30.4.20

The Great Silence

The Great Silence

This street of ageing neighbours 
is empty at the best of times. However –

The supermarket delivers (I order
online) the pharmacy too; my doctor 
is available to consult by phone.

The TV news keeps me abreast
of events; Netflix entertains me.

Friends text, or video chat;
poetry readings happen on Zoom;
the family communes by Facetime.

Altogether my life is little changed.
Until the 5G towers go down! 

Some people are glad, but for me
high risk, isolated, living alone …
now I am truly on my own.


No it's not true; they didn't go down. But for Day 30 of April 2020 at 'imaginary garden with real toads' we are are asked to imagine being out of communication with the rest of humanity. In pandemic lockdown, it's not hard to imagine just one more thing that could bring it about. (The poem is supposed to be the person's last words to the world. Given my scenario, perhaps these would have been written in a journal.)

Found poems from 'apostrophe'.

Found Poems from 'apostrophe'

Looking at the blog 'apostrophe', poetry by online friend 'Ellecee', I suddenly perceived that her archived list of titles made a series of 'found' micropoems. With her permission, here are those I perceived, with capital letters (traditional for titles) changed to lower case. (The poem I was reading when I noticed this is about taking a hot shower. I thought my first piece here was another way to describe that, and felt it needed a title of its own. It's not meant as a title for the whole series.)



Hot Shower

affusion
on my own
thermals
cabined

***

decisions
a parable
the plan

***

gift
delayed
warmth
remains

***

tales out of school
invisible 
voices

***

reflection
so be it

***

oblivious
fertility
tears laid waste

***

lament
annihilation
concurrent

***

a rake
my can’t

***

this Spring
streets
entrances


(Some work better than others. I wasn't going to use them all, but in the end I did, if only to show the glorious serendipity. I like best #3, #4 and #9.)

To be shared via Writers' Pantry #18 at Poets and Storytellers United. 

29.4.20

That does not come to an end …

That does not come to an end …

Soft light is
widening your 
eyes; don’t go until
I tell you one more
time how much those
eyes, their quickening
light, inspire me: so
wide, so luminously 
regarding me – as if
I am suddenly golden in 
your brightened sight, as
the last flare of sunset maybe, or
like new Spring flowers (let’s
say daffodils, or perhaps
buttercups) which I know you
would look for in your Northern
Hemisphere now … so tell me, do
you miss it badly, or could you
refrain from return, could
staying here with me become
a lasting light, a new vision, say,
oh say!


Written for Weekly Scribblings #17 at Poets and Storytellers United, where Sanaa invites us to use enjambment, i.e. 'a thought or sense, phrase or clause, in a line of poetry that does not come to an end at the line break, but moves over to the next line'.

Dear readers, this poem is not autobiographical! I was playing around to see if I could enjamb every line in a way that was not just chopped-up prose but poetically necessary, or at least effective ... and somehow it led to my doing a one-sentence poem, a form which I 'm particularly fond of. I had fun. I hope you think it worked.

Breathless

Breathless

Tense but expectant
that moment before
lift-off, 
the thrill before the thrill

(pause
clench
gather –
almost burst)

just before you detach, 
weightless, unbound, 
expanded, 
and soar.


















Written for April 2020 Day 29 at 'imaginary garden with real toads': 
This Is (Almost) The End, where we are invited to write of the moment before an ending; and  for #aprilwitchcraft Day 29 on Instagram: Flight (to accompany the photo).

(Perhaps this reads more like the moment before a beginning? Depends. The witch's broom might be a clue.)

28.4.20

A Good Man

A Good Man 
Gregory as Atticus 

Just what a girl wants in a father:
strong and handsome, wise and kind,
taking the time to talk and listen,
a man of truth and principle ...
just as the watching women want
in fantasy lover or real husband.
(It’s OK that he was troubled 
along the way — it made him real.)

Well done, to choose an actor 
who was, on the evidence, decent 
by and large, feet not thickly clay. 
The good words in that deep voice
continue to resonate. We can believe
in him and them. (Was it privately heavy,
the mantle of the fictional hero? Word is
he ended up a loved, happy grandpa.)


