It will all come out in the wash – 2013

Washing in the Seasonsweb

Washing in the Seasons

Air and Light, just exposed to the air and the light

The damp but fresh air of Spring, the smell of washing which was rinsed in the rain
The almost iron-hot clothes on a high Summer’s line.
The cool linen which was picked a little too late on an Autumn evening.
And the almost hard wash still smelling heavenly of a Winter line.

Putting clothes on the line is sometimes a readjustment of the elements, never mind the gale, the frost, the discolouring shine; someone is determined to draw a line.

How do you picture your soul?

Le vent devient visible
Le vent, la vie
Le rafraîchi, le blanchi

Je voyais l’âme
Comme un carré de tissu blanc
Tâché parfois
Mais toujours
Rafraîchi, blanchi

Quelque chose entre un ange et un lange.

When I was a child I pictured the soul as a white cloth, it could be stained, it could always be refreshed and cleansed.

But the trap we also see & Norway

My first step was taking these two photographs, one in 2001, in Cambridge from my kitchen window, the other in 2002 in Norway. Only when thinking about the exhibition did I feel I wanted to associate them. I struggled to know why I wanted to, so I looked for words, someone else’s words. The Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa gave me something but I was asked why not my own words and tried. I wrote a first poem "Never ending". I exchanged email with Julie Coimbra, another CamIris member and she sent me an Armenian poem called “It’s no secret” which made me realise that I had not told the whole story and I wrote again "I saw my Soul in the Washing Line".

I was asked to say more about the yearning I alluded to. So I wrote notes, half in English half in French, to write another poem. That night, I had lots of apparently unrelated nightmares and in the morning I wrote "Hologramme" in French and then a text about
seduction to which I gave no name. I could see the story unfolding but was not at all sure which text really belonged to the pictures.

I knew the friend I photographed could help me, so I called her and after our conversation I wrote the text to match the pictures "Fly in the storm and in the breeze". I liked the sequence but the text about seduction read like an accusation and if it spoke for me it was incomplete. More conversations and more dreams helped me to bring the two ideas within one realm: wanting and refusing in one person with or without tension from the outside world and I wrote "Désir et Amour : une danse".

Here is the sequence.

Fernando Pessoa

A lavadeira

A lavadeira no tanque
Bate roupa em pedra bem.
Canta porque canta e é triste
Porque canta porque existe;
Por isso é alegre também.

Ora se eu alguma vez
Pudesse fazer nos versos
O que a essa roupa ela fez,
Eu perdeira talvez
Os meus destinos diversos.

Há uma grande unidade
Em, sem pensar nem razão,
E até cantando a metade,
Bater roupa em realidade...
Quem me lava o coração?

The Washerwoman

The washerwoman
Beats the laundry
Against the stone in the tank.
She sings because she sings and is sad
For she sings because she exists:
Thus she is also happy.

If I could once do in verses
What she does with laundry,
Perhaps I would lose
My surfeit of fates.

There is tremendous unity
Of beating laundry in reality,
Singing songs in whole or in part
Without any thought or reason!
But who will wash my heart?

Margot Krebs Neale

Never Ending

Never ending
Going round
In circles
Of washing
And sorting
To wash again
My friend

Is it women’s life?
Is it rewarding?
Is it boring?
All of these
And more

Does it refresh you?
Renew you?
Cleanse your spirit?
And then
And again
The heart is weary
Ready to be
Washed and aired again

Medaksé (1926 – )

Medaksé was born Medaksé Poghosian in Artik, Armenia. One of Armenia’s most prominent poets and translators, she sings of the ‘beauty, the pain, and the pleasures of love’. Her widely-translated verse has won a series of prizes in Armenia, including the prestigious Movses Khorenatsi Medal, the country’s highest award in the fields of culture and the arts.
Translated from the Armenian by Diana Der-Hovanessian

Your laundry, like your life, has shrunk
to a small mound in a tiny basin.
And what about your heart? You hide it
but, believe me, everyone can read
and see no man lives inside this house
by glancing at the waving linens on the line.

Every wash has its own biography and reveals
the people in a house, their size,
their taste, even what they love.

And on your balcony the story
flaps and unflaps in the wind,
a story with no man’s shirt, pajamas,
or jeans beside the feminine apparel.
A widowed wash snaps in the wind and telegraphs:
no one is cared for here.

Do the wooden pins pinch your nerves,
squeezing out, and emphasizing loss.
The wind blows the virginal white
wares and slaps them toward the rails.
Your nightgown limply hung comes to life
As if this were its only chance,
as if the flowers on its hem try
to be dipped again in light.
And your dress, crazed by the gale,
has wound its arm around and around
the line as if to cling to something
that fate would rob it of,
by dashing it, again, again,
against the wall.

