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 25

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I am not strictly on prompt today. This is the set task for NaPoWriMo2017. “In 1958, the philosopher/critic Gaston Bachelard wrote a book called The Poetics of Space, about the emotional relationship that people have with particular kinds of spaces – the insides of sea shells, drawers, nooks, and all the various parts of houses. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that explores a small, defined space – it could be your childhood bedroom, or the box where you keep old photos.”

It’s doubtful this poem would qualify, but it did spark the conclusion for how to address a subject I have wanted to introduce to a poem for years. And I have got a serious crush on the elevenie since Sunday’s challenge.  A new way of “tricking around with words,” as my friend Christine beautifully describes the process.

I do still have those gloves in a box. They will probably make their way into an art project at some stage. The right collage are just crying out for them. Not even children have hands that small anymore. And this from a woman who has to buy kid’s ‘magic gloves’ so that winter woolies will fit her own abnormally tiny hands.

 

My Grandmother’s Kidskin Gloves

 

Gloves

Kidskin tight

Inherited from Mom

They would only fit

Me

 

Grandmother

Outgrew them

As did I

No one wears kidskin

Anymore

 

Mementos

Keep close

Those left behind

On my many travels

Alone

 

Grandmother Uncle Charlie c 1955

My Grandmother and her brother photographed around the time I was born

NaPoWriMo2017 Day 23

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Poetry Day Ireland is April 27th. So I reunited with my fellow fools for poetry today in Cavan Burren Forest Park for a walk, picnic and poetry writing. The dogs got walked, too. I shared NapoWriMo’s Day 23 challenge. Which is a form hitherto unknown to me. But, like haiku, it has an unrhymed, strictly defined format.

The elevenie contains five lines of eleven words. Line 1 is a single noun. Line 2 contains two words about what that item ‘does’, with line 3 telling the where or how of Line 1. Line for is supposed to convey the meaning of it all. And Line 5 winds it all up with a single word. Apparently, it is very popular for teaching German as a Second language!

Today’s challenge was to write a double elevenie.

 

Letting the Stones SpeakCalf Hut Autumn

Rock

Stands still

Cavan Burren forest

Eon’s old limestone seabed

Erratic

 

Megalith

Stands proud

Stone Age craft

Art the first impulse

Presence