Rhythm and Strings


Tense expectation builds into vulnerability,
Familiar rhythm almost lost in the chaos of community,
Order lost in the joy of together.
Paul sat, an unelected but accepted father;
Father with all the affection and burdens.
Alice twitching, the beautiful sparrow desiring
The cage-less freedom, her eyes scan the gathering
With affection and concern.
This group owes much to this approach,
To this tempo love and key of affection.

Many new faces, both fearful and expectant
Like the first taste of new cuisine; a new job;
A new song with a band you don’t know well enough
To drop a note…

The bourbon begins to flow in paper cups,
Halfway between camping and accepted society.
Strings vibrate to the company of voices and claps
Uncertain, deliberate.

Such a place is hard to find and easily missed.
Forced personas tentatively lower and reveal…
Too slow, you missed it, if it was to be missed at all.
Back to the bravado as we attempt to hold on
To the little we know about ourselves.
The rhythm kept by the clicking of needles
Creating comforting woollen items
Which give an aesthetic to this collective;
Stringed and natural, organic;
Inclusive to the point of transformation,
Revealing again. This time: poignant?
Maybe… too much, too quick.

New lives, old friends,
New friends, old lives
Wanting to be changed.
Wiffy-waffy and other sentiments
That don’t adequately describe what we know
And yet we desire more than all.
Phil unconsciously twiddles his moustache
With the dignity and insecurity of us all.
He’s cultivated it amongst us, groomed, precise.

And in the middle of it all the strings keep vibrating
With wooden thumps holding us, calling us together
Into a family new born into the sun and rain.

To invite the world into a circle of such innocent desire,
Such delightful inquisition, inclusion that changes
People into lives that vibrate with the same tenacity
As new strings, plucked and caressed by soft hands,
Tuneable to another instrument
Yet different and distinct.

We must be mad or deluded,
Romanticising something too insignificant for comment
In the popular tabloids or academic broadsheets.
“The joy, the elation will soon pass,” they say,
But whatever keeps this kick of camaraderie
Is surely better than the hollowness
Of the boredom of ‘normal’.

New Jersey lyrics shows us the apathy
Which is the alternative and maybe acceptable,
But the sparrows have flown the cage
And the hedgerows welcome us
From the still kindling ashes,
Smoke fills the air
But freshness is on the breeze.
Tomorrow holds the hope
Beyond wishes and desire.

Escape to whatever it is we have tasted here.
No matter that it has no tangibility,
No concrete. No concrete is fine with me;
The bendibility of wood and willow,
The flexibility of friendship,
Symbolism unexplained and us…
Us. Holding hands proclaiming hope into the abyss.
We wait until the darkness to play, sloppily,
The music that taps the nerve that awakens truth.
Better expressed on ukulele than electronic post-modernism;
Innocence holding out in the wave of cynicism aggression.
The fence burns allowing everything
But marking out the death of that which kept us safe.
Now we are free to deeper, wider love that hurts,
Collaboration with fear of failure
Which opens up the possibility of a new tale to be told.

Written at the annual Burning Fences weekend away held at Rivendale, Pickering, from Friday 25th – Sunday 27th April 2014 during a community circle; where each member offers an expression, usually in a poetic, musical, or artistic way.