It’s all about –
PHOTOGRAPHY – I want to share images , from day to day life, work (and other) travels, sometimes landscapes, sometimes people or animals, and also quirky little things, odd angles, that catch my eye, and might please yours? More of these can be found on our website at http://www.thestudioatpenrallt.co.uk
HELEN CAREY’S BOOKS – And finally, I want to direct you towards the work of my favourite writer, my wife Helen Carey, because, if you like what I write – you’ll LOVE what she writes! see Helen’s page here on this blog.
So, here it is, The Marcist Agenda – please read on, hope you will enjoy and be stimulated by what you see and I would very much like to hear back from you on what you read.
Faster than a herd of turtles! Cheers! Marc
The ordinary act
Suddenly, the everyday act of
Standing on the stairs
Stopping, to tie my shoe laces
As I catch my breath,
before rushing out,
People are falling like snowflakes.
A child’s rucksack, a stuffed toy monkey,
the body of a St Bernard, and of macaws,
Sprawled amongst the wheat sheaves that are
reaching, cathedral like, towards the sun switched summer shadows.
Silage rolls basking like petrol drums.
A bitter crop for Ukraine
and for the world, well beyond.
The tractor tracks of harvest green
slough of despond.
As I eat lunch,
tanks are scouring sandy paths
in a ravaged landscape,
savage hewn ruts of falling machinery,
rockets, surly and skywards menacing
dust plagued army vehicles,
the bloated belch of the side splitting guns,
the pylons staggering, the wires ablaze with the noise of war.
Here, as I stare out of the train window,
trees fill the skyline, and there are sunflowers
and cornfields, basking in the peace of an English summers day.
The harvest should be full and fat
the table fully laden, untroubled by despair.
Elsewhere – on the bad days,
it can feel like almost everywhere -
we reap people, homes, schools and hospitals,
the table groans, splits, splinters
destroyed by an overwhelming burden of care.
A skeleton building, a dolls house, fractured
Curtains shivering, post explosion blasted,
young lives, rich with promise, now ever disabled
and only ghosts left to sit at this harvest table.
Outside Newport, Gwent, I see a mattress hanging
drunk and halfway out of a window,
but it’s only out to air.
In Gaza it would act as an emblem for despair.
Might we replay, replace these moments, I wonder,
in some fondly imagined,
great blue yonder?
Months later, I awake early,
a storm is battering the mountain side.
I remember a morning, nearly 30 years ago,
a dustbin lid, a galvanised chariot wheel,
careering up and down Bullar Road,
awakening the citizens of Bitterne Park,
the dawn ghosted, wind maddened,
alarm clock fumbling of the semi dark.
Right now, it is wild outside, the trees are stuttering
whooshing, swishing and swirling.
Yet I am safe, cocooned, unperturbed,
secure, loved, undisturbed.
Elsewhere, the storm clouds curling,
warfare, Ebola, conflicts clattering,
the media chattering, gabbling,
politicians and generals, as ever, squabbling.
And all across this battered globe
there will be those, saddened, shattered,
bruised and betrayed, left bereft, barely intact.
Later, I will tie my shoelaces, walk the dogs,
fulfil, I trust, a host of everyday miracles,
celebrate my great fortune, and for those I love.
Privileged to work on something in which I believe.
Needing , ever, to remember the simple grace,
the joy of place, the ability to eat, sleep, breathe,
the breathtaking, gut wrenching, savage celebration
of simply being alive.
The daily, extraordinary,
A note of explanation.
I have thought, long and hard about this poem, both with regard to writing it, and now to publishing it, as it could seem both heartless and cavalier to celebrate one’s own good fortune amidst the devastation and desperation of so many people’s lives. But I do believe that there is an obligation upon those of us who are fortunate enough to enjoy good health and prosperity to recognise that, and to be thankful for it – and to utilise the opportunities that such good fortune allows us, to be of benefit to others, however we might choose to do so. Like so many people, I was shocked and appalled by both the reality and the awful imagery of the downed Flight MH17 – and so much else that has occurred since – and my heart goes out to everyone affected, left troubled or worse, as a consequence of it. My poem, for what it is worth, is dedicated to all who suffer, and to all who strive to alleviate everyday pain and despair.
I remember reading , and thoroughly enjoying, Lloyd Jones novel, ‘Mr Vogel’ and making the mental note that ‘I must read more of this man’s work’..but then, somehow, the opportunity has not arisen (or I have not made it happen).
