Archive for the 'poetry' Category

Seashell in a box (Moments 6)

Number 6 in a series of poems I’ve been writing for 30 years. Amsterdam, October 2015.

Locked in this box
I have a seashell
that whispers to me
of white foaming surf and starfish,
of sirens and islands,
of sails and whales
and a voyage to see
a ballet of almond trees.

When there is no melody to be heard,
when this silence crushes,
I listen to my seashell —
it reminds me how to sing.

And I can smell oysters and dead fish;
And I can hear the wind groaning in the rigging;
And I can touch seaweed slime and driftwood;
And I can taste salt spray on my lips.

Then I hide it in this box, away, again.

Commuter train Madonna and child

[From my notebook, earlier this year, on the 15.45 train from London to Birmingham.]

On a packed, hot train
I scrounged space to rest my notepad
To write notes from my London meeting.
Phones chirruped;
Laptops clacked.

And opposite me,
Oblivious in bliss in silence
A woman and her baby
Smiled together
Their gaze unbroken throughout
Enraptured in their wonder and love.

Some lines about daisies

In many songs and poems
I find I mention daisies.
Blake and Wordsworth and the great English poets
wrote about roses and daffodils,
but you don’t hear much about daisies.
So here goes:

“O wond’rous daisy! How lovely thou art!”

No, that won’t do. Rhetorical bombast
before making it simply a symbol of some portentous theme.
A small flower shouldn’t carry such heaviness.

The name means “day’s eye”;
it opens its petals for the sun, and closes them at night.
I think the daisy is a watcher;
it contemplates, quietly, the day that it sees.
It is a witness.

It looks fragile.
But the daisy is strong.
Its Latin name is Bellis perennis
“Pretty”, “everlasting”.

You can trample a daisy,
but only for a short while.
It’ll grow back,
and open its eye
for the sunshine again.

Written after I edited You tread lightly on the world from its 3 a.m. scrawl, and realised I’ve used daisies in at least 4 poems and 2 songs.

You tread lightly on the world

I woke at 3 a.m. one night last week, and scrambled for my bedside pad in which I jot down song/poem ideas. Rather than do my usual trick of making tiny tweaks then reverting them back and forth for a decade, I’m posting it now. It may get carved up for a song, or may not.

You tread lightly on the world.
You like to. You scorn roots.
One foot in front of the other,
you go now:
tread from ocean to ocean
in Brownian motion,
seeing-not-being,
a ghost in the sunshine.
You photograph children;
You want none — you tread lightly.

You tread lightly on the world.
When the grass you stand on
springs up;
when the gecko you startle
comes back;
when your hollow in the bed
smooths away;
when your footprint in the sand
fills with sea;
when the daisies you flatten
take root again;
who will remember you?

I will.

tread-lightly

(Anna said the last line is superfluous, because the act of writing shows the subject is remembered. I think Anna’s too subtle.)