Roomination, contemplation of space;
four walls expanded beyond shape and size.
Perspective’s perspective so out of place;
distance confounds me and distorts my eyes.
Lost measures and linear illusions;
with points that vanish, leaving empty seats
as evidence; compressed conclusions;
unresolved memories, the pattern repeats.
She leaves with her red knitting in a bag,
the conveyor-belt of toast keeps burning;
Benedictine eggs and the daily rag;
room for thought; the matter’s quite concerning.
. Wait-staff, the living furniture at large,
. the Maitre de, the memory, in charge.
© Tim Grace, 22 December 2013
To the reader: Internal spaces are staged environments. Suggestive social scripts. Spatial storyboards that prescribe behavioural narratives. Static decor wrapped in layers of ambience. Light becomes warmth. Sound becomes tone. Smell becomes taste. A cast of unscripted characters becomes style. And so with warmth, tone, taste and style all playing their parts our senses come alive to the stories within.
To the poet: Mostly, a cast of unscripted characters will play their parts so well they remain invisible; leaving me to mine. Occasionally, from within the decor there’ll rise a character of interest. In this sonnet, it was simply a young woman knitting a red-scarf. She did nothing more than that… but that was unexpected.
From where I sit, I watch a public stage;
a cast of shadows with seasonal script.
Impromptu cameos that shall not age;
characters unrehearsed and unequipped.
A festival of snippets with short parts;
segmental sentences: subjects with verb.
Animated motion that stops and starts
with poignant pause that says: ‘do not disturb’.
All this against a backdrop, a theatre
of railings and stairs, overhanging trees,
falling leaves, broken bench, urban litter;
props, stage props; a scene full of properties.
. No better stage than that that has my gaze.
. No better tale than that before me plays.
© Tim Grace, 12 May 2013
To the reader: “All the world’s a stage …” [from Shakespeare’s As You Like It (Act II, Scene VII)] is a soliloquy that lays-out the seven stages of life; in not the fondest of terms. At each stage there seems discontent, a lament of one sort or another, based upon a jaundiced world-view. At every st/age we do struggle, we do grizzle, and we do bemoan our circumstances… but in sum, most of us can find a moment of reflection that retrieves a fond memory … I for one enjoyed 3, 13, 23, 33, 43, 53 and life goes on!
To the poet: “Life’s but a walking shadow…” [from Shakespeare’s Macbeth (Act V, Scene V)] draws similar conclusion; announcing “a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage…” will tell a tale the signifies nothing. And so forlorn, this poet observes that same stage with a view to catching the occasional glimpse of happiness, a rare moment of idle pleasure, alongside an illusive act of compassion. Not so invisible… you just have to look!
No Better Stage
It’s clear to you, I am an open book;
an easy read with all my plot laid bare.
All of me is gesture, betrayed by look:
a tilt of head, a glance of eye, and there
am I revealed… all parts of me are script.
In truth, then, I am nothing more than stage;
all of me is theatre, so well equipped
to assume a role, animate a page
with action, to be read by likes of thee.
So well trained in delivery of lines
I believe myself impromptu; falsely,
to be playwright of my own designs.
. Every thought is preceded by an act.
. It’s from gesture that meaning we extract.
© Tim Grace, 23 March 2013
To the reader: At the sub-conscious level, we have social receptors that monitor the quality of our relationships. Our senses collect an array of information; this quantum undergoes neural processing before translation into an appropriate response. Our brains filter out what’s unnecessary and appropriate what remains as useful to the circumstance. That filtering process isn’t invisible. There are many cues that provide evidence of subtle subterfuge… to the astute, we are an open book.
To the poet: The success of this sonnet relies on how well it portrays an impromptu script. The poem’s plot sits (more rightly flits) between two layers of consciousness. The reader (you) is encouraged to scrutinise the writer (me) for signs of ingenuous intention. I am betrayed by give-away gestures that make me nothing more than a scripted actor; a fake, from an open-book masquerade.