Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Your name in the sky

I wrote your name in the sky, in tears 
(this is something I don't normally do).
But the wind blew it away. 
A soldier, me, taught to be emotion-free 
I wrote your name in the sand 
of experience 
the crap life brings. 
Don't never want to experience what I have
but the waves wash it away.
With my background I attack
with my family I block, it’s defence.
Gentle will always overpower strength:
I wrote your name in my heart 
and here it forever will stay.


We are saying goodbye to the Booth Centre, and goodbyes can be hard. In the afternoon of our last Armour workshop at the Booth Centre, Phil led a poetry writing exercise. Two of the group hadn't created a poem before, and there was apprehension, but taking the process stage by stage, bit by bit, people wrote, shared, confidence grew. There were tears in the eyes of one man as he wrote. 

While poems progressed, the embroidered and rusted fabrics were laid out on the floor. Members of the group took time out from writing arranged together into ideas for compositions. My original idea was to make a 'finished' Gamberson quilted jacket with the group. However, as ever, the project has progressed and something much looser is emerging, I described it as paper cut-out dress up dolls, (without the dolls or the tags) a front of a garment, indicating loosely a jacket. We tried placing the pieces like a jigsaw puzzle, to fit a giant. 

The composition everyone got most excited by was from Gavin, when he moved the pieces to form a group of  five soldiers, each one taking on a different aspect of emotion. When we looked at them as a group, people saw different things... that one looks like a Roman Solider, that an American Football player, this one's about pain, another hope.. 

After the session a group from the afternoon helped take over my boxes to the car, Melanie and I stood outside the centre, chatting with them over the session. It had been a great day and nobody wanted it to end. 

Sadly this was the last session for a while at the Booth, our thanks as ever go out to all the staff and volunteers there, and yesterday Jessie and Melanie who volunteered. And most of all thanks for all the participants. 

Lois Blackburn

The above poem I Wrote Your Name in the Sky extemporises on a piece by Jessica Blade, which itself is a Bible adaptation: "Behold I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me."

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