In the last days of 2019, GroundWork invited writers to come to the edge. Seven gathered, retreating from the chaos and consumption of the days before Christmas, choosing instead to go within and consider what we could create – inspired by the interplay between art and words in the serene December light reflected from the Ouse.
We shared poems – ours and others’ – wandered outdoors to take in the sky, river and air, and wandered the gallery to contemplate the sculptures, etchings, textiles. We considered syllables, phrases and themes, wrote in solitude and in pairs, and returned to the table to share our bounty.
Here are a few of the works that emerged from that day, alongside some of the artworks that inspired us.
crisp and sharpened in that steel light.
Hard loss, blade keen.
Temperature as colour, felt.
Air bite, tongue burns cold.
Almost Solstice-darkest time and brightest light across
the water – slicing, dazzling, sparks.
Metal holding, mud binding, line fixing
all that sky, all that water.
Huge whale of a river pushing edge wards.
Sting of ice cutting air, sharp on my tongue,
fierce in my eyes.
after dry point etching by Fliss Cary, Encroachment Series
The gate holds fast, rusted sentry
marking out a line between what
remains and all that was lost.
There is beauty in the wasteland,
flashes of ochre tint the
burnished scrub and liquid curves
that shape the blackened trees.
Yet it is a cruel beauty,
bows of barbed wire to sever the
flesh, man-made echo of the thorns
that whisper, ‘Don’t come closer.
Stay back and look on in
wonder at what is to come
if you fail yourselves again.’
One Step at a Time
One Step at a Time
Sharp flint knife
Heat clay bowl
A drinking vessel
Stones to grind
Time to create
Time to think
To see 10,000 years later
Birth, growth, death
A desire for meaning
Fragments of the past
Everything has an edge.
Through the Picture
(Fliss Cary etching)
Looking at the gate, overgrown with grassy vegetation.
Barb wire keep you out- don’t come through, a place of no return, the grass is always greener on the other side.
Over the edge
Open the door to all possibilities
Meeting new people or bumping into someone from the past- catching up, tying up loose ends.
A piece of paper blowing in the wind what did it say- torn burnt words.
Everything is on the edge open and closed.
Birch bark silvered with
bracelets of mesh
Hair and Beauty by Headlines
swinging and clinking
in the rhythm
of harbour sails
and the black lead drain pipe