Freezer Spell

Samuel Beckett is quoted (in a much editted version), “All poetry is ….prayer.” Patricia Monaghan substituted spell for prayer. Either or both apply in my view. Day 8 of NaPoWriMo2018/GloPoWriMo has a prompt that involves magic and/or spells. And most fortuitously,  yesterday Traci Yorke blogged about freezer spells.Witchcraft 101 The Freezer Spell.  I strongly recommend that you read her post to give you background on what real witches who wield wooden spoons rather than wands get up to. Because, although the prompt invited us to add newts and fauns, real magic can be a bit more prosaic and still be potent. Bane work, in witchy parlance,  is not to be treated lightly.

NaPoWriMo Day 8’s prompt reads:

Let’s take a leaf from Shelley’s book, and write poems in which mysterious and magical things occur. Your poem could take the form of a spell, for example, or simply describe an event that can’t be understood literally. Feel free to incorporate crystal balls, fauns, lightning storms, or whatever seems fierce and free and strange. Poetry is like that (at least when you’ve been reading Shelley!)

Freezer Spell

 

Wrap the person well

in an eiderdown say

or fleece

 

before placing in the casket

or large Tupperware box

to release.

 

Choose a chill room or ice cube tray

even one of Iceland’s myriad aisles

for the formal desist and cease

 

from one’s orbit or ambit.

Just do no harm to give your head

a bit of some peace.

 

Do what you will -the witch’s rede-

at least in metaphorical speak. Keep it legal.

Avoid the police.

 

Later, when the danger is long past,

take out and appropriately appreciate.

Gently thaw your expertise.

 

Float a mini iceberg down stream

or install it as art downtown. Either/or

magic worked will always be showpiece.

 

© 2018 Bee Smith

 

Image from depositphotos.com

Bee Smith is a creative writing workshop facilitator and local guide within the spectacular Cavan/Fermanagh border country known as Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark. To find out about events and workshops contact her here:

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A Secret Never To Be Told

Hello  to NaPoWriMo2018! Or, for those of us not based Stateside, GloPoWriMo (Global Poetry Writing Month). For the next thirty days I will be posting a poem a day. Sometimes  it will be taken from prompts from the NaPoWriMo.net website. But not always. They are suggestions only. But I am going to take today’s prompt as my theme, which is secret shame or secret pleasure. Since I explored shame recently in on Being a Bad Woman, I am turning to the subject of secret pleasure.

Seven Magpies

For a secret never to be told

Which is not much fun

From a coven of flash feathered friends

Gossip will send you straight to hell

That kind of tell a heinous crime

At least according to mother

But the glee in the re-telling

Of hoists to a few petards

The retailing  of curses that become blessed!

Of course, Higher Gossip, is by definition

For the greater Good of the Many broadening

The local moral spectrum, but

Lower gossip has much more juice and fizz

That precious pearl of information

Spilled to the gossip mill chaplin

It’s a mission this dissemination

Although there are other

Dimensions one can explore for delectation

So, once upon a time…

In a townland nearby

Paddy happened to spy

A courting couple canoodled

In the car parked up in the lane

Everyone thought Ted was after Madame X

But only Paddy  knew from his own eyes

That it was really Y

And do you know?

I never told anyone for two whole weeks!

And he still slow smiled the satisfaction it gave him

Twenty years on

Copyright 2018 Bee Smith

True North

This week’s main event for Britain and Ireland has been the Siberian weather front being characterised as #BeastFromTheEast. It seemed all a bit of a hum to us in the west of Ireland. On Wednesday morning it was indeed very cold, but sunny and dry. I chatted with the Foróige coordinator of our Cavan Youth Arts Lab session about whether we should cancel for that evening, having noticed a trend for early cancellations.West Cavan schools were open. There was none of this snow and ice from yellow to orange alerts the Met Eíreann was on about. We joked about those soft Dubliners who didn’t know how to cope with a bit of weather. By lunchtime it was clear that the #BeastFromtheEast was heading straight for the Atlantic, stopping by us on its way. The entire of the Republic of Ireland was on red alert.

Yet the snow that has arrived is, unusually for us, dry powder. So our lane, under normal freezes an ice rink, is passable. We were able to drive on empty roads across the border to fetch some parcels from the Parcel Motel along with milk, eggs, bread and spuds. Being cautious, I ventured out with my walking stick, but it really was redundant.

The wind, however, is cruel. The pets are sensible to the biting cold and only stay out long enough to answer the call of nature. Or, in Ellie’s case, to make a snow angel before dashing back indoors. The dogs enjoyed the change of venue with the car ride to the shop though.

So Friday arrives and it is time to address writing my weekly poem. I was helped by the timely arrival of an email fromVisualVerse, which offers a pictorial prompt along with the challenge to write between 50-500 words within an hour. So I rattled off a submission. Which was a good five finger poetry writing exercise. But then there is the evidence of my training for NaPoWriMo2018 here to consider. So, with the #BeastFromTheEast as muse, this is my weekly offering.

