As a poet who has also written unfashionably long poems, I have worked
increasingly since the mid-1980's with landscape, seeing in it a mirror of
symbolic as well as concrete reality where spirit breathes through matter and
poetry as lived experience is alive in everything. If that sounds grand - and
in one sense, it is - it is also perfectly natural (this great unwritten process is
going on all the time, whether we see it or not). Landscape, and soulful (or
soul-less) place is also where our lives are meaningfully located in the canvas
or screen of a greater reality.
Since I wrote The White Poem, from Pembrokeshire, in 1985, I've been
working with the idea of what is imaged through the Book of Nature that
tells us about reality, visible and invisible, solid and energetic, structured and
chaotic; and through this meeting of 'the observer and the observed'
(Heisenberg) that is inevitable, subjectively and creatively, wherever we are.
I've also had different colours in mind: I thought of the Loch Awe poem as
The Green Poem which my longest poem Pilgrimage expanded on; seven years
later (from Ireland) came Purple Ray, and then the trip to Ardnamurchan in
1996, revealed in fleeting late summer blue and gold. Colour is a subtext in
both these poems, as grey becomes green which ascends to blue, a metaphor
for feeling and consciousness as well as actual weather. The green road -
which by definition is unmetalled as well as unsignposted - is what takes us
beyond our people-centred and over-crowded lives, back into the natural
world where we can expand and breathe as beings of heart and soul, finding
a deeper and richer reality reflected to us where we also confront ourselves.
Both poems were holidays: neither, however, is a place of escape; or as I once
put it 'it's not a way out we're looking for, it's a way in'.
Both poems are dedicated to fine photographers; both happen to be from
Lancashire, where Jane Routh's home is. Dominic Cooper lives where most of
us would only dare to visit, high above the sea facing a great and ever-changing
sky that sees more than we can say or even phrase, in silence.