Creativity

“Creativity is the immune system of the psyche.”
Dr. Anne Bannister
(in a private conversation with me)

“Why should we all use our creative power? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money.” Brenda Ueland, quoted by Ken Sprague.

“If I create from the heart nearly everything works; If I create from the head, almost nothing.”    Marc Chagall 

I believe creativity must integrate heart and head;  feelings are evoked through imagination; truths glimpsed through intuitions; metaphors communicate multidimensional subtleties; stories and structure shape our understanding. Creativity may spring from spontaneous inspiration but the artist’s job is to work hard to embody this in form.

I have always seen my creativity as an essential element of my life, as an artist, a therapist, a member of society. I have explored my creativity through drawing, painting, sculpture, making masks and puppets, writing, dance, performing, improvising music, research, creating organisations, both professional and social.
Please refer back to the home page and scroll down for information and pictures of my play “Voices and Visions”.

On this page I will offer examples of my creativity. I have been writing poems for many years. My latest poem composed 24th June 2017 is:
The Ritual of Smelling Roses

Only smell one rose at a time.
But before inhaling the scent
Set time aside.
Stand still.
Take time to be in the garden,
Take time to stop all else,
Take time to stop.

Clear the lungs,
Letting this clean air
Refresh the nose.
Breathe peace and wait before you
Choose the bloom.
See the flowers.
Look into the nestled petals:

The velvet crimson cushion;
Whipped cream curls tinged with
Blushing peach, flesh pink;
Bruised mulberry purple;
Singing sunshine yellow;
A glowing ember of gamboge;
Cool moon white.

And only then bend to breathe in
The perfume.
Inhale just enough to catch the scent:
Lest too deep a breath exhaust the fragrance.
Savour the aroma.
Pause, letting the sensation swell,
Catching hints of memory, association, wonder.

Resist the temptation to greedily sniff another –
To gourmandise on bouquets.
Don’t gobble the wine.
Just sip and appreciate,
Letting the taste find new pathways.
Rushing from rose to rose reaps
An emptiness of desire.

You cannot name the wave washing the shore,
Before it fades, leaving just a trace,
An echo, vanishing like a rainbow.
Indeed it’s better not to know,
Not to engage the finickity intellect
Curious to catalogue and stick
A Latin label on the pinned butterfly.

There is a mystery in
The name of the rose 
Not so easily discovered.
There are no dictionaries of odour.
Simply be there as the diffusing scent
Recedes like mist
Rising from the glowing lake at dawn.

Here is another recent poem, composed in February 2017.

THE TERRORIST

I spotted the terrorist immediately.
Obviously a bogus asylum seeker from some other place,
I’d always remember that dark, alien face.
Clearly a psychopath who did not care,
His thousand yard dead-eyed stare
Giving away his homicidal plan
To blow the tram to smithereens.
His bulky bag obviously a bomb
Packed with nails and shrapnel
To maim and kill and send us all to hell.
It was when he sat next to me
I noticed a wire coming out of his shirt pocket.
The adrenalin kicked in big time like a rocket.
I could not flee or wrestle him: I froze.
Paralysed with fear, I chose
To do nothing.
Then his mobile phone went off:
Surely this was the trigger for the attack?
“Yes,” he said, “I’m on my way –
Sorry to be late, I was delayed.
The old lady in number eight needed changing
And I couldn’t leave her in the shit.”
There was a terrorist on that tram –
And I was it.

The next poem won first prize in a Bolton Library and University Poetry Competition

Guidelines for Gazing at Sunsets

There is an art to watching sunsets.
First one must set aside time;
Some planning and patience are essential
Lest the moment be missed
And the glory of sun-gilded clouds
Pass before contemplation has begun.
A warm jumper may be necessary.

A vantage point is useful but need not be
Static as it is important to scan the heavens
So as not to miss those regions of the sky
Where stratospheric scarlet feathers fly
Unfurling in the luminous air.
The head must be free to turn, look up and view
The vast vault of overarching blue.

An ability to wait and let go of expectations,
To see what’s there, is best,
(Rather than demand, “More red, more gold!”)
To welcome unexpected tawny rusts and glooming greys,
The plum and peach and damson of autumnal gloaming.
You cannot hurry the old sun – he will
Take his time, fulfil his role and depart.

This poem is paired with one on Dawn:

DAWN

In the early morning
On the ocean shore
The sea breathes in and out,
Waves crashing, tumbling, seething white.
The pale moon’s tidal pull
Gathers the waters to rise, roll,
Crest, curl and crumble as rushing
Surf washes glistening sand
And a brilliant sun,
Dazzle-glittering the horizon,
Gilds radiant waves,
Light misting the spray,
The luminous air shining
Bright in the dawning day.

