I watched the singer who captured you, a few years back. Remembered your words of her, her haunting, her highs and lows. Fingers that drifted from string to our skin and back again. Sound comes after other senses for some, but we’ll seek it out still.
We were at a little place, small groups clustered under dark beams. Standing close and mute to the stage raised above us. One singer deep-voiced, dressed from the spares box of a contemporary theatre. Lights fell, dark curves of muscle. A voice called us up, and the most dexterous digits lightly opened all our locks in their melody.
All my friends, remembered. The poets kept near even when distant. Our sensory awareness. Some more attuned than others – but does it bring the present to us, or simply take us on an inwards journey away from it? Dark air falling on the waves. Edging of silver, sitting a little way from the beckoning. It called not to our kind, but we kept listening still.
Our accidents, our thoughts – bouncing back in fitness and mindfulness. Noting our habits, for we accumulate so many. From our own motives to patterns of others, actions we are called to by a heart. All beautifully simplified by breathing, and noticing where we are. Patterns and focus adjustment bring us low, bring us gently to our knees in soft concession.
I’ll dream of your theatrical compositions, dear far away acquaintance.
The constellations fell behind my eyelids, and I looked far into their forgotten depths. I had not seen them in so long. Deep blue and faint browns, the softness of cotton and a child who lay sleeping.
Later with dry eyes that blurred, satellites and stars took on a soft focus in my heavens. Subtle evening air swept around as I saw the seven, glowing forever for me above a coast and a shore. Looking up with a certainty that the waves fell before me still. That the air was salt and the ground fine-grained, damp and cool and clean. Each time I gaze I am there once again, where we first met. Caught in majesty and a moment of small understanding.
I can’t recall the very first time I noticed chamomile. In all my memories it was always the smell that would hit me first, pungent and grassy. Would bring me out of a reverie, out of the places where I used to hide. Away from the safety I found in distance, in daydreams, in drifting. My senses would slide in and bring me to a moment that was not of my own making.
Chamomile I did not know by name back then. It was little fern leaves that curled delicately, springing back to the ground when I released them from my curious fingertips. Flowering as squat little daisies, sprawling over worn patches of earth. All heat-baked by our summer sun. I’d run my fingertips over the tiny little petals, my palms over stubby, crisp-tipped grasses. Sometimes dirt pressed into my skin, sometimes dust caught in my hair. I explored as keenly as any little adventurer.
Glimpses are all I remember, but they’re bright. Of the times it brought me to the life surrounding me. Pushed touch and smell and taste into my memory, and real memory into my being. An old steel gate, rust flakes and a hollow sound to its wide rungs. Tiny pebbles of shingle that caught in my sandals, pressed into the arches of my tiny feet. An August cornfield that seemed to run forever alongside an old bike track. Whispers in the wind. Leafy rustling to distant threshers, bees and crickets and the soughing of sand along the road. Sand that would sing deep into the night, when stars arose and I’d see them from the window where only I leaned out to watch them. New scents that would reach me, creating a separate world from the indoor sounds. Untouchable, mysterious and wild.
All this, for a while, was chamomile.
You know how to isolate and survive. How to deny the longings, simply and in a split second. What is infinitely harder is connecting. Building, constricting, creating. Making contact and not knocking it down.
The world likes buying and trading, though it benefits at best a few – and not in the wholesome, meaningful ways. They might say otherwise. It ends up a veneer, shouted loud and constantly catching our attention. Then what is it we miss, in the midst of all this clamour? The inbetween, where the disconnected drift and survive as best they can. From one to another surfaces can look so similar, familiar, but a world teems underneath each face. See the goldfish in her eyes – do they bask, do they flee, are they sitting quietly in rest and repair? Currents ebb, formed from cataclysms sunk long ago. In the furthest reaches our instincts are rooted, our reactions fed. Spring water at times soft and fresh, then brackish and raw. Mingles in our blood with our heartbeats, when we call out to become more than ourselves.
