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Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

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

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

 

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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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A sonnet for my niece Chloe; written after shopping for her wedding dress.

 

Chloe’s Wedding Gown

 

A cascade fall of satin fairy-tales,

still drape from golden rails. A silken stream

of  ivory, of pearl. Lace flower trails

between soft organza and love’s young dream.

 

The robe, a puff of candy floss delight,

adorned with sequins, pearly beads and bows.

The veil, a froth of voile, bejewelled and white.

The sparkling shoes revealing painted toes.

 

But this is not for you. You will decide –

no glitz, no glam. On fancy frills, you’d frown.

Just fresh wild roses, flowers, for this bride

to hold before a simple long white gown.

 

For that’s all sugar spun, a pretty trim.

Your beauty Chloe, comes from deep within.

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Who am I?

I am before and after,
and somewhere in-between.
A dream on a sleepless night.
A long bitter struggling fight.

 

I am a changing name
spoken or sung
by those who love me, and I love,
who sing my name in varied song.

 

I am Mother, Daughter, Sister, Lover,

Listener, Healer, Joker, Speaker,
Watcher, Gardener,

Writer, Friend.

 

I am here to tend,
to mend,
to reach out.
To hug the world with words.

 

I spring from tragedy to hope.
I spring from death to cope.
I spring from the sky, the sea, the fire,
the stubborn grit of stone.

 

My father is the land, the seed, the grass.
The deep rooted tree.
My mother is a singing bird, a bard,
A lilting melody.

 

Many are greater than I.
They mould the world with
money, power, guns.
But I
with a sigh,
a word,
a trembling caress,
may cause a ripple across
its breathe.

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The Road to Dabaad

Here is a poem I wrote about the victims of the terrible famine in Somalia trying to make their way to the Dabaad refugee camp in Kenya. My niece Ingrid has been in the camp trying to organise the delivery of 2000 shelter boxes www.shelterbox.org I am so proud of her.

Anyway here’s the poem.

 

The Road to Dabaad.

 

The path there is long,

stumble on…

on…on…

this dry acrid track.

Don’t look back!

Withered grass

crumbles and mingles

with the dust of those passed.

Darkness surrounds –

A thick searing shroud

of African sun

 

Bleaching life.

Bleaching bones.

Bleaching hope.

 

On such a scope

that we at home

Greedily

Gorging

Guzzling

cannot atone

 

switch off

 

from frail

stick brittle bundles.

Tears of flies

In forgotten eyes,

 

Blistered life.

Blistered bones.

Blistered hope.

 

The road there is long

With the dead

looking on…

on… on…

The stench of pain;

The grief of flight.

The right to regain

 

New life.

New bones.

New hope.

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I was reading Stevie Smiths Poem Not Waving but Drowning when I heard the sad and shocking news of the death of Amy Winehouse. This poem was the result of the two things getting tangled together.

Link to Stevie Smiths poem http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/not-waving-but-drowning/

Amy – Waving or Drowning?

 

They told me you were waving not drowning.

They say she’s a mess?

Oh! but that’s just the press

Yeah! She’s waving not drowning.

 

They said she’s waving not drowning.

Look at her money.

Look at her talent.

Look at her voice.

She must be waving not drowning.

 

Is she waving or drowning?

She’s waving.

See how the kids are all waving back,

raving like crazy,

like they’ve all taken smack.

Maybe they’re drowning?

And she’s waving back.

 

She’s waving goodbye

and drowning her sorrow.

Drowning out the damn pain

she won’t feel tomorrow.

Don’t say she was waving

This was her last refrain.

 

Waving or Drowning?

In the end it’s the same,

If no-one can see,

there’s no-one to blame.

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I love to work in my garden and at this time of year it’s at its most delightful, with the swallows swooping and diving overhead, and mother woodpecker feeding her young the nuts from the hanger.

I have a series of raised beds, making it easier for me to work from the wheelchair.

Here is a poem I wrote about it. It  is a study of alliteration and rhyme.

View from the vegetable patch (taken by my daughter Beckie)

My Garden

In the dappled dusk of evening,

In summers sultry sun,

In autumns faded aging,

And winters wild and numb.

 

In the soft sunshine of spring time,

In the wild and windy night,

In the overgrown orchard,

Full of fresh fruit and delight.

 

In the bright blue of a bluebell,

In the freshness of it’s flower,

In the dampening dew at daybreak,

Through each and every hour.

 

In the twirling of a tendril,

In the fragile ferns young frond,

In the rampant rambling roses,

Through the trellis and beyond.

 

In the rich, soft, crumbling soil,

In the planting of a pea,

In the crickets chequered chirping,

Beneath the old oak tree.

 

In the pastel pink of petals,

In the dancing daisies play,

In the shady silent places,

Where the moistened mosses stay.

 

In the bright and blooming bustle,

In the colours crystal clear,

In the chirrup of a chaffinch,

Perched in the pear tree near.

 

In the beauty of a butterfly,

In the falling of a leaf,

In the clambering clinging ivy,

Which the beetles live beneath.

 

In the lovely lilac lavender,

In it’s dreamy drowsy scent,

In the hot house and herb bed,

Surely Heaven sent.

 

In my glorious gorgeous garden,

In my heart it’s healing me,

From the tangled twisted torture,

It has finally set me free.

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