NATIONAL POETRY DAY IN THE YORKSHIRE SCULPTURE PARK
Ian McMillan - 7 October 2010
Up early. Sound of the creaking stairs as I walk down them. Still obsessed with this idea of sound/noise/words/language. How do you render sound into words, into language. Sound poetry is one way, of course; but how about working through sound to words. The morning exercises, grunting in a sound-world beyond words. The key in the lock. The distant cars on the top road. The walk. The discussion in the newsagents (The Paper Shop, I've always called it. There's an image.) between Marlene Who Shouts and Mr. Mullis The World's Oldest Paper Boy. The early bus passing, down Snape Hill, slowly, sound.
Later in the morning, my wife and I are going to the Sculpture Park, just a few miles from here at Bretton Hall. It's a gorgeous morning (because it's National Poetry Day!) and there's a David Nash exhibition on, and he does amazingly poetic things with wood.
I tie my boots up, and as I tie them tight I can't resist twanging them like guitar strings. Sound, you see: everywhere.
Off to the Sculpture Park; walking down through the Country Park towards the lake there's not a great deal of sound. Until you listen hard. The footsteps. The birds. A plane low in the sky. The distant motorway. More dilemmas: how do you represent these amazing (lazy word, but they are) sculptures in words? How do you capture the almost inaudible noise the wind makes as you lean towards a metal piece that shudders in the breeze.
In the cafe a boy whistles at a girl. Two notes hanging in the air like that cloud; it's a strangely old fashioned sound, the whistling. It's loaded with political, historical and cultural connotations, too. Almost too much weight for two small notes. Almost too much to think about, as usual. Although the boy talks like those people from Wombwell I wrote about in the first blog.
Off to Wombwell tomorrow. Listening, of course.