Just a wee heads-up that I will have a new book of poetry out soon. It will be printed in the same format as Listing, in what Proost describe as a ‘pocket liturgy’ size, which in practice means a lovely little book that can be carried in your pocket, which, dare I suggest, might work particularly well for this one…
…because it concerns itself with wild water. And there is nothing more poetic than watching water in wild places.
This book gathers together brand new poems along with some of my older writing into chapters entitled River, Ocean, Irrigate, Souls swimming and Flow together, and was partly inspired by our up and coming exhibition @ Tighnabruaich Gallery which begins at the end of March.
These excerpts from the introduction probably tells this story as well as anything might;
The imagery of moving water – rivers, streams, rolling waves – has long been employed by humans as a means of seeking to understand things beyond ourselves. In some parts of the world water is a much rarer commodity than it is where I live, on the western fringe of Europe, amongst the remains of the temperate rain forests. From ancient times we hear of sacred rivers, or shrines sited at springs and wells. In fact, many of these sites seem to have been adopted by the new religion of the Celts, to become holy wells or holy springs. Certainly, the ancient Hebrew texts inherited by the Celts were also full of the same imagery; streams of living water, water springing from rocks, God moving across the face of the waters, water turned to wine, the baptism of new believers and so on. Sometimes the water seems to be used to describe God, or an aspect of God, at other times it is used to describe life itself.
But the title of this collection – ‘Where the streams come from’ – suggests something else too; the idea of an origin; a beginning; an uprising; a source. This might be a matter of history – after all, we all live downstream of all that has ever been and upstream from all that is yet to be. It is also a question of science; the explosive expansion of the universe, the accretion of material into stars, orbited by planets, an accidental alchemy that leads to life and the unfolding evolution that flows forward towards us. For many it is a theological question- one that some promote above all others. God is our creator and the universe is his clockwork toy, slowly winding down to a time of his choosing.
For poets it is ultimately a spiritual question, one concerned with trying to see beyond the surface into the meanings that make everything come alive. Learning how to exist in the flow of all things, not merely to observe and record, or to define and measure, nor to decide between what is sacred and what profane. Not even to save. The flow I refer to is that which we sense in wild places. The flicker that we feel in the pits of our stomachs when an animal roars at a distance. The tears at sunset. The pang at the sight of geese flying away for winter. That sense of staring into moving water and wondering… if. Spirituality like this can arguably only ever be partially expressed and only then using the mediums of poetry and art.
More on release date etc later, but in the meantime, some more moving water;