Tuesday, 21 August 2007

'The Galleries of the Morning' and other bits and bobs

Painter, poet, friend and fellow islander David Britton has asked me to publish some of his poems on the internet so that they reach a wider audience. It is my intention sometime soon to create a new website dedicated to his words and pictures, but in the meantime, here is one which was first published in Poetry Monthly.

The Galleries of the Morning

What was that gallery of our youth
- bare boards, white walls, the
exposed and scarlet girders?
Those python heating-pipes, so big and friendly
strolling around the room?

Was it a delusion
that spirit-filled dry light we bathed in
that illimitable hope without us
and within?
We strutted through like gods awakening
the spirit swelling out
our blowsy shirts
like sails taking the wind.

One painting stays with me -
a breakfast table, as big as a barn door
a chequered oil-cloth, white and blue
a huge brown egg in its cup.

It was a morning, and mid-morning
workshop-mood, where clarity and hope
light spirit, and a heightened key
are magnified, keep all else out.

Clear of the mist, of the dank
marshes of the world, the vague
pain of the dawn -
the ache of afternoons, the sadness of curators, wardens, caretakers -
the tired feed taking to the streets
that lead westward only on a twilit evening.

More to follow in the next few days and, of course, as soon as the new David Britton website is up and running I will be sure to let you know.

Good to see that Laura Frankstone got back home safely after her week's stay on the Suffolk and Essex coast. She has already posted some Mersea sketches on her 'Laurelines' blog . Here's a quick one she did of my younger daughter while she was with us on the muddy island (published with Laura's permission):

Well, I finished The World According to Bertie in a couple of days and it was, indeed, every bit as delicious as I'd hoped and expected - truly time spent in the company of good friends.

If you haven't read any of its predecessors, you will certainly need to start at the beginning of the series, with 44 Scotland Street. The books appear first in serial form in The Scotsman newspaper and are liberally peppered with references not only to real shops, streets, bars, galleries and landmarks, but also to real-life Edinburgh people, too - some famous, like Ian Rankin, but others less (or completely un-) familiar, so that only those 'in the know' realise that that are not fictional creations. But this doesn't feel cliquey or make the reader feel excluded. On the contrary, it rather adds to the 'cosiness' of the whole experience. Like drinking tea out of a blue Spode cup. (If you've read the book, you know what I mean!)

I'm feeling somewhat bereft now that the cover has been closed on Domenica, Angus, Cyril et al, but at least it means I can return to Pauline Rowson's Tide of Death, which I very rudely interrupted, mid-flow, in order to leap on the latest from Alexander McCall Smith.

You can see Pauline talking about her forthcoming marine mystery novel, Deadly Waters, on her blog .

1 comment:

Aliadelaide said...

Just finished the World According to Bertie but haven't read anything by Pauline Rowson must check her out, thanks!