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…”

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.

Winter afternoon – a poem for dVerse

The sky is a piece of paper,
crumpled and smoothed out
by grubby hands, smeared
with grey, mottled by time

all meaning rubbed away

the gull is a blade,
slicing through the air,
each feather sharpened
by the wind, each turn
drawing blood

the sky is a dirty
sheet of paper.

the gull is a
feathered blade.

sky
paper
gull
blade

Bjorn is behind the bar at dVerse tonight. It’s a Meet the Bar night, and he’s asked us to think about metaphors. 

I actually think it would be harder for me to write a poem without metaphors, and for it still to be a poem. 

Sleep

…is all those white things
that I never caught –
that butterfly that danced
away across the garden,
that white cat that
stalked off, disdainful.

…is a pearl, dropped
in a tide pool – I lost it
as I looked for it – swirled
up sand and mud, hid it
from myself.

…is a white castle, on
a distant hill, but every path
I take doubles and twists,
leaving me here, alone.

…is a white rabbit
that I chase down endless
midnight tunnels.

…a diamond, that fell
from a ring I always wore.
I’ve searched for it,
but haven’t found it.

The insomniac’s cry. Another mix of metaphors for Bjorn at dVerse.

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…