A Page I Turn To

I think one of the nicest things in life is to paint pictures and of course this can be done in many ways. I hope you can enjoy sharing this one in the form of a poem I’ve written and recorded. Thanks for reading and listening.

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Summers, in all their meanings, go quickly don’t they?

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A Page I Turn To

Under a summer of larks
we lay on our backs cloud-spotting,
defining our young dreams, hopeful
hearts full of bright sky.
We lay among the meadowsweet
holding hands on mossy pillows
and beneath fingers of trees
dappled by threads of sunlight.
Light, light were those moments
innocent and bright.
It’s a page I turn to stirred
by a song a sky or, heaven knows why.
Those heady days we kissed, and took to the earth,
at home in our loving-rooms of barley, wheat and rye.

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Remember Harry Patch

A photo of Harry Patch

I always wanted to pay my own tribute to this remarkable man, and always felt that one day I could perhaps find the words to create a poem. However, since embarking on my journey to explore imagery and feeling, that may amount to a ‘poetic’ feeling using tone and sound alone, I have grown more and more to appreciate what seems to be an almost hidden form of language enshrined in sound which is capable of stirring emotions in the same way that crafted poetic words can stir emotions. I apologise if I’m not articulating this as well as I hope but I suppose that all I’m trying to say is that if a title points the listener in a certain direction then it seems possible to generate the same emotional response in a listener that I feel myself.
Ever since seeing the late Harry Patch talk on a TV documentary about his experiences in the great war I have remembered the man, not daily perhaps, but he seems to crop up in my thoughts at odd moments and this is something that gives me pleasure. I never want to forget Harry Patch, nor the many others who endured the war and including of course those who paid the ultimate scrifice for all of us. I seem to be on a parrallel journey of poetry and music where both are perfectly capable of leading my mind into strong imagery and strong feelings too. How this all works on someone like myself creatively I’m not too sure, but one day recently I sat down at my electronic keyboard and selected a certain sound, the tone of which resonated inside me and then I started to play. I cannot read music and cannot play any instrument, but by ‘feeling’ my way forward testing notes and combinations I heard that something was emerging that reflected how I felt when thinking of Harry Patch. I will never forget how he relayed in the documentary the moment he cradled a dying soldier in his arms and suddenly the soldier cried out “Mother”, just as though she had appeared there before him. He then passed away. I hope you feel what I feel inside this musical piece which it seems is composed, arranged and played by me even though I cannot read music or play a musical instrument. It seems odd to me that this can happen. Thanks for listening and best wishes. Neil
http://soundcloud.com/soloneili/remember-harry-patch

Music with signposts.


I pose the question, ‘Can all things be said with words’? It begs the question that some things are best said with flowers, perhaps an apology, or an expression of affection and love. If you surprise someone with a weekend in Paris, or any gesture really, is it another form of language. Can a painter deliver a message to you as you stand in front of a painting, or give you at least a sense of place or an invitation to journey somewhere in your imagination. I find the concept of semiotics interesting, the language of signs, and wonder when it comes to communication, ‘how much is enough’? It isn’t always nice things that are communicated, gestures alone can communicate threats for example. However I prefer to dwell on nice things.

This is all relative to my interest in poetry and how it works within us, especially within me really. I seem to ask alot of questions about how things affect me. With all this in mind I post here a piece of music I’ve produced that I hope has the same affect as standing before a painting, or reading a passage in a novel, or a poetic statement. I’ve given it a title, and I simply hope that a listener can paint imagery and narrative inside themselves through it. I don’t know what you might feel, but there is a melancholy to it for me, a story, a young girl or woman receiving a hurtful lesson about life, not a disaster but a an experience shall we say, for someone who may then need some loving arms to turn to, a mum or dad perhaps, and an explanation of why?. I hope you enjoy another stage along this journey with me. The title is ” I waited so long but you stood me up.”
http://soundcloud.com/soloneili/i-waited-so-long-but-you-stood

Music-poem

Continuing along the lines of my post regarding narration I return again to my love of poetry that derives from promptings without words. Much as I love linguistic poetry and the written form of it I also love the concept of poetry which can be seen in almost anything.