Margot Krebs Neale

I saw my soul in a washing line

I wanted the airy, white, perfect setting for my heart
The white square damask napkins,
Perfectly pure in the light,
And the breeze of being fully alive
Free, free, free
Staring at the blaze of what you want
The slope of the land, the direction of the light
The eyes you meet
All saying “go”
And your heart saying “hold on”

Hold on to the line
And keep very still
Your heart is divided
With the wind or with the trees?

With the rope
Holding in tension between two pillars
And offering to the wind and to the light
The perfectly white dreams
The genuine purity of all desires
Just keep still
And hold it
That yearning,
Meet it with a level heart
A heart which can soar as a whole
Not in part
Then you can meet
Firm on your feet
The ordinariness of mixed-colour washing
New crisp clothes with old and worn
More worldly, less magic
But real

Fold and put away
When it is ready to be folded and put away


Parlons de la force de ce désir
Suffisante pour
Qu’à m’y opposer
Je sois entraînée
Dans l’irréalité
Dans la fuite
Dans la déconnexion
Du monde autour de soi
Qu’est la psychose

Revenons au désir explosif

J’ai tenté de le contrôler
Je me suis accrochée
Au fil
Et il n’a pas craqué
Déjà je n’écoutais plus
Meme un phrase liée
A ce regard d’union
Le regard disait « Oui »
Le reste « Non ».

Je suis allée
Oui, repasser une chemise de John
Redonner avec patience
Et concentration
Un ordre appliqué
Imposer calmement
Un maintien
Au tissu
Lui donner forme
Le faire carapace
Et par delà le vêtement
Restaurer un ordre des choses
Retrouver le statu quo
Et non rester dans le qui pro quo.

Non au qui pro quo du désir
Ce désir d’un homme précis
N’était lui-même
Pas si clair
Etait-il celui du père ?
Celui de l’Homme
Celui du Masculin
En moi

Celui de la fusion
Avec cet homme
Avec Dieu
Avec le Cosmos
Avec le Tout
Avec la mort ?

La mort
Ou l’amour plus fort que la peur
L’amour qui choisit
Le vivable
Le paisible
L’unité sans cassure
Au prix
Des passions
Au prix
De la déraison.

Puis étape
Par étape
A regarder
Comme on regarde un hologramme
Facette par facette
Avec les lunettes de l’éducation
Les lunettes des autres
Les mots des autres
Et accepter d’être frustrée
Mais savoir que l’on va persevérer
De voile en voile
Pour s’exposer
Dans SA vérité
Avec SES mots
Et voir
Et dire que ce que l’on veut
Si fort
A mort
Etre tout
Etre toute
Tout vivre
Le désir
Et la loyauté
La tension
Et la beauté
Le calme
Et la duplicité
Pour finir
Par oser
La vérité

La vérité comme on peut l’exprimer
La vérité avec les mots du moment
La vérité en devenir.

Fly in the storm and in the breeze

Fly, fly knowing there is a home to fly back to
Fly knowing you are free and loved
Fly in the storm and in the breeze
Fly with strength and fly with ease

Sister, you are free
And therefore you make me free
Sister I love you
And you love me

I can talk to you
You will speak if you want to
Or you won’t
But your voice is always friendly

We agree
That linen is beauty
Cleanliness cathartic
But the trap we also see

Our freedom sets the standard
The time is what we give
The degree of cleanliness
The result

It is clean because
Cleanliness is beautiful
Cleanliness is comfortable

But we also like
Other smells beyond that of washing powder.

Désir et Amour : une danse

Le désir est une tension
Un mouvement en avant
Mais le plus souvent
Il n’est pas sans complications

La séduction
Ne connaît pas ces tergiversations
La séduction demande
Ce que l’autre essaye de ne pas donner

Le but de la séduction
Est de faire pencher la balance
Pour gagner
De jouer sur les fragilités
Les attentes conscientes
Ou pas

De jouer sur le désir
Non pour le comprendre
Ou le satisfaire
Mais pour le susciter
Comme manifestation
Du pouvoir
Du savoir
De l’habileté
Du charmeur

Qui est charmeur ?
Qui est charmé ?
Dans un désir partagé
Faut-il se taire ?
Faut-il parler ?
Afin de ne pas exploser

Et si
Nous élargissions le faisceau du désir
En profondeur
Et en largeur
Mieux regarder pourquoi on aime
Mais aussi Qui on aime

Travailler à passer du désir à l’amour
L’aimer lui
Et tout ce qui fait sa vie
Quand la lumière
Va plus loin
Et plus large
Elle n’éblouit plus
Elle éclaire.

On peut trouver
Une unité
Légère et intense
Innocente et satisfaisante
Dans un message clair
Et assumé
Sinon parlé

Qui sent la fleur
Ne la ceuille pas toujours
Un pas de danse
Est une harmonie
Une grace
Une manifestation d’unité
Proposée et acceptée
Dans la légereté
Et si elle est intense
Elle n’est qu’une danse.