Life after 365 Poems a Day

…is strange. I had never imagined the wrench of a change in routine after completing the full cycle of writing 365 Poems a Day.. On Monday, the 16th, I did wake up out of a dream full of terrorist menace. I wrote two poems, but didn’t post. On the 17th I woke up and wrote. But then, the demands of life changed the morning routine and I went for two days not writing in the morning. what I found was that I was a bit cranky. Things felt off. We were busy and productive in this house, but still…I got back in the writing saddle on the 20th and did a free write, trying to get my world from feeling askew. During that session my fountain pen began to kibbitz and the ink fade out. Even my usual tools were feeling off. Or I was projecting it on to them, blaming the ink for being blue black instead of jet. Inspecting the nib for blockages, I changed out the cartridge. It felt a bit better, but…I am considering that there was more being in my humanity last week…

Then I had to deal with the terror, the nameless one in the dream and the named ones that stalked my waking hours. While I had had a few editting and reading sessions during this past busy week, by yesterday I realised that the process of selecting poems and shaping a collection was daunting. If I weren’t already the colour of milk, I would say that the propect made me blanch. I thought I had a plan mapped out and had made a longlist. After researching potential publishers and realising that the pickings are slim and the odds enormously not on my side, I was dissolving into sweats..

Which were partly accounted for by the the Irish version of Indian Summer, foolish a name for a European heatwave in September that it is. But the relentless sunshine broke yesterday around 3pm with some rain. It’s still not as cold as it would normally be, but the rain has been caused by a shift around of the weather vane. Maybe I will settle more this week into defining life after writing a poem a day for a full year.

We are a day away from the autumn equinox, just about my favourite time of year in Ireland. Today is the eighteenth anniversary of my arrival and taking up residence in Ireland. Having been a rolling stone for a good deal of my life(first move aged three months), I have lived in our home here out the bog road for as long as I lived in the family home before I left for university. Slightly longer actually. Never in a million years could I have forecast that this would be the place that would become what feels most like home. I seemed destined for all things glitzy and urban. But it is this rural corner where Cavan and Leitrim and Fermanagh touch borders, and where the River Shannon rises and runs through the village that now feels most like home on our dear, beleaguered planet.

It’s been a busy week between the strike for Climate Change and Ireland’s Culture Night on Friday, where my husband and I ran a Kid’s Cabaret in the village. But here I am on the soulful Sabbath offering a weekly poem…or two actually.


russet and gold
licked the creeper

the rowan is a naked lady
wearing only her rubies

caught starkers in the warm daylight
standing on her tip toes

she's leaving the building
without her clothing.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved

The Last of Summer

Dew slightly frosty
a chill an hour past
the later dawn

ground mist
like a turlough hovering
underneath the mountain's ridge

disappearing with
hot sunshine searing
the sky

a silken
azure blue

hedges plump and laden
blackberries, rowans, haws
a wild harvest

The postman announces
that a front from the Atlantic
is coming

that is never
good news to deliver

The heat will go until May
after the equal night and equal day.
And that will be that
for summer.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved

Perhaps the earth’s poise will recalibrate me internally, too. Perhaps the terror of editting and shaping a poetry collection will begin to subside. Right now I am cogitating a twist on the cliché ‘right as rain’…maybe more ‘write as rain…’ Rain feels more the natural climate for re-writes and edits.

In the meantime, I offer a gallery of garden snaps taken during this extraordinary extra bit of summer we have had this week in my corner of Ireland where Cavan meets Leitrim and Fermanagh, and a river runs through the village.

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