Fosse Quay, 1995

Gulls, green weed, a cat in the sun among the trees: Fosse Quay, held in a crook of earth & wood. The tide is down. It’s October. The light is so bright on the mud you can’t look at it. The trees tumbling down the opposite bank of the inlet vanish into a corona of reflections where the stranded multihull boats rest like insects tired after some long intense flight to mate. Ten in the morning. It seems earlier (in July everything would look & feel like this at six or seven a.m.). Sun & shade seem like equal things. Both are a kind of illumination. Both fall ungrudgingly across the ground-ivy, the spider web, a blue loop of discarded hose, the withered hawthorn leaves of a dry summer. Both are a potential. As for you & me, we sit here–grounded, webbed, discarded, shrivelled up–& yet with life still ahead of us–& turn our faces up to whatever we might receive next, sunshine or shadow. A man is sawing wood in the next boatyard along. A toddler is laughing.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Fosse Quay, 1995

  1. The right words make the unusual feel natural. Well done.

  2. Chris

    Very evocative. Excellent as always.

  3. David

    You’re such a mind-blowing stylist, revisiting any of your books always pushes me to improve my own writing.

  4. uzwi

    Thanks, James, Chris & David. I’m not keen on the idea of “style”. If you manage the surface properly (& surface is all you have to work with), you can pack more in. Litfic praises “use of language” as an end in itself; commercial fiction disses it as ornament. For me, language is neither. It’s a kind of engineering, as much of meaning as of narrative. It looks the way it does because it’s trying to tell you more than basic English could. Not that I would be against, “We sat in the wood all morning, looking out across the inlet, then got in the car & drove away.” But you can see what a different purpose that would be serving.