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Towzer

Towzer

 

Just a glance, a smile,

stirs his tail to thump.

 

My old grey muzzled friend

heaves himself up, steadies himself,

 

plods across the flagstone floor

rests his heavy head on my lap.

 

We sit in the twilight.

He warms me.

 

What days they were, when we flew

laughing – leaping the long

 

sun tumbled bands of hay

Joy snapping at our heels

 

I smile again, we sit and stay,

While I fondle his deaf ear.

 

 

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Frost Faeries

Frost Faeries

 

They came on the chill of a windless night

with faces of glass, diamond eyes, startled hair –

the air crackling and splintering

before their icy breaths.

On brittle wings they hovered

 

and with spindled fingers etched in ice

upon my sleeping window

intricate fronds and filigrees, unicorns, dragons,

demons, whirling divas, souls of songs –

Sunlight-captured, burning bright and clear.

 

Waking now, I still hear strands of laughter

as they skate away –  stealing

those far flung crystal  mornings.

 

Wordless Dream

I was delighted and amazed that this poem was highly commended in the ‘Fire River Poets’ poetry competition. I’ve been invited to read it, plus some others, at a ‘Winners Evening’ in May. It’s very exciting but also quite daunting.
Here’s the poem…(it’s a villanelle by the way)

Wordless Dream

I dreamt that you were with us all today,
so vivid and so real you seemed to be,
you smiled, you never spoke, just turned away.

You buttered toast, and laid the breakfast tray.
You boiled the old range kettle, made the tea.
I dreamt that you were with us all today.

You never stopped, nor saw the children play.
Instead you polished all the cutlery.
You smiled, I never spoke. I turned away.

Your face was drawn, your features gaunt and grey,
but still you cleaned and worked on endlessly.
I dreamt that you were with us all today.

I begged you please to stop, to rest, to stay.
You placed your age-worn hand upon my knee,
We smiled, we never spoke, we turned away.

A tear slid down your face, I saw you sway.
I wanted you to stop. Stay here with me.
I dreamt that you were with us all today,
you smiled, you never spoke and turned away.

Clever Words

They are all too clever by half –
these words.
Distilled to small hard jewels
attempting to dazzle.
They chink on the page
hard, heavy, cold.
Empty.
Too clever by half.

No resonance
to warm the belly,
fire the blood,
move the spirit
or billow a rainbow in the mind.
An intellectual rattle
Clang, clunk, clink.
Too clever by half.

My Interpretation of Rilke –

On a recent poetry week-end at West Dean College, with poet Phillip Wells, I was given a task to translate and interpret a poem written by the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. I chose this one and here is the result.

( I’ve also added the translation I used to interpret it, not being able to understand German, and the original poem)

Sonnets to Orpheus part 2- no 1

Breathing, a silent poem! All encompassing

space. Inhaling, exhaling. Each breath a balance

a rhythm, an existence.

A song for life.

 

I – a single wave, but part of this

gathering ocean.

You – the sparsest sea.

A space between.

 

How many in between spaces – places

live within me. Breathings

of my unborn children.

 

Does the air know me, know these dwelling places?

You- the once perfect

pearl of all my phrases.

 

The translation I interpreted

Breathing, Invisible poem! That great

world-space, at each inhalation

exchanged for this human existence. Counter-weight

of my rhythmical realization

 

Single wavelet, whose slowly

gathering sea am I;

you, of all possible seas most frugal and lowly, –

space laid-by.

 

Of all these places in space, how many a one

Has been within me already. Many a wind

seems like a son.

 

Do you know me, air, still full of dwelling-places?

You, the one-time smooth-skinned

rondure and leaf of my phrases.

 

The Original

Atmen, du unsichtbares Gedicht!
Immerfort um das eigne
Sein rein eingetauschter Weltraum. Gegenwicht,
in dem ich mich rhythmisch ereigne.
 

Einzige Welle, deren
allmähliches Meer ich bin;
sparsamstes du von allen möglichen Meeren, –
Raumgewinn.
 

Wie viele von diesen Stellen der Räume waren schon
innen in mir. Manche Winde
sind wie mein sohn.

Erkennst du mich, Luft, du, voll noch einst meiniger Orte?
Du, einmal glatte Rinde,
Rundung und Blatt meiner Worte.

 

Newborn

Newborn

 

My heart shifted

It made a room for you,

never to be empty.

 

I held you- soft and warm,

a tiny bundle,

bald and bawling.

 

How in a moment

did this bond bubble up

between us?

 

So strong –

I would kill

to keep you

 

safe.

 

 

Summer Lies

A poem for these wet summer days…

 

Summer Lies

 

Splishy splashy sloshy days

wrung out, strung up, hung out to dry

on dismal damp summer lies.

 

Rotting strawberries, mounds of mould

beneath wet leaves. Bowed and broken

flower heads, hanging limp, all but dead.

 

Rolling, boiling, muddied stream

tumbling headlong in between

bulging banks, brim full. Bursting.

 

Squelching, belching, sodden fields

turned now to new wet worlds,

where sentinel trees stand stranded.

 

On the green, where party picnickers

should have been. The grass is flattened

churned to mud.

 

The carousel, draped in plastic,

hides fantastic flying horses, unicorns,

dinosaurs, now bedraggled, damp. Distorted.

 

Bright bunting slaps and smacks, hangs slack.

A river playing down our street,

a gurgling, dripping, drumming beat.

 

Again the rain, the waters rise.

Sandbag dams – front door reprise

of dismal drizzling summer lies.

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