Written for Day 28 of April 2020 at 'imaginary garden with real toads': Harper Lee. We are asked to write 'on a theme, quote, character or personal experience related to To Kill a Mockingbird, in any form you choose'.

27.4.20

Tea from the Heart

Tea from the Heart

When you serve tea to your guests, you should simply serve tea from your heart, and think about nothing more. – Sen No Rikyu

My heart has a love
of roses, and of the sea.
This tea will be rich,
fragrant, sparkling,
with a deep colour.

My heart holds
trees and mountains:
the taste and aroma
of this tea will have you
breathe deep, gaze upward.

My heart is a place
of passion and freedom.
Are you sure you can 
stomach this tea?
It’s not for weaklings.


(Sorry, Sen No Rikyu, it seems I did need to do a bit of thinking, to ensure the wellbeing of my guests!)

This is the prompt for April 202, Day 27 at 'imaginary garden with real toads'.

26.4.20

The Moment of Change

The Moment of Change

‘The moment of change is the only poem’ — Adrienne Rich


But how do you pick the moment of change? 
Was it when the animal got infected?
When someone ate the infected animal?
When a cough left droplets to infect others?
When the doctor’s warning was ignored?
When travellers took the virus around the world?
When deaths climbed rapidly to thousands? 
When we all went into lockdown? When economies 
faltered: jobs, businesses, homes, incomes lost?

Or was it long ago, when we created planes? Boats?
Or earlier, when we started killing and eating animals?
Well, we always did that — so that puts 
the moment of change at the very, very beginning.
And perhaps that's true. Is change not, in fact,
a moment, but a continuum, a line, a progression? 
Not the only poem, but, as someone else said,
the only constant? And if so, does that make
the whole of history one long, ever-fluctuating poem?

It may be so. Or was the real moment of real change
after we stopped clogging the streets? Did it happen
when the first wallabies ventured into Australian towns,
or dolphins up the Venetian canals? When the world 
largely went quiet, and the creatures, hearing
that lack of mechanical roar and whine and clatter,
collectively waited, then dared hope? Was it 
the first instant one animal looked up — or a bird down — 
paused, and took a new, full, uncluttered breath?

Or is even that too soon to count? How shall we
truly be renewed? It’s only change if it lasts.
So can we, shall we program change —
not by default this time, but deliberately? What
would it take to make this strange new world
lasting? How can we catch it, hold it, stretch
this moment into the new future? Will we find 
the courage? Can those who govern us be so bold?
God, may I witness that moment, write that poem! 



Written in response to Reboot, Rewind, Recycle, Rebirth, Day 26 of April 2020 at 'imaginary garden with real toads'.

24.4.20

Leave It Stand


Please read first:

For April 2020, Day 25 at 'imaginary garden with real toads', we are asked to be inspired by Willard Asylum, New York, and the suitcases of patients' belongings left behind after it closed; and to write in the voice of someone 'full of 
personal emotion, sentiment, longing, confusion…' For the poignant images of suitcases and contents, see here.

I was captured by the fragment of a handwritten letter or note 
in one suitcase (on lined, yellow paper) – and how, although the first words were easy to decipher, the rest, and even the signature, were open to interpretation. 


This i
s not exactly a found poem; I've tampered with it a bit too much for that. Some of my variant verses could well be possible renditions of the original; with others I've taken a little licence to extend the concepts. I intend it as a sort of progression, albeit a confused one.

(Also shared at Poets and Storytellers United's Writers' Pantry #17.)


Leave it stand

leave it stand the
way it is until
I see the moon
about them
Jo

leave it stand the
way it is until
I see the moor.
o bent slam
J.

leave it stand the
way it is untild
I see the mess
about slam
‘Jo’

leave it stand the
way it is untold
I saw their moss
o burst slow
‘J.’


Leave it staid tho
may it is untile
I see this mess
about slim
'I'

leave it stand the
way it is untied
I saw the moor.
abrupt slam
I.


Home













Home

The sky, the sunlight, 
the water, the green earth — 
I live and move and breathe 
in the midst of this natural wonder
called the Mt Warning Caldera:
vast, ancient, fertile bowl
ringed by mountains and ocean,
surrounding that great central peak
where the light of dawn first touches 
my island continent: Australia.

