Late but wonder,
with a curling of the gut,
if they too should open longer.

There falls a calm.
The stage is ready to reset.

Along the night streets
newly broken voices bark obscenities.
In shrill counterpoint reeling girls
harpoon young men with cruel wit
dragging them to shore
thrashing, roaring, yearning to be caught
and held for a few moments
of fumbled bliss.

The pack moves on,
away from the municipal attempt to bring        daylight
 to sanitize the dark, 
in the sure and certain hope that sin cannot survive
street lighting. 

By 3am there is an emptiness,
thin mists congeal, the town brings back its ghosts.
Fishwives with baskets on their backs
walk across the low-tide mud 
to sell the hard-won herrings.
The coalman’s horse stands patient in the shafts,
while at the Tolbooth a stagecoach stops
to let down wey-faced passengers,
sickened by the jolts.
A piper from a later age skirls silently
for weddings and for death.

Under harsh security light the Visitors drift on 
undisturbed by oyster shells that fool 
the scavenging gulls,
turning into polystyrene boxes as they swoop.
Their curdled cries, like wounded cats 
or babes,
wake the men who stagger from their sleep
to drive the wooly-footed monsters through the streets. 

Slaloming round cars they wash away the primitive,
returning the street to quiet sobriety
before its present folk drift in again, 
imprinting their own lives onto its canvas.

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