Flint Head

 

self-portrait-21-1-17

First in a series of double portraits

Obeying the time honoured advice from interested parties that “it’s time for you to do some work on yourself, Tim” on the afternoon of 21 January, between 1.30pm and 6.30pm, I sat down at the table and did just that, with a small dusty mirror in a wooden frame, pale northerly winter light, new acrylic paints, sable brushes, a glass of water, a sheet of A3 acrylic paper, and a human-shaped flint I’d found last summer on an expedition to The Grey Mare and Her Colts, which is what remains of a Neolithic burial chamber, set on a hill a few miles north of Abbotsbury in west Dorset.

It’s the first in a projected series of double portraits – a head and shoulders, and facing it, a significant object. This flint was my significant other. I felt I was playing with my luck when I picked it up and took it from the Grey Mare that summer, back over the field and down the bridleway, back to the surfaced B-road where I’d parked the car, in a layby in front of a galvanised metal farm gate hung with a sign to a wedding.

Since that trip to the Grey Mare, I’ve been working on a poem about it, called Flint, and here it is, or a version of it.

In the next few days there will be a companion post to Flint Head, featuring a field painting from what remains of the mound that once covered The Grey Mare and Her Colts, looking west towards Golden Cap, and a short piece of prose about the nearby Kingston Russell stone circle, visited many years before with my brother and my daughter when she was little. Now she is just young. I aim to do her picture as the next Double Portrait. I think she may tell me to “go and work on myself”.

Flint

I picked up a flint from
the Grey Mare and her Colts,
an old name for what remains
of a chambered barrow set upon
a hill above Abbotsbury, off
the track and over the fields
that slope towards Golden Cap.
What a long view the
Neolithic dead were given!
I held it up at arm’s length
and saw inside the flint
a figure rise up to greet me,
nodules indicating arms
swung out in defiance
or dance, the twist in its torso,
the high neck an eloquence.
How the planet must have
revelled in its itself before
we came along, carrying
with us bits of stone
that looks familiar to us,
that we found down there.

 

 

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Radio Carbon shorts #22

The film poem Radio Carbon was premiered at the Renoir cinema in 2009 as part of the wonderful Zata Banks’ Poetryfilm.org‘s regular screenings, and at Port Eliot Festival in 2010.

The complete 27-minute film comprises 24 numbered sections, and may be viewed as a sequence of separate, interlocking filmpoems with recurring motifs.

For this winter, I have broken up the film into 24 parts and will be posting them day by day as we approach the winter solstice, in the style of an advent calendar. Each one is between 45 and 90 seconds each. So start your day with a few drops of imagery …

Here is the twenty second film poem, First Words

 

First words

like spring flowers
coaxed from their centre,
the roof of the mouth
is that point two inches
below the navel where
humanity dukes it out
with God’s geometry
fastening to your face
before sleep, heavy
feathered images
frosting to the mind’s eye,
the rock n roll beat
of the bicameral mind…
hard to remember
learning the lingo,
foundations sunk
through centuries
of matter to the
lower interglacial,
cold explosion
of air in the lungs,
words pinned
to the impenetrable
like a veteran’s medal.
This train is being held
at a red signal.

Radio Carbon shorts #20

The film poem Radio Carbon was premiered at the Renoir cinema in 2009 as part of the wonderful Zata Banks’ Poetryfilm.org‘s regular screenings, and at Port Eliot Festival in 2010.

The complete 27-minute film comprises 24 numbered sections, and may be viewed as a sequence of separate, interlocking filmpoems with recurring motifs.

For this winter, I have broken up the film into 24 parts and will be posting them day by day as we approach the winter solstice, in the style of an advent calendar. Each one is between 45 and 90 seconds each. So start your day with a few drops of imagery …

Here is the twentieth film poem, Vapour

 

Vapour

The passage of time
had been broken,
as if a hidden drawer
in a traveller’s chest had
been sprung open
releasing perfumed
scent of an older order,
tiny stitching for a faded
empire, sinking through
solid matter as if it
was vapour, the hard facts
frosting on the glass.
This sky looks cursed.
Sleep sets you like a glaze.

