More here at the Tuesday Poem hub.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
More here at the Tuesday Poem hub.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Andrew is pissing on the wall now and Colin’s
following in his shark tooth hat. He tells a story
about living on Long Island and how, walking
with his bulldog, he was sometimes mistaken
for Truman Capote. Justine is blonde and pregnant
says, 'Ruby, I think,' then louder, 'Ruby’ –
stop and wait. The wind
lifting a pram cover and peering in. ‘Now ask me,’
Billy like a tiger, and the gulls ratchet it down to a mew
This poem was written very long time ago. Nine years. But I've been redrafting it over the past two months.
Ed doesn't walk Billy now because he isn't well enough so his wife Patricia does it instead. We always stop and chat when we see them, but Billy and Ruby are older and greyer and only sniff each other now - no churning. Colin passed away five years ago and his beloved Andrew followed. Garwain, if that was his name, moved away with Charlie. So, I think, did Justine and her dogs and her Ruby - but I'm not sure about that. I just haven't seen them in a while. I still enjoy my daily walks with my Ruby but it's been a while since it was quite so social and quite so much fun.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Back from a walk to the ridge
'There,' I said at last, as we stood
looking back at the weather again, half
the water crinkled now -- an old man
smiling, 'is where the pa of Te Hiha stood
he could see anything coming --
of the harbour.'
We'd left the beach in stillness, and
returned to a stiff breeze.
Poem revised May 22
Tuesdays are my poem days and my bush-walking days, but not today (sadly) for the walking - I have a meeting to get to. Poems, yes. Tuesday is always Tuesday Poem day for me and has been for three years. After you've read 'me' - do go to the Tuesday Poem hub to read a wonderful poem by a poet who is UK born to Guyanese parents - Fred D'Aguiar. I read his poem before I started on my poem again last night (written a couple of weeks ago and left to brew) - I think my poem is talking to D'Aguiar's don't you? The title especially.
Monday, May 6, 2013
Tell me, what is it you plan to doMary Oliver
with your one wild and precious life?
These two wonderful lines - the last two lines of Oliver's 'The Summer Day' - are the perfect preface to a novel I just reviewed today for Radio NZ: Isabel Allende's Maya's Notebook. Which is why it's on my mind.
What better question could there be? In fact, the whole of the poem is a wonderful thing. It's about the art of paying attention - showing 'love', in effect - and thereby transforming both the thing we pay attention to and ourselves. Which is what Isabel Allende believes and is in evidence, in all its glory, in her most recent novel.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
a madman brushing off spiders. You try
to fold the map small enough
to find a place to live, but
the wind prevails, fraying the sky,
making it hard to
read the directions. Outside
the day is ceramic, brittle --
a bright hood: its
crumbs of light.
Your belongings --
as if you belonged to them --
vanish as the funnel narrows:
you want to weigh down
a few precious things,
open the doors,
let the wind take the rest.
Days of boxes, allegorical days:
the sky turns its huge puzzled face towards you,
and then it turns away.
from Birds of Europe (VUP, 2000). Posted with permission.
Andrew's poem looks simple on the face of it -- in shape and message (couplets, another leaving poem), but in fact it's packed with arresting images -- aural and visual -- that wrestle with each other as the speaker of the poem wrestles to understand, or live with, what is happening.
The taupata (a plant also known as the mirror plant for its shiny leaves) scraping the house like a madman brushing off spiders is an image of irritation that morphs into nightmare. The folding and folding to get a map small enough, the wind, the belongings vanishing, the boxes - all evoke the internal mayhem in the poem. The final puzzled face of the sky is like the speaker of the poem - a still sad image.
For some reason I keep thinking of songs by the Mountain Goats like Belgian Things and Woke up New which have that same surface lightness and underlying deep sadness of parting. On first reading, I took the poem to be about a departing lover, but now - and after a brief communication with Andrew on Facebook - I think it is about someone who is leaving what he knows.
I am a big fan of Andrew's work and have posted it before - not least his brilliant double sestina The Sunflower - but this past week saw me run into his work again. Propitiously, I think. You see, I have started a new job working as a new publisher in association with another established publisher who just happens to have his office right near the wonderful secondhand bookshop Pegasus Books in Cuba Street's The Left Bank. On my first lunch hour I popped in and bought Andrew's Birds of Europe - a very nice copy that was handed to me in a brown paper bag (I think the best things come in brown paper bags) - and I glanced through it back at the office, then spent the evening reading it from cover to cover. A thoughtful and sensual collection - including a captivating series of poems about the French tightrope walker who walked between the twin towers in NY which I'd love to post another time.
Andrew lives in Paris and we communicate via Facebook, so I asked him via message if I could post Leaving and he said, yes I could. So I did. Lovely.
Now please please please click HERE to go to Tuesday Poem's communal birthday poem - 18 stanzas posted by 18 different poets around the world over three weeks, and it's finished!! It is quite astonishing - clever, jazzy, fun. Hard to believe it's not all from the same brain. Such a blast. Happy Birthday to us. Happy Birthday to us...
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
here's my verse...
it's time to
(latch the window)
grab it! the tail oh boy
find the rest here.
