I am excited to say that Bethany Rivers'collection, "the sea refuses no river", is now up for pre-order from the Fly on the Wall Press shop! To give you a teaser of what lies ahead, Bethany has shed some insight into the following poem from the collection…
The Gate at Shrewsbury
I’d never noticed before: at the other side
of the tracks a sunbeam falls through
a half open iron gate, not one you’d
expect in a station; iron swirls of infinity
dance on top of the vertical rails, something
you might see at the end of a long drive of
a stately home. I’m on the other side
in the shade of the cooling day, in the wings.
There’s still a hectic in my blood of Edinburgh Fringe,
the last three days of it: raucous street theatre, ghost trails,
baristas and barmaids of Europe & South America,
the actors & writers, the talent & hopefuls,
the audiences & ticket sellers, the rounds of applause,
show after show, where each of us goes, seeking
a mirror of nature in the gesture of a character.
I found one of my mirrors. I cracked. I’m grateful.
After seven hours of trains, the quiet hills
of Wales, wait in all their earth-bound patience,
whispering in a wind voice I can never quite
catch. And in the middle of Wales, where sheep
out-number the people, the old fear creeps nearer
waiting to enter my veins: the lost mirror.
A wood pigeon alights on a sunlit wrought iron gate.
"Train stations are very much in-between places, you're neither here nor there, and this was particularly pronounced that day coming back from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, on my way back to Wales. Edinburgh had been so inspiring, moving, uplifting and 'raucous', and I was returning to my quiet routine life in Wales. There was an old iron gate on the platform, that was sunlit, and my side of tracks was in shade. It felt very symbolic, like it was an invitation to change my life. I had seen three different versions of Hamlet in Edinburgh, as I was studying this for my Ph.D. at the time, and one of them was the most mind-blowing, heart-striking performance I'd ever seen; hence the nod at the text of Hamlet ('mirror of nature in the gesture of a character') of all the world being a stage, and people being merely players upon it. Part of me wanted to stay in Edinburgh, and the excitement of it all, part of me wanted to start a new life in Shrewsbury and part of me longed for and feared the quiet of my Welsh home. And that particular performance of Hamlet, the emotion and physicality of it, felt like a mirror of where I was at in my life at that time. Pigeons have always been a symbol of freedom/happiness/hope for me, which is why they appear at the end of the poem."
The journey of grief is a strange one
and one not often talked about in our everyday reality of this society,
but I know what it's like to dive deep,
down to the bottom of the wreck,
feel the ribs of the wreck,
after losing a parent so young in life
In this collection, the sea refuses no river, there is an acceptance of the pain and an acceptance of the healing moments; the healing journeys. To quote Adrienne Rich: I came to explore the wreck', and in this collection, Bethany discovers how, 'The words are purposes. The words are maps.'
Excited for this gorgeous collection to reach readers - make sure to pick up a copy from here!