A man held onto his time gently, as if he barely knew of its passing. He knew of the barter and trade, the clean paper it produced daily. He wasn’t connecting, held no one’s face by moonlight, and had no wish upon his old bones. Mind surviving, the rest following as it might. Where the gutterpipes crossed and brought a flow of old and new together. It didn’t make much sense, but then his feet were stumbling unseen. Just one of many. How can you reach out to them? They are guarded, and still alive because of the very destruction they wreak upon themselves. They’ve chosen the hard long road over the brutal short one. The golden path that greets our child feet was closed to them a long time ago. Torn away, burned up on their arms. Shrivelled and peeling in the wind of every blow that fell.
These brothers, these sisters, they walk amongst us all. Maybe you see their life and think it all their own decisions. Perhaps you sense a little of it but never stopped to see why. Held in their eyes, the world is small and tightly cradled. Look closer, when you next have a chance – into the sea water abyss of their time. A single fish stays, and in a single moment we might see that it is dancing still.
The golden rills of sunset ran over the sky, parting it, delighting it, and giving us splendour in a sigh. They crouched below, a gathered crowd telling of curses taken and worship not yet granted. A trickle of words that ran constant from one mouth to another. Time traced her veins down weary forearms, wrists tied to an airlock of memories revisited and turned away.
Garlands were laid below, as if the truth might be lured out and accepted should it be spoken to them. Sadness wrought itself in long lines and dusty skin, ears stretched and chewed. So many grains of the shore that were pinched and taught no more. Closed hearts, in which nothing would lie still, not even their belief.
The air overhead bellowed, tearing at its bound audience. Their weaving and chanting all a charade, no listening to be found here. They would stand still to catch another voice, one of their own careful choosing. At times it seemed this spoke to them, when the wreaths lay right and the words were well said. Incidental patterns that were easy to cling to, a simpler swallow than the depths which held no footing for their evasion.
Unheeded, unheeding, waves beat a pattern that would erode even the hardest of tongues, the sharpest insincerity. It is time repeated and unending, until all our walls falter. Carrying more than a reflection of the blue skies beyond. An ending, and a beginning, made two and the same.
Something a bit different. Modern-sounding, a keyboard lead and an overlay of brief electronic sounds. Taking you on a beautiful little journey.
Imagine a quiet afternoon, with a soft summer rain falling out of a sky that is neither bright nor dull, grey and yet not stormy. Long curtains are drifting to and fro around a door that is open to the outdoors, letting in the scents of the wet, the green, the fulsome earth. Here are the quiet times that are all yours, pieces just for your memory evermore.
A wordless feeling rises in you, heralding an unfolding. Moments flash by but you are caught in the current in the middle of it all, a place between here and there. Where time recedes, and what is revealed is all that is unspoken.
I’d stretched and felt where your skin might be. Drifting in a half-forgotten dream of the warmth of a warrior holding her child. A space held them both safe, watching from the edge of the daylit world. Another place beckoned, but they’d found a way to let it pass by.
It was so hard, all the same, not to retreat there. Even though all that would be found was punishment and tense familiarity. Once taught as the right path, though driven by another’s anguish and fear. That in turn driven by the same, again and again. A common thread stretched through all the ugly cycles. Here, perhaps, it was slowed at last.
Turning, a shift of covers and another memory opened. Here I stood for a moment on a platform, cracks in the paving and the spiralling weeds that shifted in a brisk wind. A familiarity of ease, brought to myself by many a trip on many an afternoon. Warm sun and grey rain, changing and surrounding with each passerby. Black coated ladies and tired fathers, newspaper people and a mother of us all. Memories, good memories, reinforcing the moments to be found right there.
I stretched again. Rolled to my side, let my mind wander. Standing on a concrete path after summer rain. My feet were bare and could feel the water lying between the ridges of concrete. A storm freshly fallen, its mists drifting in the sky. I was in a garden, and knew this rise and those beads of stone. I knew this moment, although I could not place it in time. A mid-afternoon sky that rumbled as the thunder carried itself away. Everything resting in richest green as the sun broke through. And there, next to me, the brightest delight – a huge rambling rose. Turkish delight flowers in deep pink, a heady scent. I knew that nose and always would. A familiarity that was whole, and kind. I rested with it a while longer.