I’ve crossed some thresholds
with a blood libation,
some with music and champagne.
I’ve slipped through some
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
Pour me a last glass of the Douro –
I want to slide into the warm haze
of a rust red wine. The world’s too hard,
I’m small and tired and scared.
Let’s sit. The fire’s lit, those flames
are the same flames we watched
last year, when we were young.
The dark is pressing up
against the windows. The sun set
hours ago, crimson clouds
piled high against a lemon sky.
Pour me a last glass of the Douro –
my head’s too full of thoughts.
I’m hosting at dVersetonight, and our theme is red. Come on over and do some poeming.
Friday sits like a coin in my pocket
whispering to me. What shall I spend it on?
I could buy a kite, or a coffee,
or a pair of shoes. I could spend it all
on a book, or a poem, or a fragment
of something half written,
tossed away on the wind. I could take it out
and polish it in the sunlight,
roll it across a sanded floor,
send it spinning into a wave
crashing onto a shingle shore.
I could take a ride on a bus
to the end of the line,
or buy an apple and biting it
learn what good is, and what’s evil,
I could hold my hand out
to a cunning magpie,
offer my silver as a gift,
sacrifice it to an ancient goddess,
bury it beneath a hawthorn tree,
or I could hide it underneath my pillow,
feel the dull thickness of it as I read,
or I could slide it across the bar,
swap it for whiskey and a comfy chair,
or hoard it up, unused, unspent.
I could wait for moonrise,
show my coin her pearl-faced sister,
or spend it on a rainbow,
or wrap it up in mist,
or trace its outline
on an empty page.
It’s Tuesday, and that means poetics over at dVerse. I’m prompting. Come on over and be wowed.
It’s not a bad way to see off the celebrations,
as we must.
We must fold away all the
brightly coloured cloths, and shut them away
from the light. We must take down
all the shiny things, and the sparkly things,
and the bright, glistening things
that turn gently in the candle light,
and we must finish off the good food,
the rich food, the creamy food,
the cheese and the brandy flavoured butter,
and sigh, and pat ourselves, and dream
of crisp white cabbage leaves and
slices of onion, eye-stinging, and we
must swallow the last of the wine,
and that sweet drink, that everyone wanted
and nobody drank, and we must drain
the dregs of the good coffee,
and let the last
of the chocolates melt on our tongues
and we must turn off the music,
and let the silence in,
and we must turn out the lights,
and say a last good night
and leave the room.
Mish is hosting at dVerse tonight, and asks us to write a poem inspired by the last line of a book. It can be any book, she says, so I took her at her word and picked up the nearest one. It happened to be The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater – one of my favourite food writers. The last line of the book is It’s not a bad way to see off the celebrations and I just took it from there.
So, lately I’ve been thinking about wood, the way it ages. The way the beauty of it is in the stubborness, the drive to growth, the knottiness. I’ve been thinking about how a tree holds its memories on the inside, grows out and up, reaching for the sky. I’ve been thinking about beeswax: feeding the table, attending to the scratched surface, the scars we’ve made through living, the stains that have gone deep, deep into the wood, sunk under the surface. I’ve been thinking about driftwood, shaped by the sea, but keeping its own essential twists and turns, the smoothness of wood, the splinters. I’ve been thinking about the willow slips that sprout, put out roots and leaves, so determined to grow, to green.
Amaya is hosting at dVerse tonight, and we are thinking about traditional views of the elements that make us up as people – and the world, too, I guess. I don’t believe in astrology, doesn’t make sense to me, but I know a lot of people do. If you are interested, my zodiac sign is earth, my Chinese sign is fire -but my Chinese year is wood. I’ve also worked on the principle that everything you write is about yourself at some level. This is my meditation on wood.