If you don’t live in a universe populated with bookstores, it may have passed you by that today is World Book Day. And why wouldn’t you have a day to celebrate what to many a lonely child was where the first friendships were forged?! For the shy and introverted, novels are a kind of ‘how to’ navigate the world of people and relating to them. Poetry especially, and for me discovering Emily Dickinson in particular, made the world feel less lonely and myself better understood. So do go by a bookstore today and avail yourself of making friends with some author’s wild mind, the world their imagination manufactures in book form.
Today’s poetry practice is not about a book, although I could wax lyrical about the books that have been life altering. Today’s poetry practice is a riff from a phrase used by my niece as we were journeying in the car back from some very body and soul satisfying massages in Sligo Town. Writers can be thieves sometimes. Or, maybe, more accurately, we are all magpies that pick up the glittering words and phrased that others conveniently drop in our paths.
Labels name things.
It is comforting to know
that purple flower is an iris or aquilegia,
to be able to distinguish between
the song of robin and blackbird.
In museum glass cases
they curate found things.
They mark their era and location.
They mount interpretive boards
with their speculation.
They take their joy
in their explanations.
We like to name things.
To identify, sort, code, safely label.
display in a box, interpret
explain away the mystery.
Every neighbourhood and town
has its 'odd bod'
the boy-man or Boo Riley
still living at home
with Father and Mother
too frail is some indefinite way
to go out into the world.
The sort that when a baby fails
to make its landmarks
when Mother takes them for their checks,
a worry is sowed, a fear that this child
will be one with some form of
One that experts will want to poke and prod
and explain that it will never go away,
that they will try to identify and label,
what is not easily categorised. They'll
maybe medicate, maybe enable,
but rarely just sit with the inevitable
awe at the mystery
of majestic difference.
Which is not meant
as an object of fear.
Or needing to be shut away in a glass case.
They are simply subject
to their majestic difference.
Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved
Featured Photo by Ben White on Unsplash