I read a newspaper article about Agatha Christie a few days ago, in which it was mentioned that Christie did her best thinking while lying in the bath, eating apples and drinking tea. Seasoned followers of this blog will not be surprised that this rang a chord with me. In a number of previous posts, I have published several poems referring to my bathtime musings. In fact, although I eschew the eating of apples and the drinking of tea whilst in the bath, I am at one with the grand dame of the crime story in finding bathtime particularly conducive to creative thought. It is quite understandable, of course, why this should be so. You relax, luxuriating in warmth and comfort, insulated from the world of daily worries and hassles. Your senses caressed by soothing fragrances, your mind free to indulge in daydreams. . . In my particular case, the creative fancies are aided by my habit of browsing through some anthology of verse – I’m currently working my way through “The Best British Poetry 2011”.
“Lifetide” was, I think, the first poem I wrote that was directly inspired by the bathtime experience. It was also written at a time when the word “tsunami” was often appearing in the news.
White froth and foam absorb my
body. Suck at the weight of me. Rise
in triumph as I sink. Immured in
this faux-porcelain casket,
I lie supine. My flesh turns gently
hue of a suckling pig. Mists,
lavender vapours caress
my nostrils. I reach, languidly, for
my drink, tilting white froth and
foam, sucking pale gold liquid.
I absorb its honeyed chill. My mind,
freed from its moorings, now hovers, and
Waves that pull and tug at our skin.
Tsunamis that meet us, early or late.
The eddies and surges that lie within.
Unceasing, implacable tides of fate.