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Wallington setting inspires North-East writer

Other posts by  | Rachel Cochrane on Google+ |  January 11, 2013 | 0 Comments
Sophie Keates-Gazey

Sophie Keates-Gazey. Credit: David Taylor

One of the most enjoyable things about running audio entertainment website listenupnorth.com is uncovering great talent from North East England.

And I often find, the greater the talent, the more modest the person behind it.  One such individual is writer Sophie Keates-Gazey. Originally form Warwickshire, she studied English at Newcastle University and is now settled in Hexham, Tyne Valley with her husband, landscape photographer David Taylor.

Meeting Sophie for the first time in a café in Corbridge, I discovered that in many respects we share the same outlook on creativity including our dislike of elitist & pretentious arts and artists.  Sophie encapsulates this perfectly in her mischievous, tongue-in-cheek short story Untitled. Yes that is the title; if you listen to the story you’ll find out why!

“We became the talk of the British art scene that summer, my twin brother and I. We didn’t mean to. It was an accident.”

Click here to listen to the short story Untitled.

In April 2011, Sophie won the Newcastle Theatre Royal’s Shakespeare theme creative writing competition with her beautiful poem Ariel, her favourite Shakespeare character who appears in The Tempest.

‘You are roused by the sunrise, airy spirit,
Curled up snug within a cowslip’s bell,
Yawning and stretching, and breathing in
A freedom you have only ever dreamed of’.

Click here to listen to the complete poem of Ariel.

The Lion's head water spout, Wallington. Credit: David Taylor

The Lion’s head water spout, Wallington. Credit: David Taylor

One of my favourite local places is the house & grounds of the National Trust’s Wallington; I especially love the conservatory situated in the walled garden.  You can wander in there in any season to find a warm seat in the midst of riotous colours and intoxicating perfume.  In Sophie’s next poem, the Lion’s Head water spout within the conservatory provides the inspiration for this childhood memory:

Light Dancing On Water

The marble lion’s head spouts water
in a steady, sparkling stream,
smooth, green-scented,
amidst the verdant planting of the orangery. . .

A memory – a long, hot summer:
Time passing by so slowly then.
A cold-water tap in a small suburban kitchen,
a shiny metal bucket brimming liquid fun.

A mother’s gift, not yet discerned:
How To Delight In Simple Pleasures.

Out on the sun-bleached lawn, my versatile friend
galvanises me to innocent exaltation.
I plunge my hands through crystal magic,
laugh with it as its coolness tickles my fingertips -
mischievously splashes knees, bare feet -
thrill at the dazzling sparks that
flash across its surface and
scorch themselves in ecstasy onto memory’s eye:

Light dancing on water. . .

. . . plunging home to the perfect proportions
of its deep, square, marble pool.
A mellow life-force, calming, tranquil,
cooling the lush-planted greenhouse,
where dappled light dances on water.

Click here to listen to the poem of Light Dancing on Water

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Category: North East England Writers

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