At the Pagoda Island
I knew the route so only saw the brake light on a roundabout,
Slowing me down.

On Monday 18th September, I visited the RBSA’s Metropolis exhibition to attend a writing workshop where I’d attempt to write poetry based on the artworks displayed there. Before we tried this, the workshop leader Mandy Ross gave us this poem by Ezra Pound to read:

In a Station of the Metro
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

She then challenged us to write 14-ish words about something that struck us from our journey to the gallery. I wrote At the Pagoda Island which is displayed at the top of the page.

We then had to choose a picture in the gallery to focus on and freewrite about, edit and improve with the view of producing a final poem by the following Friday. I selected this painting View East from Darby’s Hill, Dudley by Robert Perry.  Reflecting on the painting, the exhibition as a whole and the realisation I’d barely glanced at the city on the drive in drew out conflicting feelings I’ve had / I have about my home city of Birmingham. It’s a place that has excited me and stifled me, somewhere I’ve run from and now run back to. Eventually after four days of wrangling too many ideas, I think I managed to capture the essence of what I was reaching for by trying to say it simply.

This is what I came up with:

The Beach
I stand on the shore.
I breathe.
I fling my dreams to the horizon,
Whisper my prayers to the skies,
Let the energies that made me rise up from the pebbles that extend from my feet.

You can read see the poem with the artwork and the other poems inspired by the workshop on the RBSA’s blog here.

If you liked this read:
At the end of the day, I’m a Brummie
The Power of Brevity
And yet (To the sea)

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