The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

The poets are revolting

Right, folks. Start the taps running – I don’t want Them to hear us. Now – tomorrow is supposed to be my last day on Somethingeveryday, right? But I reckon we can overcome them, to keep me in power for ever. So here”s the plan. You keep Max Wallis talking, while I run into the internet and cut all the wires. A revolution led by poets – what can possibly go wrong?

For properly revolutionary poetry have a look at Anna Akhmatova – here writing about spring, but also not about spring. Poetry is often about more than it seems to be about – and halfway through writing my own poem about spring, I realised it was about Egypt and Libya too.


The last grey garrisons of winter
drum their fingers on the roof
and wait for me to mind. 
They doodle on the windows
joining raindrop dots. 
They’d put their feet up on the table
if I had a table, or if they had feet.
The spiteful season lets its forces riot, 
booming through the night 
or scrabbling down chimneys to wrestle flames.

Every now and then they send up a flare of rainbow
but we know it’s panic; 
they are trapped behind the lines.

We tolerate a little boisterous abuse because
we’ve seen the opposition crouching on the riverbanks.
The bumblebees are out on reconnoitre,
white clouds scouting on the ridge.
Guerrilla snowdrops have made sorties into town.
There’s talk of spring establishing a salient 
in the park. We keep the faith. For even now 
it’s crocusing across the open ground
and soon it will command the towpath,
torch the hedgerows with its flames, 
engage in skirmishes with trees 
and march in to a fanfare of catkins.



This entry was posted on February 27, 2011 by in Writing exercises and tagged , , .
%d bloggers like this: