Thursday, March 26, 2009

Coasting : Vineyards from Curses

It's all been a bit dark round here this last week - the bright colours and cheery sounds of Paddy's Day suddenly scythed by one G Reaper Esq. In the shadow of column inches and airwaves bulging with Massareene, Goody, Richardson, Hughes et al, we were shredded far closer to home / heart / gut by an unexpected family bereavement - followed within the same 24 hours by the sad news of a close friend's mother passing away. All far too young. RIP.

It's been difficult to work, difficult to write, just bloody difficult. Now, a week later, we're somewhat less blank, less dumb, but very, very tired. Still here, closer - perhaps a little more alive, or conscious of that state - but very much saddened. Still.

Last Saturday's Grand Slam victory was a heightened and poignant moment - T would have loved it. In his absence - and memory - we celebrated, cried, hugged; a vital release - the stone of grief transmuting into almost-joy. When that last Welsh kick drooped short of the posts, one family member assured us of supernatural intervention from beyond the grave. It's a nice thought - our T, doing his Morph the Cat bit over the Millennium Stadium.

So, life carries on, the blur thins out and I find myself on the doorstep of the Poetry Now Festival again. I made it to Belinda McKeon's opening lecture at lunchtime today. Entitled 'Broken News', she spoke about Phenomenology, in the context of the well-known Auden quote "poetry makes nothing happen' - but also bringing that statement into context, by reminding us of those lesser known lines that come later in his tribute to Yeats..."With the farming of a verse / Make a vineyard of the curse."

With that in mind, I look forward to a few days immersion in the restorative power of poetry. So much quality and variety on offer - AND I managed to get into Frank Bidarts' workshop! I had intended to check out local WiFi options, with a view to some live-blogging throughout the festival. I think that might be a little over-ambitious now, but I'll try to post regularly over the next few days. In honour of the location, the image above is another of my paintings, entitled 'Coast'.

Off now to hear Robert Pinsky's keynote address. Ciao. Hug your loved ones.