It’s #DeepTimeDay, marking the publication of Vol 2 of the Deep Time poetry project. If you head over to Twitter, that hashtag will lead you to a feast of readings by a bevy of wonderful poets. Matthew at Black Bough Poetry has curated/created something wonderful here. I’m so proud to be part of it.
Who would I be without books,
if I could only scrawl my name,
or not even that, just make a mark
thumb pressed in black ink,
writing a mystery, marks dancing
and empty masque on a white stage?
all those words unread, unwritten –
words I have gobbled up, plots
I have sucked dry, narratives gulped
and guzzled, and then my writing,
words scratched, scratched out,
scribbled, scrawled, scraped out of me,
words flung freely, words floating
in the air around me, waiting to be grabbed
and grappled, as if I’m catching fireflies
made of indiarubber.
What happened to all those “me”s?
Did we talk more, tell stories,
pull an audience in around the fire?
Did we carry the soul, the story,
the history of whatever people
we chanced among? Did we knead our
words into dough, cut our words
out of apples? Did we stitch stories
into samplers? Did we daydream
as we moved dust from place to place,
see plotlines moving in the flames?
Did we chant poems to the moon?
Did we pray? Did we whisper our words
into our children’s ears as they slept?
So many words. I have lost count.
More darkness than star, more grass
than flower, more sea than foam,
I have buried myself in them,
feasted on them,
vampire suckled myself on them.
I am a whimsical child. I read fairy tales long after I should have left them behind. I like the quirky and fantastical. I adventure with hobbits and walk with elves, dream of dragons and strange, gnarled creatures living among tree roots. I learn things, too, from my reading and dreaming, and one thing I learn is the names of flowers – all from Cecily Mary Barker and her Flower Fairies, a delight.
Today, years later, as I walk around the grey blocks of the industrial estate where I work, I am reminded of those books by the gaudy yellow gorse flowers flaunting themselves in the hedge. I grew up a northern girl, a townie, and didn’t really understand the old saying: “When the gorse is out of blossom, kissing’s out of fashion”. Gorse flowers were summer holidays, seaside and moorland. Now I live in the south-west, where there is a constant taste of salt in the air, and I know that if you look hard enough you’ll always find a speck of gold, scented with coconut ice, like a kiss of sunshine on a winter’s day.
Flower fairies fling
Bright painted songs on the breeze,
Dance fragrant dances.
This is, of course, the Gorse Flower Fairy, by Cecily Mary Barker. I know you know her work. And this is a haibun for dVerse, where Lady Nyo is keeping the bar, and surely serving up Shirley Temples. She’s asking for childhood memories.
This is a little bit of a cheat. I decided that this year I would try and keep my haibuns really and truly in the here and now, and use them as a bit of a record of the year, so a childhood memory as the first haibun of the year was a bit of a shocker! However, the gorse flowers I came across the other day made me think of that old saying – that I discovered in the pages of the Flower Fairy Alphabet. I am REALLY good on English flower identification, thanks to CMB.