Inspiration is a funny thing. It doesn’t always come from beauty or thrills. It can strike from a place where the sky is grey, the rain is continuous and the wind chills everything. Yes, I’ve managed to get inspired in the midst of all this dreary weather.
It first happened on New Year’s Eve. My husband and I had been invited back to Lismore for dinner with family and found ourselves on a wild diversion, due to the fact that the canal had burst its banks. Inspiration did not strike then, as we travelled a desolate road, wondering where the ‘Diversion’ signs had disappeared to and whether we were going the right way at all. It pounced after we had eaten a delicious meal of roast beef and vegetables and had wandered down to take a look at the flood.
It was the trees that caught my attention – helpless against the intruding water, bare and fragile, still so graceful. It was impossible for them to run from the danger, yet they would remain standing after the water had fallen away. I thought of the line: ‘And the trees are widows on water‘, channelling a sense of loss and darkness, but also strength.
I don’t want to give too much of the poem away, as I will probably submit it somewhere in the near future. I’ve made a list of places to send poetry, encouraged by recent acceptances from ‘And Other Poems’ and ‘Ink Sweat and Tears’. I’ve written a number of pieces that I’m quite happy with recently, including a short, punchy poem called ‘The Shore’. It was written after visiting Dunmore East on one of those days you can feel against your skin. No amount of winter woollies could shut out the creeping air, yet Hubs and I found ourselves braving the conditions and looking out to sea.
We could just about make out the grey lines of a sailing boat, like a ghost on the horizon. The sea was dark and spitting, launching fierce attacks on the rocks. For a better view, Hubs and I ventured out across the grass, so overgrown it sprang beneath our feet. The cold of it surrounded our boots and somehow found a way through to numb our toes.
So although I’m heartily looking forward to spring, some winter scenes are echoing out into my writing. I’m also ploughing on with my novel. It’s slow, but I feel like I have a better grip on it now and as long as I don’t let go, it will get written.
‘Sometimes we have to stare down the blue, the ache of days that don’t seem alive‘ I’m not sure where that line came from. It sounds familiar and I’m wondering if I tried to write a poem with those starting words, some time ago. It seems appropriate to include it here as I move towards a conclusion. Hopefully it will leave you with a little colour and determination on a murky day.