the sounds of 2018
operatic voices rising, my own included, then falling away
the whirr and grind of the sanding machine
the builder rolling paint onto the walls: up, down, up, down while I worked in the other room
the purr of an engine as I turned on the car and started to drive
screech and yank and bang of furniture moving and plumbing
floorboards giving a sharp loud smack as I pulled them up
beeping hospital machines (I thought I was done with those)
the murmur of danish tv shows
the blissful sound of silence
a finally tuned piano
my first strum of a guitar
and, towards the end, the new cat miaowing and galloping around. Read more
The blog was going to be taking a break today, because I have a unicorn wines post in the queue but I haven’t finished writing it yet. Then I logged onto Twitter and saw that it’s Teacher Appreciation Day, so I thought I’d share a poem I wrote about the teachers at my old school, who were utterly fantastic and without whom I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t be alive. Read more
the sights of 2017
the grey sofa covered in grey blankets, and grey me lying there greyly
a purple laptop with flickering screen, nestling amongst white bedclothes
a piano covered in dustsheets
plants at the end of the bath, fronds dangling near my toes
the glaring bright of the bathroom light: an attack
my face in the mirror, a white death mask
and smoke rising from a cauldron.
This morning a friend tweeted me asking for some famous poems I know. I wasn’t sure why at first, then I saw it’s National Poetry Day and perhaps that had something to do with it. Or maybe it’s all just a coincidence. Anyway, this friend grew up in New Zealand and said she felt like her Kiwi education may have been different from other people’s.
Since she seemed to be asking for recommendations of well-known poetry, I responded on Facebook instead because there isn’t a 140-character limit there. I also ignored the actual question and recommended poets and movements rather than specific poems, except in a couple of instances. Often what speaks to one person doesn’t speak to another, and arguably this is especially the case with poetry. Some people like flosculous language, some like post-modern syntax, some like poetry but only when it’s performed. It’s pretty much impossible to recommend a poem that everyone will love. So instead I gave a brief intro, and once I’d typed it all out I thought I’d stick it in a blog post as well, in case any of you are trying to work out where to start with poetry.
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
~ Emily Dickinson
calling a dead man’s phone
for the past few days
that’s what i’ve been doing
trying to find out what was wrong
the smell of 2016:
sickly-sweet incense from zara
her house, a mix of essential oils with underlying tobacco
a going-off fridge
and, right at the end, Hillside
my friend is coming over today
isn’t that nice?
she’s a therapist
obsessive compulsive disorder
Yesterday was Teachers’ Day. Today is National Poetry Day. These two things have been interwoven in my life for many years, and both are important to me, so I thought I’d write a quick post about them.
I wrote my first poem when I was twelve, and I wrote it because of a teacher. We were in English class, and I was in a new school in a new country and wasn’t settling in very well. I was looking for a way to distract myself from life, and while I had the school library to keep me going, I wanted something more actively creative as well – a new string to my bow.
the leaves are falling now
the first signs that the trees are getting tired.
unable to sustain their grip anymore,
they rescind their grasp reluctantly
and the leaves they’ve borne so carefully til now
drop to the ground like so many raindrops
if they make ripples on the earth, we do not see them
their landing is too light
their descent was too gentle
they fall beside the trunks that upheld them
above the roots that grew them
and there they wait, right where they fell
for a gust of wind to come and whip them away
rehoming them again
far from the trees they once called their own.