Only Push the Pen

NaPoWriMo2017Day29
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It’s not that I have not been writing. It’s more like I have been editting in between visits from much loved friends, cooking, feasting, playing Scrabble matches to the death.  Then it was May and the garden burgeoned and nature said, No time for pen play! Pay attention to me! It was most persuasive. But still, the pen and the notebook were there and the notebook was nearly full. Time to fill the final few pages. And despite the call of domestication, my wild mind chomped at deadlines and potential themes.

Only push the pen.

After a long pause

only push the pen.

Be patient. Before long

you will find once again

your tongue, your teeth,

tone and inflection.

Just flex the finger, that miracle

of the opposable thumb.

Only push the pen

across the page,

rest against this paper,

the pulp that was once

living tree, with roots

that still may live.

Find teeth, tongue, tone.

Flex the finger bones.

Only push the pen,

making it be alive.

Tap root. Live again.

 

NaPoWriMo2017Day29

Only Push the Pen

 

It’s a Wise Woman That Knows Omens

writer's life Ireland
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“Go forth and make poetry,” I proclaimed at the end of my creative writing workship at the 2017 Wise Woman Ireland Weekend.  This year’s gathering of wise women was at Newgrange where we were able to view both the Brú and Dowth from the field beside our accommodation.  The Boyne meandered on the opposite side of the road. The theme for this Bealtaine Wise Woman Weekend was Passion, Purpose and Purity. All very timely and seasonal for the Celtic wheel of the year.

On Sunday morning ten women from around Ireland joined me on a hunt for omens and auguries using symbol and metaphor.  By the end of the two and a half-hour workshop several women had completed their very first poem.

I set us the task of creating a Treble Elevenie  using the themes Passion, Purpose and Purity as either the beginning or concluding line of the elevenie.

Nightdress

Black lace

Starlight and moondust

With body I worship

Passion

***

Connect

The points

Let magic begin

Tricking around with words

Purpose

***

Being

An urn

Complete in itself

Scenes from a life

Purity

***

Over the course of the weekend I attended two other ‘word’ workshops. In one there was a collective poem created using the ‘cut up’ method.  In the other we looked at lines of poetry in a deeply spiritual context and how it resonated within.

And did I get an omen? Yes, of a sort. But I won’t say exactly what it was, but it is summed up in this quotation from Rumi

May the beauty of what you love be what you do.

I love this writing life. I love living in Ireland. I love the deep nurture of nature and living deep in the silence and solitude of wildish West Cavan. I love how the land speaks. It makes me a wise woman and a very grateful one, too.

May Morning after NaPoWriMo2017

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It has become a habit this poetry writing in the morning. I am not a morning person. But writing in the quiet is very soothing to one who does not usually have the power of speech until two hours after rising, except to exchange civil greetings. The poetry writing neural pathway seemed to have formed a groove that I want to keep fresh and well-traveled.

But it is May Day, or Bealtaine, and in Ireland the air has turned almost balmy. Everything is all leafy and juicy green. There is sunshine and the washing machine is humming. So are the bees on the comfrey. The world may be a Bealtaine bonfire, but the birds are singing their hearts out. Which may also be why it is important to keep on and write poetry. It’s a way of building a healthy moral and emotional immune system. It builds resistance.

So, one more poem. I haven’t decided yet if I will keep posting regularly or not. I have a full collection of poems in the works. Time to get back to that. My friend Helen Shay and I are also hatching another ‘poetry conversation’, a two-hander of poems that can be performed. So keep in touch. Follow the blog if  you want to read updates.

The raw second or third drafts have been what was posted here. Yeah, there will be a lot of revising and organising in May. The NaPoWriMo2017 site joked that May is NaPoReMo – National Poetry Revision Month. I didn’t read that until I had finished a reworking of a poem drafted last September. And the person named in the poem will now have to write me one back!

paper bag poem

Paperbag Poem

 

The preserving jars

Carefully wrapped

By the shop assistant

Arrive home

Perfect

 

Smoothing out

For recycling

Recalls a September

Forty years or more

Pristine

 

Paper lunch bags

Half a cream cheese

And pimento olive

On white bread sandwich

Fridays

 

High school cafeteria

As amphitheatre

Time cascades down

Like a slinky marching

Backwards

 

Suddenly

Richard Knecht is standing up

Blowing into a brown bag

Punching it

Goes  ‘pop!’

 

Here is a brown paper bag

Naked of my name

Pencilled in

My mother’s precise

Handwriting

 

I am free to fill it

Scrawl over it

With crayon, tempura or ink

My imprecise

Imaginings

 

 

To breathe into it

Toe let it go ‘Pop!’

