As of today it has been more than 20 years since my brother passed away.
He would have been dismayed by the Labour Party condition but may well have embraced the SNP transformation. I shall never know.
He would still, I am sure, have been cheeky, funny, irreverent, charming and serious about facing up to inequality. I think he would have been a Teacher. He would still be thin and would have laughed at my fat belly!
All of this is supposition. He shall never be any more than he already was. Which was more than enough.
As a young man two people in particular seemed to me to have been blessed by some God.
They died roughly a year apart when I was in my very early 20’s.
One was a musician and the other was a photographer.
Andrés Segovia dominated classical guitar. Some felt he was too vain and assumed too much. His version of Recuerdos de la Alhambra – which featured as a theme tune on a popular tv programme – was often the first, and only, classical guitar many people knew. The other celebrity player was his “pupil” John Williams. Those two, along with the wonderful Julian Bream, seemed to have everything I could ever want. They travelled, they met artists and they played guitar beautifully.
My other passion was photography. For good reason, Henri Cartier-Bresson was always singled out as the doyen. The pinnacle. He was a master of his craft and very widely known. However, for me, the photographer I admired most was Ernst Haas. He managed to take wonderful colour and black’n’white images. His striking image of an oily sky in midwest America adorns most picture shops on the high street and is even sold in Ikea. It is nothing to scoff. It is because he took images with colour which you can look at time after time and still enjoy. Few photographers manage such balance and composition.
Google Ernst Haas and look at the range of his images – or visit his Estate website then realise he was pioneering this. He was discovering colours and shape in photographic images. Faster and with more acuity than most.
I just realised it has been almost 30 years since both these men passed away. It seems no time at all.
I fear I shall lose my mind
For if I cast a glance at night
Along the congested lanes, I fancy I find
No choking queues only veins of light
Scarlet and vanilla. Amid the blaze
I find my fireflies and tinker bells
They waited patiently for me to stray
And I long for a chance to follow them
Back into those cotton-wooled, milky days
And see my mother once again young and my brother,
Always together, both distant and within
And play the nursery games we surely played.
If it was not casually given or taken.
If asked, I am sure he would have.
I bow my head to glance inside then travel on
Choked, as the dainty, daydream lights blink.
Written after stopping for a coffee shortly after a storm.
The leaves continue to rustle in their lifelong tussle with the wind,
The ground, so harshly treated after yet another heartless deluge,
Warms and dries and forgives it’s haughty neighbour her sins,
The insects scan the land for scar tissue,
The birds scan for insects as I view the landscape for damage,
And find, to my relief, only fresh new colours and tiny rainbows amid the dew.
I can see the wind long before it blows against me.
Smooth clouds of invisible ether overlapping,
circulating, undulating. A polished burr of free,
lolloping, playful power. A delight. I suppress
my smile until sudden along comes a gust,
a blot of startled air tearing, rippling, possessed.
Exhausting, fading slowly then consumed.
I am a riddle in it’s grip, unsettled by it’s caress.