Category 3

The day began with a migraine headache. But I still have managed poetry practice thanks to good pain relief. And my topic today is well informed by an article in a past Guardian Saturday Review, “High Art”, by Sarah Perry. Some of her research helped form the poem. Also storms in the Atlantic.

Category 3

Was happening in my head.
I could barely get out of bed.
Swallow nostrums.
Stumble back to contemplate
small explosions, spasms,
pain mostly pulsating,
not quote lancinating,
definitely stretching and weighty.
Galen made those four descriptors for pain.
Avicenna had six – those that are
feather light to bear;
some that sledgehammer you
instead quarry stone;
some sandpaper course
wearing you down;
some piercing you to a cross;
some a brew of vinegar and gall;
then the pain that makes you numb to all.
The pain transcendent perhaps.

The storm in my head calmed
several hours later
just as the wind outside
worked itself up
to frenzy the willows.
The storm inside subsided,
Softened by warmth, and quiet,
Sleep, and the kindness of a companion
bearing toast and tea.

Copyright 2018 Bee Smith

Drawer

No subject is too mundane to not be potentially transcendental. At least in the early hours of the day, when you really are a night owl. But it was still dark when poetry practice called.
Drawer
Everyone has got one.
That drawer full
of catchall, untamed, uncategorised
bits, bobby pins, bats, half-chewed rubber balls.

Once
I heard a psychiatrist on the radio recount
strategy with a a suicidal patient’s call
during another client’s fifty minutes.
She said just go an tidy a drawer until
She’d ring back in twenty.
He was calmer on the call back.
He had dispensed with death
as a persuasive option
when appraising the matched and folded array
of an ordered sock drawer.

We all have that drawer.
Sometimes we empty the contents
into a box
and slide it under the bed,
or to the back of a closet,
out into the shed,
or the far cobwebbed corner of the garage
where all our memories go.

There go the night terrors.
There are the dreams where clocks melt,
mildew thrives,
animals speak, along with long-lost loves.
Dislodged identities fly out
with the moths
that camphor could not combat.

I once found my long dead father
in a drawer.
It was good to visit
the ineffable
just for a little while.
I did not open my parents’ love letters.
They were left unread.
It was good to know they were there.

Fifteen years later
when I checked
they were gone.

When all the drawers are emptied,
or the house burnt down,
the storage unit lease run out,
then
with photos gone, the phone mislaid,
the collected memorabilia of lifetimes
lost…

What will be the last talisman
to touch and stay the rising confusion?
Would it be bric-a-brac or bone china?
Mine would be seashell and stone.
One to worry in my pocket or line my purse.
One to put to my ear
to hear the tide roll by.

Copyright 2018 Bee Smith

Magpie

Writing practice had to wait. The sun was shining. There were (and still are) garden tasks that need to be done that are a much greater pleasure administered without wet and wind. I grew up on a continent that called these autumn days ‘Indian summer.’ The phrase caught on in the British Isles, which I find patently perplexing. Or perhaps it is just another case of cultural colonisation. Or misappropriation. It was the Columbus Day holiday in the States on October 8th. There has been a movement in past years to rename the holiday Samoset, or Indigenous People’s Day.

Such is the day. It may be a last opportunity to throw all the windows open. So at 3pm I pause and take up my pen today. When I finish there are some tulip bulbs, crocus and narcissi that need my attention.

Magpie

There is nothing particularly
Indigenous about
sultry, sunny days
with clear azure sky
in October
in Europe

on a day we wish
we had not been so precipitate
in packing away
the short sleeves
the ankle socks
on this day
with the mercury pointing
to 20 degrees C

unseasonal, yes
a little surreal, yes
(given wooly blankets already on beds)
but nothing subcontinent
to the east
or Amerindian
to the west
at all

A solitary magpie
sits in the willow tree,
sermonising the suet ball feeder.
One for sorrow –
that it’s no longer just
a change in weather.
It’s the climate.
Our over-hearing planet
Is all.

Copyright 2018 Bee Smith

Venus Dives Deep

There was a fashion in creating ‘found poems’ or ‘cut-outs’ from sometime back in the mists of poetry time. Probably the late 60s when those who were there can’t remember. Today I decided to create a chorus of women’s voices, taking direct quotes from articles or newsletters I have read this morning. It is a New Moon today in Libra, ruled by that most feminine of goddesses, Venus. Sky and astrology watchers will have noted that Venus is currently retrograde, seemingly stationary, or moving backwards (rapidly towards the Dark Ages.) Today’s poetry practice, or journalling as I am coming to think of it, is playing with a different kind of cut and paste. Also, I want to celebrate women’s voices. We want to be heard.

