Friday, 29 April 2011

Jekyll & Hyde

OK, so if you get tired of the Royal Wedding by the end of today, are living in or near Norwich, and want something a bit different to do... go visit my favourite theatre group at the Sewell Barn in Constitution Hill. This one's not for the children, though!

Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde opened last night to a hugely enthusiastic audience, and I've been hearing great things about it (I'm looking forward to seeing it next week). Here's a note from the director, Rob Morris, on Facebook this morning:

"I understand that our box office at Jarrold’s is closed today (Friday 29th April) for the Bank Holiday. If you know of anyone who is planning to see the Sewell Barn’s production of ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ tonight, and who hasn’t booked, we would be grateful if you would let them know that there are still seats available and tickets will be sold at the door. Do join us for an evening of chilling entertainment…"

Friday, 22 April 2011

How long is a man's life, finally?

I first found this wonderful poem through a friend, and as a result bought the book by the extraordinary Brian Patten. I am often nervous about sharing published poetry through the internet, but as the poet regularly publishes his own poems on his Poem of the Month blog I figured it was probably OK. [It can be found in his book Armada.]

Either way, it has been of help and solace at many times of bereavement among family, friends and colleagues. It's brought back to mind today by this post by the extraordinary Tania Kindersley in celebration of her father. RIP Gay Kindersley, 1930-2011.

Cuanto vive el hombre por fin? Vive mil dias o uno solo?
Una semana o varios siglos? Por cuanto tiempo muere el hombre?
Que quiere decir 'para siempre'?
Preocupado per este asunto me dedique a aclarar las cosas.

- Pablo Neruda

How long is a man's life, finally?
Is it a thousand days, or only one?
One week, or a few centuries?
How long does a man's death last?
And what do we mean when we say, "gone forever'?
Adrift in such preoccupations, we seek clarification.

We can go to the philosophers,
but they will grow tired of our questions.
We can go to the priests and the rabbis
but they might be too busy with administrations.

So, how long does a man live, finally?
And how much does he live while he lives?
We fret, and ask so many questions -
then when it comes to us
the answer is so simple.
A man lives for as long as we carry him inside us,
for as long as we carry the harvest of his dreams,
for as long as we ourselves live,
holding memories in common, a man lives.

His lover will carry his man's scent, his touch;
his children will carry the weight of his love.
One friend will carry his arguments.
another will hum his favourite tunes,
another will still share his terrors.
And the days will pass with baffled faces,
then the weeks, then the months,
then there will be a day when no question is asked,
and the knots of grief will loosen in the stomach.
and the puffed faces will calm.
And on that day he will not have ceased,
but will have ceased to be separated by death.
How long does a man live, finally?

A man lives so many different lengths of time.

[The photograph, by the way, is this time one of mine, taken one clear and breathless night in the Norfolk countryside last month.]

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

tall trees

A comment on my favourite blog today awoke a dim and distant memory. Tania said: "This feels like a metaphor. I could not think for what. For a moment, I was frustrated. Then I thought: sometimes weeding is just weeding. And that is quite all right."

I dug around in the files: here is my rather more longwinded way of saying the same thing, written in March 2003 after a walk across Beddington Park, which backed onto our home when we lived in South London.

late evening, early spring
through the local greenspace
stunned by the image

low-lying, golden sunset light
through tall tall trees
make glorious shadows
on the grass

write it down fast
make a poem
a quotable thought
capture the deeper meaning
of its loveliness

wait, though
it’s just the sun through trees

sun + trees
right place + right time
= beauty

no big deal
just here
right place, right time
as am I –

here to see
sunlight through tall trees

(I have no idea where I got the lovely photograph; it isn't one of mine. I assume I pinched it from somewhere on the internet back in 2003, and apologise for the lack of credit where credit was due.)