findingtimetowrite

Thinking, writing, thinking about writing…

Archive for the tag “poetry”

The Goat: dVerse Poets Photo Prompt

Intriguing, unusual and slightly nightmarish… the photos by Phyllis Galembo of masks and rituals are an anthropologist’s treasure trove. Anthony Desmond over at dVerse Poets is encouraging us to use one of those pictures as a prompt for exploring our own masks and underlying boldness. For me, the image below evokes an annual Romanian New Year’s tradition known as CapraThe Goat Dance.

Water Buffalo Devil in Africa

Water Buffalo Devil in Africa

‘Vine capra, vine capra!’

We waited in vain, my cousins and I. There was no goat dance for us that night.

They came in the morning, in the ice-encrusted dawn hours.

‘It gets earlier every year,’ grumbled Uncle Ilie.

But he shrugged on his sheepskin coat and went to open the gates.

The yard filled with men, stamping, drumming.

A squeaky accordeon player stood a little aside to avoid the kicks,

the prancing, the clattering jaws of the goat.

They spoke words we could not fathom, sense now lost, left only rhyme.

Caught up in frenzy of voices, we waved our arms like windmills, tried to catch

the gauzy frills or greasy kid fur,

tried to match it jump for jump,

little knowing that the devils we were chasing

were far too deep within.

 

The Sound of Rain

rainI cannot stop the rain

it pours straight into me

through lightly-stabbed holes in my clingfilm.

 

I despise the British drizzle,

that mealy-paced drip

of convictions skin-deep.

There are obvious parallels

with acknowledged tear drops,

cycle of perdition, repetition, hum-drum…

Give me bursts of whip-flash

boil over gurgling of resentments

in fierce downpours

drops as big as fistfuls

punching to my gut to bring back

the smell of paddy fields,

that eternal wombish damp.

 

rainstormBe Latin! Uncontained! Dramatic!

Misunderstood                 theatre                 maligned

Be a storm of epic sounds:

sudden, surprising, outrageous!

Stop being

safe gully to the stars.

New Poetic Forms: The Hum-Along

We’re having a DIY moment over at the dVerse Poets Pub. Gay Reiser Cannon has us creating our own poetic form, which is quite an ask for someone like me who mostly shuns rhyme and meter. So I have cheated a little bit… but other contributors haven’t, so their work is certainly worth checking out.

But it’s a Friday, it’s been a tough week, so, ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce you to The Humble Hum-Along! This is something I do quite regularly, usually because I don’t know all the words of a song. I make up my own words to fit the tune and the beat (especially of the chorus), a bit like scat singing in jazz, but with words that make some sense. Hang on a second, maybe that’s not all that original – some people call that song-writing…!

Anyway, here’s the song I keep hearing on the radio and whose rhythm has influence my poetry today:

 

Rustle after Rain – Hum-along

Birds wake shy

getting stronger all the while

persistent chirrup stands out

but the girls ignore him…

Go out in strong air

turn your pages in deep peace

pause between the bursts of song

don’t compare to others

don’t compare to others…

 

 

 

My First Pub Night and Animal Poem

I am very honoured and pleased to be hosting my first session behind the bar at the dVerse Poets Pub today. Feel free to join me there for an animal-themed poetry session (and link your own animal poetry if you feel inspired).

ZozoBlankieThere are two reasons for this animal theme: first, it is Poisson d’Avril (the fish which the French use to trick you on April Fools’ Day). Secondly and more selfishly, I cannot get enough of singing the praises of my lovely recently-adopted cat. Today is her (approximate) birthday: we think she is roughly two years old. It has been my lifelong desire to have a cat, always thwarted by parents, landlords, spouses, travel and international moves. But my patience has been rewarded with the sweetest, most affectionate cat in the world. Even though she does bring in an occasional lizard or bird…

 

At night a cat purrs me to oblivion

with rhythmic chant she kneads my mind

wet nose nestled in my blanket

she slows my needs and wants right down

mistress of silent companionship

she asks nothing, no rush to judge or refute

listens with pupils like pools of ancient knowledge.

 

I live scarcely aware of the encroachment of loneliness

until the tinkle of her arrival signals comfort

that small paw of trust

nuzzling the crook of my arm

her hunting instincts quelled for the moment

bloodthirst slaked in the wish to be loved.

