Consequently when I saw Dave's photo, although my first thought was 'War Memorial' it was fairly rapidly usurped by other thoughts.It's amazing how a photo such as this ignites so many possibilities and questions that I could write about. Where is this? What is this? Who commissioned / produced/ sculpted / erected this? Why? Who lives in the houses? Why does it need security? What type of cross is it ? Celtic? Anglo Saxon? Christian? Non Christian? and so on.
I think this was because of the assumed respect/ peace symbolism juxtaposed as it is in the photo with what appears to be some sort of security hardware along the adjacent walls. I realise that my perception may be factually wrong here but that's my interpretation. I kept coming back to opposition - a cross as a symbol of peace versus oppression, and decided to write a poem about different beliefs.
In addition the black and white aspect makes (to me) the stone look a bit grim and combined with the fact that for some reason I think this is Yorkshire I was also reminded of Emily Bronte's 'Wuthering Heights', a confirmed favourite of mine.
This is one that I could easily spend a lot of time on but as with the previous poems I've gone with pretty much a first draft. Earlier this year a 'We are OCA' article about writer Guy Le Jeune led me to his blog here. I was interested to see that (regarding a poem he posted recently) he notes 'This isn’t a finished draft but it feels more intense and honest than later versions' - a sentiment that I totally relate to that applies very much to my poems in this collaboration with Dave.
The village church
is built of sandstone blocks
that bask; a bright arterial fort,
in the lingering fingers of the crimson sun.
Well-loved bones lie stark beneath the tended turf.
Marked with stones,
chiselled and chipped into meaning
Ephemeral kaleidoscopic jewels
cascade through aged leaded panes.
They pour through shafts of dancing dust
to colour the cut, pallid lillies
that wait beside the polished pews.
The call of the bell.
The wild moor climbs
to meet the sky at the point.
Reeds reach up, stretching silhouettes
rustling in the white beam
of the bright moon’s misty halo.
Rain will follow.
a ring of rough hewn vertebrae
from the land’s thin skin.
Silver-swathed and bathed in ethereal light.
against the blackest backdrop.
A quiet breeze stirs spindly grassy fingers
And slides across the ground.
On its way from somewhere.
Sighing through the standing stones
in an ageless song.
The call of Gealach Lan.