Although Wild Poplars echoes an aspiration for the earth and its inhabitants: skies and seas clean, restored and healthy and its land, creatures and people enjoying a regenerative environment, there’s something better and more anarchic which keens in my soul.
I’m after something uncivilised, wild, outrageous, complex yet simple, hope-less, paradoxical, and rampant as a Kiftsgate rose. Something animal, sensuous and intimate which bows our heads to nature and to our senses before even contemplating saying the two most dangerous words in the world: ‘I know…’
Wild Poplars could easily be a landscape crying with grief, howling and intent on lamentation or awash with despair. If you’re not sure why, read ‘Deep Adaptation’ and then the author (Dr Jem Bendell’s) follow up post. There is a fine, albeit precarious, point of balance which we each need to find to be conscious of the future but live, really live, now… Granted, there are dark places in Wild Poplars and you may well find it necessary to give voice to your own expressions of grief. But in the main, the poetic children here dare to chant rhyme despite being up to their knees in shit. Is there any point? Possibly not if we’re only outcome focused. Rather than hope, I find something more real in the word ‘aspire’ (to reach towards) which comes from the Latin phrase ‘to breathe upon’. My vision is what I wish to ‘breathe upon’ you and future generations…
And this quote sent to me by my friend and artist, Nicola Chestnutt encapsulates it…
‘When we feel, a kind of lyric is sung in our heart. When we think, a kind of music is played in our mind. In harmony, both create a beautiful symphony of life.” - Toba Beta
This is my vision in a chestnut shell: to broker an engagement between your heart and head, a place in your body which feels like a ‘home from home’.
To create a ‘home from home’ is, of course, an impossible brief. But that’s the point of sitting here in the Architect’s Shed, to be asked to envision. And as I close my eyes to image, I find the resources already exist in the the warp and thread of nearly half a century of writing poetry,..'
I see a place within and without. Where sound is strong enough to scent my nostrils and give my hiraeth - the longing to belong - pause for breath. May there be shelter, too, in certain pieces of music. Message To Bears featured Architect’s Shed track aptly titled ‘Find Our Way Home’ conveys this sense of familiarity. It’s what exists in the eyes of a trusting animal who remains wild but dares to make a connection.
In one way or another every aspect of Wild Poplars has re-turned me to life with my senses sharpened, feelings closer to the surface, ready to respond without filtering out what might be ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. I’ve used what I’ve written to-date to get up closer to you and the soil I tread. Writing verse prompts me to explore places I wouldn’t habitually travel: the nests and sets belonging to non-humans or those of my friends who only have favoured corners or doorways to call home..
And perhaps in this vision is where I allow a stray skein of hope to rest - that what I’ve written will in some way enable you to become more intimate with what’s around you.
Which means I have turned my gaze directly to you. And realise I have failed to ask the question every marketing guru will tell you is the most important one…