Sea painting Dunwich by Mark Bicton
Taking another slice, another foot of cliff and grass, I pull down and out, stretch dry land into the wet, into the ever-after. Care to join me, join the tomorrows collapsing into yesterday? It all comes to me in the end, you know that. And you all come too, if only to peer over the edge. To peer down, to watch and search. Meaning? You expect to find meaning here, in me? In what comes down to me: what it all comes down to. I move to sun and moon and air, that’s all — and yes, my own feeling for it, if you like. That’s the meaning.
And the artists come. Are you one of them? Like her over there, with her next canvas – another one, ready to dip into me? She pegs it out while she thinks my back is turned (it never is, trust me), waits for me to turn again and rush back to her; she steps back just in time, leaving it there to drown beneath my advance. And then: the throwing on, the throwing down, of the soil, the mineral colours, as I pull back again. She knows I leave myself drying into it, that’s what she’s counting on: the taking up of one world into the matrix and fabric of another, the binding with my salty dregs.
And so, she’s away with her prize, when the sun’s done his last part: away, for you to stand under it now. Light and water, salt and soil, colour and air — these last; land does not. Nor you, nor her. I take what I can, where I can, and this is part of what I leave: her markings for whoever comes after. Safer that way, you think, looking at it now under pale light under concrete and glass, away from the world that made it, made you? You think you see something of me in this?
Ah – but now you want to come and find me for yourself, don’t you? To look over this year’s cliff, this day’s edge; to look down into me, into yourself. Maybe to come down to me, to my edge, to step over, step in, and then back. Another slice of your dry, solid, stable life. And, yes, you want to find it here, with me, don’t you: that feeling you have there, looking at my dry face hanging there above you, the face she gave me? The feeling of an edge to it all. Yes, you want to come and see for yourself. That’s fine, just fine: give me just your words for now. I’ll accept them. But you’ll want to try them out for real some time, to check her face for me against the real thing. And see if you can make one too, see what you can add. Come soon. I’ll be here.
Mark Bicton is a researcher and writer on change: environmental and human and the shifting interface between these. He is exploring imaginative and creative responses to sustainability issues where the normal policy, science and management ones seem to fall short. Mark is completing an MFA in Creative Writing.