Tuesday Poetics – lost

Some loves shattered
like glass. Messy. Dangerous.
And some just withered.

There are butterflies
that miss their chance to fly,
poems half-scrawled
on screwed up paper,

somewhere there’s a room
full of lost letters, murmuring
their secret stories,

phone numbers lost in pockets
that went through the wash

girls who want to wait for
one last song, boys

who never saw the car.

We step out of the underpass,
turn left, turn right. We miss
the stranger in the book shop,
the bus stop conversation.

All those might have beens.

This one slipped through
my fingers, unnoticed. Not love,
then, but something
soft, unformed, unknown –

that could have been love,
given time.

A post-Valentine’s day not-love poem for dVerse. I’m hosting tonight.

Thrill

I was always…….teetering
drawn to the edge…

where safety ends
and danger…….. starts

I liked………I feared
the air under my hands

waves……..crashing

the swooping gulls
the dip slip flip……..of my belly

I was caught……..by my own gaze

I swayed………..stayed safe
through luck……not care

until you reached……..for me
your arms…….my rope

my safety…….your love

dVerse has a guest host tonight. A poem about risk, for Tricia Sankey.

Love is a bit like tea and tea is a bit like love

Love should be made afresh each day, like tea.
Does that sound too mundane? Consider now
the cup I bring up every morning, free
from thoughts about repayment, and then how
you put a cup beside me when I’m at
my desk and working hard, because you see
that I might need it. Let’s extend it out:
our teapot holds enough for the whole family,
and when our friends drop by we offer tea
to say “we love you, and we’re glad you’re here”.
We offer tea as comfort, sympathy,
as a small warmth, protection against fear.
Love’s measured not in words, but in our deeds –
I say “I love you” when I make you tea.

Ingrid over at Experiments in fiction has asked us to write a sonnet for St Valentine’s Day. Wierdly, she has given us the theme of “love”.

Heroes for Earthweal

They told me heroes were broad-chested,
brave. They told me heroes came
on dashing steeds, with magic swords,
to fight a final battle with a dazzling foe.

I’m finding now that heroes come
in different shapes and guises. My neighbour’s one –
handing out flowers, making smiles. I work
with many, keeping going, day after day.
A hero comes with mail, another stacks a shelf,
another steps into a house with smiles
and sunshine, and a plate of food,
a paper mask, a pair of gloves, and love.

Heroism’s something small
and every day. It’s special, but it’s nothing special.

Men brought up without women,
men brought up without families,
men told to button up, man up, step up,
shut up, shut down, calm down –
men taught to deny themselves –
told us that heroes did all that. They built up
heroes in their own stone image –
heroes in uniform, heroes who flung themselves
headlong into the battle –
manned up, stepped up, shut up –
and we believed them.
We lived inside the battle story
for too long. We built walls,
buttressed our lives, shut up, shut down, shut out.

There are things that penetrate –
the smallest things. Viruses, glyphosates, fears.
We didn’t even notice them,
until we were surrounded.

We need new heroes. We are spotting them –
they are the ones with shining threads,
connecting them to others. They’re the ones
nurturing their children, teaching love
and laughter. All those old stories. Feeding us.
The ones finding new ways to love,
new ways to show their kindness. Spinning
new threads. We need connection now.

A poem about heroes for Brendan at Earthweal. If you haven’t been over there, check it out. It’s a space to think about our bruised and beautiful planet, to think about ways of changing things. Every week I think “I have nothing to say about this”, and then gradually something emerges that feels urgent and important. I’m not sure I say anything terribly new, but a chorus of voices saying the same thing makes a loud, compelling noise. We put our words out there, and they make unexpected journeys, journeys we will never know.

I miss you – poem for dVerse

This phone’s a graveyard

of dead conversations,

an old handbag

where love rattles

like a dusty sweet. I mean

I’m sad and lonely

and I miss you

and my heart’s

a screwed up ball of paper

with a half-written poem

scrawled across it.

Bjorn is hosting at dVerse tonight, and he’s looking for metaphors. Not similes, oh no – the hardcore version. Get over there and read some poetry – or write – or both.