I grew on a tinier island, southernmost
point of this land, almost a secret,
where lakes and prehistoric forests,
mountains and pristine coast,
still require trek or pilgrimage
from the most determined traveller
to arrive in unpeopled wilderness, struck 
by such magnificence it dwarfs you;
you want to bow down (perhaps you do)
thanking God, or Fate, or the Universe.

Later I crossed the Strait, found at length 
a treed suburb in a city by the sea, 
good place for raising children,
messing about in boats and libraries —
a base from which to travel
up the leafy, happy east coast, 
north to the steamy tropics, west
to a wilder ocean, or into the central desert
(full of flowers and birds that year, after rain)
with its one giant monolith.

This is a wondrous country! The first people
on earth lived here (don’t believe 
those tales that we began in Africa; here 
the Original People know better: I’ve studied 
their lore of the stars) and they still live 
here today — along with many others, 
arriving for conquest maybe; staying for love
of green earth or wide brown land (it's A Big
Country) of sparkling water, abundant sunshine,
and a quality of light seen only in this sky.


Written in response to April 2020, Day 24: Natural Wonders, at 'imaginary garden with real toads'. I intended to write only about the area where I now live, but couldn't stop until I'd included the whole country! I thought of calling it 'Sacred Land' – but aren't they all? The Earth is sacred; I wish that was more widely understood.


Notes


A Big Country was a much-loved, long-running (1968-1991) TV documentary exploring Australian rural life.

Artists (and others) have remarked on the wonderful quality of the light in Australia, even in winter, found nowhere else.


Stella Whieldon on Origine' Cultural Star Lore.

Image: Fair Use.

23.4.20

Regarding the Bard

Regarding the Bard

I like to think Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare.
Genius alights where it will, oblivious of rank
or even education. In fact, you can probably bet,
wherever it lands will be somehow ‘unsuitable’.

He was good at observing human foibles –
and, being of fairly humble condition, most likely
observed them first in himself, or at least
the latent possibilities. After all, haven’t we all

ached with Romeo’s idealised teenage lust,
or Miranda’s naive romantic dreams?
Who has not sometimes plotted revenge,
envied power, longed to live free in a forest?

Or been torn apart by bossy parents and elders
like poor old Hamlet – who really just wanted
to get back to Uni., have a good time, and be
damned to duty. Shakespeare wrote it down.

And he knew he had to make it entertaining,
so he put in bawdy jokes, lots of blood and gore,
and all sorts of farcical mistakes and mishaps.
He had a theatre to run and players to pay.

He knew how to twang on the heartstrings:
how to make ‘em laugh and make ‘em cry
with words, with spectacle, with stories.
For his own heart, look elsewhere.

In the plays he will show you yourself; as well as
your family, friends, enemies, lovers. Also, disguised,
the bosses, rich and powerful, who lord it over you. 
(Fools, knaves, or heroes; deal with what you get.)

But look to the sonnets, the personal thoughts, 
the inner reflections and questionings, 
lone confessionals of desire, love, pain ...
if you seek to meet the true Will Shakespeare.


Written for April 2020, Day 23: The Bard at 'imaginary garden with real toads'.

22.4.20

In Praise of the Dandelion


In Praise of the Dandelion

"A fresh and vigorous weed, always renewed and renewing, it will cut 
its wondrous way through rubbish and rubble." William Jay Smith


















I love the happy dandelion.
I loved it as a child,
blowing seeds for wishes;
and today I love 
the cheerful yellow faces
all over my lawn.

I hate to have them mown –
only I can’t let the grass
grow long and fill with peril
(snakes or mosquitos).
Why can’t they bloom, welcome, 
in my garden beds instead?

My Dad used to like
cooking and eating the leaves.
Healthy! But to me 
their tang was strong, too bitter.
I’d rather leave them
to feed the bees.

They grow alongside 
clover and daisies:
companionable, mingling.
They have a merriment
and yes, a toughness.
Also they always say Spring.


Image from Pexels: CC0 License Free for personal and commercial use. No attribution required.

In April 2o20, Day 22 at 'imaginary garden with real toads', the archived prompt, Poets of April, asks us to be inspired by lines from one of several poets born in this month.

It's serendipitous that this date is Earth Day, and I'm not only celebrating dandelions but also deciding to nourish bees.