Note: The following piece was commissioned by Writers’ Centre Norwich. Each year, WCN gathers up to forty writers and translators from around the globe in Norwich for the Worlds festival. Writers talk to each other about the art and craft of writing, spend time in each other’s company and join readers at public events. In 2011, Worlds focused on the notion of ‘Influence’, with commissioned provocations from Alfred Birnbaum, Maureen Freely, Natsuki Ikezawa, Gwyneth Lewis, Joyelle McSweeney, Christopher Merrill and CK Williams. A number of writers were commissioned to produce a literary response of their choice to the four day gathering.
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C:72 M:46 Y:56 K:95
The blackened gleam of narrow wet lanes drying in the returning sun.
C:50 M:28 Y:24 K:65
The oil-grey splash of puddled rain across legs and pedals and frame.
C:58 M:11 Y:0 K:0
Sky blue. Blue sky. Blue-sky thinking. Thinking of blues for this sky of blue.
C:53 M:0 Y:96 K:0
The dew-dappled shining leaf-green green of green leaves glowing overhead.
C:37 M:0 Y:58 K:0
The khaki-green of near-ripe wheat.
C:8 M:85 Y:100 K:34
The russet brown of barley.
C:0 M:96 Y:90 K:2
The Sassoon-red of poppies scattered through the ditches and fields and poems.
C:0 M:92 Y:76 K:0
The twentieth-century’s fading phone-box red.
C:0 M:100 Y:48 K:0
The visceral red of animal viscera spilt out across the road.
C:2 M:1 Y:33 K:1
The brittle tea-stained yellow-cream of coffee mornings’ redundant posters.
C:0 M:74 Y:57 K:0
The half-full flaking reds of fundraising thermometers for church tower repairs, propped up against flint-stone walls.
C:4 M:0 Y:2 K:0
Cow-parsley’s latte foam spread across field edges and roaming over the hill’s low rise.
C:21 M:70 Y:92 K:70
The deep-knuckled scrub and varnish of a trestle table laden with honey and jam and potatoes and raspberries and peas.
C:54 M:24 Y:85 K:69
The bruise-dark green of an old army mess-tin rattled with money.
C:0 M:50 Y:21 K:0 see also C:70 M:100 Y:0 K:5
The soft pinks and purples of pansies spilling warmly from window boxes and front gardens and mini roundabouts.
C:5 M:3 Y:4 K:8
The sullied white of white-washed pubs sullenly admitting they might serve lunch.
C:3 M:3 Y:0 K:0
The utter white of whites worn on crown bowling greens.
C:76 M:0 Y:76 K:45
The utter green of crown bowling greens.
C:55 M:39 Y:38 K:83
The knapped silver-black of crack-faced flint.
C:30 M:35 Y:62 K:79
The flint-eyed look of a dog-walker willing to discuss neither geography nor the time of day.
C:39 M:8 Y:0 K:1
The charming sky eye blue of blue smiling eyes drowning out directions.
C:13 M:51 Y:87 K:48
The teak-oil shine of an oak-faced farmer lifting his eyes to nod a greeting’s return.
C:73 M:9 Y:94 K:39
The moneyed green of waxed jackets and wellingtons.
C:98 M:24 Y:1 K:3
The smeared blue jolt of recognition as a jay lollops flat-footedly through the trees.
C:13 M:8 Y:16 K:26
The lowering marbled grey of clouds thickening overhead and the light easing out of the day.
C:0 M:78 Y:8 K:0
The gaudy purple yelps of rosebay willowherb, made brighter and purpler by the thickening of the light.
C:5 M:3 Y:4 K:8
The milky-white of distant sun, squinting back through driving rain over tidal fields of barley and wheat.
C:21 M:4 Y:0 K:0
The nearly-bright of new-light blue-white through fading rain and thinning clouds as wheels and pedals near slowing down.
C:40 M:53 Y:59 K:89
The wet black glint of black coffee’s shine, at journey’s end, and county line.