The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

Calendar Girl

Thanks Josephine for the photo!

Thanks Josephine for the photo!

Happy new year, poetry folk, and here’s a very short entry to begin it with. Some of you have kindly reminded me that I’m in the Guardian’s free calendar for 2013…. modelled here on Josephine Corcoran‘s kitchen wall. There’s a tiny quote in January from a poem of mine called Resolution.

Its main interest to a reader, I suspect, is only as an exercise in re-drafting because the words quoted disappeared in the later drafts – here’s the version quoted in the calendar, and below it the revision. It’s not a poem I’ve ever been fond of myself, because by the time I had worked out what I was trying to say (begin again, and keep beginning) I was no longer interested in saying it through this poem.

Resolution (I)

Hungover in the cow-fresh air, we leave friends
to stuff cold cars with leftovers and sleeping children.

In Castleton, the Castle pub is mulled and mistletoed.
The Sheffield Pipe band skirl through in their kilts and dirks.

The barman smiles at me: but everyone is smiling.
The bandleader spinning his brassy mace,
the men in bright new scarves, the lovers.
Everyone seems happy.
Soon, I will remember I have on a reindeer hat
with floppy antlers and a squashy nose.

We heave each other uphill to the Castle,
looking out from garderobes and turrets to the cliffs
and Mam Tor’s wrinkled fort.

Children march downslope in time,
the Saints Come Marching In.
Glockenspiels and trumpets in the square
seen through crow-filled trees.

We march down swinging arms
and singing Wenceslas.
I may, of course, be getting this
all wrong.

Resolution (II)

Hungover in the cow-fresh air, they leave their friends
to stuff cold cars with leftovers and sleeping children.
He wishes they too had a dog, or tartan travel rugs.

The Castle pub is mulled and mistletoed,
aglint with copper pans and holly.
The Sheffield Pipe Band skirls, unlikely, by.

He heaves her uphill to the torpid castle:
kisses her against the wishbone walls,
trumpets blarting up through crow-filled trees.

They march down singing Wenceslas.
This is going to be a fruitful year,
he thinks. Or better than the last.

It’s pleasing to rediscover this poem today. I wrote it in Castleton, a little village in the Derbyshire Peak District, several years ago at the end of a short-lived love affair. Today I’m writing this in a cottage in Hathersage, with night falling over the high lines of Stanage – two minutes away from Castleton and its Peveril Castle. So, oddly enough I am in the same place but, as the Californian yogurt-knitters might say, in a very different place personally. May the New Year bring you happiness, creative satisfaction and a triumphant feeling of new beginnings. Like what I have got.

New year, new journeys

New year, new journeys

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2 comments on “Calendar Girl

  1. wendyfrench
    January 5, 2013

    Yes, well, we all move on and I’m pleased to be reminded of that through these two versions of your poem. A happy, creative and productive 2013 to you too.

  2. eof737
    January 16, 2013

    It ‘s wonderful and I like that you have two parts/versions of it. 🙂
    I’ve been writing my small stones on my blogspot blog.
    http://positivekismet.blogspot.com/2013/01/musings-trust.html
    Eliz

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