Twenty-first Century Soul
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Integral practices for soulful and creative living
To buy TRAILS
Buy Trails in the 21soul shop by clicking HERE or on the image below.
TRAILS is a beautiful new publication from Raw Mixture Publishing: a collaboration between poet Steve Thorp and artist, Elaine Johnson. You can buy a copy in the Raw Mixture Shop now. More recently, Sarah Jewell has put a number of the poems from the pamphlet to music, and these will be performed by the Songlines Choir at their summer performance on the 19th July at The Nave in London. This four-part pamphlet weaves words and images in ways intended to surprise, challenge and even delight. The theme at the heart of Trails, is the price paid by young girls whose eyes and fingers were ruined by years of work in the English Lace-making industry in the 19th Century. Elaine’s evocative three-dimensional piece, ‘Tell me’, was the starting point. Steve’s words echo the work and suffering that was punctuated by the simple, repetitive tells sung by these forgotten workers.
A lacemaker’s prayer
A film of early dew
sits on cobwebs, lingers.
Spiders make the lace we make
without the ruin
of human eyes and fingers.
Trudge and trudge
(sometimes skip to whispered tells),
walk out at slated dawn,
return to muffled bells
at dusk – un-slaked, bloodied, worn.
A flex, a frayed and
tattered stitch. An apron,
bib or bonnet, laced
to hide my shame
and my clouded, fearful face.
In winter, I never see
a glimpse of day.
May the good Lord
keep me safe till waking spring –
I whisper this and pray.
Elsewhere, the words are woven through the images on the page - as in the triptych of ink images in part two. The poems throughout are short, pared down and stark; their meaning sometimes hidden in the images that accompany them. Amidst all this, there is hope and a depth of spirit that weaves through Elaine’s sculptural piece, ‘Fearing’.
From the beginning of an emotion to its gestalt is only
a moment in a life
Stretched out, it is perceived
At the end of the thread is the fearing
it is so often
To smoothly trace a line from stimulus to response
takes sacrifice, a clench of courage
and an investment in the self that
can only be taken
when push comes to shove
and freedom calls
And most often we fail,
and most often we live with a ragged blanket
wrapped around ourselves.
Poems © Steve Thorp, 2014.
Fearing (detail) by Elaine Johnson
Tell Me (detail) by Elaine Johnson