Thursday 9 April 2009

How to gulp from the dailiness of life

Sometimes art just turns up at the right time, doesn’t it? Last night, feeling a bit tired and frazzled and wishing it was already the weekend, I went to a work-in-progress showing of Unfolding Theatre’s Building Palaces. It involved being shown round a number of rooms in a small group – each being a ‘palace’ to the actors and musicians in them. One room involved being blindfolded, which disturbed the control freak in me. One room gave us the chance to bang gongs and bells, which was easier fun. One room we got to make our own palaces with material and pva glue. (Apart from the repressed people in the corner, who stood there with their arms folded…) It ended with a group of the North East’s finest artistic minds on a rooftop in the Ouseburn, as the sun set and a massive moon looked down, surrounding three musicians playing beautifully - and accompanying them with the whoopee cushions provided. Some people think laughter and mystery don’t mix. I’m not one of them.

Then when I got home, for no discernible reason, other than I’d been thinking about books as my palace would be lined with them, in alphabetical order by author, I pulled the Selected Poems of Randell Jarrell from the shelf, and flicked through it and read at random his little poem Well Water:

‘What a girl called “the dailiness of life”
(Adding an errand to your errand. Saying,
“Since you’re up…” Making you a means to
A means to a means to) is well water
Pumped from an old well at the bottom of the world.
The pump you pump the water from is rusty
And hard to move and absurd, a squirrel-wheel
A sick squirrel turns slowly, through the sunny
Inexorable hours. And yet sometimes
The wheel turns of its own weight, the rusty
Pump pumps over your sweating face the clear
Water, cold, so cold! You cup your hands
And gulp from the dailiness of life.’

Whether you’ve got a long weekend for Easter or a short one, may chance bring you find some clear cold water, the sun, and the moon. And I personally recommend a whoopee cushion too…

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