AFTER MAGGIE SAID

AFTER MAGGIE SAID

After Maggie said
It’s all the same stuff,
I knew to go with it,
To let my hands mould,
Breathe into the clay,
To allow the form to come.l

It was a matter of trust.

Trusting myself, the material, the process,
The desire for
art,
Like the sea swirling in a cove,
Water swaying back and forth,
Like breathing
Like music,
Like a recognition of something deep,
Something inside and outside,
Familiar and distant.

Sometimes quiet blue
Still and silk like,
Stretched out to the horizon
Where the fluidity of the sky
Loses itself and mingles.

Sometimes expressive
Ferocious even,
Colliding and crashing, frothing and spitting.

When the form came
It was a suggestion of two women
With long undulating hair, like waves,
Sweeping and curling over their
Rounded curves,
Holding their bodies together.

Like the visitation in EIN Kerem,
Mary and Elizabeth,
My women’s interfaith group,
All my friends,

Connecting and interwoven
Like rivers, like red clay,
like skin,
Echoing the promise
Of a world more feminine.

MARGATE IN OCTOBER

We are in Margate in October.
A cold grey incongruity
Brutalist, graffiti, wet sand,
Busy ship lanes from Dover to Calais.
The ching, ching of amusements,
A closed- up beach bar, thundering waves, ice cream parlours.

Seaside places out of season are like sepia photos
Full of murkiness, nostalgia, echoes,
A kind of displacement, not to be believed
Just as the soft drone of traffic in the basement flat
Has the air of unreality, confused memory;

Tunisia in October at the start of Eid.
The same drone of traffic
Lorries loaded with sheep
Heading for slaughter, for family feasts.

Mostly we stayed inside the stone apartment, built for sun
Wary of the outside, spiked hostility, faded heat,
Of a heritage we both claim and try to disassociate from.

A past too big, too awful, too out of reach
But still affecting. Still current.
We hope our little snippets of human courtesy may count
Build a tentative human connection across the gulf, whilst
Protective of our beautiful blonde daughter and her gorgeous friend
Wanting to wear bikinis and flimsy tops
In a world they really can’t.

The traffic rumbles on in Margate
The greyness and destitution, the unemployment and the drunks outside
Infiltrate our thoughts, the ongoing interior world that transverses time and continents
Is both remote and deep, relevant, distinct.

Surprised by the small shoots of wealth
The new gallery, the bistros, bookshops and reclaimed Victoriana
Revealing a once fashionable architecture
Hidden under the broken pavements, 60’s tower block and shabby hotels

The mix of hope and shame,
Past and future, immigration, class, culture
Margate’s unlikely heroin,
The unmade bed;
Draws new art, new narratives
Creative, incongruous, out of cinq.

The traffic rumbles on in Margate
The drone of the outside world seems far away
As we walk on the faded promenade, a cold wind bites,
Revitalises a longing for Summer and warmer sea
Promises both present and out of reach.