SST 5 – feedback please for Anne – Seagull

9 May

Timing: approx 3 mins

Title: Seagull

Theme: disappointment, lost opportunity, realisation.

 

Seagull

I didn’t really choose this house.

It’s easy to maintain, I thought.

The bedrooms are small,

but with small kids, that’s fine.

We did our living downstairs.

Open plan, sort of.

That works when a family’s young.

I painted it yellow, to give us light.

It’s dark at the bottom of the hill.

But we get the sun in the afternoon,

at the back.

 

I look at it now,

held together with tape and memories,

bursting with books

and outgrown coats.

Three years tops,

that’s what I gave it,

then we’d move on.

 

But this is where we stayed.

And this is where I ran from,

packing two small kids into a car,

weekend after weekend,

to drive anywhere but here,

to the sea,

breathing with the tides,

skitting like tossed pebbles across the surface of the days.

 

When we found that seagull

in the skip outside the B&B,

I told them a story of a princess and a prince,

sister and brother, just like them,

running from the evil King of the Ravens,

protected by their faithful gull familiar.

They cried, because the beautiful bird,

with its brilliant-white and soft-grey plumage,

wing span the size of our house,

yellow beak and brittle eye,

so menacing in flight,

lay reduced in spirit,

dead, amongst builders rubble,

an old chair

and chip paper.

 

I am that bloody seagull.

I was their protector.

Still am.

A seagull,

like in the Chekov play we did at school,

shot dead for unrequited love.

I could have soared high.

I should have.

Instead I protected this place,

this place I ran from.

But this is where they venture from,

in short forays,

returning to the safety of my wing span.

 

If I could press on the touch screen of our life,

SELECT and CUT,

I could lift us up,

hold us on the tip of my finger

and gently PASTE us where I choose.

If I could do this,

our life could be measured out in success

not disappointments.

And yet, this is where they run to.

 

What sort of feedback would I like:

I’d like to know if you get what it’s about – are there any layers to it? Should I expand the language, is it too clipped? I’ll perform this as if she is talking to someone in a conversational way and then flip into a more poetic way of speaking as if the memories take over, so she becomes more emotional.

So if you didn’t get what it was about – well, this woman (ok, ok, it’s me, well sort of) is talking about the crappy house she lives in and how she hates living where she lives and used to get away as often as she could – how she never thought she’d be here for this long – she had higher expectations – but because she had kids to look after, she had to do the best she could – and despite all that, her dissatisfaction, her kids see it as a home. I have tried to put a darker element in there so that you could question what she was running from, hence the dark king, the talk of her being a protector, showing the house as a refuge despite her dissatisfaction with it. I want you to feel her struggle, and wonder if there was something else going on that made it necessary for her to end up in this house. I want you to realise before her that actually, it’s not where we live, but the home we create that is important to our sense of safety and well being.

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2 Responses to “SST 5 – feedback please for Anne – Seagull”

  1. mouthypoets May 10, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

    Ann lovely piece. You mention what you want folks to get out if this…… That’s a lot to have one 3 min piece get across well. Not it say it can’t be done. Just wonder if you may wanna concentrate on 2 things maybe. The rest will i think come out as they are interconnected but if you try and push all of the agendas it may become cumbersome and ruin the clean lines that this poem has.

    Maybe add some time context to the line about it seems easy to maintain……”at the time”. It starts to inject the feeling of doubt right away. Sometime Metadata let you perfect when there is the same word in two joining sentences it’s an opportunity to reduce the sentence to be more punchy….. Small bedrooms Small kids. How can you rework that line using one small?

    I have read this a few times and it feels like 2 parts that would do well with a bridge betw the house and the point you bring in the seagull

    • mouthypoets May 11, 2013 at 11:52 pm #

      The poems is here:

      The house represents something??????????
      But the Essence sits here:

      When we found that seagull

      in the skip outside the B&B,

      I told them a story of a princess and a prince,

      sister and brother, just like them,

      running from the evil King of the Ravens,

      protected by their faithful gull familiar.

      They cried, because the beautiful bird,

      with its brilliant-white and soft-grey plumage,

      wing span the size of our house,

      yellow beak and brittle eye,

      so menacing in flight,

      lay reduced in spirit,

      dead, amongst builders rubble,

      an old chair

      and chip paper.

      I am that bloody seagull.

      I was their protector.

      Still am.

      A seagull,

      like in the Chekov play we did at school,

      shot dead for unrequited love.

      I could have soared high.

      I should have.

      Instead I protected this place,

      this place I ran from.

      But this is where they venture from,

      in short forays,

      returning to the safety of my wing span.

       

      If I could press on the touch screen of our life,

      SELECT and CUT,

      I could lift us up,

      hold us on the tip of my finger

      and gently PASTE us where I choose.

      If I could do this,

      our life could be measured out in success

      not disappointments.

      And yet, this is where they run to.

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