Roam to Write: all 5 days

Here’s the full version of Roam to Write, the film on dog-walking and writing I’ve made with Alan Fentiman. It runs to 15 minutes; if you prefer to watch in bitesize chunks, the links to individual days are given below.

Please do get in touch with your comments on the film & the project – I’d love to hear from you.

Roam to Write from Alan Fentiman on Vimeo.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

  1. Do you have typed versions of the things you said/talked about?

    • Hi E.M., I don’t have exact transcripts, but much of the material is covered in an article I’ve got coming out imminently in the Journal of American, British & Canadian Studies – I’ll post on the blog when the issue comes out. The poem text is below:

      ‘But tell me, who are they, these travellers?’

      Who drop a trail of litter so
      that landowners will see and know
      that misfits, spectres, trouble, coughs
      have moved through what is cordoned off,
      like footprints on the virgin shore.
      Who are not here any more.
      Who hang the moles on barbs as proof
      of vagrant, muddy-trousered truth.
      Whose names are thus: unknown, unknown.
      Whose flesh outlasts the store of bone
      in certain lights and certain songs.
      Who leave their condoms blossoming
      among the cowslips all around.
      Who are not lost and can’t be found.
      Who gouge the fields like the swine.
      Who broke the branch and drew a line
      through every page of statute law.
      Who happened to be there, and saw
      a cheap arrest get made, and laughed.
      Who burned the harvest of the croft
      and spilled the pail, like infantry
      in the ugly rush of victory
      lit by the glories of the west,
      and freed the young, and shot the rest.
      Who daub their lords with axle grease.
      Who carry languages and fleas
      from one shy district to the next
      and take the birch and scree as text
      to render pallid by their route
      the parishes of wordless light.
      The whisper of their feet in grass
      says, ‘Now cartographers will pass
      and close the landscape of the clouds
      to tell where you are not allowed.’
      Who carry human skulls inscribed
      with wonderment. Who bribed
      the watchman with a knife to sleep
      and fudge the total of his sheep.
      Who are the servants of their dogs
      and daily sacrifice their legs
      in honour of the makeshift hearth
      and narratives that only start.
      Who loiter in the quarry and
      repeat less sweetly their demands:
      the adolescents they impressed
      grow colder when they get undressed.
      Or maybe this is all a lie
      dreamed up by bigots on the fly
      for fear that outlaw movement might
      unfix the boundaries of right.
      Who sit and menace on the gate.
      The cross of whose crusade is not
      to die but passing through to leave
      and reappear, some believe,
      in halo on the hill that marks
      the far extent of royal parks,
      and by their leaving, show the folk
      that those who think of coming back
      are always and already home
      and those who carry in the palm
      no coin stamped with somewhere’s king
      prevent a stillness happening
      to make a grave of valley towns,
      who minister beyond the manse
      enable locals whom they meet
      to feel great tides may loosen yet
      and by their talk of fen and ditch
      help those villagers to reach
      the ceaseless, tram-infested streets
      of cities, new and obsolete.

  2. george said:

    Via Sharon Williams, I grew up around the area where the guy is walking and was comparing things as they were. Nothing much has changed although I don’t like the new bridge that replaced a crooked set of concrete stepping stones and a platform where a fire engine could reverse and take on water direct from the river. To be honest I didn’t listen much to the narration as I was busy looking at the landscape, some things are eternal but others are transient. Anyway thanks for pointing me here I enjoyed it.

    • Hi George/Sharon, glad you enjoyed the film. I don’t blame you for paying more attention to the landscape! I’ve only been here a couple of years, but I love Alnwick and the surrounding countryside.

      • Gracias a Dios mis hijas son unas lectoras empedernidas… ya lo hacen con mucha fluidez y tooodas las noches de su vidaMil besos!!!!Dios te Bendiga, feliz finTQM

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