Listening to my body

My body is talking again. My lungs
are whispering secrets. My heart
says “what? what? what?”
but my lungs have each other.
They keep on whispering.
My feet want to tell the story
of the day. They are always working,
they grumble. My thighs
just roll their eyes. They know.
My stomach is quiet,
he’s listening. Sometimes he
grumbles like a toddler,
sometimes he snores
like an old man, but tonight
he’s quiet. All the long,
slithery length of guts
is neatly packed away, sleeping
like a drawer of underwear,
and my lungs keep whispering.
My bones know something,
they feel it, but they don’t say
anything, they can’t quite name it.
They keep straight backs,
stiff upper lips. They keep
their gaze ahead, but my lungs,
ah, my lungs keep whispering
their secrets.

A body poem for Grace at dVerse

First blossom

The tree in the top corner is always the first to blossom. Its blossoms are the palest of all – the faintest wash of pink. It’s badly placed, battling with alder and birch to find light. Everything around it is brown. Buds are starting to swell, but the other trees are holding back, contemplating things. There may yet be frost, the nights are cold, we are still teetering on the edge of spring. While they hesitate, the wild cherry leaps in, joyfully, its blossoms a valiant, defiant banner of hope.

first blossom
are these snowflakes
or petals?

A haibun for Frank at dVerse, on the classic subject of cherry blossom.

This being human

This being human is all about telling stories,
it’s travelling in a twisting caravan
across the desert, depending
on each other for flour,
for water, for a soft red blanket,
for bandages and apricots.

What currency do we have,
but stories? The story of “Good morning”
“How’s this for weather?”. The story of
“I love you”, the story of childhood,
the story of how to stay safe,
how to be eat well, how to survive
being lost, how to hold tight
to someone’s hand.

It’s whispering
our stories at night, the stories
of stars — of men, and beasts
and gods, and flaming suns.
It’s singing our stories as we wash our plates,
as we wait for tea to brew,
as we clean our shoes.

It’s shouting our stories in anger,
It’s crooning them in love. It’s sitting, silent,
round the campfire, listening.
We are stories, wrapped and tangled,
offered with love or fear or laughter.

This telling stories is all about being human.

For Kim at dVerse – a poem that begins “This being human is…”

How do I write about war?

All I have is memories of memories –
like feathers, plucked and swirling –
the fires they lit at the end,
in places that had been kept dark
for years. Dancing. My father
handing over hollowed bread,
a telegram that broke a woman.

Bodies in the water.

The horses, being led away,
through the farm gate. Lost.

A city full of women. Children
without fathers, running wild.

A man walking. Feathers

that we grasp and grab. We press them
into wax, make wings of them

knowing that Icarus will fall.

Bjorn is hosting at dVerse, and asks us to write about war. I found this a difficult prompt. As I say, I only have memories of memories about war – my parents’ experience of WWII as small children, stories I’ve heard from that generation and the generation above.

Eagle Haibun – dVerse

I have always liked those old lecturns made in the shape of eagles. I like the idea that words will fly into the distance, that they will soar above us, that they have their own power. Give words wings, let them fly.

rising on sunlight
seeing the earth spread below
spotting a mouse dart

A haibun for Frank Tassone at dVerse, where our theme is eagles.

Thirst

You fling it open for the first time/ but I’m gone

M Kahf ~ Wall

Why did you always keep the window closed?
What did you fear? I’m asking – look – she’s
barefoot in the field, she’s dusty,
arms scratched, squinting at the sun.
Didn’t you notice she was always gazing
out of the window? That she itched and twitched
in rhythm with the blackbird, that she sighed.


Was it the sound of sunlight that you hated?
Or the scent of bees? or the blue screaming
of the sky? Tell me. I’m waiting.

For Laura at dVerse. Thinking about how we end poems. Laura gives us lines to springboard from and use as epigraph

Connection

atoms share electrons
forming lattices:
strength in community

and we are mostly
empty space
and energy

sharing time
as if it mattered

sharing words
and moments

emotion
emerges
out of motion

and we are planets
orbiting
a central sun

caught in its pull
but free to flow

For Merril at dVerse, who asks us to write about connections.

Weirdly, Brendan at earthweal is thinking about connections and entanglements, too.

I think there may be more to come on this.

Birch trees

What could a birch tree be, except a girl?
A young girl, poised on the edge of a dance
with her arms wide, and her hair uncurled,
loose round her shoulders; and her friends
clustered around her, whispering secrets,
rustling and murmuring in their pale dresses,
telling each other which bird did this,
and what the squirrel said. Nobody guesses
how much they see, the supple birch trees,
that sway as they wait, feeling the notes
sung by the robin, played by the breeze –
they can’t resist. Even when they’re old
they sway like that, to music half-forgotten,
melodies half-heard, echoes of rhythm.

This is for Grace at dVerse, who is asking us to use imagery and/or personification. there is, of course, a nod to Robert Frost here, and I’m still wrestling with the sonnet form. The rhymes got pretty slant-y in this one.