Sunday 25 August 2019

Simon Brewster - groving / Acts of Resistance

This Sunday an angel (?) alighted in a cool spot at the cathedral in Bury St Edmunds - with temperatures reaching 30 degrees who can blame him. Simon Brewster's miniature sculpture has elicited two quite different responses from writers Natalie Low and Phil Barrett. 

The dissenters’ prayer
Let me remember, first, that you desire us to question and it is never wrong to disagree.
You are not pleased when we meekly accept and choke on our doubts.
You are pleased when we examine all sides in coolness and rationality.
To be the advocatus diaboli, to question truth and lies with equal fervour, is honourable and essential.
Fear must never stop me challenging what is wrong, or questioning what is unclear.
Let me embrace my part in squabbles and stand-offs, however big or small.
It may be my fate as a dissenter to be hanged or feted,
And I may grieve that the strongest argument is not always the one best supported by the facts.
Give me the strength to hold to the higher purpose of finding a more robust, universal truth.
I may feel out of step, but everyone in step on a bridge will destroy it, and themselves.
Let me keep a part of difference in my heart, and remember that you put it there.

Natalie Low

Icarus on Liquorice
Here am I, 
sitting on top of the world, 
sitting on top
of a coal black, oil black world.
I guess I could just wing it –
an Icarus on Liquorice –
after all it takes all sorts
to make a world.
I’ve grown wings,
graceful, natural,
like curved and curling 
feathers or leaves,
of starched fabric.
Unlike Icarus 
they weren’t 
cobbled together
from paper, wax and string –
the unfortunate word).
I’ve got purpose, a mission,
sitting here waiting, ready 
to be born again.
Not a mid-life crisis;
but a new present; 
like a butterfly, 
this is my moment 
to become
the me I know I am.

But I’m not taking any chances
as I sit here, 
an angel of my own making.
I’m my own idea of myself,
sensibly attired –
perhaps I have already become
what I am.
Waiting here on this
black cloud, a tub
of liquorice, perhaps a little smug –
I feel comfortable 
about this flying thing.
I’ve got all the gear, 
(Oh God, am I   
turning into 
a ventriloquist’s dummy?)
bought from a Biggles 
and Ginger outfitters, 
via correspondence, 
of course.
Kept ever since 
in the dressing-up box 
I call a wardrobe 
under the bed,
waiting all these years 
for the right moment 
for an outing. Well, 
I’m well and truly ‘outed’ now, 
flying by the seat of my pants,
but carefully.

Yet these wings 
are the result of
not perspiration –
part organic, part mission – 
to give a gentle dusting 
to the ceiling of the world.

Phil Barrett

Simon Brewster has an MA in Fine Art from Central St Martins College of Art & Design. He exhibits widely, including solo shows at W3 Gallery, Exposure Gallery, Pitzhanger Manor and the Royal Institute in London. This year he has exhibited in Thought Atlas and Cabinet at Espacio Gallery in London. See and Instagram simonbrewster99
Natalie Low enjoys putting words on paper and believes that everyone has a book of some sort inside them. She has published two chapbooks, Dementia (2015) and School Run (2017). She is a regular contributor to CollectConnect exhibitions, both as a writer and artist/maker. See Instagram nat.low

Phil Barrett 

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