Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Heck of a Wend!

Well, where do I even begin to debrief the past week. After looking on from the sidelines for some seventeen years as friends and visiting artists of diverse varieties gathered here for Faith and the Arts summer schools, and for the past few years for the mid year Artists Retreats, my time had finally come. From Friday evening through the next four days, affectionately dubbed our ‘wend’ for want of a better name as it was a longer than long weekend, a bunch of dancers, painters, drawers, poets, writers, singers, musos, weavers, performers brushed up against each other, bounced off each other, embraced each other, encouraged, collaborated, cheered, cried and laughed together.

Seeing what the process had released in others in the past in terms of their inner creative journey, and the expression and output that had produced, the fidgeting on my office chair reached a point where the urge to take the plunge into the creative pool just had to be obeyed. With no specific plan in mind of what I wanted to achieve with my writing, the possibilities were both non existent and limitless.

What I wasn’t expecting, was that the sharing from other artists of their own stories set off something inside me, evoking responses which took on poetic form of a style I hadn’t played with much before. The somewhat misguided desire when writing is to say something big and profound and so meaningful that everyone will hang off your every word and proclaim you to be the genius you always knew you were (slight delusion but we can all dream!). What resonates with me though as I read and is so obvious anyway, the most profound images whether visual, written in prose, poetry or song, are usually the most simple, those drawn from our own everyday experiences.

Taking those everyday images and situations, seeing them from a different angle, presenting them in a way maybe not considered before, highlighting the little details, that’s when they have the potential to take on new meaning and the power to affect us deeply.

One poem produced during the retreat came out of what one artist shared of how we tend to compartmentalise our lives, seeing each part separate and to be dealt with in isolation, rather than allowing all the parts to interact and influence each other in a more holistic way. Entitled Boxed it ended up turning into a 3 metre long poem installation utilizing boxes of various shapes and sizes, something I would never have contemplated before, other than simply presenting poetry in written or spoken form. It's a bit hard to read in picture form, so you'll have to make do with just the verse.

Life of many
disparate parts
each one a part of
each one apart from
the whole.


Four walls
a top and bottom
neat and tidy.

A box for work
and family
and one that says
I get my way
with home and kids
and TV box
school box, tool box
car and let’s go far box
on our frantic holiday

In that teeny tiny box
left over just for play.

Kick aside the sick box
with its soggy
cardboard sides.
Hide it behind the well box
with the faith box
and the doubt box
and the money box
which empties out
far quicker
than it should.

The reject box
looms large
but the friends box
settles in the midst
to remind us
life is good.

Boxes lined up
row on row
easy to handle
one by one
but hard to carry
stacked one
on one on one on one.

Buried under heavy boxes
cracking under pressure boxes
really isn’t very wise
try not to

Lift the lid
and you might find
your opened boxes
spill their guts
and dare
to even open up
your mind.


Let the parts combine

Let tentacles
reach out
to places where they’ve never been
Let them touch
forbidden territory
Seek out
hidden truths
Discover waiting sights
as yet unseen.

Take apart the boxes
those rigid
separate boxes
and let their
tangled contents
make you whole.