This brown paper bag

A memory

And object

NatPoWriMo2017 Day 30

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The final day of Poetry Writing Month. I have thirty-two poems down for this April, most have been sparked by the prompt, even if they went a bit tangential.  I quelled at the diplodic verse and the ghazal, didn’t really get the clerihew or noctourne, but fell as much in love with the elevenie as I am with haiku. The final prompt for NaPoWriMo2017 is to write about something that is repetitive. Which is a good topic to return to again and again (!)

Ingress

 

Cat’s paw patting

At the windowpane

Hovering on the sill

Neither in nor out

 

Let me in!

Again and again

Prove to me

My liberty

 

Admit nothing

Not appetite, nor love

Plush pelt,

Purr or head bump

 

Stretch seductively

As an Ingres’

Odalisque

With her slave

 

Always to hand

To come hither

Again and again

To open

 

Admit

Enter the point where

Stars and planets

Will not collide

 

They revolve

As thresholds can

In sleep

In dreams

 

Watch how they

Admit you

Enter, then freefall

Elegantly onto cat’s paws

 

NaPoWriMo2017 Day 29

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The penultimate morning of a month of writing a poem a day, NaPoWriMo2017.  Today, the prompt asks us to take our favourite poem (what, only one?) and pick a noun. Free write around for five minutes. Then, construct.

It had to be a Mary Oliver. But which one? In the end, I realised the one that sings in my heart most is The Journey. And the noun I chose is the title word, since I have always had a fondness for those words with that jour syllable within. And I have also always loved the Irish farewell of ‘Safe journey, safe home.’

Sojourning

 

Stillness within movement

Encased in the metal jacket

A bullet train, a jet plane

Propulsion towards barriers

Speed, customs, immigration

But now is the in between

Neither here nor there.

 

The day opens, a fresh page

The hand moves across it

In transit

As plodding as Shank’s pony, sometimes

Loud and crowded as the Port Authority

Everyone everywhere is making

Their connection, like poetry.

Safe journey. Safe home.

NaPoWriMo2017 Day 28

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I have no stomach for the terse I told myself. I don’t want to do Skeltonic verse. It feels like writing with two left metrical feet.

So this is not Skeltonic verse, but somehow the words still came out a bit terse. Damn, those dipods! Anyway, the last of my notebook’s pages were filled today. I will have to open a new one for the last of NaPoWriMo2017.

To My Notebook

 

Nearly full

First draft

Authoring of my life

Between Autumn Equilux ‘15

And Bealtaine ‘17

 

Four square, blank pages

Covered in inimitable scrawl

Graffittied book of days

Spontaneous sputterings

With ink

 

Some stressing, some blessing

Some poetry

This is prayer

So Sam the Man

Says, in short

 

Full, with lists

Of Martha’s musts

And Mary’s musings

Her always tricking around

With words

 

All those

Beautiful words

Which, I hope

I will never ever

Lose

 

Notebook,

Keep them safe

Aide memoire

Confessor

Poet prentice

 

All filled

With the ragbag random

Like a Lifer

Marvelling at the crunch

Underfoot of fallen leaves

NaPoWriMo2017 Day 27

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It is ironic that on Poetry Day Ireland today’s prompt threw me right back to my origins. That Proustian madeleine for me is a Hershey’s Dark Special chocolate bar. You can take the girl out of PA, but apparently  the woman’s stomach is still ensconced there. Like many translocated people, what we miss is the food of our childhood. I have resided in three countries, so today’s prompt “to explore the sense of taste” was pure nostalgia.

Happy Poetry Day Ireland, from Ireland, even if my stomach is still in PA (that’s Pennsylvania for those of you not raised in state.)

Do You Miss It?

 

Do you miss it?

they ask. And I say, No!

 

Which is not entirely

a lie. Here’s why.

 

I may not be

a PA shoofly pie

 

kind of woman.

And please! Hold the scrapple!

 

But here’s the thing…

Streusel topping.

 

On apple pie.

Cinnamon. Butter. Sugar

 

It takes me home. Well,

no more. Maybe 40 years ago.

 

I don’t miss it.

Or birch beer. Or Rolling Rock.

 

But it lingers

On the palate.

 

Like the taste of chawed

curl of silver birch bark.

 

Penn’s Woods. And orchard

apple butter on toast.

 

When they have me

on the slab, opening me

 

they will find Marcellus

rock seam. It tastes

 

of green. Or did,

before they got a craving

 

for gas. Which spoils

the appetite for your supper.

 

So no. I don’t miss it.

Except, I guess, I do.