Poems about drink for dVerse

Tea

This most mundane,
most exotic drink,
prosaic rescue remedy,
trailing clouds of steam
and history, linking me
in my untidy kitchen with
an empress on silken cushions
wielding a bamboo whisk;
a bending woman in
a saffron sari, nimble fingers
picking. I am drinking
history and geography,
a thousand wars,
an opium addict
in a back street den,
watching the dragon smoke
drift like a dream,
I’m drinking gold
and death, and
porcelain cups,
and a ration book,
and a church fete,
and pigs grown fat
on an Irish island.
I’m drinking my
mother-in-law’s first welcome,
and my great-grandfather’s pot
kept warm all day,
my father’s heritage
in clay, and yet
I disregard so casually
the sheer improbability
of this drink
cupped in my hand.

The very wonderful Paul has given us a drinking prompt at dVerse. It is a pub, so I was going to write about gin, but it’s early morning, and I really need a cup of tea. 

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Grey – haibun for dVerse

Today was grey from the moment I opened my eyes. Today was a day without colour – grey sky blurring into grey land. I spent the day in a cloud of grey, distances blurred and lacking definition. A day of minor problems, mild irritations, a day of bland foods and tepid drinks.

first blossoms appear
I am still feeling winter
cold against my skin

 

A grey haibun for Bjorn at dVerse. Usually I try to flip the prompt and come up with something unexpected, but today was so very grey…

The city

She pinned the city to her hair.

I mean, she wore it. Or maybe
it wore her – the river a
glimmering scarf around her neck,
and her eyes like pavements
in the early morning.

She wore the city
like a brooch, and her voice
had the throb of Friday
traffic, and she moved
with all the grace
of a wheeling flock
of city pigeons.

Today, Lillian is running the bar at dVerse, and she asks us to be inspired by art. The painting is by Catrin Welz-Stein, and Lillian shared some of her gently surreal paintings, asking us to choose one as a starting point for a poem. 

Catrin Welz-Stein - German Surrealist Graphic Designer - Tutt'Art@ (24)

 

Pentimento

If I told you

If I told you I loved you
would that be enough?

If I told you I loved you
I love you
If I told you I love you
would that be enough
to make you open your arms
heart
arms
heart to me?
To make you open your
heart to me?

If I tell you I love you
will you smile that clear joyful smile that makes me
lean in
lean in to your warmth?
Will that be enough?

If I tell you
I love you
will that make you
stay?
Will that be enough?

If I don’t tell you
If I didn’t tell you
If I never told you

would that be enough?

I should never have said
I love you

 

For dVerse. Tonight we look at “pentimento” – the changes and modifications an artist makes, and the marks they leave behind. The times we changed our minds. The creations we regret.

 

Hometown

This weekend my brother and I danced to songs I hadn’t danced to for years, and I was reminded of the shabby nightclubs of my teenage years, smelling of cigarette smoke and sexual frustration. We danced under ultraviolet light, round piles of handbags, drank vodka and lime, and hoped we’d get a partner for the final slow dance of the evening. We  always went to the toilets in pairs.

You see, I’m a small town girl, from a place that’s a punchline in a joke about the North. I come from a town of terraced houses and tripe stalls; a town that ripped its own heart out 30 years ago in protest at being destroyed. People are always surprised to hear that’s where I’m from. I left a town that nobody ever leaves, my accent softened, my horizons expanded. I think the town has changed more than I have, though. The pits closed, the community drifted. The old, family run businesses faded away, and the chain stores moved in.

I bet the nightclubs are still shabby, though, and still full of teenage girls hoping to find love in the darkness.

snow melts in the sun
spring tiptoes between the trees
small buds start to swell

A haibun for Mish, at dVerse. Two or three tight paragraphs and a haiku. Pop over to the dVerse bar. They’re serving poetry. I won’t be drinking vodka and lime, though…I added the Youtube video because I suddenly realised where that tiptoeing spring came from. 

Handwriting – haibun for dVerse.

I write. My words spill over pages – scrawled words, jotted down hastily; poems pencilled into notebooks; my daily words, sandwiched between first drafts and shopping lists. Endless lists.

I write in clinic. I’m not going to sit over a keypad while you talk to me. I write in meetings, to keep my monkey hands occupied. I write on the chalkboard at home. Give me an appointment, and I’ll write it on the calendar. I’m analogue, me, as well as digital. More analogue than digital, maybe. Sometimes I’ll write a word just for the pleasure of shaping it.

hawk rides the clear air
earth is a map beneath her
waiting to be read

Kim is keeping the dVerse bar, and asking us to write a haibun about handwriting. Is it a dying art? Well, mine is neither dying, nor an art…

 

 

Maud Gonne’s reply

When I am old and grey, how will I sleep?
I won’t nod by the fire, I will stride forth
In the sleet and the rain, looking north,
Looking south, looking west, looking east –

For those who love me know I am wild,
I will not be trammeled by love,
I will be free as the skylark singing above,
My old frame wil hold the heart of a child

So why should I sleep when the grave calls me to it?
There is time enough for sleeping then;
And this love of yours, that drips from your pen
Was always a cage, and I always flew from it.

 

Of course we all know that Yeats was a great love poet, and “When you are old” is probably one of his best known poems. If you don’t know it, what are you doing reading my stuff? Go and read some Yeats and come back later. Jilly  is hosting at the dVerse bar, and asks us to write a poem in answer to another poem. I’ve just bought a book called The Emergency Poet, by Deborah Alma, and low and behold, there was William Butler, in all his glory. I always felt a bit sorry for Maud Gonne. She couldn’t help it…this is her reply. Special apologies to Jane Dougherty…

Hope

“I have seen flowers come in stony places…”
John Masefield

 

But really, how lucky am I?

Who else has seen what I have?

Because I have truly seen

an ocean of bright flowers,

but I have also come

by chance on beauty,

in the great, bare, stony,

unloved, un-nurtured places. 

 

This is another one for Amaya’s prompt at dVerse. The Masefield poem is, I think, a poem about trust and hope. It’s very short, and it’s one of my touchstones. This is really a riff on it, I suppose. 

Bold Tribute for dVerse

Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me.
Otherwise kill me.”
⁃ Louis MacNeice
from, ‘Prayer before Birth’

If I let them come, what then?
Will I not let them bend me,
Will I not let them make me kneel?
Not inside, anyway, where love
forms a stone pillar around my soul.

If I let them take me, what then?
They can bend my body, and bow
my head, and I will let them,
knowing the body is only a place
where love dwells.

If I let them bend me, what then?
They can break my body, but not
the diamond spirit I keep within me.
They can spill my tears,
they can scatter my dreams around me,

they can tear my words to shreds

and I will still hold myself other,
for the soul is wise, and the soul knows
that these things are only fragments,
and somewhere there is a whole.

If I let them kill me, what then?

I am only a dream, and dreams live on.

 

It is Martin Luther King Day, and Amaya at dVerse is asking us to take a quote about freedom, and make a poem out of it, as a tribute to this great man.  She offers a number of quotes, and I have chosen this one by Louis MacNeice. The words of the quote are printed in bold, and the poem is built aroudn them.