I have spent much of my time during this residency listening. To the sounds of nature, the sounds of the world in the here and now, and also the echo of sounds, waves of sound that travel the opposite way - sounds of self, of unformed thoughts and words, of memory.
I am writing alot. The process of finding words helps to clarify, solidify, my experiences. Here in Longyearbyen I have been reading the poems of Transtromer, which has added an otherworldly veil to the way I perceive this place. In my own writing I am conscious of his influence, and am encouraging myself to write poems... which is a challenge, to use words to express those interior echoes of my experiences. So here goes, as T.S. Elliot put it, a raid on the inarticulate with shabby equipment....
Rock fall. Longyeardalen Svalbard, Norway.
I sleep, and something inside me wakes.
Through closed eyes we peer into the night
looking for an anchor, a familiar shape.
We find a place to sit and wait.
We are in a rock-strewn valley. I know it by heart.
Behind lies the sea, the shore, the town.
Machines burrow deeper in the mine.
Everything quiets. The fox turns around.
In front stands a mountain that cleaves the valley.
A glacier heaves its weight against the stones and splits.
Time flows through us. The silence is profound.
A singular noise brightens the dark, unexpected, and yet... I know it by heart… thumpthump…
a rock falls and then… taptaptap tap tap… a cascade of stones and then… a soundless sound as sand drifts lower.
When we sleep, something inside us wakes,
bearing witness to the mountain’s disassembling, and our own.
Flowing down the valley to the sea,
to join the ancient current of stone.