and the image that inspired it.
Take shelter in the arms
of our Lady of the Woods
she will lift all sorrow to the heavens
where the healing of the universe
will ease away the pain
mother earth will care for the spirit
while the body will rest well
lying dormant through the winter
and when springtime comes
it comes with hope
change fresh growth
a new awareness of birth
life pain death and rebirth
and a fragmented heart will heal
take shelter in the arms
of our lady of the woods
Kay Neilsen East of the sun west of the moon
Beneath planks of layityourselfdecking.com
lies a foot of sticky stamped-on red clay
above a layer of rich fertile soil
where a keen first-time gardener
planted carrots for one season only
and a cat skeleton, with a slack flea collar
sleeps forever in wicker remains
a splintered rocking-chair with legs splayed
the oilcloth seat stuffed with horsehair
and pierced by crumbling coiled springs
deeper a wrought iron gate crushing a 70’s suitcase
with rust circles and lines and a concrete post
compacting it into the ground
a naked Barbie with painted lashes
blue eyes dimmed by the trash
no longer a little child’s treasure
a grandchild has i phone Barbie games
but that’s okay just throw it away
what’s this straight jaw full of teeth
the smoothness of piano keys
quick grab the ivory sell it to China
or send it to a Gaberone museum
for when there are no elephants left
majestically walking the savannah
and no savanna for an elephant to walk
The one not to be
I watch the crush of hands
as I hear my own lips
saying I’m sorry there’s no heartbeat
hold on hold on and hold tighter
then this won’t be true
I’ll blink and someone will say you’re dreaming
and I won’t be in my crisp uniform
with a plastic pinny and eyes full of empathy
for something I’ve never experienced
I won’t lean over her belly
pressing a doppler to my ear
with my eyes turning filmy with fear
for the woman whose day I should be making
whose heart I shouldn’t be breaking
but I’ll do it anyway my tears uncontained
and I’ll swallow the pebble in my throat
instead of retching
then I’ll leave them alone
to try to make their love enough
to carry them through
On Saturday I went to a poetry workshop organised by Moor Poets. The tutor was Tamar Yoselof, an inspiring tutor who gave valuable feedback to all.
The title of the workshop was Ekphrasis and we looked closely at several Ekphrastic poems including one of Tamar’s. I never knew that there was a name for the way I use art or photography to write poems.
We had a pile of art postcards to choose from as a writing prompt.
I left with rough notes for the poem below.
no shade allowed
I must be content with an outside view
of twice baked cubes and oblongs
black wood and the palest bone-like earth
a hush fit to burst
wake the dead
or call the prayer
a woman glides by
swathed in indigo
followed by her child
a warthog mama follows
followed by her squealing wartlets
I walk to where people huddle
smiling with the hope of a chat
but with foot flicks of sand they’re gone
leaving one elder man who looks as if he’s always been
a sentinel guarding what?
he fixes black eyes on mine
then hisses like a possible snake
if I dare to stay I see
the slow deliberate bend of an elbow
slide of hand to a pocket
to pull out
Mid-June knee high yellowed grass
Screaming for a cut, I sensed its thirst,
the struggle and failure to remain upright,
on a crisp hollow shell.
Mallow stands proud pink petals
boldly streaked with magenta, waiting
for a wise woman to brew a remedy
or make a cheese-weed cheese
Dandelion aggressive interlopers,
heads bowed to the soil, already shrivelled,
the seeds dispersed in the whispered breeze.
one o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock
I paused, listened to the chirrup
of grass hopper, cricket,
whatever’s the difference.
threatened by my stillness, they fell silent.
Dogs raced down from the top of a hill.
George jumped, leapt like a deer through the grass,
up down, up down, he dipped and dived
Revelling in the stench of bitch fox
Flora, fast as a bullet chased swallows
backwards, sideways covering three times
his distance in her futile efforts
to bring home her own lunch.
Find the photo, it’s the one with all three, above the two wood person.
Nature’s sculpture curves, sways and strives
to sling un-human’s detritus from the margins
to protect the vast ocean from more of the rot
nothing on this planet that hasn’t always been
then what vile reversed alchemy allows iron,
converts copper, and bends bronze until
it becomes a web of death for seal, dolphin, albatross?
to disintegrate into toxic crumbs in the cold blooded
sea fish that fetch up formed into fingers
crumbed and plated with so much sea salt
disguising neutralizing the residue of iron
fingers of rust turn to dust in the gut
oil carbon chemical process turns into sacks
and plastic bags, bottles to contain oil
to massage into aging flesh
while hastening our planet’s death
An Autumn Lament
my sulky boots trample the leaves at my feet
earthy notes playing a dissonant tune
pale fungi emerge through clovery grass
tempting souls to dark hallucinations
more potent than winter’s strangling chill
horse chestnut’s late beauty twirls in my vision
with origami-like folds in ochre, and gold,
their song a crisp tinkle in the breeze.
over and over I must bring myself back so
I raise my head to the beauty of autumn,
up under a bright cloudless sky
where wings dip and dive as if free to play
at once preferable to a descending gloom
and so I resist the maybe mushrooms
I’ve often thought I’d have a go at found poetry, but it wasn’t until yesterday when I https://cherylandrews.wordpress.com/2017/03/30/fire/#comment-8474 saw Cheryl’s re-blog of a post by CB Wentworth that I was inspired enough to try.
Cheryl responded to my comment by asking me to post if I tried, so here it is.
I didn’t have an appropriate pen and have no idea where my paints are, so I used a whiteboard marker and a biro.
Do pop over to both Cheryl and CB, ‘Fire’ is absolutely beautiful. I’m going to try this again soon, it was good fun. Thanks again Cheryl, this could be addictive.
This Thursday instead of Lazy Poet, I’m re-posting a poem I wrote a few years ago, for International Women’s Day. Yes I know that was yesterday, but you know me by now, the other week that I got the day wrong for wordless Wednesday, and the syllable count wrong for LP!
Cast aside your veil
Turn your face to the sun
Gather round the hearth
Your work today is done
Your sisters draw near
Feet planted to earth
They no longer fear
The lone walk on the trail
Your children breathe free
The mountains clear air
Well nourished with plenty
And wind blown away care
Your abundance is here
Take love in your stride
Future perfect and clear
Go forward with pride
Cast aside your veil
And no longer hide
I’m tired tonight, too tired to even write a five minute haiku. So, I decided to look back at things I’ve posted before and choose a poem for this week.
I’ve spent ages looking and there’s still more. I’m totally amazed at how much poetry I’ve written, even if lots of it is of little consequence.
So with apologies in case you remember this from four years ago, and for the lack of image.
Waves of Foam
Foaming ocean laps the Jurassic shore
where molten lava once seared and pitted
into burnished pockets of chalk
that glow pale in the shallows
where volcanic flame no longer scorches
earth but in its place frozen fluid
turned to stone in the countless millennia
before mankind’s dawn
then lapis and bronze lay down its mineral
to adorn sweet womankind’s questing hands
and feet that step through warm golden sand
above the azure sky reflects light
from the firmament holding the source
of celestial waters in balance
Normal service will be resumed next Thursday with a haiku!