Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Under Grin Low

Buxton Country Park
Monday 15th September 2014
venturing underground
 The first session of a project from High Peak Community Arts' Project eARTh Buxton group. Over the next few months they'll be working with woodcarver Sarah Fiander to create a set of figures that will stand near the entrance to the Park. I will be joining them several times to work on the stories behind the shapes they produce. What will come: visually or verbally, we have no idea! Adventures all round

Monday's session was for first ideas, for exploring and talking and meeting each other.

I'm just going to post the poems that grew out of our walk through Poole's Cavern

where will our sculptures go? what could the group be like?
Introduction - the feel of this project
Almost stones.
Standing stones,
Petrified people,
Called from the heartwood,
Their stories carved into the wood of their bodies
In runes

Under the hill - this poem grew out of comments and notes. It feels like several different voices so if you read it out try getting different people to read different verses. The italic sections I think are the voices of people wandering through the cave

Our modern feet,
In sensible shoes,
Splashing in puddles,
On sensible floors,
Casting shadows over stones,
From the sensible lights.
Get in there!
A long way in,
It's a long way in.
It's cold.

The darkness waits
For us to turn our backs,
To let our guard slip,
To let the drips drop,
And the petrifying water catch us
Or our pennies,
Or our shoes,
Or our mobile phones.

A splendour of rock and water and earth.
Time stands still.
It's surprising what water can do.
It's a long way in.

Nothing here is quite what it seems,
Turn your back for a moment and the darkness comes back
Water made solid

Step into the darkness,
Into the shelter and the silence and the cold.
This darkness,
A home for hibernating bats,
A lair for bears,
A grave for the ancient dead.
4,000 years of peace broken by
Victorian shovels

a strange world
no traffic noise
no fumes
no smells at all

Purple, green and grey
Line and layers of stone,
Sideways ripples across a boulder,
Folds become faces,
A skull caught forever in 
Hanging stone
deep, mysterious
time caught in the dripping echoes 
stone-time not our time
we are here and gone again
the stone lasts
changing all the time but still here

One lump of rock becomes
A bear, a beast, a lion, a gorilla,
A chenille blanket.
A thousand years of dripping 
To grow a dragon's eye,
A cave jellyfish,
A weeping swelling 
On the cave floor.
A cauliflower,
A marshmallow for trolls,
Miniature rice paddies,
Deceptively hard,
Hard as stone and

Tree roots and a picnic bench
Up there somewhere.
We are hidden,
Secrets in the limestone hills,
We are the mystery

There are stories here,
Here in the cold and the dark
Stories waiting to be told

Voices like grating rocks and dripping water
A convocation of stalemites*
An amphitheatre of stalagmites,
Watchful, listening, patient
Waiting for the dark to return when we go away,
Poised on the edge,
Guarding their own,

This parliament of stones
Ancient but still alive,
Ancient and never stagnant

*I know this should be stalactite or stalagmite but I thought stal-e-mite was such a good word we should keep it!

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