Monday 28th April
My first day as Digital Poet-in-Residence is almost over – in 30 minutes to be exact. I felt very different today – not in a turning-into-a-hologram kind of way, as some of my friends have helpfully suggested as being what will happen when I become ‘in-resident’ but in a ‘I-feel-like-a-writer’ kind of way – which is different for me. I often feel like a poet – but now I feel like a writer because of course I will be writing… it is exciting and terrifying all at the same time..
Last night I stayed up till 2.30am panicking about whether I have enough time in my life to do everything I need to do, which meant I did nothing that I needed to do because I was too busy panicking. I did vaguely float around my bookshelf and do some preparation for my workshop so that is something I suppose…
In between panicking I cleaned the house which is very unlike me, but we have a viewing tomorrow (we are trying to sell the house) so I have been forced into the drastic action of finding out where the hoover is kept – not that there are that many places it could be. I also wiped the bathroom down and unpacked my clothes from my suitcase. The clothes have been in there since my return on Saturday night. I’m not very good at unpacking clothes. I prefer to wait and see if I can wear them all and empty the suitcase that way.
Today I had 5 hours of teaching – two hours of small groups and three hours of class teaching – I spent lunch preparing music for band practice – this involves writing on notes for some children who don’t read music yet. This is one of my worst jobs because it takes forever…and then walked the dogs around Sowerby Woods. All the bluebells were out today – it is a bit of a strange walk because in the summer it gets very overgrown and if there is any rain at all the path becomes waterlogged and impassable without wellies but now – the trees and bushes have not quite grown across the path and the spiders have not yet strung their webs at head height from one side of the path to the other and the ground is dry because it hasn’t really rained here all week so it is quite nice to walk. I’ve never seen one other person walking their dogs in these woods so in one respect it is very quiet – but when you get to the end of the woods, you turn back on yourself and walk down the cycle path, which as well as being next to the woods is also next to the A590 which is the main road out of Barrow and is very busy and noisy.
After walking the dogs I came back, put my ‘Conductor’ t-shirt on and headed over to the bandroom. There were about 40 kids there tonight at rehearsal – four new children who saw the band play at the music festival and wanted to join. We had a reporter from the Evening Mail (the local paper) come and take a photo of the kids – they looked like an army all lined up – eventually got some playing done – ‘James Bond’ and ‘I don’t know how to love him’.
(Written in the car at 10pm at night after walking back from poetry reading last week)
Now that the moon is no longer mine, now that the sky, dark-blue at ten o’clock at night is no longer mine, now that the clouds which draw together like the slowest-witted sheep and pass away are no longer mine, now I know that none of it was mine, not the lake or the five barred gates, not the sign slowly swinging to comfort itself, not the in/out/in of the car park, now I know that the puddle which holds the sky was never mine, now I know it can’t be mine, now I know I can no more keep it all than I could follow the bats which flicker between the trees or the duck which startles from the ground at my approach, now I know I can leave and leave again and there will not be a creature that will think of my journey, now I know the lighted windows are not mine, the mountain was never my own…
1st drafts of poems written during Poetry School workshops a month ago- found these in my notebook. I haven’t typed them up yet.
When I Arrived
the seagulls called to me in the morning and the evening.
I heard nothing but the gulls and their sadness.
I thought I’d come far enough you wouldn’t find me,
you wouldn’t follow, but I heard you in the wind
and saw you in the shape of someone walking through
a door. When I arrived I lived in a house that trembled
when the train ran over a bridge. In the evening
I rang helplines then hung up then rang again.
When I arrived I was carrying darkness with me
but there was so much sky to lose it in. I was light
as air and clean, no one knew my name, I watched
my body go through the motions of eating, leaving
for work, sleeping, whilst my soul kept watch for him.
When I arrived I told myself that all things could be forgiven
and the gulls laughed and swore and said nothing,
nothing can be forgotten and they knew about violence
and they knew about song and they knew who
they had taken it from.
The clocks went forward the day you left. Now you send emails from the darkness into my daylight and I write back from my day into your night. If I had walked the edges of the sea with you something would have changed, if I had travelled on the train with you more than once, showed you the shifting sands, the birds with their oversized beaks, the sheep who do not seem to know fear, if I could show you this, the sun rising and that hollow of water catching it in its watery palm, you – one of the rootless ones I am drawn to, the ones so free and easy, they could float into another country without noticing, no one to call them back, the ones who forget their own names, who don’t turn their head when someone calls them to return. I want to tell you the clouds look like the marking of a cheetah, if a cheetah was ever this kind of ghostly blue, if a cheetah’s soul shone through and made it glow. I want to tell you I saw a hare in a field and it did not know I was alive. I want to tell you that there are some people in the same carriage, traveling in the same space and the same moment who feel no closer than you are now..
For more information about the Logbook, please read our interview with Kim.
I remember these from the Writing School, Kim, or the last Writing Day.They sounded entire when you read them.out and still read very much as such.
Gave me goosebumps then, makes me shiver now with recognition. More than that I can now see where that trademark rythm, that forward urge, lies in line… that sprung rhythm that attends on your trademark repeat structures that are incantations and spells of exorcism or absolution or celebration or prayer. Lovely
So much here, Kim. And so much in your voice I can hear you reading it. And lots to think about in the wee small hours…
Apologies for the semi-choherence of the first comment. Let me try to be accurate. What I learn from your notebook first fast draft that I can take back to mine is the recognition that there are phrases (and words) that are so resonant they can start repeating rhythms and lists. Yours are sometimes like ‘some people’ or ‘my people’ or ‘a curse on’ or ‘a prayer for’. The ones in these notes are more dangerous. ‘When I arrived’, ‘I wanted to tell you’, ‘If I ……’ .These seem to give you a holding frame for those stabs of recognition, say, about the stupid fearlessness of sheep.What they won’t do is make a writer see or feel or hear any better. We have to work at that, to practice and to read so we have enough words for all this sensory experience. Something else. Beathing through the lines…all those ‘ands’ which are something like directions in a musical score,….and about the rhythms we learned in sunday school and from Ecclesiastes. Maybe at another time you’ll tell us your ideas on rhythm. Please.
Hi John and Rachel – thanks for your comments – I feel kind of overwhelmed by them! Didn’t expect to get this reaction for the logbook – I don’t know what I did expect – but not this – it is very heartening – and encourages me to keep going with it 🙂 I will have a think about rhythm as well John 🙂
Just catching up here after a few hectic days in London (the quietest moment was in the Poetry Library, where I felt blissfully alone and comfortably surrounded all at the same time!) Lovely to read your workshop poems Kim – I can add little more to the comments already made, except to say they resonate very much with me. Looking forward to hearing more! Happy May Day!
Hi Maggie – I did reply to this but my answer seems to have disappeared! Did you go in the singing lift at the Poetry School?