Sometimes it seems you’re stuck in a place or a situation and can’t get out. There don’t seem to be any doors to open onto new possibilities and there don’t seem to be any windows, either, to cast any light on the situation.
It’s all brick walls.
But I was brought up in a London suburb, in an area where all the houses were built of red brick, so bricks remind me of home.
I can see the beauty of a wall built from modern London bricks: the bricks store the heat of the sun and are warm to the touch; the surface texture isn’t polished, but it’s not rough enough to feel aggressive.
Even when the wall is clearly blocking all progress, I think there can be something attractive about it.
When I lived in Madrid, the brick buildings triggered nostalgia that crept into my poetry.
The colours were uplifting:
[See] how the sun’s last rays
melt terracotta bricks and set their tints adrift to paint the sky
The texture and warmth were comforting:
As the sun goes down,
and breath comes easily again,
leaning against red brick I feel
day slip into night.
I’ve been back in the UK for many years now, and the familiar solidity of red brick remains a comfort. With their irregularity of colour and contour, old brick walls are even more beautiful than the modern ones.
And, sometimes, even if all around you there are brick walls and no way out, it’s worth taking a moment to see what else there is that’s worth noticing in the space where you are confined.