I have just spent half an hour cleaning up after a glass bottle smashed onto the terracotta tiles of my kitchen floor. The bottle was in my fridge and contained I don’t know what, but it smelled of some vile concoction of vinegar and herbs (and something medicinal) and must have been there long enough for me to have forgotten about. It was one of those things that take up residence and stay for so long that one just doesn’t see them any more until they jump out of their own accord.
Picking up the glass pieces and the nasty little splinters of glass reminded me of the word “shards” and how it is one of the words that is outlawed by the Poetry Police because, I suppose, it has been over-used. Of course, that might once have been enough to send me to the notebook to write the definitive Shards poem but now I have more pressing things to occupy me, such as looking at the dust particles on my living room window and trying to decide whether to wear socks inside my new Ugg Boots or just wear them like slippers, barefoot. I do in any case have the feeling that Shards is not one of those words that I feel moved to redeem. I remember a letter I received many moons ago (reader, that was deliberate so don’t be thinking you have caught me out) from an erstwhile with whom I had broken up. He had once given me a tulip made of glass, a lovely thing that unfortunately broke during a flat move. In the letter, he said of our relationship that it was like “gripping the shards of a broken tulip: once it was so beautiful but now it draws blood.” Even then, I had a sense of the naffness of this and couldn’t help identifying the two culprit words (beautiful was the other) that weakened what may have been a nicely compelling image, even if a bit overblown, to round off a relationship that had, to coin a phrase, gone some distance past its sell-by date.
I am rallying from what has been, so far, a challenging autumn. I am perhaps unusual for a PWME in that this is often my best season, but it has not been so this year. There may still be time to gather something, though. I have spent a week with a good friend from Poland who has been happy to tune into the variable rhythm of my days as it represented a rest and a refreshment from her usual relentless busyness. We also went out for poetry, music and theatre. Saw The Giant by Anthony Sher at the Hampstead Theatre which you can read about here and here. I particularly liked the set and the costumes but came away thinking that there had been too many words, and wondered if this was a reflection of my energy levels or whether it really would have benefited from more editing. It’s sometimes difficult to assess.