The Raven's Story

Gift of Sight

by Robert Graves

I had long known the diverse tastes of the wood,
Each leaf, each bark, rank earth from every hollow;
Knew the smells of bird’s breath and of bat’s wing’
Yet sight I lacked: until you stole upon me,
Touching my eyelids with light finger-tips.
The trees blazed out, their colours whirled together,
Not ever before had I been aware of sky.

When I read this poem by Robert Graves, I had a vision flash in my head that was so full of imagery it gave me a headache. Sounds a bit silly but there it was. That one quick flash stayed with me for weeks and I started wondering about the poem’s characters. I was utterly fascinated with the idea of “knowing the diverse tastes of the wood”. It sounds so private and carnal. The fire in his eyes (I do think its a him), and the new way the world looked and smelled after this encounter. It intrigued and grabbed my attention.

Whenever I had a few moments, I started writing short sketches of the characters as I imagined them. Then I wrote a few short scenes to explore their world. It kept growing from there and its now about 10 rough chapters.

In the first scene I wrote, my main character, Neith, buys a cottage from her ex-boyfriend, Emrys. He stops by her newly acquired cottage and drops off a heavy envelope, telling her its part of the legacy of the house, the envelope and its contents now her responsibility. When she opens it, she finds a number of items, including an ancient pennanular pin. The piece was made of copper, the broken circle was a roughly formed Celtic braid. The pin had been wrought with more care and was clearly a raven. One wing flew high and hooked around the braid, securing the pin. The raven in flight filled the circle, his sharp beak ready to bite into a heavy woollen cloak.

This pin visual also stuck in my head and it slowly turned into “Raventwist” and I began my journey of rebranding “Rocky Mountain Dyeworks”.

I will be posting The Raven’s Story here, a new section every couple of weeks. Read along, send comments if you have any, and let me know what you think.