Celebrating the Colours of Spring

We’ve a wonderful prompt over at dVerse Poets today, namely the richly colourful pictures of Sunita Khedekar. Her lush dream landscapes, tinged with an Indian mythological sensibility, are the best way to celebrate the coming of Spring. And it is coming, isn’t it? You can find more of Sunita’s work here and you can read some of the other poems inspired by her paintings here.

Happy Tree by Sunita Khedekar

Happy Tree by Sunita Khedekar

Happy List and Happy Trees

What makes me happy?

Let me list away!

Things you cannot pay

things you seek words for and poof!

they vanish when you find them.

View of mountains after weeks of cloud cover

that first gasp of air on a cold morning

puffing away at dandelion clocks

naming clouds lying back on freshly mown grass

to hell with the grass stains

bless my tail with my sons’ giggles

setting the world aright with old friends, whom you can still trust to think and feel like you

finding a new favourite book or author

music to match my moods

And the list expands with love and laughter

to be examined on dark days

to be etched in every movement, word and smile.

And yes, indeed, trees make me happy

their wisdom of renewal

yet

those lists are made, are chopped off trees

so maybe trees are not so happy…

 

The Seeker (Attempt at Micropoetics)

Cable Land at CERN

Cable Land at CERN

When you find the restless boson

touch it gently in the depth

seek the wonder ever further

beyond the forest prose of cables.

Micropoetry of 140 characters or less is being served in conjunction with macro photography over at dVerse Poets Pub. Join us and have a look!

Last Snow of the Season

Endless purgatorial descent,
I burn and twist and stop again.
No silent bliss here, no chase of thrills.
The pleasing swish is watered down.
Nothing effortless about this glide:
My feet disgraced in strange contortions.
I will them left and they swing right.
I merely linger through the motions.

Snow in Switzerland

An older poem today, as I’ve been busy all week skiing with my children during the half-term holidays. Intense, hard work (on all sides), but ultimately I hope it will have been worth it!

On Waking Up at Night

Nighttime

Nighttime

My nightmare begins in the sweetest of ways

exploratory conversation, a joke, a slant glance     then I wake up

warmed instead of chilled

at the thought of carefree happiness I believed lost.

So I learn to crave that wholesome feeling.

What if it never appears again on my horizon?

Imagine the gape, the void          the want

all the missing in one laugh, a gentle touch to mark a word.

In the dark I hear a breath

or several

enslaving me

do you see a way out?

Who can quite explain why

the landscape before and after seems endless and bleak?

Will I ever experience emotion again

outside of my dreams?

I think not. So night fears

hurt me less than these joyous snatches of dreamscape.

It’s almost bearable - please believe me -

it’s just the waking

from delicious dreams on a foggy winter morning

or seeing plans go to waste in the dark.

Another wintery and not very cheerful poem to link up to dVerse Poets Open Link Night. For more cheerful and interesting responses, please check out the other poets posting there tonight. The theme is ‘gifts’ and the most precious gift for me has been people’s responses to my writing over the past two years.

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!

Untethered or Not – Writing Poetry in Class

In one of the poetry workshops I attended at the Geneva Writers Conference, we were encouraged to allow our minds to amble aimlessly like a camel, to allow words to come to us. Here is my result (on a topic which is obviously becoming a bit of an obsession with me). I am linking it to dVerse Poets’ much-loved and always interesting Open Link Night, which should be starting this evening (European time).

The straitjackets of corporates I seek to embellish

with jewel-coloured scarves.

The coffin-planks of business jargon I scrape on emery boards

to soften with a smile.

Within the gnarl of strategic progression I untangle

a few words that buzz

- raw and angry – Swiss army knives shredding my pocket

they clamour for rebirth

shimmering Morganas, outside and beside their utilitarian desert.

I undress them

watch them shiver

hear them groan and misbehave.

Done with coaxing I am cruel.

Beseech no more I point the way.

Take no prisoners, gloves are off.

Photo credit: Newsjournal/Kelly Jordan

Photo credit: Newsjournal/Kelly Jordan

Yet their world of cloned rabbits have leeched me out of colour.

Discipline is my undoing.

My words jump through endless monochrome hoops

how they conform

how they confirm

docility is taking over the circus.

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