Monday, 1 October 2012

Pictures will paint a thousand words... soon enough.

Today is my father's birthday. I mention this only because I am again late in posting this blog post- I've been playing best son whilst my brother is in Denmark. With this in mind, I had considered making today's post a bit of a thing to my old man- with the ultimate plan being a poem for his birthday. Here we are then, over twenty hours in and as you can see, nothing has surfaced so far.
I've been playing the cat and mouse game with it all day. I have a theme to hit for the blog (The Lakes this week, for everyone wondering what treats we have in store) but, as sometimes is the case when trying to force writing, it isn't happening.
I can't even say that I don't have an idea. I have a head full. The lakes is probably THE place to hunt my inspirations. I've taken more holidays there than any other place on the planet. It is the landscape I dream of seeing in the mornings and the setting for that idyllic writer's cottage I may one day live in. It can boast of inspiring some of the greatest writers ever to hold a pen and yet here I am, without this poem. I'm lodged somewhere between a childhood fishing trip and a walking holiday. I'm eleven years old and camping. I'm catching my first pike, smuggling trout, frying up luncheon meat in the boot of a car and gambling at night. I am growing up on this trip. I am bucketing water from a leaking boat. I am making it to the summit of the world's biggest hill on my own (I'm eleven remember, it was huge) and I can still remember the little rock at the trig point and the scope of everything as the world seemed to open around me. Somehow, in all of this I have not found my poem yet. Rain has stopped play I'm afraid and the closest I have been to really getting into poetry today was a conversation about dyslexia in the shop in which a customer began to recite a good two verses of some poetry she learnt at school. She hasn't read it for sixty years and I've promised to find her a copy online and print it off for her. It seemed to make her day having someone listen as she babbled on. You lot are making mine now in much the same way.
Tomorrow morning, I may just raise a smile from the most cantankerous of customers. I never thought poetry would be the key to stopping her snarls and I suspect it may be fond recollections of a great teacher more than anything else but she definitely perked up today and I couldn't quite believe it. Obviously, we all have our reasons for enjoying poetry and her reason for reading is much the same as my reason for writing it- to seal a moment in and have something there to remind us what life feels and felt like. Even as I'm typing now, thinking back, I'm finding more and more I could actually say in that poem- the landscape is coming to me in dribs and drabs, the memories eek out of my head like the drip of a flooding ceiling and at some point, hopefully not too far from now, the roof is coming in and it is all going down on paper.
It would be a decade between the camping trip and the trip I took to one of Wordsworth's houses. I remember my Dad standing in the study, gazing out from the hushed group of tourists towards the window. In his best impression of a moron, "I'd write bloody poetry with a view like this every day," he said. I wanted the room to swallow me up. My best English scholar facade lay in tatters by the desk of a literary hero. My Dad was right though, he would probably write with a view so inspiring, with the elements to bounce ideas off, with nothing but a distant wind for company. In my mind, I am somewhere near water. I am spiritually home. My memories are melting into the landscape and if I was any good at drawing, I could probably sketch you the view. I'm back in the hills and for tonight, that is all you are getting from me... I'm off to start writing that poem.

Thanks for reading, S.


Ashley R Lister said...


Belated birthday greetings to your dad.

I figured you'd be at home with this week's theme.