findingtimetowrite

Thinking, writing, thinking about writing…

Archive for the tag “poem”

Life Happens Most When You Aren’t Looking

For dVerse Poets Pub tonight, the prompt is to write about the things that happen while we’re not paying attention, the small things in the corner of our eyes, half-glimpsed. I based my poem upon my almost unhealthy obsession with sneaking a peek at other people’s bookshelves.

Tales of the Unexpected Reader

??????????Loitering with Father Dirt,

in her bookcase I pick up

random titles, authors brittle, dead,

their fame clinging like heavy wet sand

to her hesitant words.

Blue Nights with a grain of sand

I assemble in her silence.

Genji winks at Kafka when

they witness my quick fumble, sorry mess.

Who are they to judge the

81 Austerities between women and men?

Mother Love

Can’t take my eyes off you

compact form

rubicund cheeks

biggest mischief-eyes

your bounce in every step.

From the spectators’ gallery at the gym

I pour all my love my admiration

I’d even adore, if that weren’t so embarrassing…

But only at a distance…

As long as you don’t speak, never whine,

when your mouth does not form into stubborn slit

as long as no grumble rumbles in our umbilical cord

as long as you stay unmarred and perfect.

Inspired by gym galas, Yummy Mummys and scruffy ones like me…

Linked to the Open Link Night fun over at dVerse Poets, where we are discussing passion over form this week. Well, my son is passionate about his trampolining, but his form… Still, in my eyes, he is the best competitor out there!

The Birthing Pangs of a Poem

I’ve got an issue with privacy. I’ve never liked open plan offices, I don’t like people coming into my study at home, I don’t like showing my work in progress. Psychologists may see a link there with the fact that my mother read my diaries and opened my letters when I was a teenager. I just call it personal space: I’m happy for those around me to have theirs, and hope they will allow me mine. So it’s unusual for me to show you a first draft, but I thought it would be interesting (for a later version of me too, perhaps) to see how my poetic mind works. This is still too explicit, personal and verbose. It leaves nothing to the imagination. It was written after a rather frantic weekend alone with the children. I will come back with an edited, perhaps even a final version and would welcome any suggestions for improvement.

It’s been a day of shouting

Coffee-ad family picture frayed and curled,

burnt up in blood-hot temper.

Sullen moods, sulk and whine, heave and lift

of bone-breaker words:

careless second of uttering,

then a lifetime of regret.

It’s been another day of failing…

my children, my ideal, myself

and all the compensatory cakes I bake

turn to sand in our mouths.

I’m left chasing words on empty beaches,

finding other people’s discarded treasures

more plentiful than shells.

I pick up a conch and pour my anguish in its ear.

I pour all my inadequacy into a jar,

screw on the jam-stained lid so tight

then fling it back into a sea just lukewarm.

So my poems are merely turgid,

my thoughts piddling, my family average.

We muddle on and on,

imperfect and random

victims of illusions

drunk on lost words.

I’m linking this to dVerse Poets Pub, a friendly community of poets who support and help each other.

Friday Escapism

Take me far away from here, in landscapes and places which make me dream.

snowboarding-skiing-moutain-snow

Mont Blanc? Not sure of source – happy to attribute correctly.

 

 

P1010604

Greece – August full moon.

Lake Geneva from Montreux.

Lake Geneva from Montreux.

 

Garden of the 5 Senses, Yvoire.

Garden of the 5 Senses, Yvoire.

Finally, to quote Borges, I always imagined paradise to be a library rather than a garden.

From weheartit.com

From weheartit.com

There is a poem in there somewhere, if only I had time to find it…

 

 

Where Are We Now?

This song by David Bowie from his latest album ‘The Next Day’ always has me in tears.  Not because it is a love song, but because it talks about Berlin past and present.  Berlin has always exerted a powerful fascination over me, because it is a symbol of more than one dictatorship.  I visited it back in the days when it was a very sad, divided town. [Incidentally, a journalist friend of mine at the time said that nearly all major cities starting with a B are heading towards destruction and unhappiness: Beirut, Belfast, Belgrade, Bucharest...]

Berlin, Germany

Berlin, Germany (Photo credit: OSU Special Collections & Archives : Commons)

Of course, Berlin is no longer gloomy and schizophrenic. It has become the trendy place to be for creatives and young families. Yet this song reminds me that the revolution we hoped to achieve in Eastern Europe – and which entailed quite a bit of human sacrifice  ‘walking the dead’, as Bowie puts it –  was supposed to be about more than having more consumer choice or becoming trendy.  It was about starting over, about being brave and honest, about establishing new ways of thinking and listening to each other,  a new kind of culture.  Where are we now?  Very far from all that.

