The High Window‘s resident artist for 2020 is Penny Sharman: She was born in Oxford and brought up in Burford in the Cotswolds. She ventured north in the late 1960’s and has remained in love with the Pennines where she lives. As a poet, artist, photographer and complimentary therapist she seeks new ways of being creative. She is inspired by art and natural landscapes and has a surreal approach to her work. She has an MA in Creative writing from Edge Hill University and has been published in many magazines and anthologies. Her pamphlet Fair Ground (Yaffle Press) and her collection Swim With Me In Deep Water (Cerasus) are available from her website: pennysharman.co.uk
‘I just love it when I discover a new artist or exhibition and so for this article I have been inspired by Tom Piper MBE and Lisa Wright and their collaboration; an art installation called Future Forest 2019 at Thetford Forest commissioned by Forestry England. You can find out more here https://www.forestryengland.uk/100/future-forest and here http://lisawrightartist.co.uk/work/future-forest/
I have used some of Lisa’s sculptures as a starting point for my artworks and also my poems. In some ways I wish I had had the opportunity to visit this exhibition but I think it will be closed because of Covid-19 and it finishes in May, but if it gets extended and if you are near I would take a visit. I love the way that Lisa has produced archetypal figures to place in the landscape to make us all think more about nature and the loss of so many of our habitats and wild life. I hope you enjoy this piece.’
‘Daphne’ by Lisa Wright
by Penny Sharman
I’m morphing again,
my bones the smallest of twigs,
shiver of bark, anticipation of osmosis,
arms that stretch to sky.
My ten toes dig into dirt
as I leave this scrubland
of unwanted love, my heart
nothing but laurel,
a smooth green leaf.
I am released from lip and tongue,
from a bothersome son of a god
who would surely bed my body,
when all I crave is a static beauty
that dances with air, sees weather
come and go.
Look how I laugh
with birds and bees.
Look how I’m myth
in your world of dreams.
‘Golden Stars’ by Penny Sharman (watercolour and acrylic)
hit the woods
only a glimpse
of them as they
beneath us all
with a warmth
like no other
‘Forest dreams’ by Penny Sharman (watercolour)
IN WYTHAM WOODS
I dream of mum holding my hand as if I’d shrunk my years backwards,
we walk into carpets of bluebells under ancient trees, are overwhelmed
by their scent, drugged by a blue luminescence that you can never capture
or replicate, this is a moment to moment hit. We stand quiet still, wait for
a sprite or unicorn to tell us this is heaven, but only the oak and beech sing
in the breeze, only the vixen barks near the woodcutter’s house.
We know dad’s at the bottom of his garden stoking his bonfire of dead life.
I’m jealous as he’s seen the kingfisher’s flight many times on the Seacourt,
I’ve only caught it once in thirty years. I dream we’re all together again
drinking Moet Chandon in the garden under the old apple trees. I remember
how long and silent days were before the ring road and how we found
clay pipes and Roman coins when we turned over the earth, how badgers
and muntjac would visit when we were asleep in a woodland of dreams.
I’m above you all. If you look up into
the cirrus of me you can see how my hair curls,
my white love, wisps of hope. I streak over
heaven looking for love, but some say
I’m more ice than water.
I can change my mood so fast; turn from
fair weather to stratus grey while you think
I’m yours for a while, or without visible tears
I sink so low you can almost touch my longing,
my heave of sad mist and drizzle.
I can change my mood and dream up
a blue everlasting kiss, sheep backs
and mackerel skies where I can dance,
love you more than ever. When I’m free
I’m a Monet or Pissarro brush in your eyes.
But if you fool or cross my heart I will
cumulonimbus you with my bigness,
full sky of pain and I will fill your world
with thunder, rain, hail and tornadoes.
Look up; I’m above you all.
‘Cyphers of Love’ by Penny Sharman (watercolour and acrylic)
CYPHERS OF LOVE
I loved it when
you would hide
cards under my
words so kind
I would tickle inside
and that time
you put rose petals
from the front
door up the stairs
to the double bed
and how skin
and eyes were
all we ever
Needed I loved
all of those days
‘Cloud-speak’ by Penny Sharman (watercolour)
‘The Three Graces’ by Lisa Wright