28 February 2013

on accepting the weight of an empty bird cage

so...... back at the scrap yard but a bit of a role reversal and a whole new experience. yes, i sold some metal! 

i pulled down the metal grid that held the horrible itchy mdf tiles on the launderette ceiling - pulled it apart and packed it into sacks along with the aluminium ceiling light covers and some other light transformers. and that means that about a foot and a half of new ceiling space is revealed. the good thing about the shop at the moment is that it's growing bigger and bigger every day. i'm mid-way through uncovering an old granite wall, a lovely wooden beam and and now have the original ceiling with plaster mixed with horse hair. so not only is it growing larger but it's becoming more attractive too.

anyway, back at the scrap yard. selling this metal was like going on a very very short holiday - i had to take my passport (and it was raining!). it was all very official - they won't give you cash anymore but the choice of a bank transfer or cheque. i opted for a bank transfer for my £3 worth of aluminium, £6 worth of iron and £9 of 'motors'. so £18 of profit. but what were the chances of me leaving 3 scrap yards without buying something....... very slim!

at the 2nd one i found a beautiful old brass bird cage. they weighed it for me and it came to £14. what's the use of a bank transfer when you want to buy a bird cage from next door? maybe if i'd sold my ceiling grid to this scrap yard i could have done a direct swap and that would have been easier. fortunately my friend had cash i could borrow. so another £1 for a piece of copper with some nice blue patination and miraculously i came away with £3 - phew.

the bird cage is a particularly nice one. it has a removable bottom tray and two little bowls and it's a worn dusty colour with tiny speckles of light powdery blue. bizarrely there are also two brass birds on a perch that must have hung inside at one time. but do i want another bird cage? i don't know. there is something i like about an empty bird cage, especially one with the door open. it may be cliched but it's a symbol of freedom. and i think it may become a light in the new studio. that would be a nice new life for it.

experimenting with it as a light and burning a candle in memory of the caged bird

'on declining the gift of a cage bird' by gladys hunkin

o lark of all delight!
soaring in joyous flight,
flooding to earth your stream of song,
while blackbird from his tree,
loving his liberty,
pours silver notes through flute of gold;
bright robin on the ground,
rings his roulade of sound
alone, unheeding the world's wrong;
gay chaffinch carolling,
the linnet note in spring,
an echoing cuckoo call twice told,
some winter-daring thrush
or wren in the rose bush,
with lyric note can soothe my pain;
the swallow's gliding quill
brushing my window sill
in early morning ecstasy,
the bold swift hurtling by
with gulls on windy sky,
lift up my weary heart again.
your gift i could not bear,
for i so truly share
the prison of this bird once free,
feel the encircling bars
pressing upon old scars;
sad bird and man make melody:
o hand that bruised the wing,
caged bird myself, i sing.

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