An Ekphrastic poem

and the image that inspired it.

Shelter
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

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A Modern Midden

Modern midden

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

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

A workshop poem

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.

Indigo

Searing heat
no shade allowed
for infidels
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
someone’s 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

solitary

a sentinel guarding what?

he fixes black eyes on mine
waits
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
a Koran
blade
iphone

 

Summer Fields

Summer fields

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.

Rust, turquoise and wire

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

Autumn Phoetry

 

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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

A Poem Found

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.

 

In Hope, a poem for Thursday

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!

In Hope

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

Not so lazy Thursday poem

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!