"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde
Dear reader, I wouldn’t want you to think I was slacking. However, I am off to Barcelona tomorrow and if I have the time or opportunity to post on my blog, well I won’t be having much of a holiday. I will be writing while I’m away, in a final tweak of Riverlands poems – so expect a week of radio silence with an efflorescence of poems immediately afterwards.
Meanwhile, as I said yesterday I’m reprinting my book Navigation and have had plenty of orders already (mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you want one for £9 including postage). I’ve taken the opportunity to revise it very slightly, adding in a few new poems. This is one of them – first published in Templar’s anthology Bliss last autumn.
This much I know:
I didn’t know that wine could be that bad.
You poured; we drank from plastic tubs
in bat-scratched twilight on a tractor seat
like teenagers at the Rec.
The rest is maybe.
Elderflowers, honeysuckle, swallows –
surely there were these,
although perhaps not all at once.
They turn up now, like skin-thin petals in a Bible.
Perhaps we did alright for one night
in Northumberland, and told no lies.
More likely, I’ve done nothing good at all
and at my funeral no-one will stand to say
we remember her for her sonnets
or worse, they will. Perhaps I’ve done enough;
a catchphrase or a wink, small kindnesses.
If flower sap can drain and pale
till something real becomes an artefact,
I may survive as someone’s pub tale.
After all, although you were a bloody nightmare
what I remember now is your curling laugh and lope,
your army boots and poppy-scented skin;
my readiness to believe, although
it was an effort in the dusk, even then.
That’s a rather melancholy feeling to leave you with. So I’ll sign off till my return with a little poem from Raymond Carver which should serve to raise the spirits, make us all pay attention to the moment as we should… and encourage my NaPoWriMo friends to keep going with the challenge!
Make use of the things around you.
This light rain
Outside the window, for one.
This cigarette between my fingers,
These feet on the couch.
The faint sound of rock-and-roll,
The red Ferrari in my head.
The woman bumping
Drunkenly around in the kitchen….
Put it all in,