Thursday, 6 October 2011

NATIONAL POETRY DAY


Today is National Poetry Day which, in my opinion, is enough to warrant a special post. I like the idea that one day a year we celebrate the art of poetry in all it many forms. I usually try to do something on this day and tonight I am taking part in a reading at the local theatre.
Here is my contribution to National Poetry Day:
Waiting For Shooting Stars
All the downstairs lights are on,
Cause luminous sheets to cover the garden,
To hide its contours in pools of thick darkness.
You stand at the window, gaze outwards,
I suppose you see your reflection.
I change my position in the dips and hollows.
Above the pink clouds shine,
Seem solid, bright,
Crowd the few stars.
The clouds converge, then part,
Meteors flash as exhausted rock ignites.
The night is cold, I turn for the house.
This is an old poem, from twelve years ago and for me, it charts distrust (the person watching the narrator stand in the garden expects some form of betrayal by the narrator, who is simply waiting for one of those meteor clouds that the earth periodically passes through to yield shooting stars), breakdown (the fact that the two people are apart, physically and emotionally) and self obsession (the watcher sees her own reflection in the reflected lights as she gazes out on to the garden). At least that is how I see it from this distance.
When Moseley marched through Widnes,
Some turned out to stare,
I don’t know how many came to cheer.
My father explains away the fascists:
“Unemployed men wanting a black shirt
To wear with a grey tie at Saturday night dances”.
Unemployed men wanting to look like gangsters,
They succeeded beyond their dreams.
This poem is from1996, Moseley was the head of the British Fascist Movement in the 1930’s, his followers wore black shirts and were known as “blackshirts”. I was talking to my father one night and he told me that Moseley had marched in Widnes and that the men who joined his party simply wanted the shirt, as it was cool to look like George Raft or Jimmy Cagney. As remember the poem wrote itself.
and all my lovers leave
to the steep house
in the anonymous row
affluence will come
and love will go
closing the door
hiding the key
I’ll blame you and you can blame me
Now this relates to the breakup of some friends of mine from university. I wrote pages and pages following a visit when it was apparent they would not last long as a couple, but it distilled itself into seven, very simple lines.
I should finish with a new poem:

“Is it my imagination,
Or does this place smell of Dreams?” – for Margaret
It is true.
Dreams are here,
They seep from our sleep,
Remain in stubborn corners,
Until we pass and taste
Each fragment of the night,
They will melt on the tongue
Then they are no more.

In Barcelona I misheard a friend talking about the drains! I thought the idea of dreams lurking in the daylight was lovely.

I shall post more about Barcelona at the weekend.

4 comments:

  1. I hope the reading went well!

    I love it when mishearing something inspires a new piece of writing. Great poems. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fascinating take on a very historical time period. Great poems.
    p.s.
    Check out http://thefeatherednest.blogspot.com

    I think you will find this poet interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow! You write a lot of really fabulous poems!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for the comments:
    Golden Eagle: Yes it is interesting when something you mishear gives you a totally unexpected view of a fimiliar concept or object. It keeps life fresh.
    Susan: It is a very interesting period. i remember being surprised when my father said the fascists had marched through my home town in the 1930's, I had always thought such things happened elsewhere not on my doorstep, I found it sobering. I also walked around the town(I was in my early 20's when we had the conversaton) and wondered who had turned out to cheer this terrible man and his horrible party. I tried to Feathered Nest but just got a blank page, is the link wonky?
    Peggy: Thank you very much. There are more poems on the other posts.

    ReplyDelete