My first poem of the year was inspired by this painting by my mum Pat, thank you!.
A sense of woodland
Trudging through mud and leaf litter,
with his faithful companion Ned
a man surveys the landscape,
testing his path with a stick
from the same birch wood.
At the gate the dog pauses,
paw suspended, alert, ears wide,
and the pungent stench of vixen,
barely perceptible to human senses,
overwhelms its olfactory nerve.
A gleam of solstice light falls
on a startle of rabbit, a clear acre distant.
The man fumbles for his pipe and baccy,
scrapes squelchy leaves from his soles.
Ned flops with a disappointed grunt,
a screech of jays laugh from naked branches.
Then once more the silence is palpable.
What’s inspiring you right now?
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
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