Richard Pierce

Life, Poetry, Writing

Day 156

Of course, I wake up the morning after the day before, and the ebb and flow of the disease brings with it regret, remorse, and guilt. I am up and about early for a Sunday because I’m driving to Stradbroke later to co-host a Jubilee Picnic show. Hypocrisy, some will say. Not so. I want to help the team because they’re part of my family. I might be opposed to the principle of this weekend and the amount of public money being spent on public celebrations, but I would never deny other people their right to hold the beliefs they have as long as it doesn’t adversely affect others. I am not the one inciting class and culture wars. And this morning, in the pouring rain, I do feel sorry for those who have organised street parties for today which they will either have to hold under umbrellas and tarpaulins or indoors instead of outdoors in the glorious sunshine. People who will have put their own money, love and commitment into arranging these events. People with a sense of community. Not the sort of people I was writing about yesterday. Like the folk back in Stradbroke. People who care about those around them first and foremost. The English weather, as ever, makes a mockery of all plans. Just imagine how the invading Romans felt.

Last night, M and I watched Cyrano. How this magnificent film was not a box office smash is beyond me, in truth. I have been fascinated by Cyrano de Bergerac since I was young. It’s a story of how love can make us and destroy us, about how how those in positions of power can destroy those they see as threatening their power. It’s a piece which preaches against war (and this latest filmic iteration shows the mess and horror of war all too clearly). And ultimately, it’s about the power of words and the power of love, and the everlasting nature of love. And goodness. The world needs poets, poets to write love songs, poets to open their souls and those of others, poets to speak truth to power. Because every poem is political. To write of love and emotion in the face of warmongers, to speak of goodness and peace in the face of those who wish to perpetrate evil, to believe in equality and generosity of spirit in the face of greed and avarice; all those are political actions.

Go and write your love poems, and make the world a better place.



Up and out she jumps. In the dark, no-one can see her fall. Everything stops, and Aggie feels no burden, no sense of the ground rushing up towards her. Eyes wide open, she looks out, far beyond Robert’s house, far beyond the flickering street lights and the old churches, and the deserted streets, and the ancient histories of this city. She is weightless, she is a soaring star, a comet, an alien descending onto the Earth for the first time. And out beyond the lights and churches and streets and alleyways and stories and loves and hates and unseen rooms and unheard cries, she sees the line where the land meets the city, where the lights fade and the darkness rushes in towards the city’s boundaries, where the wild and unconquered meet the order and meticulous planning of progress, where the old has ceded ground to the new, but where the battle is forever joined, and weeds (and she can see them, feel them growing) push their way through paving stones and tarmac and cement, where brambles will thrive when spring and summer finally comes. She feels free, finally, her heart leaping with the joy of flight and weightlessness, her face finally alight with the beatific smile her true purpose, the breeze gentle on her skin, a caress, a minute almost untouchable caress that makes her feel loved and complete. She turns this way and that, describes a full circle, sees those malleable boundaries all the way round, sense how the original city walls were built not to keep out the invaders but to keep in the spirit and holiness of this place, the soul of this age-old city, to stop time from turning it into dust and forgotten stories. And in those walls she sees the old walls of Norwich, and their common purpose, to guard, to preserve, to nurture, to keep whole.

The vista complete, Aggie looks down, chooses the exact spot where she wants to, needs to land, and glides out of the blackness of the sky like an angel, slowly slowly, and comes to a halt on both feet, solidly on the cobbles, no stumble, no groan, no unnecessary exhalation of breath, just a soft touch of her souls on the ancient ground, and stops. She feels bound again now, to the land, to the solidity of the city, weightlessness gone, carefree flight gone, reality engrained in her being again, the need to move this on, the need to find answers, the need to fight, the disgust at death and deceit and disarray and disorder and blood and evil. She’s not out of breath, nor out of strength. Even down here, she is still complete, she is still the giant on whose shoulders the world could sit and spin for all time. Without stopping, she walks past the fake police car, past Tom’s body, past the staring men and women, past Martin, his mouth opening and closing, past all of them, without bothering to look at them, in through the door of the house, into the kitchen, and lowers the body onto the kitchen table, and pulls off the mask as gently as she can, and watches the mass of blonde hair cascade onto the planks of old oak, and gasps at its beauty.

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