Together in Cordoba

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In my 51st year, just after Christmas, I started composing a series of poems to summarise my life. The idea was that each poem would encapsulate a memory from each of my 50 years. Each poem would be 50 words in length (though I would get to decide what counted as a word).

I was going to call the series 50/50.

The first 10 poems were easy, the next 5 came soon enough, but extracting the subsequent poems from my creative subconscious has been like drawing teeth. There are currently 24 I’m fairly happy with; a few more in note form. I’m wondering whether I can hope to complete the series before I turn 60.

The title might end up as 50/50ish. 🙂

Another idea I had, which might make the whole exercise more interesting for people who don’t know me, was to illustrate each poem with a picture. Or illustrate, say, every 10th poem. (I do realise this will make completing the whole thing even more problematic.)

Be that as it may, I was recently invited to participate in an exercise of collaborative creativity over the Internet by one of my Twitter friends, Savannah (or @StarofSavannah to give her full Twitter moniker). (You can read more about Savannah’s project here:

The invitation galvanized me into doing something. I found myself looking through photographs I took in Andalusia when Mrs SC and I were there just after my 50th birthday, and I started thinking about a 50/50 poem that might stand for 2008.

Deadlines can be remarkably helpful. Seven days early, here I am with a poem and an accompanying picture.

Together in Cordoba – 2008

The light like
And the night warm-scented

In the Cathedral-Mosque
walking among the columns,
among the ancient columns
like palm stems
under arches
like palm fronds
and the windows of stone-lace

In the golden light before the door
the young couple
Greeting? Parting?
They clung to one another.

See the whole picture in one long strip here.

A note on the picture: I photographed almost all the original images in early September, 2008. The two main panels as well as the framing columns are based on photos taken in the Cordoba Cathedral-Mosque. The doorway is one of the doors to the Cathedral-Mosque. The windows at the top of the picture were photographed in the Alhambra Palace in Granada. The palm tree photo was taken in Seville. The loving couple, though, were snapped in Gothenburg about a year later.

In my mind as I made the picture were medieval and baroque altarpieces as well as the work of Gilbert and George.

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