Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday Poem: Clarity

for artist, claire beynon

she's writing, sleeveless 
in slanted sunlight, a
picture of clarity 
she folds paper boats
she folds paper boats, say it
she folds paper boats
somehow they float
kelp and other detritus
the marks they make 
on shiny sand - she bends
in slanted sunlight
captures them 
how often glass and water
and ice figure, the way 
they hold light, store light, 
hold you, store you, melt,
crack, fling it, fling you
the boats are stacked and taken
south where the ice is, let go
to journey there, like sleep, 
like dreams, like dream boats
she's painting, sleeveless
in slanted sunlight, there's
light, there's glass, there's
paper, there's an excellent
chance she'll float

                                     mary mccallum

This poem is about my co-curator at Tuesday Poem, Claire Beynon. I have only met her once for an hour or so, but feel I know her well enough to call her a friend through our internet connection and especially our Tuesday Poem project. It is a strange feeling, though, like being friends with a less 'substantial' being.

An angel image comes to mind because Claire is often drawn to paint the fall of light in the natural world, because her imagination - in her art and her poetry - is surreal in its breadth, because her heart is enormous, because today she texted me today to say all was well with the post for the Tuesday Poem hub this week because she was working on it in a slant of sunshine. 

I tried to imagine that. I don't know her home, I barely know how she does things day to day, but I could call up her outline, the light - like an old painting, like one of her paintings - falling on her blonde hair, her slight shoulders. And all of her would be concentrated on the task at hand (despite the needling, light-draining, cries of a thousand other tasks and needs) and doing her best by it for the sake of the poet, the poem, Tuesday Poem, Tuesday Poets, Tuesday Poem readers, all poems the world over, all readers the world over, me. Because that's Claire.

Check out her work , especially her folded boats (made, I confess, with bamboo not paper) and a mesmerising movie of them under the Antarctic ice; then visit her blog, and the Tuesday Poem with her selection this week. There are links there to 30 Tuesday Poets.


Norma said...

Folding paper boats---- a Chinese poet used to write poems on paper boats and float them down the river......

Melissa Green said...

Lovely, Mary--yes, I think you've captured Claire's 'clarity' very well, her gentleness, her quiet tenacity, the delicate art she creates to sail into and over and through the world's cataclysms. Thank you for writing this about this extraordinary artist.

lillyanne said...

I love, love love it.

Elizabeth Welsh said...

A piercing poem, Mary! An apt and substantial gift to a friend. Lovely.

Catherine said...

This is lovely - I haven't met Claire, either, but it seems to fit what I know of her through her blog

Helen Lowe said...

Yes: to Claire and her paintings.

Penelope said...

Yes. Beautifully captured.

Pam Morrison said...

Lovely! A beautiful tribute to Claire's spirit and her work - your poem another beam of slanted light.

susan t. landry said...

what a generous gift, Mary--to offer this reflection of our Claire. it says so much about you, too, and your spirit. i am struck again and again by the unselfishness of all you wonderful writers--the deep, deep well of your attention & acceptance & acknowledgment.

Claire Beynon said...

Dear Mary & Friends - I don't know what to say. Thank you. I am humbled and buoyed by your kindness. L, C x

Mary McCallum said...

Oh yes! Thank you everyone too. And pleased to hear Claire that you are 'buoyed' - M x