Tuesday, January 22, 2008

sitting pretty

(not exactly a short story but a short something)
(inspired by a post on Sarah’s Writing Journal)

It’s hard to find the perfect bench. One that fits, that suits mood and persuasion. One that encourages the right words onto your page.

Some benches are always in the sun and some prefer the shade. Words written here may bristle with goose-bumps, or burn with rage. There are benches that face the sea, that make you sway and spin stories about drowned gods and fish that dream they can fly. Some face the swings and the slide, and make for playful verses filled with colour and rhythm and rhyme. Some benches have names, dedications to the deceased. Beware of these loud benches, over-owned and all too keen to whisper ghost secrets into your ear.

Sometimes it’s safer to sit alongside, X-legged and lower down. Cross cut by striped shadows of arm and back. A friend of a bench.

It’s always raining these days, and I can’t remember the last time I visited my benches. I need to do a tour, to check they are all still there. Weathering this winter. Peeling and patient.


polona said...

i like benches and i love the way you described them and the inspiration one can get from them.
i have only learned recently that a bench can be dedicated to someone who passed away... it is a custom unknown here but is kind of close to me.

Ashi said...

really wonderful yarn you here spin Jem

Sarah Salway said...

Lovely details, Jem. Thanks!

Kathryn said...

I just loved this, Jem. It may be short but it is so rich.

The Clown said...

You actually reminded me of a poem called "A Shifted Bench" I had written a few years back.

"the bench in the park/ was shifted just a bit/ but sitting on it they felt the whole place's changed."

Well, it was about an elderly couple who used to come and sit in a particular bench in a particular park every evening. Then, one evening they came and found it it was shifted by a few yards. When they sat on the bench that evening, they felt the park wasn't same any longer. The setting sun, the trees, the children who played all seemed different.

There is no perfect bench. But there definitely is a perfect view drawn out of a prolonged acquaintance. This point of view could be very, very delicate.

And let's not forget it's not the bench but the people sitting on it.


dandelion said...

this makes me want to go and find some new benches...and go and sit on the ones i already know and love...x