One Year on from the 365 Day Poetry Marathon

Yes, it is a year since I completed writing a poem a day everyday and posting it on this blog. There was only one blip on 30th November 2018 when our internet got knocked out by a storm. I posted the last of November’s poems at like 1am on 1st December and December’s later that day.

Since then I have posted a poem each Sunday until this past Sunday. We had quite the domestically traumatic week in our household that culminated with letting our old dog, Ellie, go into the Big Sleep. Ellie appeared in many poems and mention of her has been salted throughout this blog over the past couple years. She made a passing appearance in the penultimate poem’s blog on 14th September 2019.

Ellie at Corry Strand looking very grande dame – she was a Leo!

Humans are a peculiar species. I was able to write through a death and a funeral during the 365 day marathon, but this loss had me taking to my bed over the weekend. I appreciated having to keep it together for my Zoom groups, but after Saturday’s session I crashed.

Dogs, especially, with their trust of their humans, are a special type of bereavement. Ellie was an extended family dog. She was a puppy for our niece, as well as a family pet to companion her mum’s dog Cara when she went off to uni. As Ellie’s Mum No. 1 dealt with cancer, she and Cara came to us. Cara died of cancer at the end of 2017, exactly a year to a day before Mum No. 1 went to hospice.

I became Mum No. 2 to a rather obdurate dog who really preferred the company of cats and would only obey a woman issuing respectful guidance. Which often was under review. Ellie was, we all agree, and can say with fondness, a stubborn girl who knew her mind. Until age and UTIs began to confuse her.

I was really going to make this blog about what life has been like in the year after I completed the poetry a day marathon. But, in the end, it is about an aged dog who has been teaching me about mortality and grief and letting what we love go on without us. Also, grace and trust. About the last trip to the seaside, but knowing that really time was past for paddling anymore. That becoming elderly means letting go of past pleasurable activities, but that the reasurrance of loving faces is everything.

So I will just reiterate a poem where Ellie makes a guest appearance. It is part of a sequence of poems on each of the moon’s lunations. This one is from February 2018.

Cailleach Snow Moon

We are both old(er) girls now,
Ellie The Dog and I, and we treasure
our bladders. So we see a lot of morning dark.
The snow overnight is reflecting just enough
illumination. There is no cloud.
Venus is up there all twinkly bright.
So are Jupiter and our old friend Luna.
It is just Ellie, Luna, Aphrodite, Zeus
and me here huddling in the porch doorway
with rapidly cooling cup of tea.
I softly call Ellie to come back in out
from the snow. Not to linger. Though now
we are both old(er) girls there is this fascination
with darkness, the cold, the company of starry gods.

NaPoWriMo2019 Day 9

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt turns for inspiration to a long gone Japanese woman poet, Sei Shonagon, famous for her Pillow Book of astute, acute observations of court life. She was a great one for doing list poems on rather grand themes like Things That Have Lost Their Power. Never say I am not ambitious!

Earthly Powers

The depradations of age...
the body has arrived at the stage
of being the creaking gate,
the wobbling fence post. It's fate.
Words escape. Occasionally,
object or subject vaguely
becomes 'thingy.' Context is the template
that helps us negotiate.
Until they have all gone on
we lean on those sharing this Rubicon.
Oddly, despite 'thingy', things matter
less and less. We live gaunter
in every way- our bones brittle,
hair thinning around the skull.
However, others' opinions
matter naught. They're spent canons.
Sometimes wisdom finally arrives.
Fear's vanquished, deprived
all its power to manipulate.
Women can luxuriate,
stroking their moustaches and goatees.
A man can eat only cheese.
Age denudes us of our vanity.
For some it takes sanity,
makes crappy, cranky, crumbly, crusty.
Age makes the brave. Oldies are toughies.


Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved

Featured Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

GloPoWriMo2019
Bee Smith is participating in GloPoWriMo2019

Growing Older

There has been one marked change since I started this writing a poem a day lark. I am waking up earlier even though this is the season when I should be making like the bear and snuggling in for hibernation.  I am noted for not doing speech in the morning for about two hours and two cups of caffeine into the day. I am now one cup of green tea into the day and an hour and a half awake and I am already posting my poem for the day.  The silence remains the same, except I am talking (in a way) onto a blank page. While I am putting on the kettle, I felt excited. I had no idea  what would happen in my poetry practice. And then I felt grateful that I am finally seeing a few sunrises, having been an habitual night owl from birth (arriving at 1:14 am.) And maybe I am seeing both sun rise (at least in winter!) and sun set because I am older and have a very flexible schedule.

So, here is today’s poetry practice. I decided to go back and flex the end rhyme muscles since I have been in a syllabic and blank verse kind of groove the past few days.

 

Growing Older

 

Is it because I am growing older

that I am grateful for the being both

night owl and morning lark? I am bolder

in noticing  minute changes, season’s growth.

 

I see moon rise in the east, set in west.

Likewise, the sun in its diurnal round.

I feel more curiosity and zest,

the peace that my being found sacred ground.

 

Maybe the beauty of growing older

is your becoming less and more spellbound.

Less time sets priorities. Be bolder.

You have seen it all and then turnaround.

 

Some patience made me persist to elder,

but also the gift of taking some risks.

It has made me an abler author

of life before time for the obelisk.

 

I am grateful for the beauty of each day,

the rising of sun and moon, how they set.

It prepares me for the final doorway

when I shall become one with that sunset.

 

Copyright © Bee Smith 2018  |