Today’s shopping occupies my mind, but below the surface. I feel I should dredge practicalities into the light, or risk arriving home with my trolley still empty. I have no list of items to which I could refer –only an awareness, as my eyes regard rows of goods on offer, of those which are in need of replenishing in my larder. It won’t be an organized collection by the time I reach the checkout, I guarantee.
Sometimes the urge to allow myself free expression with some kind of creative work overrides the need for living in the now of everyday life. I would have done better to stay at home, perhaps, and let the muses win the battle for my attention today… I feel them hovering behind my back, willing me to finish the task in hand. “I know you are there, and I promise to listen to you soon.” I project a thought in the way a mother might reprimand a bothersome infant who demands too much attention.
With a colourful selection of fruit and vegetables teetering in the basket, I decide I have enough, and march resolutely to the checkout, before I spend any more time or money in Waitrose…
Then I begin to understand the muses' insistence. As I approach the slatted bench beneath my favourite plane tree, I know I have to take time out to sit and write for them, drawing a word picture of that particular time, that particular place.
Dappled shadows waiver on bricks-
muted red-brown, dust covered-
beneath the plane tree's canopy
of rustling, summer's-end leaves.
In blocks of cool grey, shading to umber,
the bark flaunts a rich, textured surface,
while one bright spot of gamboge
draws the attention like a beacon.
Specks of eau-de-nil moss, or fungus,
are embroidered in a sparse pattern
down one side. They lift the colour palette
into another dimension, alien to the tree,
whose branches spread a benison of calm
over all below. The day's breath
slows at the approach of dusk, until
a sudden crescendo sends a few dry leaves
spiralling to earth, where they scutter
over the cobbles, rasping, brittle, whispering,
as they scurry across the road's surface
in a wind-whirled dance of Autumn.
Thank goodness my purchases had included a spiral bound notebook…