Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Sleepwalking Soul

Cada cuerpo con su deseo
y el mar el frente.
Cada lecho con su naufragio
y los barcos al horizonte.
- Eugenio Montejo

For a swimmer, making his way into the sea
the waves are a physical reminder of time.
The space between each wave is calculated,
the body carefully positioned to ride over
or glide through each wave. Here time equals action.
The trough of each wave is enjoyed; the heat of the sun,
the coolness of the water, the taste of salt, a yacht seeming
not to move on the horizon, disappearing behind a wave, and the next,
and another, until he emerges triumphant into the tranquility of clear water.

The horizon is one long
stripe of blue, looking back land stretches out
bisecting the blue of the sky and the
blue of the sea and it is here
that the soul begins its drift;
gently and without announcement.

The beach may be empty or it
may appear as a pointillist landscape
dotted with the coloured bags and towels
of other bathers. He will search for his own,
scouring the beach for private landmarks,
tracing the memory of his steps
across the sand down to the shore.

If he manages to locate his towel, it will be far
from where he expected to find it.
The sensation is of a slippage of time.
There are no footprints to mark the journey.
It is as though he has moved between time zones
and though he knows that a day has been lost,
that he must adjust his watch, the body refuses to believe it;
the disjuncture between the reality of place and the sensation of place being too great.

A quiet acceptance washes in.
He can't point to a when or a how but he knows
that a change has occurred over which he has had no control,
or if he had, he has come to realise it too late.

And so he feels the heat of the sun,
the coolness of the water against his skin
and he makes his way, slowly, allowing the waves
to propel him, back toward the beach.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Random Impressions 1

I tried and failed about ten times to write this as one coherent piece so I'm going to list things as a series of jump cuts instead:


The road between Blackhorse road station and Tottenham. I walked along there hoping to see the reservoirs but it was so misty that I couldn't see more than a few metres past the fence. At intervals fishermen and geese appear through the fog.


A bridge over the canal in Tottenham has a plaque explaining that it was built in the first year of the great war. This and the mist makes me think of the poet Edward Thomas. 


Walking past Ghanaian churches hidden amongst the warehouses close to the canal in Tottenham. A taxi driver confirms that the churches are all Ghanaian but that he is Nigerian. Once, when living in Lagos, one of Fela Kuti's wives had been his landlady and he was a regular visitor to 'The Shrine'.


Two ducks swimming in a small stream banked by rubbish.


A yellow tree raining leaves down onto the pavement close to the Lea Bridge roundabout.


The Downs pub has a sign which says that in 1870 the first cycle club in the UK had their inaugural meeting there. Opposite, the Downs are empty, cold, and windswept.