Monday, 26 October 2009

What is it all about?

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.


Elizabeth M Rimmer said...

I thought it was about love when I read it, but it may be the title directed the attention another way - to a child of the relationship, and then inherited characteristics, and projection and wishes--

Jonathan Bean Photography said...

Hmmm, lovely, lovely poem Sarah, but I kind of see what you mean. To me it feels like it's about people, loved ones, and the spaces between them, the emotional space, the physical space and the temporal space.

Sarah Hymas said...

ah ha
uh huh
yep yep
you both are making much sense

Anonymous said...

I felt there were two strong ideas/emotive hooks in it. One was the idea of wanting to be close to someone, yet paradoxically that desire reinforces our separateness; or you could read it the opposite way - our separation is good because it leads to love - as if it's capable of being seen positively or negatively - you don't come down on either side.
The other aspect of the poem was language that suggested a lack of clarity:

smudges a version
blinded no longer sees
A thousand greys out of sight.

As if we want to see things clear and simple but our sight is blurred, partial, subjective.....

I've no idea of either of these come close to the impulse that led you to write it, but it does seem to be saying something profound about being human.
I'm jolly glad it achieved some recognition.