Thursday, May 31

A Poem for Thursday

Vincent van Gogh

Graeme Roberts sat in his usual chair
And I sat nearby in mine.
And behind his head it was always there
The van Gogh in the frame of pine.

 He lulled my brain with his smokey words
And the passion in all that he said.
But the thing I remembered was Vincent's art
On the wall - behind his head.

It was only a print of course , I knew
As I sat in the Georgian room.
But I longed to see more of the painter’s skill
Of the joy, in the clouds and the moon.

And I did one day in the Amsterdam
In the gallery given his name.
And the shock of the real as I stood in front
Of the scene in it’s golden frame...

Left me weeping and moved, though I couldn’t say why.
Did it take me back to that room?
To the girl and the man and the frame of pine
And the trees and the clouds and the moon.

This poem is for Poetry Jam...they wanted a poem about an artist...well Vincent is always my darling!..even if I wander away to other poets ..I eventually come back to all that he was and is! so thankyou Poetry Jam for inspiring me to go back to that place and remember my feelings!

Wednesday, May 30

Woody Guthrie...The Man in the Sand.

Go down to the water where the oil floats by
And drop your head down and cry
And write with your finger in the sand
And mail it out with the tide
Mail it out with the high and the low
And watch the marks on the sand
And listen to the fog on the homeless waves
And feel the salt sea in your hand.

Smell the sea wind - taste on your lips
That foam that rolls over my lost ships
And write your letter once more in the sand
Where the breaker dips and the undertow slips
And when nobody's looking - kiss your hand
And touch to the nose of your man in the sand
And then lay down with your head on his chest
And be nice to your man in the sand.

I'm just a sucker for the sea and poetry... and it's got them together in bundles here..

Tuesday, May 29

The Story of Ballyferris....and all that Jazz.

Here comes another chapter of the ongoing story of a nowhere place of great significance.

Otilie Patterson and Derek Cathcart.

I was always encouraged by Derek Cathcart to sing. I was a young teenager sitting at the back of his tiny caravan in the coastal district of Ballyferris ,Co Down.
He sang the blues and black American Gospel to a tinny old guitar.
He was the sophisticated older member of that early seaside gang, who sang in the local pubs and bars... a thing unimaginable to me and my strict church upbringing...and therefore for me, all the more exotic and unattainable .
I mostly remember blues like ...Beale street ,St. Louis Blues or St James's Infirmary. Or country and western songs which are always very popular in Ireland.
I pestered mum and dad for a guitar of my own. I left adverts sitting around on the mantlepiece and the breakfast table.
"Almost new guitar for sale...very resonably priced".
 So it was with great rejoicings and merrymakings that I got my first guitar on my thirteenth birthday.
It's not hard to learn three chords from each of the major keys! So that's what I did... and not much more. But I got the reputation for entertaining my friends when we got together in our family caravan as the teenage years went by.
I don't know what happened to Derek...I lost touch with most of them from the smokey caravan. But I loved the music that he had introduced me to and when the other friends were revelling in Elvis, The Beatles and The Stones...I was listening to late night jazz and buying up Billy Holliday and Peggy Lee records.
I dabbled a bit in the university clubs and sang at some of the student balls and rag concerts and on one occasion was at the same glee club at Queen's in the 60s, as an older singer called Ottilie Patterson took the stage. Being young and arrogant , I can remember being quite scathing about her singing.
....Oh the foolishness of youth!
When she died last year, and I read through the obituary, it hit me like a ton of bricks....she was the inspiration for Derek and therefore myself all those years before in the late 50s.
She was born in Comber...and that's just a spit away from Ballyferris and the caravan. So I realised that Derek must have been following her and listening to her in the early 50s in the pubs and clubs where he himself then used to perform.
She married Chris Barber and sang with his band...but like so many singers, (including Adele) she struggled with a throat problem and eventually disappeared from the scene.

Chris Barber, centre, and his band in 1962, with Patterson, and Ian Wheeler on clarinet.

Thanks Otilie....thanks Derek...thanks for the memory....
...oh that could be a good song title....stop being silly Geraldine!

Monday, May 28

Open Studio at The Potters House.

We had such a great evening last week here at the studios and home. Over 100 people turned up to view the exhibition of the work of all the people who come for classes .

Lots of preparation of course, Tables to be cleared and walls emptied of the art stuff of a year! then rehanging the painters' work and setting up the potters' ceramics.

But in the end the ceramics and the paintings looked great.

It gave us a chance to rearrange the various things lying around that are there for inspiration.

The gazebo was erected by the back of the studio and tables and chairs ready...the weather was delicious!!