I went down to the prize-giving of the Elmet Trust's prize on Saturday. A very wild night. After an hour and half of being blown about on the motorway, it was odd to be sitting inside a theatre listening to poems on the themes of the 'elements'. It added to the readings an their meanings. In one way or another.
I was left feeling rather confused, however.
Jackie Kay, the judge, talked after each poem on what she had liked in it. After mine she spoke of the family connections in it and how we have these unspoken similarities and separations. Oh? I thought. It's not about just family. It's about love. Or perhaps, if not love then it's about the ... errr ... err ... the boundaries between people, between things, between us and the environment. In the car on the way home, I read the poem again. I had read it out to the audience with such confidence that I knew what I was reading. And now I wasn't so sure. And I'm still not so sure.
It has been suggested to me that it was chosen because of all the lovely imagery in it rather than its meaning. Mmmm. I'm not sure I like this idea. Although I do quite like the idea I don't totally know what it means anymore. It's not a position I usually hold towards my poems so it's rather curious, ill-fitting in a way.
If you have any suggestions (the poem is here) I'd welcome interpretations.