True North

A wind to make your jaws ache

Rictus grinning into gale

A wind to cut through you

Making you wish chain mail could be thermal 

A wind to sear the snowdrops

Droop the daffs and immature aconite

A wind to sting a false Spring

February playing us will crush the rest of the year

A wind of dips and flake drops

Of polar ice cap taking its hat off

Copyright Bee Smith 2018

Thoughts and Prayers

I respect thoughtfulness. I respect prayer and I practice it often. But I admire most a phrase that I think I encountered in some Quaker literature – Love in Action.  Which simply restates the adage ‘Walk Your Talk’- but with the addendum of walk in love. In a week where there have been a lot of thoughts flying around the interwebs, and most surely a lot of prayer, I have crafted a spell. And since auld Samuel Beckett said “all poems are prayers” this is my weekly poem. Which is also a heartfelt spell working. There have been too many Parklands, Pulses, Sandy Hooks. And may the little children lead us. They certainly are demonstrating a raw fearlessness in the face of tragedy. May they be surrounded with Love as they take action.
Thoughts and Prayers

Enough of thoughts

Enough of prayers

Enough of tears

 

Banish the fear
May Love disarm you

 

Enough of being bought

Enough of anger

Enough conspiracy jeers

Banish the fear
May Love disarm you

 

Enough of siege and SWAT

Enough of all coming to naught

Enough of the primacy of crackpot

Enough of the always all too sure shot

 

Banish the fear
May Love disarm you

 

Enough of cowering in closets

Enough of bandoliered bigots

Enough of ideology driven budgets

Enough of guts and gore as year-round climate

 

Banish your fear
May Love disarm you

Copyright 2018 Bee Smith

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

Lost Worlds

Fellow blogger, Traci York of  www.traciyork.com, spotted the anniversary even before WordPress sent me a notification. Four years ago, I started this WordPress blog on the back of an amazing opportunity to travel and learn and write at Lumb Bank, Yorkshire and in Manchester. I was travelling with a company of strangers cum creative colleagues and tutors; the whole travel package was courtesy of Cavan Arts Office and the Cavan Office for Social Inclusion through EU funding programmes. (If anyone bad mouths EU funding projects, I passionately defend them because this one certainly renewed the lease on my creative life and mental health. ) Living in a remote rural area I had had a few of my own creative wilderness years. That trip and blog changed everything. So was born Sojourning Smith, sometime tour guide, writer and creative writing tutor. Exploring the world one word at a time. For within a word, there is a whole world. And some are being lost.  You might think it odd then that the title for this anniversary issue is Lost Worlds, when what happened  for me personally was a world regained.

Continue reading “Lost Worlds”

This Week’s Poem

In a flick of a couple calendar pages it will be NaPoWriMo2018  in April. Despite being focused on workshop delivery and still having some brain fag/flu hangover, I decided to get in training for NaPoWriMo2018 in earnest. My personal challenge is to post a weekly poem in the run up to NaPoWriMo2018. Sunday is my usual posting day, but this week I had other things to communicate. So consider this a bonus post.

Two images/ideas forged the poem. You might easily figure the principle one. Thank you, Martha, Terri and Helen for our online interaction that seeded this poem.

Paper Dolls

 

Little girls’

Flat and flimsy

Auditions

Of adult interaction

 

Cut out and colour

Personae

Dress designed

To order by whim

The whimsy of childhood

Ordering plot action and reaction

Doing all the dialogue

Being every character

In the costume box

Of an eight year old’s

Imagination

 

The first flutterings

That every story

Ultimately

Is about

The adventure of love

While still staying outside the lines

With our safety scissors

No teeth

Required to cut the cord

Holding up

The scenery flats and flys

 

© 2018 Bee Smith

Featured image found on http://www.topdownloadables.com

National Poetry Days

The UK usually celebrates a National Poetry Day the first Thursday in October. So I was caught off guard and the September 28th festivities completely passed me by.  Ireland used to join in with that but this year did a break away to April, which coincides with the USA’s National Poetry Month. At least World Poetry Day is set in stone on 21st March each year. But maybe even UNESCO will wobble on that date.

This basically makes me feel like a grumpy, grumbly old person. We like our routines, our schedules to rely upon and heaven help  you if you move the tinned baked beans to another aisle in the supermarket!

But I digress…

Belatedly, I note that the UK theme for Poetry Day is Freedom. Which is a big theme. So two poems,one based on Biblical story inspired by the plight of refugees. The other is practically a manifesto for social introversion.

Two ways to be free…in poetry

The Zamzam Well

Hagar, did you flee?

Or were you cast out,

left for dead in the desert

with your infant son Ismail

wailing and kicking in his swaddle clothes?

 

In a place where his mother’s milk

would soon dry, withering

like the thorn tree berries,

your inconvenient son Ismael

keening and kicking

 

at sand and stone, kicking, howling,

kicking, hollering until –

miracle of miracles! –

in answer to his mother’s prayers

her son, or some angel

 

directing his little heels

unearthing

the spring

the Zamzam

the well open to all.

 

They lived and made no one strange

where all were strangers.

 

They were blessed and praised

Hagar and her son Ismael.

They came like pilgrims

supplicants

making the Zamzam  holy

 

until even Abram came,

acknowledging his seed.

 

Hagar, did you flee the wife’s envy?

Did you fear the power to harm?

Were you cast out by weakness, or fear?

Were you left for dead for some

inconvenient truth?

 

Your son

the spring of surprise and salvation

a blessing

even as his mother was cursed

cast out, forced to flee

 

to make a new tribe

those who wander but are no strangers.


A Way to Be Free

 

getting the top deck

of a London bus, front seat, all to oneself,

soothed by intermittent ding-dings,

conveyed in stops and starts,

looking out the front window,

sulphur street light freckled with rain…

 

immersing

into the womb  of cheap stalls

a rainy Saturday afternoon

mesmerised by the actress singing

all for me down in the matinee dark

the sound of

the fourth wall falling…

 

browsing

an art gallery

especially those with portraits

with whom I can play talking heads

making imaginary friends with Francis Bacon

or  Gwen John’s

implacably impassive face

 

the bliss

of never ever to be at the beck and call

of flower arranging rotas

or deciding a room’s colour scheme

or the hell of formulating a policy

by committee

 

finding

a way to be free

to go about unmolested,

undeterred

uninterrupted

invisible

subversively

solitary