Sunday, 9 March 2014
A WRITER'S ROOM
Some years back the Review section of the Saturday Guardian ran a weekly feature on writers' rooms which was really fascinating :some were tidy, some spilled over at the edges with papers and books, desks of all shapes and sizes were shown, post-it notes cluttered the walls in some rooms, postcards in others. Many of them featured a comfortable chair to which the writer could retire to read over what they'd done (or nod off if they chose!)
This is part of my room; the most important thing on the desk at the moment is the stack of fliers for Paul Henry's forthcoming reading with my group The Poem Shed (the 10th of April in the Friends' Meeting House, Chester, 7pm)
The desk belonged to my father: when he owned it he had a tiny selection of envelopes in one of the pigeon-holes, bills awaiting attention in the other. The drawers were almost empty except for a wooden fishing float, a leather purse with those huge old pennies in it, his first driving licence which went back to before the forties when there was no test (imagine that!!) and a photograph of one of his granddaughters. Not much else. The top of the desk would be completely empty. My father liked order. I struggle for it.
I have written many poems about my father, and my favourite is about after his funeral, not because he had died, no, but it is the poem that shows most clearly his eccentricities, especially the desire for order ( he had been in the army for many years).
You had a driven need to simplify your life,
got down to one of everything: one chair, one bed,
one fork, knife, spoon.
When I came to visit you
I had to fill the car with everything you lacked;
a folding chair and bed, a mug, a plate, and cutlery.
I'm driving from your funeral now;
torrential rain has plunged from clouds of black.
The sky is blue again and in it,
a triple rainbow.
I hear you say
I only needed one.