And here's a fabulous poem Death of a Bee by Tuesday Poet Kathleen Jones.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
They will live forever
in the same house
they have lived in
for the whole of my life
they will stay
at the end
of a phoneline
answer when I call
to ask them questions
to which they will always
know the answers
I believe my parents will never get sick
I mean of course
that they might get
the odd cold maybe
a stomach bug once
in a while but they will always
be able to walk further
than I can
they'll never be slowed
or stymied by dodgy
hips or feet or hearts
I believe my parents will always be able to look after themselves
They'll stay in the house
up the long steep driveway
with their lifetime of treasures
they'll eat what they like
go to sleep and wake up
as late as they want
I believe my parents will always be together
like a pair of curtains
at their edges
First of all - it's the 3rd birthday of the Tuesday Poem! Three years we've been going with Claire Beynon (Dunedin) and me curating. What a ride it's been! So many many poems, so many many poets. As with other years we're celebrating with a communal poem which has already started and goes over three weeks. Do check it out.
Now, I promised my blog readers Curtains last week when I posted Just Fine to celebrate my 25th wedding anniversary. I explained I'd been casting around for the ideal poem and that Curtains leapt into view - or rather, opened in front of me. But then I found my way into an old file of poems and there it was: Just Fine. A low-key poem about an ordinary family Saturday, my ordinary family Saturday, and it did the job, and I posted it.
I saved Curtains (My Iron Spine, Headworx 2008) for this week, and people have been asking...
Curtains is a poem about the everydayness and longevity of love -- love in a relationship (of 25 years or more or less), love we have for our parents, and they for each other. There is the feel of a fairytale about it. The house with the steep driveway and treasures evokes a castle to me - and there is immortality here and a type of perfection and an absence of rules. But the curtains are vintage rule-bound time-locked imperfect suburbia!
I love the line: 'like a pair of curtains that overlap at their edges.' It evokes the way people who are together for a while lose their edges, and how they hang out day and night (what better than curtains to show clearly when it's night and day). 'Overlap at their edges' also brings to my mind lapping in a running race and water lapping, both of which feel like the stuff of long term relationships.
Now my silver wedding has come and gone, I dedicate this poem to my parents, of whom I believe the same.
Curtains is published with permission (thanks Helen!)
Helen Rickerby is a Tuesday Poet, publisher at Seraph Press, and co-managing editor of the JAAM literary journal. She also has a cool day job working on the Encyclopaedia of NZ Te Ara. Abstract Internal Furniture, was published by HeadworX in 2001 and her second collection, My Iron Spine, followed in 2008. More on Helen on last week's blog and another poem from My Iron Spine, here.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
EARTH has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!
The above poem can found in:
I found this post on a website called PotW.org - I love the bit about Wordsworth writing the poem on the roof of a coach - not on a bridge at all! I never knew that! Unless he composed the poem in his head on the bridge and later wrote it while travelling ... My guess is he lied as one does in poems all the time in favour of the emotional truth. Go William.
I wanted to post this poem here today because it's in my Faber diary this week, and reading it again, I realised afresh how marvellous it is in its evocation of a new day dawning, and the hugeness of a beloved city and its beating heart.
I also can't help thinking of London and its river and bridges and going to work in the morning on the tube and walking those bricked streets to work. The glory of it on the best days.
This week at the TP hub is a poem that couldn't be further from London or Wordsworth - check out the post by editor Robert Sullivan.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
in a straight line,
I am warmth
when I lick myself
with this tongue;
it's been a hard day
but I'm back now,
I am new earth
for country, brother,
for another swing
at the thing gotten
off thought's edge.
No face, no head,
no tail. Just you, I,
and a need to save us
from the wrong done
to books. A dog leg
caught in a trap
is sawed off. Who
knows what words
were said to the girl
at the well, the edge
of what thought,
before she dove in?
I been trained by
the turn of this century
to be cuss words,
the central insult
in four-letter instants.
If I stop now, short
of the final thrill,
the definitive answer,
if I draw to one side
away from your path,
a curtain under cover
of night, a season
will go without me
in the helix of rebirths.
If I doubt the power
vested in me through
this colour, this tongue
that look at the sides
with the bronze pity
of joy, then all is lost.
Please check out the hub for a post from Zireaux - At Melville's Tomb by Hart Crane - and such a commentary! Read to believe.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
she's a nightchild baby, daughter of the city, she's part of these neon lights, she walks so fast and looks so cool, you know that she's got it right, she's a citygirl, sugar, and she's so clever, she knows the quick way home, she's a moonbeam baby ...
Gorgeous huh? You can see more of Alice Spider and hear her read out loud on the Anomalous website. This exciting US press is publishing Alice Spider by kiwi Tuesday Poet Janis Freegard - she posts on it here and you'll notice that Anomalous has been drumming up some funding on Kickstarter. It's a great way to support a poet and a press and you get a beautiful book (and all sorts of extras) for your troubles. I've signed up, and there's 16 hours left to go from... now... click here.
And over on Tuesday Poem there's a terrific brand new poem by Fleur Adcock and a lovely piece of writing by this week's editor Helen Rickerby explaining why she chose it. Then there's the sidebar - 30 poets and 30 poems... why not?
Tuesday, February 19, 2013