Here is the 37th poem in my 52-poem sequence (one a week) for 2013, followed by some illumination and reflection:
The raging sky clouds whimper windtorn
as the glimmer sheets of glass lay out in green
to shatter occasional of hammer unseen the labourer
repairing damage children senseless done
now glass on grass jigsaw reflect the fragment sky
passing unheed wait the patient sheets
will fill the spaces left by place
return new dayscapes skies unseen tomorrow
vandals windows broken forfeit futures
prepare fresh mirrors openings to passion inbend
new hidden in the anger of energy destroy.
This is a poem I discarded, but chose to resurrect again during one of my trawls through the boxes in my attic containing everything I’ve ever written (that is not a metaphor by the way, the attic is a real attic, not my brain). It was written back in Bridgeton one morning when I watched a tradesman across the street replacing some smashed windows in the local school. Being a “rough” area (oh don’t you love euphemisms?) those windows got smashed rather often as some kind of statement of anger by the local kids. I could understand that. I was a vandal myself once, still am in many ways, except that words are my missiles now and jaded minds my target facades… on a good day. Anyway, as the poem tries to capture, the glazier laid out the broken fragments of glass on the grass beside the school, then the new sheets next to them, and each fragment reflected a piece of blue sky with clouds racing across it. It struck me there was something magical in that, as if the sheets of glass contained glimpses of other happier days, brighter futures. I decided that the poem should adopt a structure which “mirrored” the scene itself: hence why the language and ideas seem chopped up and randomised. Nonetheless, the brain reconstructs the message effectively enough afterwards, hopefully. I can’t remember the details but I’ve seen experiments since in which graphic designers have removed startlingly large amounts of critical letters and phrases from text and found that the brain will still grasp the meaning. We don’t assimilate knowledge in the ordered systematic way that standard English sentences would suggest, our brains are much too impatient and sophisticated for that.
For accompanying images, we just have to go with two of Rene Magritte’s less well-known “window” paintings, The Key To The Fields, and Evening Falls. They need little explanation, beyond what I have said above… they seem to be about the magic and potential of the view, as framed by both windows and paintings, “the marvelousness of life and what we fail to make of it” (as a critic once wrote of Edward Hopper’s paintings) and the strange freedom offered by violence.
Let’s end with a photograph of the young René and Georgette Magritte (have you ever seen a more poignant image of youthful love?) and a YouTube clip of Paul Simon’s touching paean to the pair of them “René and Georgette Magritte with their dog after the war”, here. Remember to read the song lyrics too.