Part 4: The Built Moment (Autumn to Winter)

Lavinia Greenlaw

A series of texts drawing on Lavinia Greenlaw's experiences of the immediate, everyday world as it unfolds through the present moment.

Dark afternoons

On the first of December
the cherry tree switches itself on.
The one thing lighting itself at this time.

I do not like to be lit but I want to know
that those I love are there like lights
to be switched on. I’m late

for my father and rush towards him.
It seems that nothing will let me pass.
When I arrive he doesn’t know I’m late

and until I stand in front of him he doesn’t know
that I will arrive. Only when our eyes meet
do I feel as if this is really him and I am really me.

He occupies an impossible lack of dimension.
He sees me as incomplete reflection.
When I leave he will not know that I have been.

Storm follows storm. Why not admit this?
The late soft colours of his returning to us
are already gone.


Here we present an extract from the wider body of work. 


Lavinia Greenlaw’s most recent book of poems, The Built Moment, incorporates work that evolved out of 'Stay Where You Are' in a sequence about her father’s dementia. Her other work includes The Importance of Music to Girls, a short film called The Sea is an Edge and an Ending, and Audio Obscura, an immersive experience of interrupted and heightened perception that was commissioned by Artangel and which won the 2011 Ted Hughes Award. She has also received NESTA and Wellcome Fellowships to support her work in perception, landscape, and making and reading the image. She was the first artist-in-residence at the Science Museum and is currently Professor of Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London.

This piece was commissioned as part of the 'Stay Where You Are' project, alongside works by Jem Finer, Jay Griffiths and Ben Rivers. 'Stay Where You Are' was curated and produced by Steven Bode of Film and Video Umbrella and Gareth Evans. Supported by Jerwood Arts. Film and Video Umbrella is supported by Arts Council England.

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