Radio Carbon shorts #19

The film poem Radio Carbon was premiered at the Renoir cinema in 2009 as part of the wonderful Zata Banks’ Poetryfilm.org‘s regular screenings, and at Port Eliot Festival in 2010.

The complete 27-minute film comprises 24 numbered sections, and may be viewed as a sequence of separate, interlocking filmpoems with recurring motifs.

For this winter, I have broken up the film into 24 parts and will be posting them day by day as we approach the winter solstice, in the style of an advent calendar. Each one is between 45 and 90 seconds each. So start your day with a few drops of imagery …

Here is the eighteenth film poem, Explosive

 

Explosive

Love’s weightless
origami carries the body
to forbidden places,
the heart packed tight
like explosive in a bomber’s
vest, a one man army
travelling west, the road
filled with fallen wings,
heavy buds on the lips
of the faithful, the long
dark thread in the blood
unravelling from
the first exploded atoms
of our coming.

Radio Carbon shorts #16

The film poem Radio Carbon was premiered at the Renoir cinema in 2009 as part of the wonderful Zata Banks’ Poetryfilm.org‘s regular screenings, and at Port Eliot Festival in 2010.

The complete 27-minute film comprises 24 numbered sections, and may be viewed as a sequence of separate, interlocking filmpoems with recurring motifs.

For this winter, I have broken up the film into 24 parts and will be posting them day by day as we approach the winter solstice, in the style of an advent calendar. Each one is between 45 and 90 seconds each. So start your day with a few drops of imagery …

Here is the sixteenth film poem, Freight

 

 

Freight

Night traffic shakes the window pane,
Epic journeys cross the body politic
like scar tissue, lines of the Nazca,
sea to shining sea… You smoke fiercely,
letters from your father burning in your fist,
the dead shifting in their waxy element.
The system’s crashed, the household gods
are packing up their instruments
and flying out, we’re picking
at the splinters, the spirits
of the spectrum tossing Liar’s Dice
down the Large Hadron Collider,
the Stonehenge of particle physics.
What did you make of it, then?

 

Radio Carbon shorts #15

The film poem Radio Carbon was premiered at the Renoir cinema in 2009 as part of the wonderful Zata Banks’ Poetryfilm.org‘s regular screenings, and at Port Eliot Festival in 2010.

The complete 27-minute film comprises 24 numbered sections, and may be viewed as a sequence of separate, interlocking filmpoems with recurring motifs.

For this winter, I have broken up the film into 24 parts and will be posting them day by day as we approach the winter solstice, in the style of an advent calendar. Each one is between 45 and 90 seconds each. So start your day with a few drops of imagery …

Here is the fifteenth film poem, Wild Root

 

 

Wild Root

 

My own history’s south of here,

Killarney and Tralee, the Quinns

and the Hurleys, the Hurleys

on the quay at Cork. One tosses

a coin, heads for America, tails

for Britain, Merthyr, mines,

munitions, Brum, the children’s

home and me. I walk the length

of sand north of the Burren,

its lunar wake of a landscape

radiating a light I knew was there

before I knew. I stop to smell the air,

ancestral breathing. The famous

dolmen made new.

Radio Carbon shorts #11

The film poem Radio Carbon was premiered at the Renoir cinema in 2009 as part of the wonderful Zata Banks’ Poetryfilm.org‘s regular screenings, and at Port Eliot Festival in 2010.

The complete 27-minute film comprises 24 numbered sections, and may be viewed as a sequence of separate, interlocking filmpoems with recurring motifs.

For this winter, I have broken up the film into 24 parts and will be posting them day by day as we approach the winter solstice, in the style of an advent calendar. Each one is between 45 and 90 seconds each. So start your day with a few drops of imagery …

Here is the eleventh film poem, Grave Goods

https://vimeo.com/147933081?

 

Carbon still 2

 

Grave Goods
The set was carried by invisible hands,
cosmic stylists tearing up the score.
You take a book from the shelf, Destruction
of the Jaguar, set your sights on the Mayan
calender, cloud banks rolling in like
great ancestors across the plains,
lights going out a thousands years from
here beneath layers of alluvial sediment,
the bedstead of an erotic dream
banging against the wall of your room
as you wake in a spray of broken images
the running tide pulling back the covers on
swollen idols, tell-tale hairs coating the surface
in the grease of the unconscious mind.