Saturday, 24 June 2017

Beautiful Blossoms

He plants his ideas. Flowers in a garden; growing like trees, the roots tunnelling the earth, a boundary wall cracks, there are waves in the pavement… Drunk already! It’s eleven o’clock man! In the morning! Get get out of my… A man trips, nudged aside by a passing cyclist he stumbles into the road, a car swerves, it is shouting. There is so much noise. What the… 

Stumbling back to the choppy sea, these rolling ridges of fissured tarmac, this man stands, settling himself, composing himself to… We think of a rock in a bay, build a lighthouse, turn it into a megaphone: Come back here… Honk! ding ding honk! Words lost to traffic we cannot see, our thoughts are safe inside this high brick wall, whose guardians are old oaks and middle-aged beeches, a few adolescent yews learning the trade; and safe we think, sitting on this lawn, under straw hats in comfortable deckchairs, we think of language as a gentleman drowning; we imagine, as we luxuriate in the sun-soaked image, the light-flecked forest of a silent sea, we imagine him pulled down into deep waters; the ankles grasped by - strange to relate, a joy to conceive - concepts planted decades ago; they yank him down; yank, he struggles back up, gasping, shouting, clutching the sky, the birds out of reach, a voice he cannot see; yank, his last agonising touch of air, the water’s rippling surface; yank, he falls like a dead fish into the sea’s stomach. Yes, we say whimsically to ourselves, a smile flickering like a butterfly around our lips, we must change those currents to tentacles if we are to create an octopus greedy for the English alphabet. We cross out effing b******. That will do. It will make a wonderful meal! Yes! You’re right, I couldn't have done it so well. Should we, do you think, call the chap over? Surely fellow is the more appropriate address? Fellow! The butterfly sinks into Jocelyn’s face, where it flaps, where it flies. Hilarious wrinkles.

In Spring the branches give shelter from the rain. In Summer… In Summer! they are dressed with the sun’s extravagance; touching the heads of passers-by they hide the kids who, safe from a mother’s worried eye, test the risks of life; swinging from branch to branch, dropping leaves on grumpy old men, they giggle at their own heroic foolishness. Autumn is the parents’ favourite. The wise prefer Winter, when the armies of green lie safely in the graves of memory.

We see a poet in dappled light; a book in his lap, a young and beautiful woman to his side. He touches black boots, strokes the beechwood calves… She smiles down at him, her head bobbing up, like a flower in the breeze. It is Edith. She wears a short green skirt, a shimmering blue blouse; and like a smooth trunk, like a freckled bole branching into the bush of her hair, green curls with tints of turquoise, is her tanned neck, her brown face… Similes. Do I really need them? he asks with a smile. I am too tall for you? You’re worried, aren’t you, I’ll put you in the shade She laughs and kneels towards him, a tree bending in the wind.

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