I stand in the flux of foam,
My feet sinking as sand is sucked
And swirled away in the undertow.
I feel the ocean’s power and know
Nothing stays, all is ceaseless motion,
The ebb and flow of process:
A universe of waves washing pebbles,
Throwing up drops of water which collapse
Back into the sea that explodes again in droplets.
There is no here and now –
Only a world flowing and flowering.
Clouds cover the sun’s disc.
On the other side of the earth
This dawn is another day’s dusk.

Sculptures and Giant Puppets

Ceramic sculpture Earform 1989

Ceramic sculpture Iceflow 1993

*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^
I have created many giant puppets: the last one was for
Manchester Gay Pride 2007


Giant puppet of Rainbow Butterfly created by John Casson
with help from Mike Ash. Photo by Arash Hesami.
Puppeteers: John Casson, Nenagh Watson and John Rodgers


Madonna puppet Leeds Christmas 1983

 

Another poem, written 20/7/2010

Looking at the Leonardo

I can barely breathe.
I sit stunned
Gazing at the drawing:
Fearful and amazed, anxiously
Awaiting the archivist’s return.
I am alone, with a faded
Piece of paper, edged in gold,
Five hundred years old.

The clock strikes, denying
Time has stood still
As Leda crouches over her brood,
Held by the swan, Zeus.
He sinuously cranes his neck
Up to her chin, pecks at her cheek,
Whispers immortal longings in her ear.
She looks at her egg-bursting babies
As they struggle out onto the grass,
Turning, twisting, searching, reaching.
She presents the twins to us,
Looking puzzled at this mystery:
Child-Animal-God,
The naked body, Earth and Sky.
She does not smile,
Her face enigmatic in ink.

In the Rotterdam study
She looks towards the swan, holding
His neck twisted upside down,
Scolding the bird,
The children barely born.
In the Windsor sketches
She turns her head away,
Whilst here at Chatsworth
Finally she looks at us,
Darkly interrogating our gaze.
Swan – he rears up
Leering, his wing around
Her shoulder, under her arm,
Embracing her embracing him.
They are a couple:
Woman and water bird.

In the Windsor Castle drawings
Her hair is coiffured with
Complex braids entwining
Her head in celtic heraldry:
A ram’s horn knotted vortex,
Wild hair tightly controlled in
Patterned plaits: ropes of ringlets
With loose tresses escaping.
The bull rushes push up,
Standing proud to witness
This epiphany:
The eggshells fall apart –
The babes have broken out
And now gaze upwards
At their mother.
They do not recognise their father.

Love came, like rain
After a long drought;
When I least expected him
The swan overpowered me.
Da Vinci drew the scenery:
A landscape of flowers,
Lakes, rocks and towers
Receding to infinity.
Whose glassless windows welcome winds.
The heron in his lonely flight
Disappears out of sight.

Now I have the pleasure of introducing a poet: Charlotte Wetton has just published her first pamphlet of poems:
I Refuse To Turn into a Hatstand
available for £ 5.00 at:
https://caldervalleypoetry.com/book-shop/
You can contact her at: charlottewettonpoetry@gmail.com and twitter @CharPoetry
Here is one of her poems which won the Poetry Business’ Yorkshire Prize in 2016:

Home Safe

She feels his skin, his stubbly hair, touches him
as she’s dreamt of touching him through months
of not listening to the morning news, to any news

in case of roadside bombs or choppers down.
But now it’s fatted calf and sex and visits from the in-laws,
sweet normality of getting in the shopping and trips to B&Q,

he remarks how small and light their car is.
These weeks she can’t stop touching him,
fingertips to his hand, his thigh, to check

he’s here, he’s really here, home safe.
The weeks she thinks she has him back,
when his smell, his tread on the stairs, are golden

fog she doesn’t see through – the marvel of his shoes
by the door and his toothbrush in the bathroom.
Before the patches of time when he isn’t here,

his gaze sliding over the windows, her face.
At night, she reaches out and he’s not there,
he’s up, on patrol, checking the locks;

one night she wakes to find his hand above her mouth
checking she’s still breathing.
She rings help-lines, rings doctors,

she wants to travel into darkness, bring him up
but she can’t follow him, can’t see him there,
sees instead, herself in the hall mirror

sitting on the floor, sobbing into the phone
he’s not here, Mum, he’s not really here.