I’d like to share with you a poem that I wrote yesterday, while sitting in an aeroplane somewhere over Southern Europe. I say yesterday, but I can’t be sure of that, having crossed several time zones since then. And I say poem, but it’s actually more like a short piece of descriptive (and rather surreal) prose. But I decided to follow what seems to be the trend at the moment by throwing in a few random line-breaks and calling it a poem. After all, what makes something poetry is the same as what makes something art – the creator (of the work, not the fictional ‘Creator’) saying that it is.
So here goes. …Well, actually, I think I should set the scene first – change the mood from flippant to something more serious. So imagine me in full imaginative flow, gazing out of the window, all starry-eyed, at the beautiful cloudscape below (yes below, and not above). I’m on my way to Singapore, for a few days, and then on to my adopted home-from-home, Australia, and a few weeks spent mostly in beautiful, elemental natural environments – deserted beaches, bush-land teeming with exotic wildlife and, hopefully, some lovely warm weather. I’m going to walk, swim, relax, sketch and, most importantly; write. Perhaps I’m expecting too much from myself, but I’m hoping to complete a first draft of my novel, knock out a few short stories, and perhaps dream myself into some poems too. Absolutely no pressure. But I’ve made a start already. Whether it’s a good start or not, I’ll leave for you to judge.
The Plains of Heaven
A landscape of low white peaks and soft grey shadows extends away into the distance.
The horizon is a band of white,
Evaporating up into ever deepening blue.
Impenetrable cloud, like deep snow on solid ground,
But cotton-wool soft: a soft-toy Antarctic landscape.
I want to get out, I want to fall from this aeroplane,
To plummet through the air into a duvet-soft landing.
I feel as though the cloud must be able to hold me, to welcome me;
To embrace me into the purity of a world untainted by people, unsullied by life.
There’s silence, and stillness, and alone at last,
I lie on my back, cosseted; at peace.
I could stand up, walk, take one leaping step after another,
Bound moon-like across the endless plateau,
Entranced, indefatigable, bouncing along, happy now;
Joyous in the reborn innocence of childhood.
But it’s so comfortable just lying still in my cotton-wool womb.
I can’t bear to move.
My eyelids feel heavy; they close,
The whiteness engulfs me and I fall asleep.
Note: The plains of Heaven is the title of a painting by John Martin , a nineteenth century artist who specialised in very large canvases showing immense landscapes, seascapes, skyscapes; detailed, intense stunning works. Of course, he was working before aeroplanes had been invented, so he could only imagine what I was fortunate enough to experience