Just lately I was gifted a copy of Mr Jones’ new collection of poetry – ‘The Secret Life of a Postman’, and what a fine present this has turned out to be.
I have been working my way gradually through this impressive selection of poems – it is a big volume and there is a deal of complexity in the words and rhythms of the poet : not a book to be absorbed at one reading, but a delightful, literary chocolate box to dip into and relish (and we are talking high end confectionary here!)
The range and dimensions of these poems is, simply, quite staggering ; poems of love such as ‘A brief history of love’ paint a vivid picture in relatively few words, whilst the title poem is both lyrical and enigmatic. Some are curiosity writ large , ‘Guidance notes for people wishing to design a golf course water feature’ being but one prime example. There are poems that reflect upon Wales and Welshness – for me, ‘Sacrament’ being a beautifully written and constructed poem that captures so much of that very special essence. ‘Poet in the kitchen’ gives a tantalising glimpse of the writer at work, and a good number of the poems here are intensely, yet not intrusively, personal in their tone. The writing is both of and in the moment – as well as some of the lines and subjects being steeped in history and classical reference.
It is very difficult to pull out favourites from this collection but, as the time of writing, I particularly want to commend ‘Aleppo’ and ‘The service’ ; I guess because, as is the case with poetry, music, novels and art the world over, something particular, specific and uniquely subjective makes me (you) reach out and embrace a verse, an image…tugs at your heartstrings and stays in your mind.
I am convinced that there will be poems for all herein that will leave an indelible mark and bring you back to this excellent, enjoyable and, on occasion, testing anthology. A great achievement and a writer who deserves to be celebrated well beyond the magical borders of Wales.
Marc Mordey To buy this book : go to http://www.welsh-american-bookstore.com/News/lloyd-jones-secret-life-of-a-postman.html
I really like this post from Helen’s blog – for readers and writers alike – and wanted to share it with you as I believe that this multi talented author deserves as wide an audience as possible…
lovely photos and a nice piece from Diana – we had a brilliant evening, a richness and diversity of poets , wonderful music from Lowri Evans and Lee Mason, delicious crepes provided by Beatrice of Ffwrn (and served – with great aplomb – by Helen Carey) ….think we will return!!
Today is Derby Day
And I’m off to meet Harry
No prince he, neither unhinged
But my fathers brother
55 years on.
We walked in Italian gardens
Sheltered from summer rain
And masqueraded at pooh sticks
Off the under arched bridge.
Small but loud
Trinket laden and feather dusted.
A family bible – of sorts -
But no secrets shared
Though he might have dared.
Lunch comes late and roasted
Sunday sundaes side splitting.
African ephemera is offered.
Some small sentiment unmasked.
A bond achieved
Then walking through Dovedale’s sheltered evening.
Stepping stones conquered,
Pillowed rocks for thrones.
This pilgrimage complete
Well maybe, or possibly just begun.
Makes me wonder if
I am my fathers son?
I might be cuckooed,
As the lazy fat fish
Angle for flies
Trout dappled pebbles flash
In the struggling light
My fathers troubled
But hopefully jolly
No chance of our meeting
A dream too wild
The stealthy dreams are greeting
This mature man
Somewhere beyond the realm of logic
Lies the land of magic.
Dedicated to HCM and to Derren Brown ( who is truly magical)
August 4th 2014
My love lies sleeping in France
Whilst I walk the ancient parish boundaries here
Allegiances, ancient, modern too
Revelling in the
Summertime sun dance,
The sunset tonight
Muted by low cloud.
As the lights in our small seawards town
The ghosts of a century
Screeled and swirled,
Sighed amidst the chatter of the Information Age,
Which rolled and frolicked,
As noisy as any machine gun clatter.
The Last Post
Peace talks now,
37 days in 1914
26 in Gaza
Just gone by
How many more on the roll call
Of desperate days?
Shellburst, rocketed, tanked
Agony and pain.
Libya, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine…
And what hope
Can possibly remain?
I could go on,
But am not that strong.
So little learned
Or so it would seem
In the 100 years between.
Obelisks and gravestones
Commonwealth war graves
For uncommon people.
Hymns are sung
Scarred the blistered earth and
Poppies flamed the surly skies.
Lest we forget?
We do not appear to be equipped to remember that
(Sterilised and remote as we might try to make it)
Savage, relentless, unforgiving and
As so it was
One hundred years
And oh so many millions of tears