© Deb Catesby, 2019

Website designed by Sheila Farrell

Teme Valley

a walk on the morning of Monday 12th February 2018

 

long thin shadows

lumbering traffic on main road

wind frost deep ruts

left onto lane

squareness of hedges

recent thorns

tractor ruts

film of frost on pond

spots of light through shadows

hop kilns sharp white cones

yellow digger silvery silos

hoarse sheep

redwhite guarded hole

slight hills either side

dull green beaten down

avenue to left trees gone

wooden sign horse

reflections of looped railings

polytunnel

sun low down

long shed flickering light through gaps in wood structure

 caravan in driveway

dog not barking

cows mooing groaning

puddles tinged with ice cracked

sheep blue backs

shadowy uphill section

bird

oak tree against blue

battered yellow sand dispenser

view through six barred gate

hill and eight trees

shadow again

sun brighter

sharp pointed shadows pine trees on green

feet slip still frozen ground

sign circle Worcestershire Way green pear

yellow sand box

discarded monitor blue

lines of fruit trees distant

rumble from machinery

squawk of rooks

whisper of old blown leaves

frayed tops of hedges shown on road

chunk of buildings

chimneys different heights

dents in road old digger bucket

up hill

cattle on right hand side Dutch landscape

mottled grey white shaggy brown Highland horns

clumps of heavy balled green in branches

old fruit trees bent over shorn stubby wind attacked

snowdrops

heavy mud ruts

red helicopter burring

four horses down steep hill

dog with blue jacket

up hill

dead grey squirrel

spot of blood

thunder squeak disturbed pheasant

triangle orange light corner of farm building

home again

 home

 

 

A WALK IN STUDLEY

ON A THURSDAY AFTERNOON IN EARLY NOVEMBER

 

YELLOW DOOR, YELLOW FORSYTHIA

BLUE WINDOWS, LIME GREEN TRACTOR

BRASS LAMPS, STONE SHEEP

‘LADIES OF DISTINCTION’

MARBLE ALLEY, NEEDLE CLOSE

CHIMNEYS WITH GAPS LIKE NEEDLE EYES

A ROBIN, AN OWL, A KINGFISHER

‘IN HAPPY MEMORY OF BOB’

TUNNEL ONTO BRIGHT, BRIGHT GREEN

FOOTBRIDGE MADE OF SCAFFOLDING

SAXON CHURCH, QUIET, LOCKED, RENOVATING

MOTTLED LICHEN ON STONE

SUNLIGHT, BIRDSONG

framework/holding it together/early stages

 

use handwriting if you want

or collage

in decorated scribble

or matte photograph

or material which has been stitched and hung and cut and sprayed black

then cut down to size

or woven even

or drawn or typed

 

a cover holding 5 booklets

with title ‘Holding’

the framing of a photograph on the front face

a list of artists names on the rear flap

in landscape format or square, like a polaroid,

except that’s not square but approximately a 5 to 4 proportion

 

inside there will be 5 book signatures or folded paper

one item per artist (we are hoping that all artists will contribute)

there is no requirement for words

it can be as long/short as you wish

printed or hand made and the pages need not be bound

each signature or folded paper NO LARGER THAN and TO WORK TO AT LEAST ONE

of the dimensions of the outer cover

each artist to produce own insert using agreed paper

co-ordinating printing so as to keep cost down

using photographs of random or selected juxtapositions of work

 

all the while recording

the endless possibilities of the imagination

its multiple relationships

and considering the ‘final’ choices made

as they may or may not relate to our own

 

the whole thing being as clear as mud

as slippery

as holding it together

Letter to Sylvia Plath

 

Dear Sylvia

 

You don’t know me

and you being dead already I guess we’re never going to meet

but for about fifteen years we shared the world -

who knows, we may even have bumped into each other -

but whether we did or didn’t meet – in the flesh

- is not the point. Because I’ve met your poem.

 

At least if you’d been alive I might have come to listen to you read,

I might have admired you from afar,

I might have wanted desperately to be you,

wished we could talk over a cup of coffee at your kitchen table,

that you would smile at me

would recognise that I was there.

But because you’d so very dramatically

(that was part of your allure)

decided to opt out of an unbearable world

you weren’t any longer accessible.

 

In a sense, I don’t think that matters.

Of course it matters that you didn’t get to lead the rest of your life.

That matters so much that it’s unspeakable.

But in the case of our meeting each other -

all it goes to show is that time is in this case quite irrelevant.

 

When I looked into the mirror on the landing up there I saw you,

I saw me, but I saw you too. Your eyes, my eyes.

Those little squares of wax interrupted our clear vision –

but fuzzy as we were with the buzzing in our brains

– our eyes did meet.

Now you never knew that

you will never know that,

and it made, will make, no difference to you.

But that recognition, that knowledge that someone else

someone else has felt this

has made all the difference to me.

 

 

When I first read your poem I remember -

I remember particularly -

your opening line - ‘I ordered this, this clean wood box’

because with that repetition of ‘this’

I was there with you. We were together,

the two of us - opening the box, seeing it,

touching the wood, hearing the buzz from inside

perhaps even feeling the surface vibrate -

And do you know what they’ve done?

they’ve printed it wrong –

instead of ‘I ordered this, this clean wood box’

they’ve put ‘I ordered this, clean wood box’

no repetition,

no sharing of the moment of opening with you,

we can’t see ‘this’ in front of us. The box vanishes,

you vanish,

the moment goes.

 

 

Putting that aside,

leaving the rest of the poem alone,

letting it work its strange and savage magic how it will

there is one other little grace note I want to add

and which connects with the moment I found in the exhibition here

when our eyes met in that mirror.

It’s about a song, recorded some time in 1991

well past your time, long after you’d so sadly got your wish

and gone off and turned into that tree

(every spring I see those blonde colonnades and think of you).

The band is Massive Attack, and the song is called ‘Safe From Harm’

Given everything, you could hardly get better titles, could you?

Anyway, they sing these lines

I was lookin' back to see if you were lookin' back at me
To see me lookin' back at you.

Here’s looking at you, Sylvia