A Response to the ChalkUp21 Trail - poetry and writers walk with Chris Poundwhite and Louise Webb from Capel-le-Ferne to Dover sea front
the sea in sight of the Finish Line
the sea in sight of the Start Line
Three Waves, three farewells
Walking as a group in silence can be an intimidating task. To be a group is to be communal. However, this silence can enable a shared experience. Encouraging an individual to witness what is around them by incorporating and reacting to another person’s use of the space. When creating the workshops we had multiple discussions on how we could encourage documentation that would capture an interpretation at the moment. Our aim was to help people feel inspired by the landscape, the walk included multiple workshops entwined within the path we took along the cliffs that explored this. With Chris’s writing matrix (using three different theme columns), we were able to create a randomized system that encouraged each written response to be different. These were inspired by multiple themes such as structure and material and intended to free the participant from having to choose (taking them out of their comfort zone). For my part of the workshop, I was interested in noting the missable. To make the participants explore areas they would usually unintentionally ignore. For instance one of the tasks involved looking out at an object in the distance that catches the participants eye. From this point, the participants were then encouraged to document the obstacles that stand between them and the selected objects.
The work made throughout the workshop was intended to be made at the moment without post editing, focusing on the thinking process involved with the experiencing of the structure and landscapes we came across. What emerged from the art and architecture trail was that the trail was as important as the architecture. The landscape was an important part of the journey, the work ended up reflecting the architecture which acts as key points throughout the walk. These workings both written and visual were documented through the use of simple handmade booklets (made in the morning of the walk). These booklets resemble a method of mapping, through creating relationships between the different responses.
Incautious steps tantalise.
A caressing breeze.
In my mind I simply see.
NEW HORIZONS ?
A thumb-smear of ink drawn with a careless flourish
Across a hazy horizon draws the eye towards a new potential,
To some a “terra incognita”.
“There be dragons” is their alarmist refrain, but I see just
A land of different understandings,
Of untold adventures to come and
Pour this concrete
to square apostate geometry
Pour this concrete
to shelter land from air and sea
Pour this concrete
to mark the beat of mechanical wings
Pour this concrete
to ennoble common things
|parallel coast||parallel universe|
|ten walkers walk||waving across the waves|
|west to east||south to north|
|who are you?||qui êtes vous?|
|whither?||on that side?|
the shingle jingle jingle
sharp and hurty
The sun graces the apex of its arc, no clouds cross her path scarring the view of closely mowed grass blanketing the Battle of Britain Memorial lawn, yellowing its green.Field Bindweed lay flat – spanning this yellowed spread – flat to its surface as she stretches her extremities to possess its growth. Her pink face gazes up to the sun’s aureole, neither flinching nor averting.
She fingers through short yellowed blades, seeking purchase in the dry surface, squeezing her tips into dust, burrowing lower into dry earth feeling the arid granules surrender; clutching and delving below the grass bed, probing.
Beyond the lawns, purpled swollen blackberries, flicked by sea breeze, gather on thorny tendrils low to the ground, their roots dug deeply into harsh soil drinking earthy moisture, thriving. The brambles’s dried blackened mauve nuggets litter their bases – nourishment for scuttling many-legged creatures.
The air is a buzz of zizzing grasshopper song, near and far, etching the peace as Pink Bindweed soaks their aria into her vines, and smiles.
Distant waves slap craggy cliffs rhythmically tick-tocking her into blissful inertia under dry mid-summer heat. She scents the air coming in soft gusts scudding off the salty sea and shimmering high over soft chalk cliffs, scattering perfume of pine as it skims the lawn’s feathered surface.
Her face, a delicate dusky pink turned always towards the sun’s glow, even as it lowers in the west to snuggle down for the night. Before she folds in her face, her tips now deeply buried awaiting dawn, she takes in the long view out across the sea, beyond tufts of cliff top grass rustling their downy tips and piercing the slither of Calais’ cliffs hazed in a warm evening sky.
As we walk I listen to the insects
The insects chatter to one another in the grass,
Whispering hisses, a crackle of static
above the belly of the ocean sat sulking in the sun, the red earth parched
A throat cut
Open, we walk, panting
In silence there is a noise that is all
I can hear
A deafening, alien prayer to the sun,
An insect hum
Do they rub two blades of grass together like a cello?
Or is it made in the cave of their mouths?
Printing onto the air like a chorus of tattoo needles on skin
In the ache of the light it is like
A meditation, the great hum of everything
The ferry sitting plump in the bay, the buildings sat watching the horizon
And the even greater hum of the imperceptible things
That know, in their own way,
How to sing