"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde
Today’s NaPoWriMo effort is posted in haste as I’m off to pick up the reprint of my book. I’m on the road after that for a few days, so those of you who’ve ordered a copy will find it in the post next week. If you haven’t ordered a copy and you’d like to, it’s £9 including postage – email me at email@example.com.
Today’s poem began as an attempt to fulfil a commission. A few years ago, along with several other (then) West Midlands-based poets, I was asked to write a poem about myself to be displayed alongside a portrait by Graham Kershaw. Of course all poems are about the poet to some extent – but this seemed very solipsistic indeed. I wrote two poems, and finally used one called Fancying Myself as a nod to this rather self-indulgent exercise. The other poem, which I didn’t use in the exhibition has been reworked and I’m not sure whether it’s finished yet. Perhaps you can let me know.
Consider the poor man who found a bird
and fed it – scuttling as it grew,
unsettled by its widening eyes.
Unloosed, there was a mean
and meaning flurry.
She spun her head around and lifted,
starved and roamed. Accustomed to
a spare and motley diet of bones
and anecdotes, her shadow stretched.
She got the hang of it. She learned to lean out
as night fell, to stoop into the bat-darned air
sleek and bookish, hungry.
She did not ask for liberty. But now she has it
she will strip the minutes
from the mouse-flesh days.