Remembering

Free gift in every packet –

it might not be what you expect. Anticipate delight, or fear, or that bright tingle of desire that sets your fingers splaying –

in that anger you spilled
over the kitchen floor, there is
the seed of change –

rise up and use it. Breathe in deep and roar. Build roads and bridges, use your strength, haul on the rope, tighten your grip. Don’t let go –

 and in that weight of fear there
is some love,

as if they’re sisters, love and fear, arms linked, flip sides of the same coin of passion, an old coin, warm in your hand, sticky from sitting in your pocket –

and in that great, grey,
overwhelming grief, you’ll find

somewhere in that cloud, that blocks your sight and leaves you groping, hands out, blinded by loss, reading the air with your fingertips –

a memory of joy.

Hold out your hand.

 

This is for Amaya at dVerse. She asks us to take something we previously posted on a past 11 September and play with it. My original poem was published last year Free gift in every packet – for dVerse – and it’s here in italics. It was interesting to review an old poem. 

 

Mast and Sail – twiglet for Misky

If I’m the mast, you’re the sail –
I mean, the thing that drives us on –
so that the wind creates momentum
and the ocean is connection –

I thought the water was a barrier,
but you see opportunity,
and I have hidden from the wind,
but you have made it energy –

but then again, I’ve held you,
strengthened you, tied you
to all these things you love,
kept you from flying too far away

losing too much, creating
too much distance. This is the power
we have together, to make purpose
out of fear and chaos. To travel.

 

 

A twiglet for Misky – a first go at a poem inspired by Miskys prompting phrase. It’s all about inspiration 

She doesn’t want to write about love

She’s not going to write about love –
because everyone writes about love,
and everyone knows
that love is a rose
and love is a thorn,
and love is a glistening
bead of blood on a fingertip.

There’s so much more to life
than love – there’s moonlight,
and reading, and bottomless coffees,
but everyone knows that
love is a warm jolt of caffeine,
and love is a poem,
and love is the moon,
and love is a lone wolf howling,

and even when she strips
the metaphors out of her work,
writing a forest – a real one –
she drove there, and pressed her hand
into the bark of a tree
’til her palm was marked,
still everyone knows
that love is a tree,
and love is a forest,
and love is the road
that carries you there.

 

“Love is raw as freshly cut meat,

mean as a beetle on the track of dung”

~ Jim Harrison  from Songs of Unreason

 

Day 20 of this 28 day delve into the world of Jim Harrison. Jilly is hosting a month of Unreason. Check it out. There’s some great stuff being written there.

Truth

She has become adept at reading
in between the lines, at analysing
gaps and pauses. She understands
the elements in him that will
combine explosively, she knows
that history changes, dates
and meanings re-appraised,
eye-witnesses are blind,
the source material long gone.

She knows that boundaries blur
and shift, small wars declared,
and independence movements claimed.

All the stories that he tells
cast him as the hero – what does that
make her? The wicked witch?
Tempting with gingerbread?
The big bad wolf,all teeth
and slantways glances – or,
much worse, the second bride
of Bluebeard, destiny to find
the bloody chamber, and then
never leave? The bad girl
spewing vipers as she speaks?

Still, one and one make two,
Pythagoras holds true. He’s
made a physics that describes
a simple world, of billiard balls
and marbles. Under that, there
is a truth. She keeps on digging.

 

 “Nearly everything we are taught is false except how to read”

~  Jim Harrison from Songs of Unreason

For Day 11 of Jilly’s totally Unreasonable month. 

 

 

Love letters

She writes a love note
every morning.

Starts with the warm embrace
of fresh-cut bread,
all smeared with butter kisses,

adds shreds and shards
of green reflection,

then the main event – firm flesh,
or the salt mystery of cheese,
or once a week, a more exotic whisper,

tops it with red hot passion,
neatly sliced, and the sweet
memories of summer, spooned
from a glass jar.

She writes a love note
every morning,
seals it inside
a plastic envelope

she sets it by his place,
so that, at lunchtime,
when he opens it –

he’ll know she loves him.

This is for Bjorn at dVerse. It’s an idea I’ve played with before, and I’m not sure it entirely meets the brief. He wants us to develop metaphors. I guess this is an extended metaphor with little metaphors inside it…