Pigments – a poem written in lockdown about changing stories and fading colours


My metal nib dips

in the dappled green bottle,

quietly bubbling, drinking in Midnight Blue.

Tapped on glass rims

the thin remnant stains

sink back into the pooled pigment;

and I replace the lid.

My metal nib scratches and slides,

scratches and slides,

laying its snail-trail of ideas

in, none-too-neat,

left to right rows.

Shimmering slick tracks

dry to sharp edged characters.

Chrysalis stories open their wings

emerging into the light of day

fading from the moment of creation.

Details bleed from the edges,

Midnight fades through

Raw Umber to Charcoal Grey

as spilled blood changes

from Crushed Raspberry,

Burnt Sienna, to Lamp Black.

And the paper, musty,

like undried washing, 

softens, flakes and peels.

We re-tell the tale,

re-write the ideas.

Copy, re-write and re-type.

Reformed, intensified,

Carmine replacing Cinnamon,

Lagoon Blue for Faded Tattoo

and Deep India Black for Payne’d Grey.

Copy, re-write and pupate.

Re-written words,

stretch their wings in new light,

painting new stories.

My metal nib scratches and slides,

scratches and slides,

laying its snail-trail of ideas.

Vanity of Small Differences

Creative Writing Workshop

Picture of Seamus with misty background

2nd Sept, for the Touchstones Creative Writing Group from 2.00pm to 4.00pm at Touchstones Rochdale.

I’m delighted to be back to running face to face writing workshops. This afternoon I will be delivering a creative writing workshop inspired by the current exhibition in Touchstones, The Vanity of Small Differences, by Grayson Perry

In this session we’ll be talking about and taking cues from Perry’s work which focuses on taste, class and consumerism and was also influenced by The Rakes Progress by Hogarth. Most of all expect to enjoy some lively discussion and some brand new writing from everyone.

There are many works following similar patterns and we will discuss some to those including Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and the tale of Icarus.

A couple of quotes from Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations where Pip, the main character and narrator, says early on to Biddy, “I have particular reasons for wanting to become a gentleman” (that reason being to be considered suitable by Estella) and then later on, as narration, he says, “In trying to become a gentleman I had succeeded in becoming a snob”