After Speaking With A Parisian

Surviving Revolutions and World Wars, Notre Dame’s spire has long been a familiar sight to generations of Parisians, puncturing the capital’s skyline for over 800 years.

Back in the 1500s, the culture that we had built in the West embraced multigenerational projects quite easily. Notre Dame. Massive cathedrals were not built over the course of a few years, they were built over a few generations. People who started building them knew they wouldn’t be finished until their grandson was born.

-Jamais Cascio

Maybe it’s hubris, but we expect our creative monuments, our works of art, to last forever. Fixed points in man’s timeline.

Last night I spoke with a Frenchman, a Parisian, who was in mourning, speaking of a devastating cultural loss. I began to think of iconic buildings whose loss would affect we British people similarly. And then, as a Mancunian, a particular building in my own city, regularly seen and taken for granted.

I struggled to make a connecting comparison.

Then, the morning after that conversation, I woke to a photograph and the idea that, within all of those images of destruction and despairing I had lost touch with: there’s always hope.

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Another Train

one of those days,

as the light fades

and the sky becomes a charcoal smudge

and the train rolls on, to familiar territory

it’s the people you share the journey with

the quiet ones; the rowdy ones,

like that guy staring out of the window, lost in thought,

those girls giggling over a censored photo

held close to the chest like a card hand,

we will spill from the carriage and disperse,

like on the wind,

where will the gusts take them all, I wonder?

News On A Stairwell

from my poetry blog

Coronets For Ghosts

News On A Stairwell

Sated on the stories of others,
fed in passing on casual affairs.
On stairwells, glancing,
their legible wares
are traded second hand
for faltering steps,
and behind hand murmurs
of shallow cares,
where dead unions play on,
play on, laughing.
In salacious nooks
their small town shagging
goes on, on walls,
spread everywhere.


©AndrewJamesMurray

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Death Do Us Part: A Letter From The Trenches

I read this moving letter, with a moving conclusion, on a FB post for Valentine’s Day. It is taken from the Imperial War Museum.

A letter from the trenches. 1917

Private Albert Ford wrote to his wife, Edith, on a scrap piece of paper before going ‘over the top’.

“My darling if this should ever reach you it will be a sure sign that I am gone under and what will become of you and the chicks I do not know but there is one above that will see to you and not let you starve,” he wrote.

“You have been the best of wives and I loved you deeply, how much you will never know.

“Dear heart, do think sometimes of me in the future when your grief has worn a bit, and the older children, I know won’t forget me, and speak sometimes of me to the younger ones…

“Dearest, if the chance should come your way for you are young and good looking and should a good man give you an offer it would please me to think you would take it, not to grieve too much for me…

“I should not have left you thus bringing suffering and poverty on a loving wife and children for which in time I hope you will forgive me.

“So dear heart I will bid you all farewell hoping to meet you in the time to come if there is a hereafter. Know that my last thoughts were of you in the dugout or on the fire step my thoughts went out to you, the only one I ever loved, the one that made a man of me.”

Albert was killed in action on 26 October 1917. His last letter was treasured by Edith until her death. She never remarried and as she lay dying in February 1956 she said she could see Albert in the corner of her bedroom.

One Of Those Nights; One Of Those Mornings

It was one of those nights. The view from my midnight gate: a myopic, cataract-obscuring gloom; a cold mist blurring the edges of our focus-the wall’s crowning like a diamond adorned crust, a new gift, a vision.

Within the night, within our perimeters, we need to know both our boundaries and our limitations.

It was one of those mornings. Crawling over the hill, a tepid promise for the evening’s hostilities; bait to entice us out into the town. Tidal lanes for those who consume or are themselves consumed, condemned forever to travel these seasonal tides.

On the cusp of the day, we need to embrace each new offering with both instinct and wisdom.