Migration/Personal Identity – an Empiricist Poem (1988/2014)

Filling another suitcase and checking the weather over there…
Anticipations of a new beginning.
Who will ‘I’ be
there, re-located –
dislocated?

The mossy self seeps into its surroundings,
or they infiltrate.
How many transplants can it sustain?
How thin can its thread be stretched?

The risk of making the wrong place ‘here’
loosens roots.

Balanced precariously at a point of displacement
weightless
vanishingly small
.

But with the ramifications of passing time,
milestones like anchors, accumulate in memory.
A liquid, floating self emulsifies, nacreous,
coiled around the gritty concretions
of however many ‘here’s and ‘now’s.

© Fliss Watts 2014

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Song

The posts on this blog so far have all come from the accumulated bits of writing sitting on my laptop. I thought this one could do with a bit of context.

It came to me a year or more ago, when I was lying awake, with the rhythms of Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball in my head, on a Dutch barge belonging to some good friends. The barge, too big for our narrow canals, is moored on a tidal river, and twice a day it is lifted imperceptibly from the mud of the estuary, and just as imperceptibly set back down.

The flat land of the flood plain is protected from the spreading waters by a thin ribbon of raised land which carries the coastal footpath. Walking that path, you look out on one side over mud and reeds to the wider river, and on the other, over fields of sheep and acres of regimented orchards where rabbits tunnel in the flinty soil.

This marshy Saxon Shore feels ancient – the Romans came here long ago. The waters breathing in and out and the wading birds have always been here. But over there a road bridge leaps across the water and huge ships drift by. The modern world is not far away, only held at bay by the constant changing of this liminal place.

 

Song

  1. They are sleeping on the boats now
    To be ready for the flood,
    For the flood they know is coming
    To lift them from the mud.
    For the flood they know is coming
    To wash their fears away,
    They are sleeping on the boats now
    To be ready for that day.

Chorus:

Ten million stars float on the water

Ten thousand trees stand on the fell

A hundred knights sleep in the darkness

A single word to break the spell

 

  1. We are sleeping in the trees now
    To save them for that day,
    For that day we know is coming
    To carry worlds away.
    For that day we know is coming
    To teach us what is good,
    We are sleeping in the trees now
    To keep faith with the wood.

 

  1. He is sleeping by the fire now
    To keep away the cold,
    The cold he knows is coming
    To claim what he has sold.
    The cold he knows is coming
    To take his breath away,
    He is sleeping by the fire now
    Until the shining day.

4.

It is sleeping in the words now
The mem’ry of this life,
This life we know is slender
And bladed like a knife.
This life we know is fragile
And speeding fast away.
It is sleeping in the words now
The echo of this day.

Copyright © 2014 Fliss Watts