Time for a little poetry: Playing Tiddlywinks

I see two girls, now women, who smile at others

Never at me

Who sour with life’s quick cherry passing

Go off like milk in my refrigerator door

One drip in my tea, no guests to pour out for.

 

They reverberate like echoes in the stillness of my parlour.

This is a neighbourhood of cats, no barking

No worries about leaving us alone all day

Often all night too

In hungry expectation.

 

They bring up corpses and track invitations

In the name of reciprocity

Accountancy, curation, careful recitation of moments and pictures

Togetherness invited

Competition launched, jaws that bite

 

Claws that snatch

Rewrite my story, meekness a grievous flaw,

Passivity, worse – stupidity,

Made to pay,

Trampled to shame

With a flick of a finger.

Free picture courtesy of Pixabay.

Definitions

Love is…

Reading each other newspaper tidbits until noon

Lingering over fresh-baked bread you did not have to fetch yourself

Making fresh coffee just the way you like it

Stretch and laugh, share opinions,

Sometimes crisscross, spar, advance, retreat,

But never interrupt

Or hold forth counter-Napoleon.

Then we clean up the table, go back to our work,

Maybe a spot of gardening, jam-preserving,

Equally well a poem might get written

A picture or photo now framed.

Having drunk from our wells of separate being

We can meet again for a walk on the hills

Gathering mushrooms or stopping to exclaim

Over wildlife hoofmarks

Or cloud patterns and airplane trails

As we shuffle on

Hand in hand towards

The welcoming, song-filled forest.

Tomorrow and Ever After

Tomorrow I will sit demurely
just wrestle words to the ground
with a flicker of my lashes
flash of sopweed from the Bard.

Tomorrow my characters will come alive,
fight each other, bicker, woo.
Plotholes will hang their grimey faces,
poems stop barking at the moon.

Tomorrow I’ll use post-its in coloured gradations,
fill spreadsheets and schedules, submit with method.
Each sapling of wisdom, each stray pun I will corral
till the day after arrives with a thud.

Portrait of a Poet, by Palma Vecchio. From Google Art Project.

Book Haul April 2017: Making Up for Lost Time

For the first three months of the year, I was on a book-buying ban, loosely participating in the TBR Double Dog Dare challenge on James Reads Books blog. I didn’t quite get to read that many from my TBR pile because a lot of ARCs came in for review, but by and large I managed to resist book buying temptations, with the exception of Lyon. However, since that was right on the last day of March, I consider that a success!

From griffith.edu.au

Since then, I may have succumbed *a little* to book splurges. I blame FictionFan for not bestowing her Queen of Willpower Medal on me! I blame Tony for sharing a picture on Twitter of his lovely Japanese novellas from Strangers Press, based at Norwich University. You too can get them here: Keshiki – New Voices from Japan. I also blame the other Tony for his rant about the Best Translated Book Award shortlist for ordering Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lúcio Cardoso, translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson (Brazil, Open Letter Books). Neither of these two orders have arrived yet, so I can fool myself that there will still be room on the shelves for them.

However, when I tell you that the 25 vintage Penguin classics which I ordered from World of Rare Books are still patiently lined up by the desk, awaiting shelving, you will realise that I may have overdosed on books recently.

But how could I resist a special offer on the Penguins – a surprise bundle of 25 titles? It was mostly the orange fiction series (John Wyndham, Somerset Maugham, Nancy Mitford, Charlotte Bronte), but there were also a few greens (crime fiction by Christianna Brand, Holly Roth and Erle Stanley Gardner) and some unusual finds, such as Passages from Arabia Deserta, a sort of travelogue/anthropological study by Victorian travelling gentleman Charles M. Doughty; a biography of G. K. Chesterton by Maisie Ward;a strange little genre-straddling memoir by Richard Jefferies The Story of My Heart, which looks like a prose poem with wood engravings by Gertrude Hermes; two novels about the British Empire in India by now-forgotten novelist (and former colonel) John Masters; and a book by Peter Wildeblood Against the Law, ‘a first-hand account of what it means to be a homosexual and to be tried in a controversial case and imprisoned’, published in 1955.

The final two books I felt obliged to buy attracted me for different reasons. The first, Rumba Under Fire, edited by Irina Dumitrescu (Punctum Books), was because of its content. It is a collection of essays, poems, prose, interviews about what it means to do ‘art’ in times of crisis. Can art and intellectual work really function as a resistance to power? How do works created during times of extremes of human endurance fit into our theories of knowledge and creativity – can we even attempt to understand them from our privileged and comfy positions? There is quite broad geographical representations here: Bosnia, Romania, Congo, Turkey, Afghanistan, World War 2 concentration camps, India and Pakistan.

The collaboration between poet Derek Walcott and painter Peter Doig Morning, Paramin (Faber & Faber) is pure indulgence. Each double page spread features a poem and a painting, calling out to each other, answering and completing each other. The one to blame here is Melissa Beck, who reviewed this so magnificently on her blog.

While commenting on the review, we connected with Anthony Anaxagorou on Twitter, who asked if we would be interested in reviewing two books of poetry from Outspoken Press, which he promptly sent along. The first is To Sweeten Bitter by Raymond Antrobus, the second Dogtooth by Fran Lock. You can expect to read reviews of both of these very soon.

New Take on Unforgettable (Poetry)

Like honey melting on your tongue… the delicious sounds of Nat King Cole singing Unforgettable.

With apologies for subverting those lovely words and heavenly voice, here is a poem which I wrote with that music (and that landscape) in the background. I’m linking it up to dVerse Poets for the Open Link Night.

Fallen trees, from creeklife.com

Incompatible…

… that’s what we are…

We never danced in rhythm, it’s true,
no ballroom twirls or tango glottal stops for you
suffering in brief acquiescence
for the rewards at the end.

You were fast and harsh, I fell for you
out of nostalgia for my previous dance partner
the tall, dark, unattainable one.
So we came together
went out together
grew apart together.

All the art you didn’t see, all the music you made me switch off.
All the books you didn’t read, all the video games I had to watch.

No one ever changes, they say,
but I know I sprout daily
in all directions.
It would only be a matter of time
before we entwined once more into fresh landscapes
I whispered to myself, oh wistful, oh longing.

But now…

all the forks in forest paths we didn’t take,
all the branches we didn’t climb
all the logs we hid behind
until we jumped over them and stopped caring.

You squeezed the music out of heavenly spheres,
you sapped neutrinos of their poetry.
robbed dark matter of its mystery,
tested me on the law of gravity.

Twenty years I’ve listened to you drone
like the exhaust of those Bugattis you admire so much.

And now I sit and ogle at men twenty years younger.

As if life ever gave one second chances.