The image above is of a piece of Public Art called ‘Blue Carpet’ designed by Thomas Heatherwick. I’ve always noticed these unique benches outside The Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne and then I found this fab image of it on the following website taken by SteveT: http://mapio.net/o/862623/
Interestingly as I was hunting for an image to go with my next poem in the ‘Consultations with my mother series’ – Benchmark – I found the above photo through a Telegraph piece entitled ‘World’s best benches: in pictures.’ This bench in Newcastle (my home town) was number 6!! The UK has 4 benches in the top 10 in the world. Who knew!!?
This is worth clicking through – I particularly liked the Zombie bench in London designed by Neon… it needs a home apparently!
VI – Benchmark
We clink wine glasses on the bench,
Outside Mum’s house on Castle Lane
This is nice
A peacock struts and calls on the wall above our head
Noisy things, always screaming
The Kaiser Chiefs are playing Warwick Castle tonight
It’s a balmy evening
She spied this sunny spot next to the castle entrance
As we meandered back from M&S, with our bottle of Sauvignon
We like to people watch
There is nothing like drinking a crisp white wine on a public bench
Outside your house, when there’s a half decent concert on.
What do you reckon, to the music?
It’s OK, better for being free
Ha. Cheers to that!
A man stops near us, with a Cocker Spaniel
Neither of us are dog lovers
We nod to the owner, raise a glass
Nice evening for it!
(I often marvel at my Mum’s ability to talk
To anyone, anywhere, any time.)
She soon has the man’s confidence,
Knows where he lives, his situation:
Divorced, recovering alcoholic,
Wife got the children,
Rebuilding his life –
As we chat and drink our wine
I marvel at how Mum puts this
Stranger at his ease.
I listen to them talking and stroke the dog,
His name (the dog’s) is Wilson.
The man and his spaniel eventually leave,
Mum has a new friend.
He was nice
(I say after the man has gone)
Yes, lovely dog too. I don’t normally like dogs.
You can chat for England you know
Well, what else are you going to do on a sunny evening?
We sit in companionable silence for a while, on the bench
It’s a gift Mum
Your ability to talk to anyone and everyone
She looks at me, then narrows her eyes
That dog is a child substitute
I smile and then laugh; it comes out like a bark
Yes. You’re probably right
I was thinking exactly the same thing
Fancy a top up?
(Sometimes, Mum and I are more similar than I like to admit)
She hands me her glass and I trot inside
As Mum marks our bench,
Swinging her legs in time to the music.
Copyright Eliot North 2016