Protest song

The fat god squats
in the market-place
shitting out lies

and we feed him

more he says,
more

and we feed him

we feed him our hours

more he says
more

we feed him our sleep
we feed him our dreams
we feed him the swift-footed moments
of our children’s games

we feed him our children

more

we feed him meadows
bright with flowers
we feed him mountains
we feed him the river
shimmering with life
we feed him the sky

more

we feed him our souls
we feed him the elephant
the tiger the rhino
we feed him the eagle
the butterfly the bee
we feed him the sweet time
of holding a new-born
we feed him scurrying mice
we feed him the great singing whale
we feed him the ocean
we feed him the scent of bluebells
we feed him the taste of apples
tart in the mouth
we feed him our old ones

more

we feed
we feed

and the lie he tells us
is that he is real
and we swallow it
in our hunger
to feed

but we are still empty

more we say

more.

 

Sherry is manning (womanning?) the barricades at Earthweal this week, and asking for our poems of protest. I’m not even sure what I’m protesting against here – it’s too big. I started off with small specifics, but at the end of the day it’s the way the economy trumps people in too many western societies, and the way we have got caught up in this endless treadmill of consumerist crap to feed that economy. Covid-19 has thrown a lot of things into  very sharp relief for me. I won’t go into it here, but I’m interested to see what’s bubbling under.

 

Snapshot – pandemic insomnia

3am and I’m awake
not even sure what I’m thinking

out there, there are bean plants
unfurling in the dark,
those fat first leaves,

and I’m wondering
what will happen now, and

out there, the stars
are moving in fixed patterns
jazzed by satellites

and I have fragments of fears
and questions
and an emptiness in my belly, and

out there, moths are waltzing
in their crazy dances

and I’m awake
listening to your breathing, and

out there, bats are diving,
sonar-guided

and we have no guide,
no rhythm, no pattern –
we are unfurling
fractal humans
seeking a new shape.

Just sneaking in to Earthweal this week – wondering about the future, full of uncertainty. As usual with Brendan’s prompts, my  head is full of half-thoughts and broken images, and a sense of urgency that I find hard to capture.

There are always doorways

I’ve crossed some thresholds
with a blood libation,
some with music and champagne.
I’ve slipped through some
unknowing.

I’ve stepped with confidence
from one warm room
into a maze carved out of ice,
myself caught behind thick glass,
watching one world,
part of another,
coldness becoming part of me –

and then I’ve passed
from wilderness to pastureland,
missing the gateway,
my eyes fixed too far in the distance.

I’ve lost charms, and I’ve found them.
I’ve stepped through mighty doorways
carved with old gods and scenes of
metamorphosis – and found myself
unchanged, and waiting for me –
opened bland doors into bland rooms
scented with pain and kindness –

I have learned
that each breath is a step,
and the pathway clear sometimes,
and sometimes hard to trace

For Anmol at dVerse, who asks us to think about portals. 

What a fix!

I mixed a bit of Fix-it

to fix a pesky hole.

The Fix-it fixed my fingers

to the Fix-it in the bowl.

So if you mix up Fix-it

I suggest you use a stick:

if you stick your stick to Fix-it,

so what?

 

A very silly poem for De – WhimsyGizmo – who is hosting at dVerse tonight. See if you can guess what the word is.

Quest

Oh, the madness of a woman on a quest –
setting forth, to be mocked or burnt.
We do not quest. We are the quest –
my body the chalice, my body the grail.

I worm my way into the story, my belly
the cauldron, my lips temptation,
my virtue is my weakness,

my weakness is my virtue.

My strength is disregarded –
the strength of bearing –
the weight of the child on my hip,
the weight of my own breasts
feeding the world,
my belly

the cauldron

deep magic in the deep cavern
of my body.

Wake me. I’ve been sleeping
for a hundred years now. Chase me
down the wide marble stairs,
recognise me by the thing you gave me –
the ring you slipped on my finger –
not by my face voice hands hips.

Ask me what I want.
Ask me, Gawain. Ask me again.
I’ll tell you: I want sovereignty –
not over you, over my own body,
my voice, my thoughts, my choices.

Oh yes, the madness of a woman on a quest –
walking alone among the high rocks,
through the dark forest,
carrying her banner
stitched with her own name.

Brendan at Earthweal  is taking us on a quest. Last week we established who our heroes are. This week we’re thinking about the quest itself.

Return to Valmain

“Take me to Valmain”, she sighed
“For I was young there, and my feet took wing
I was a lady of La Reine des Glaces
And danced in honour of the Autumn King.

And we drank fine Shiraz from crystal globes
And stepped it back and forth ’til it was morn
And all the lamps in Valmain shone so clear,
The birds sang, thinking it was dawn”.

“Alas, Valmain is silent now”, I said,
“And all the lamps that lighted it are dim
There are no rustling skirts or dancing girls,
But the wild birds still sing”

“Then I shall travel to Valmain alone
And see if what you say has come to pass,
And if Valmain is dead, I shall die too –
The last true lady of La Reine des Glaces”.

I’m hosting at dVerse tonight, and asking you to be inspired by the names of heritage vegetables. Strange but true.

How they kill the city.

They silence him, but his shadow shouts on – a nightmare scream that fills the room, echoes down the corridors. They shut the door, but the scream spills under it. They brick up the doorway, plaster over it, so that you’d never know the room was there, but the scream remains.

They leave the house. Ivy grows over the walls, blocks the windows, but the scream continues. They bulldoze the damn house, but still the scream is there. People move away. The street empties. No-one can live there.

The neighbourhood thins out. Empty houses can’t be filled. The scream just spreads, filling the whole city. It won’t be drowned by sirens, car horns, piped music. People leave their homes, their jobs – relocate.  The scream is alone, echoing down silent streets of boarded-up shops, empty apartment buildings. Dandelions split the tarmac.

Bjorn is hosting prosery night at dVerse. It’s our only prose prompt – 144 words, including a line from a poem. Tonight’s line comes from Maya Angelou’s Caged Bird: “his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream”. 

Encounter with a fox

A dog fox                          crossing the patch of green
our gazes meet                I am observed
for a moment                   black eyes shining
unruffled                          from the hedge
-I am, I am-                       a bird calls
each predator                  singing its own existence
each prey                          singing of life

Frank Hubeny is hosting at dVersetonight. He suggests a “double 7” poem – 14 lines. He’s using a sonnet form, but it’s not obligatory. I’ve done one of those split poems – 3 poems for the price of one. That’s good value.