It is about imagery and a place that something, anything, takes you to. A place that is perhaps outside of the ordinary routine we all find ourselves in. In terms of classical music I think one of the most powerful pieces for me that has a way of affecting my state of mind is Barber’s Adagio for strings. I absolutely adore that piece of music. A more contemporary piece of instrumental music that affects me is Leonard Cohen’s Tacoma Trailer. I never get tried of listening to such music. How it works and why a piece of music can have the ability to convey an essence of feeling in this way is hard to articulate. I only know it does, much the same as Emily Dickinson’s poem Toward Eternity does, and many other poems too.

The creative spark behind this piece of music that I’ve produced here is my memory of the Mawdach Estuary in Wales. The journey along the road towards Barmouth is extraordinary in its beauty as the view unfolds between leafy trees that host one’s winding car journey. The effect is to lift the inner spirit and I often reflect that the great painter William Turner must have experienced this as I know he painted Barmouth town looking back from the wide and inviting beach, the apron which offers its smooth contrast to Barmouth’s mountainous backdrop.

There is something uplifting about oystercatchers wheeling in the breeze before alighting upon the glass-like mudflats, something hopeful about the tide smoothing its incoming waters along the channels that vein the estuary, something alive about it all. I hope you enjoy what I like to call my music-poem. Best wishes. Neil

http://soundcloud.com/soloneili/mudflats

Need a little love?

Ok, so I’m a romantic at heart, but surely everyone needs a little love in their lives. If you do, then this is for you. In the district where I live the word ‘thee’ is very much still in use as part of the local dialect and it just so happens that I really like the word ‘thee’, hence I have used it in this poem.

Conceptually it is set in the poetic era of Romanticism and it’s about two lovers who steal away to sit beside the small stream that runs just behind the town. I hope the poem speaks for itself though, and it’s all about sound-imagery using spoken words and sound to create an evocative piece. Anyway, I do hope it finds a home out there and as I said earlier, I’d like to think it’s for all those who need a little love in their life and who may just like to escape for a couple of minutes. Best wishes. Neil

Exploring Narrative

Hello all poetry, music, sound and art lovers out there. This is a post about exploring narrative in its many forms. Many people tend to think of prose when mentioning narrative and it is not surprising when we consider that narrative is closely aligned to the art of story telling. Not far behind prose and sometimes hand in hand with it is poetry, where we see a vast amount of narrative writing that concentrates the prose into a different level of sensitivity we regard as poetic.

I believe another form of narrative is sourced from within music, classical music or instrumental music for example, or ambient music. This is where our own imagery supplies internal visual responses that are our own subconscious, our inner selves responding to sound alone, sometimes aided by the title of a piece which points us in a certain direction. Stories have the capacity to set scenes as do soundscapes and from these launch-pads it is possible to experience a sense of journey and wonder. Lyrics and sound combined also give us a clear narrative to follow, either through complete journeys or open ended phrasing.

It is this holistic sense of journey triggered by the various mediums which captivates me, and in sharing this blog I hope I’m reaching out to anyone out there who resonates with a need to explore.

One of the greatest conveyors of ‘places and people’ through narrative that I’ve come across is the much published poet and writer Sherry O’Keefe. I recommend reading her work and I think you will find a wonderful depth to her writing. She is a talented photographer too and the photographs themselves (that accompany some of her blogs) offer more than face value, frequently showing a brilliant sense of composition and often capturing an essence of the subject. The way she embraces narrative is to be acutely insightful, with an ability to deliver observation at a level exceeding simple prose. I hope you will follow this link and see for yourself how this marvellous contemporary writer weaves a magic spell through narration. The ancient art of story telling lives on.
http://www.toomuchaugust@wordpress.com
You may have to copy and paste the above link into your browser as it hasn’t highlighted.

Still exploring this theme of narration, I offer you three more links to explore, featuring three pieces of my own, each with a story to tell, each in it’s own way and I hope you will go on a different journey in each case.

This track is a soundscape called ‘Sun Rising On an Aztec Temple’.

This instrumental track is called Rosebud Blooming (actually about a woman going through a bitter separation )

This track of spoken word and music combined with my poetry is a dark piece.

I hope that you can listen and visit the links to explore the variety in terms of narrative, and here’s to you all in creativity, and especially your involvement with narration as a writer or reader, or indeed listener. Sincere thanks and best wishes. Neil