How I’ve missed my blog! My online poetry-writing course is brilliant, it is laying out new pathways in my brain and excites and exhilarates me, but as a baby-poet amidst students who have been reading and writing for ages I feel like a small child showing off mud-pies ‘baked’ in the sandpit. I’m also feeling the strain of writing in a foreign language like never before. Doesn’t stop me though, I’m here to learn and explore and experiment and enjoy. The tutor is kind and supportive and always manages to find a little something that’s interesting in my efforts, bless him, and had some lovely things to say about Old woman, but I know he’s making allowances for me. That's o.k.
I am so grateful for the chance of trying myself out in new ways, stretching myself, and the sad news I had on Monday, about a friend finally giving up her struggle to stay alive, underline this. Last week, just when I was fiddling with a small poem about an old woman, her chance of reaching old age was taken away irrevocably. I’ve been writing furiously this week, as ever in fits and spurts when my energy allowed, but glad I had something that I could focus on intermittently. That’s where writing is different to say, crocheting, which leaves parts of my mind unoccupied and might facilitate a steady descent into the pits. While I write all of my attention is in that act, and it’s helped me to keep at bay for bits of time the overwhelming sadness of losing M., whose lovely sparkly face continually hovers around the edge of my vision.
So this small pebble of a poem is for you, M.
A tattered arm-chair holds her,
the lavish parade of velvety petunias outside
just smouldering blotches of red.
Inside her a huge eye is prised open:
girl with pig-tails turning pages
of mail-order catalogue,
early evening waiting-for-dad song curdling into lullaby,
the shuddering terror of spider in hair (they’d laughed at her fears),
the dry rustling of autumn leaves kicked up with glee.
Words sail through her mind like zeppelins:
incarnadine, inamorata, inchoation. Line in a poem
she can’t fully remember: ‘arms limp like carrots’.
Through the window the sky’s a steady spectacle, turning
from blue to white to pink to night.