Saturday, 18 December 2010

New poem on front: Footnotes, with a further note on shoes

Photo from here.

The poem (in five parts that I am tempted to think of as 'toes') is very new, hung out to dry on the line upfront.

How does it come about? Some months ago I received a Facebook request from Shoes or No Shoes, a website that accommodates a museum of shoes and works about shoes by writers and artists, with a catalogue of artists's shoes, as well as all the classic shoes available. It seems to be a magnificent obsession. If shoes are your interest, it is a must.

Nevertheless it was a strange request, strange for me, in that I had no especial interest in shoes. To be well-shod was to be quietly, comfortably, and appropriately shod for whatever occasion. In the beginning my mother wanted her children dressed to the nines all the time, and I have photographs of self in white socks and white shoes. This did not long survive the experience of England, and once I started kicking a football about in the playground my mother's hopes - and my shoes - were dashed. It was going to be very sturdy from then on. I suspect she thought it might be a rebuke to me to wear heavy dull shoes, but I took it as liberation.

From then on into teens durability was the main criterion. Later I did have a pair of pointed shoes, some Chelsea boots, and even a pair of sleek, silver-grey shoes. I felt a little shy and uncomfortable in them but I wore them occasionally, and as I grew into my twenties and my confidence increased a little, I became willing to wear anything, as befit an art student. Ragged was fine, colour was fine. Respectable was not.

The years of art teaching brought me out in occasional flamboyance - a brilliant apple-green jumper for example, while wearing glasses tied with string around my neck. I have no real memory of shoes then, which must say something about my attitude to them.

I was perfectly aware that the female relationship to shoes was quite different, almost erotic. I could quite see why, but I won't explore that for now, if ever. Not that there is nothing to explore, so who knows? I do think back to Linda Grant and her book and blog.

In the meantime, the poem on the front does mention the white shoes and ventures. ever so lightly, into the sphere of suggested erotics, but also (alas) of death. Ah dear, erotics and death: such is life!

1 comment:

Gwilym Williams said...

The ol' song. How's it go?

"The cat that chewed the new shoes...