So this is a very long-winded introduction to this draft of a poem that I wrote – am still writing –  for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night, based on this idea of a failed revolution. But then, perhaps all revolutions are doomed to fail.

That night we bade farewell to fear.

Tanks and bullets became real.

No game.

No bystanders.

Fences fell.

A few days later when we buried

the old regime,

we thought we’d given birth

to hope.

flagWe drove down roads in whooping glee

waving cut-out flags.

Fists pumping in air so cold

we knew we could cut it

into purest blocks

to conserve that moment and our courage

forever.

Then start afresh.

Breathless with hope,

giddy with joy,

there was no wall we could not climb,

no paths we could not forge.

How we dared dream.

Till undergrowth smothered us.

Effortless Despair

Effortlessly limber she entered

His room, his mind, and the rest

She appropriated, triaged, rejected

With cool gherkin competence.

Neglected to fashion belief in his eyes –

Best leave him to wonder and finally mourn.

She entered, effortlessly limber,

And impoverished us all.

 

Finally I make it in time for Open Link Night over at dVerse Poets Pub – one of the friendliest and most talented community of poets I have seen online.  Or in person.

We Didn’t Start the Fire…

It’s taken me nearly a week to chew over this one, so apologies for my slow reactions, dVerse Poets Pub.  

On the 9th of MarchBrian Miller and Gretchen Leary suggested two different types of prompts.  One was to ask someone to give you a few words to incorporate into a poem – but my own family came up with such delightful combinations as ‘poohead’, ‘smosh-smosh’ and ‘supercalifragilistic’, so I soon gave up on that one.  The second was to think of a seminal song from when we were growing up and I instantly thought of Billy Joel’s ‘We didn’t start the fire’.  So, for the past few days I’ve been trying to add a few verses to that song, to bring it up to date.  This has been far more difficult than I thought! [Perhaps I will write another time a post about the difference between hard-working form or imitation versus spontaneous poetic outburst.]  In the end, my rhymes and verbal verve are not quite up to the original, but here goes:

 

One day like this or a few weeks of medal fever, cheering loud,

Being nice, a good sport, no rain falling from our cloud.

Dontcha feel unsisterly vibes at work or when you raise your child?

If you’re poor, endure the jibes, you’re universally reviled!

 

People killed every day at the click of a mouse,

Together we are forced to stay, shore up the value of our house…

Celtic Tiger lost his roar, gulf in Spain is golf no more,

Pension plans are sinking down, bankers screwing everyone.

Gladiator, Amelie, turned all blue in Avatar.

Lucky we can drive away in our silent Prius car.

 

We didn’t start the fire

It was always burning

Since the world’s been turning

US is divided nation, tsunami and radiation,

Greeks protest austerity, nought left for posterity.

I don’t know where to  turn -  is there anything left to burn?

We didn’t start the fire

No we didn’t light it

But we tried to fight it

Next Time You Apply, Bring Your Weapons

CVPileThe next time you pin out your life on paper

in butterfly sprawl –  for all to finger and paw…

tread cautiously upon the buzzwords,

prepare courteously for the skewer.

 

Next time they ignore or reject you,

call you Mr. Annie if they remember your name,

when they boast of hundreds of outstanding applications…

feel the low tide of stand-in, a has-been, intently dim.

 

Next time they invite you to look in their eyes,

bring out the weapons, the fake and the true.

Though barbs pierce you dearly and scar tissues tighten

to scour your heart, build up bile, rot and decay.

Though you long to cauterise wounds in sheer lava,

As layer by layer they strip you of pride, esteem and hope.

 

Next time…

Curse them softly.

But don’t melt to brine.

Don’t  let them define you.

Don’t you dare fall pigeon

into their hole.

 

Join me at the Open Link Night over at dVerse Poets Pub to enjoy many fine poems and some delicious company.

Cautious

pills-bottles-photoYou fear meningitis with each stiffening joint.

You understand colitis at its intricate extreme.

Tachycardia is no stranger to your medicated bliss,

doctors are your allies, your mirrors and your envy.

Advice you dispense freely, with countless cups of tea,

lashings of lemon and honey to soothe throats.

So prudent, so careful

you inch your way across

the very same finishing line

that others flash on by.

What I Never Was

I never was my mother          except

when I distort the truth and tell

strange tales that no one else can fit

in nor recognise nor believe.

I never will be my mother

but when I feel that vice is gripping              whispering

‘bereft of friends’

I wonder: is that an echo of her whingeing?

No reflection of my mother              except

grey-peppered hair, turgid jaw,

or does my voice harshen when I offer

praises lethally counterpointed with ‘but’?

We are strangers on drifting shores

each other’s greatest disappointment.

Yet darkness floods us both alike.

If we could mention it

there might be hope.

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