Dark Angels Chapters 1 and 2

Images of an artists path through life both inner and outer. The beauty of Cornwall and Spain and the art college world of the late 1960's


2. All things are white.

Chapter 2

All things are white. The air of Cornwall, the beach, the waves, the sand, the air, the earth, the people. All things are painted white.
Walking down the high street, sitting in the Kings Head, eating potatoe and onion pie, looking at new yellow raincoats. Talking to Jenny, laughing with Charlie, taking the dogs for a walk, painting everything white. Drinking at the Green Man, arguing with Peter, drinking more beer at the Green Man.
Falling in love with Jenny and Jean, painting them white. Sat in the summer grass a picnic between the four of us. Francis and Liz, laughing with their daughters. Holding Jennys hand, running down the street with Jean, Vera on the lead with Charlie, all white. Jacops ladder with bags full of shopping and Bob Dylan in the house raided in the papers. Jam and newspapers, a room full of students, love at first sight, all white. An antique shop, long black flowing hair, all white.
The sea is never far off. I love the sea it never rests or stops. I love the air blowing and howling it is never still. I love the music it never lasts but always changes. I love the silence in the world it lasts for ever.
A mass of human cells cast loose into this insatiable world full of impossible places.
I lay awake one night in the silent gloom of a hidden bed behind the woven curtains. Silent and sentient wrapped in flesh and blood. The metropolis of life between me and the moon and the thoughts that stray over grey fields.
Everything is white. White paintings are hung in corners.

Rays cast dark shadows over sandy floors and dense waters. Surface waves break up into salty triangles and swells; eels and fish slither corrupt amongst slimy weeds. The air from the sea blows over lichen spotted granite walls and bobs the harbour boats lined in fairground colours against sheltered walls.
Village cafes painted white each year clutch cloth covered tables and dirty metal ashtrays. Cheap pasties fill the street with smells. Gulls in yellow webbed feet flit into the human world and whirl above anxious shoppers. Paul strides amongst the Gentiles on the beach and holds communion with himself in the salty air.
Hard backbreaking work on the beach at Maenporth. The summer wind blows through the green leaves of the shady avenue.
In the summer air we lie on the front grass taking our pleasure with the poor daises and drinking from mugs.

The gloom of a Victorian house is broken by the large wooden shutters that stay open deep into the evening. Bob Dylan turns on a Dansette and tells of time to come. I talked to a girl who had a small child. We passed through and out to eat in the canteen where Cornishwomen worked and Tony dates the supervisor. Tony was such a gentle soul, drank too much and loved music. We loved to paint.
We loved to paint and took our pleasure with pictures of the past. Angels of the Renaissance painted by a mathematician. Dark angels we were then.
Dead but in flowing clothes and long hair we lived for the pure air that came from beauty. We swam in the sea of life full of people like fish that pass in the murky waters.

Bob was black, medieval, passionate for buildings. Francis was an English country gentleman full of wit and humour. Peter talked of literature that nobody could ever hope to understand. Michael was the hapless principal, the captain of a ship without a wheel, a fighter pilot behind a desk. Hid in the wild land of Cornwall behind the fringed palms and wild lotus flowers of the grounds.

I lay in the ruins of my disbelief. Crabs climbed the pointed towers of my imagination in a gothic land of fantasy. My thoughts were like green emeralds glinting underwater in the warm sun and shallow sea.
I could not paint the world; the world dies.
I could not be a monk; I have no belief.
I could not die; I am afraid of death.
I could not live in the human world; everything is vanity.

Angels walked amongst the town invisible to men.
Unafraid of their bodies they love each other and have sex with a thousand wives.
They stand in the streams of life and are clothed in gold.
They hold the wheel of life in their hands as a harp which fills the world with celestial excitement. They grow wings and fly to the sun and beyond out into the limitless creation. They bow their heads towards the creator of all and live in His thoughts.

Churches become the temple of their love and perch like birds on the glowing pinnnacles. Jelly fish glisten in the evenings rays cast ruby red into the waters amongst the shore. Hammers ring in workshops making sculpture behind palm trees. A hanger full of white plaster shapes is testimony to one of Michaelangelos tormented souls.

No one loves the sinner. The poor of mankind that has no hope in the world of heaven. All mankind rushes to build the dark tower of despair, love and power.
Men turn into angels.

Sins dont come too soon. They learn to wait and hover around a life,
The day was grey and it was late summer. We put up our tent in the field on a hill, draped in army surplus chaplains stores. An alter cloth, some tasselled cushions and a new storm lamp sat upon a book. Into my piece of heaven came Jean, beautiful and oriental and upon my Afghan coat we slept.
The cathedral rose like a song from the green meadows of Wells, a ship of mystery. Around the hot day we climbed over hills and meadows, sweet hot breath of summer gently blowing across the scorched grass.
Ancient stone walls sweet with incense and as the day grew we went to evensong in all its Catholic glory. Adolescent choirs hid in the vaults, dead sins begin to rise to life again through the catacomb of my mind.
Transfixed I could not look to left or right
Transfixed I could not cry for help as I clung to my life,
It struggled to escape from my body.
Meanness, baseness, cruelty came to gaze back at me and I at them.
As my death approached they jumped free.
Floating, floating, floating out jumped my soul its taste and its vision the same.
Exquisiteness floating between the air; it touched the metal cross hung from my neck and destroyed the burden of my sins.
I gazed upon the world again and beauty was my friend.
I filled myself with breath and walked out into the world.
The world looked back at me and from the clouds came a parting beam of sunlight that was speaking just to me.
The catholic white lily, the Tibetan golden rose that grew from my spine and little petals of bliss uncurled scented flowers that day sat outside my tent.
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