Words: Lily Crooke
You never realised just how many shades of grey there are
until moving here.
To name a few:
the grim coppery glow of lamplit skies,
cavernous shadows of slick pools of rain,
the soft fuzzy grey of mould on sliced bread,
grimy frost-covered rooftops.
You had never felt the piercing and hushed grey of motorway noise.
Or the downpour of faces,
eyes turned downwards
to the cold sea of tarmac,
the gaping mouths of bits of gum.
A closed-in leaden sky – heavy as if waiting.
Recently, I’ve been trying to recolour my life,
the mundane and the dull frustrations
of day to day to day to day.
Maybe the grey began out here, with the sky and the street and the buildings, and made its
way inside. It has been trodden into me. Like the damp I tread into my home when I come in
heavy with rain.
But sometimes I think it could have been here all along. Hidden, waiting dormant beneath
whitewashed walls. The stains emerging after a day of especially heavy showers. They
blossom – forbidding and dense like storm clouds. Yet the damp spreads so gradually that
you can’t tell how much it has grown until the greyness is so swollen that it covers every
blank patch of wall.
I need a volta. A dramatic turn. But what can be done to induce a sudden change of
perspective? Maybe I need fanfare or a dawning sun, or a miracle so huge that it cannot be
ignored. Or maybe a tiny one will do. A cup of tea and a restful evening. Quietly sip the hot
swirling grey liquid and fall back in love with the colour, the first step to falling back in love
with the city. Although admittedly it helps, colour can be found without the sparking,
rekindling power of a fresh start or a shift in season.
How easy to find vividness in the
their rosy faces gossamer thin
content, basking in the weak spring sun
more than enough after such a long winter,
dark wine-red jam spread on toast,
Admiral blue book covers
filled with writing that you skim over
fingers brushing the spine, the creamy layers of paper,
fossilised coffee stains on tables,
blood on scratched knuckles and violet blossoming bruises
proving that you’re alive.
But there is brilliance also
as in the silver of the clouds
sun below the horizon
like an eye frozen mid-blink
minds eye expanding and exploding
into a wide open, endless, continuous flint blue;
I think that blue eyes are more beautiful
when the shadow cast by the brightness of morning
re-colours them ashen;
there is intensity also in the faded bloodlessness
of photos made pale by sunlight
and in the clay of the earth,
sticking to fingers – the imprints that tell of our time here –
and in ashes – scattered.