Friday, 22 February 2008

I’m an opsimath, and thank you

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.

Old woman

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.


lasuza said...

Marjojo, it's stunning your poem.
Have I understood correctly that English is not your mother tongue?
Wow I am flabbergasted - ( I love this word!) you have an amazing command of English.
How interesting. You know Becket and Ionesco both wrote in a foreign language. I also write in French. Writing in a foreign language feels like secrets, codes and magic incantations. How do you describe this experience.....

lasuza said...

P.S I am really sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. May your writing allow your grief to be expressed whenever and however you need it to be. Be well.

Kruse said...

Because we are only cyberspace aquaintances I can only offer friendship in the form of words and thoughts. I am sorry to hear that you lost a loved friend and am thinking of you much, sending supportive thoughts for your sadness and excited thoughts for your new creative path.

Anonymous said...
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redredday said...

hi Marjojo! i've missed you! so delighted to see a new post, but pained by the news of your friend M...i hope you and her loved ones are okay...

it took a few readings for the words to penetrate...
had difficulty getting into it with the previous title. but maybe i was just not patient enough reading it. i really like it that you changed the title to what it is now. more real to me. and reading it again, i don't get why i didn't get it more immediately. the opening opens up so beautifully (particularly the first line, as John had pointed out when we read it together the other day and i didn't see it. he really likes all of what you wrote). i see it now and that passage of time in there makes me so sad reading it. the mind automatically tries to fill in the spaces in between of what is not said. The old woman somehow becomes more present, more real, and then she is someone you can picture, someone you might know, and perhaps she could also be you now or someday.
i happen to scroll down as i was reading the poem, and came to the image of you under 'about speaking' and again my heart soared with you as i imagine you reading your poem out loud. it's beautiful and painful at the same time.

cally said...

such a post filled with beginnings and endings, though I hope there are not really endings, just changes.

the poem is so beautiful, i don't believe the teacher is making allowances, there is so much in your writing that even someone like me, (neither well read, nor intellectual) can tell immediately that i am reading important words, because they penetrate in a way that many do not.

perhaps it is partly because we share many circumstances, but i know it is also more than that.

in my old flat i used to write favourite song lyrics on the bathroom wall, it was nice to have beauty in the windowless room. 'Old Woman' would have joined them there. it has the power to evoke memories and feelings, some of which i've never even had... but now i feel i have. i'm not a poet, but it seems to me that anything that can make someone feel like they are really living when they read it must, must be good.

i'm so happy that your post was here, this week has been such a difficult one for me in so many ways, but as always, you give me perspective. i'm so very sorry to hear about M, and so touched by your poetic dedication to her.

wishing you well

Joni said...

Hello Marjojo,
Am finally back again, will be on my blog again soon 2... Just want to give you a really warm hug and let you know you are not alone... There must be so much going on in your mind, having lost M.
I know from experience, from both sides.
But also : my sincere congratulations on your new life as a poet, yahoo !!!
This ambivalent as life itself is ...Joni xxx