Saturday: My journey to Cyprus Well has been long and tiring but I arrive to find the afternoon sunlight falling in wide bands across the kitchen.
On the table is a vase of blithe spring flowers and in every room a sense of peace like an embrace. It is different here; this house made of light spaces and tender dark corners is calm and generous.
I spend quiet moments in each room, looking through the bookshelves, at the pictures on the walls, at the displays in the glass cabinets. I sit for a while in the ‘bright glass cabin’ and somehow know he’s here too, in his study, at his desk, weighing words. There’s no rush, he tells me. Take your time.
Monday: Each year I holiday in what was once a small fishing village on the South West coast of Turkey.
It’s now a bustling and busy place with excellent restaurants, wonderful people and glorious sunsets. While I’m there I write and soak up the air; it seems to have more oxygen in it than anywhere else I’ve ever been. Being here at Cyprus Well is different, but similar. Here, the air isn’t loose and exotic, there is no muezzin or fishing boats leaving the harbour at dawn, but for me there is the same sense of space and a stretching of time. There is a kind of timelessness here; something good and lasting, a quiet nobility.
Wednesday: One of my preoccupations, both in my poems and fiction, is the permanence of houses.
This stems from the fact that I have had two family homes knocked down by developers and so am intrigued to know where, in circumstances like these, do the memories of what has happened in these houses go? This is not the case at Cyprus Well. Here, there is preservation, but not the quiet, constructed museum type of preservation; it’s a living, breathing one, one that serves as a membrane between past and present. And the strongest element on both sides of this membrane is, I believe, the poetry Charles Causley has left behind.
Friday: A while ago I wrote a poem called ‘Fernweh & Ibid’ and, if you don’t know, Fernweh is German and means wanderlust and Ibid is Latin and short for ibidem meaning the same place.
The poem is about how when you leave someone or somewhere you take part of yourself with you and leave part of yourself behind; it is about distance and separation and the things that bind. I shall leave here today and go home and will carry these words with me as I drive. I will also carry a huge heart of gratitude to the Causley Trust for making me feel so welcome at Cyprus Well and for gifting me this week where I have both travelled and stayed in the same place.
after Charles Causley
On the other side of sound is here,
where the quiet is a pulse
and in the walls the echoes echo.
I see you coming in, taking off
your coat, making tea;
then the whisper of pages turning,
typewriter keys and, somewhere,
music, a door open onto celandine,
rosemary, hazel; here is April
breathing the soft roll of sea
over sand through the trees.
You do not talk, only listen and
this a gift in this white sunlight,
this high fragile sky.
Later, you carry words
into the garden as the earth turns
and the birdsong loosens.
I had not thought it would be like this.