Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What the camera saw

They often  tell lies, but sometimes the camera catches a moment of truth. This isn't a classic poem but it catches a poignant moment.

The Photograph.

You, longing for another
who wasn’t there. 

She was leaning against me
but I didn't care. 

That sunny day
I was looking at you, 

confident my feelings
were not on view. 

But now I see
as the camera saw, 

that moment’s disappointment,
a lifetime cannot thaw.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

You Crying

Your crying:

The silver streams

Of your eyes,

The radiant red cheeks,

The choking on words,

The gullish.



I think of a voice

Curling up

From inside a hollow oak.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A little goes a long way

I have over the years come across some examples of very little making the difference between life and death. In caring for the elderly, sometimes it is food for the spirit that makes the difference. This poem instances a particular case; the improvement was spectacular.

In the Home 

Sitting quietly by her bed,
among those sobbing, groaning women.
A room claustrophobic with impending death;
her spirit withered inside her,
her mind ran away to the fifties.  

But given a bed near the window,
her mind cranked up.
It was the birds on the lawn,
the grubbing thrushes and blackbirds:
they found perches for her brain.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Almost Summer

The lengthening days and the anticipation of sunny weather are part of what makes May special, but in rural parts there are more subtle triggers that stir a deeper-rooted happiness that is somehow extracted from the locked chest of childhood.

I’m talking about the cuckoo’s call coming from somewhere across the fields. That clear, spoken pair of syllables cuck koo that sounds prehistoric, beautiful, and somehow like a personal call to you. The smell of wild garlic from the woods outside Mount Charles and the coconut scent of the furze when at last the sun is warm enough to raise it.

Meanwhile the mountains are predominately brown right now with this late spring. But within two weeks the green explosion will have taken place and the passage of clouds will be as dramatic on their flanks as it is in the skies above Barnesmore. Vacillating, bottle green, gliding along the hectares of unfurling bracken, they will be the flowing current that is the Donegal hills in Summer-time.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Early Mornings of the Early Days of Parenthood

I've just discovered this poem from years ago.


Every morning

I balloon out of bed,

bank around the corners

into the other room

and rant.



Rant bank balloon






Every morning

I balloon out of bed,

bank around the corners

into the other room

and rant.




Rant bank balloon



for a smartish type,

I'm a slowish learner.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The world breaks, people disperse
in ant-burst fashion.

A piano-maker brimful of strings,                     hammers
            and physics             introduced me to his cities. 

There is no space,
one chaos is not like another.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

RS Thomas reading The Bright Field

Accessible, moving, spiritual, relevant, profound are very complimentary words when applied to poetry. All of them apply to the poetry of the great Welsh poet RS Thomas. The Bright Field is a beautiful poem, his own reading of it enhances the beauty. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Read it loud, a verbal upper

There is no poetry to match Whitman’s for exultation; he sings a body electric. Like a river in spate, there is an awesome energy in the poetry. Go to a quiet room, read it out loud, it's a verbal upper.  
One of the essential reads in all poetry, the poems from Whitman's " Leaves of Grass" can be got at
from Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" 


 I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,
 And what I assume you shall assume,
 For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. 

 I loafe and invite my soul,
 I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
 My tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil,
 this air, 
 Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and
 their parents the same,
 I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
 Hoping to cease not till death. 

 Creeds and schools in abeyance,
 Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never
 I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
 Nature without check with original energy. 


 Houses and rooms are full of perfumes, the shelves are
 crowded with perfumes,
 I breathe the fragrance myself and know it and like it,
 The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it. 

 The atmosphere is not a perfume, it has no taste of the
 distillation, it is odorless,
 It is for my mouth forever, I am in love with it,
 I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked,
 I am mad for it to be in contact with me. 

The smoke of my own breath,
Echoes, ripples, buzz'd whispers, love-root, silk-thread,
crotch and vine,
My respiration and inspiration, the beating of my heart, the passing of   blood and air through my lungs,
The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves, and of the shore and dark-color'd sea-rocks, and of hay in the barn,
The sound of the belch'd words of my voice loos'd to the eddies of the wind,
 A few light kisses, a few embraces, a reaching around of arms,
 The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs wag,
 The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and hill-sides,
 The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun. 
Have you reckon'd a thousand acres much? have you reckon'd the earth much?
Have you practis'd so long to learn to read? Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems? 
Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems, You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are      millions of suns left,) 
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books,
 You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
 You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.
I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the
beginning and the end,
But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.

There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now,
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.

Urge and urge and urge,
Always the procreant urge of the world.
Out of the dimness opposite equals advance, always
substance and increase, always sex,
Always a knit of identity, always distinction, always a breed
of life.

To elaborate is no avail, learn'd and unlearn'd feel that it is so.

Sure as the most certain sure, plumb in the uprights, well
entretied, braced in the beams,
Stout as a horse, affectionate, haughty, electrical,
I and this mystery here we stand.

Clear and sweet is my soul, and clear and sweet is all that is
not my soul.

Lack one lacks both, and the unseen is proved by the seen,
Till that becomes unseen and receives proof in its turn.

Showing the best and dividing it from the worst age vexes age,
Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while
they discuss I am silent, and go bathe and admire myself.

Welcome is every organ and attribute of me, and of any man
hearty and clean,
Not an inch nor a particle of an inch is vile, and none shall be
less familiar than the rest.

I am satisfied — I see, dance, laugh, sing;
As the hugging and loving bed-fellow sleeps at my side
through the night, and withdraws at the peep of the day
with stealthy tread,
Leaving me baskets cover'd with white towels swelling the
house with their plenty,
Shall I postpone my acceptation and realization and scream
at my eyes,
That they turn from gazing after and down the road,
And forthwith cipher and show me to a cent,
Exactly the value of one and exactly the value of two, and
which is ahead?


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Something Beautiful for May

Nice to get the English lyrics to one of the most beautiful songs, Cucurrucucu Paloma sung by Caetano Veloso.

"What will these stones ever know, little dove, of love?"