I won’t keep my chorus Greek, masked and anonymous. The quotes are not in order, but feature the words of Barbara Kingsolver, Jude Lally,Chani Noble, Mary Pat Lynch, Brené Brown, and Sara Galactica. Thank you for your words, your speech, your voice. I hear you.

Venus Dives Deep

She goes from bright evening star
to invisible
to bright morning star

If like me you
feel
overwhelmed, angry and betrayed

Keening
is an ancient
women’s tradition

…Invest
a reasonable amount
of time
attending to fears and feelings

It feels like
we are living through
the end of the world
as we know it

We embark on a dark journey…

…unravel the path that you took to this very moment

Stare into truths
of Who We Thought We Were
and see
What We’ve Become

The moon calls us
to release
as She does.

Copyright 2018 Bee Smith

Featured image is based on an original photo of me by Jane Gilgun.

A Red Dress

Poetry practice happened as it should on its daily  basis, but even trying to squeeze the pips of the day to post, I was foiled by a storm.  The internet would not play, pics would not upload, the format went squiffy. So I waited it out and in the early hours the signals steadied, the storm stopped gusting it away.

Such is the reality of life in rural Ireland. I am still old school with fountain pen, Quink and notebooks. But the digitl post is an important part of the process,too.  Bit it does not always go to plan.

Today’s offering posted was actually sparked by an item arriving in the post.

A Red Dress

Is meant to inspire confidence,
to gird your loins
donning battle dress
in every sense.

It’s a flag,
a declaration of independence.
It’s no way a surrender
so get off that picket fence.

And I surely like purples,
and  all the teals and green,
but wearing red with a slick of lippy
makes a clear difference

So howdy, Emma Goldman!
I’ve got the dress to dance.
Let’s go make that revolution.
Let’s go plot our deliverance.

Copyright 2018 Bee Smith

Winter is Coming

Have you heard  about the Cailleach? She is well known in Celtic lands. She is not only the bringer of winter, she was the creatrix of this land. She emptied her apron full of stones to make these islands on the fringe of Europe. Like a Pictish warrior she is sometimes imagined with a blue face. She is older than everything and only yields to the maiden Brigid in springtime when it is time for the world to resurrect and grow.  So she is death and endings, before she reinvents herself as the fertile maiden in springtime.

Looking at photos from years past I can tell that winter has advanced by comparison to previous years. The outer is mirroring the inner reality. The weather is matching the world climate.  To make your self feel better you might want to refer to an earlier post inspired by Traci Yorke Freezer Spell.

One must take one’s cheer where one can find it and make it. The Cailleach is a crone. Old women can be dangerous.

Winter is Coming

 

There is a cold wind this morning

and a leaden sky.

I cannot but help to think winter

is coming early.

 

The leaves are being shaken down

piling on the ground.

Early frost has blackened bracken

leaving it face down.

 

The Cailleach once upon a time

built this world of stone,

comes once more with her apron

of stones she will hurl.

 

The Cailleach comes in stone cold rage.

Winter is coming.

Hail stone fists will begin to fly.

Winter is coming.

 

The Cailleach blows, her face gone blue.

Winter is coming.

The Cailleach buries and freezes out.

Winter is coming.

 

The Cailleach comes early this year.

 

 

Copyright © 2018 Bee Smith

Poem Prayer

Samuel Beckett has a quote that is often truncated to all poems are prayers.  The late Patricia Monaghan spun it to include spells. Spells and prayers are often petitionary -for protection, for love and to be loved in return, for the wherewithal to survive or thrive.

It is a sunny day here where I live. But it also feels like a day to keep prayer ceaselessly in one’s heart to cast out any dark.

Today marks the beginning of the fourth week of my writing and posting a poem a day. I feel it is evolving into a journal with the poetry practice plotting my preoccupations. We shall see how long I can keep up with this practice. I am surprising mself a bit.

Sound and Fury

Signifying nothing.
We mean nothing.
We, with less ambition,
less malcontent
than his Lady MacBeth.
We are idiots
condemned
to suffering singly,
singularly alone, alien
in the homeland,
living with the din, aggrieved.

Power confers a cursedness.
Blessed are the powerless
for the day they inherit
the kingdom of heaven on earth.
It will come.
And may they then evade
becoming one among the cursed.

Copyright 2018 Bee Smith

Featured image is a portrait of Samuel Beckett by Barry Hodgson, owned by the author.