No Superhero

I’m sure we have all had mornings where it feels like this. Expectations meet reality.

No Superhero

When you wake up one morning

and you simply cannot wear
the Wonderwoman bodice.
Even though there is a springtime
balminess in the morning air

it's not a day for
Spiderman springs to your step.
More like dangling
from a thead.

Some mornings you wake up

and you'll never be anyone
out of a Marvel comic.
There'll never be enough hulk
in your bulk, or iron.

There's more shuffle than hustle,
even though truth,
not to mention justice,
are still locked in their eternal tussle.

When you get up some mornings

and make your cup of tea,
open the window, feeling the draught
against your pygama's fleece,
and know you are quite puny, small,

not made with balls of iron at all.
That's the day I feel grateful
for the comfy elasticated waist
on the capacious Big Girl pants I don.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Featured Photo by Zbysiu Rodak on Unsplash

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Post Viral Blahs

You know how yesterday’s poem encouraged leaving the rage on the page? Well, I took my own advice this morning and had a good auld vent. Basically, being post-viral and sort of up and doing, I was feeling overwhelmed, tired, emotional, cranky…the usual way you feel when you aren’t diseased enough to be confined to quarters, but are not one hundred percent. My mother used to call it a bad case of the blahs. Got it in spades today.

So just a few lines today. Meanwhile, I am going to enjoy one of my Valentine’s Day presents – The Poetry Pharmacy: Tried and True Prescriptions for the Heart, Mind and Soul. William Sieghart put that volume together. There is also an Emergency Poet, who operates out of a de-commissioned ambulance. Deborah Alma, the Emergency Poet, has recently found premises in Shropshire to set up an actual shop front Poetry Pharmacy. They got a mortgage to buy it and all!

Meanwhile, between leafing through that volume and waving the sage around I’ve been working out my own prescription.

Post Viral Blahs

When everything is just too much,
but nothing feels ever enough.
No bloody effort ever will...!

Damn her eyes when she is right!
That Marie Kondo tidy up making
the boudoir all sweetness and light.


Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Featured Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Two Baldwins, One Poem

I woke in the dark, but there was such a cat-cophany early on what went on the page was a litany of cat complaints. It is never a good idea to try me first thing in the morning. It is never a good idea to try and make noise before I am two cups of caffeine into the day. House rules, guys! There was also the matter that I had a morning workshop at the open prison, based around Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. It’s always kind of rock and roll, you never know who will show up, or how many, or what sort of writing experience they will have, if any. I generally have about three different plans in my head.

When I got home I took the Old Dog for a little dander down the lane, which meant it was more like taking a toddler for a walk. We had to stop a lot for Ellie to sniff and limp along and have a little rest. Christina Baldwin’s quote “Move at the pace of guidance” popped into my head. Once inside, that collided with one from James Baldwin: “Nothing is stable under heaven.”

And so, the poem for today.

Quest

Who am I?
Where am I?
and
What am I doing here?

I have been known to
ask these questions
while standing inert
in my kitchen
before the open door
of my fridge.

What is lost?
Where was it found?
Who is it standing
here on this ground?

"Nothing is stable..."
(especially this thing called 'I')
"under heaven" being where
if not the ultimate why.
Where is the here  I
lost track of myself?

So go tell it on the page.
Give it some answers.
Give it your rage.
Ask some more questions.

Trace a path, line upon line.
Let them roam open
in every direction.
Try east, west, north, south
by process of elimination.

At some stage "under heaven"
You'll find your internal compass.
Your heart knows its true north.
It bypasses every delusion.

"Move at the pace of guidance"
heart and hand moving as one
across the page, teaching a great patience.
The page will become your piece of heaven,
with  signposts,  a place of grace and balance.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Featured Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Mercury – Retrograde

Of course I am late with poetry practice! It’s lunchtime and I’ve lost sleep overnight with the feverish cold and sinus infection that blossomed over the Sabbath. For different reasons, like Jeffrey Bernard (RIP), I am unwell. Unlike Mr. Bernard, I have no substitute article to run. Besides, it would feel like cheating. I am wrapped up warm with my laptop in bed. Let’s just leave it at a slight disruption of normal services. Which is a foreshadowing of the astrological phenominum known as Mercury Retrograde.

Of course, no planet’s orbit ever does turn back on itself. It’s just an optical illusion from our point of view on earth. However, astrologers have collected enough data to now correlate certain circumstances happening when Mercury goes retrograde. These include: technological breakdowns and glitches, transport snarls and hold ups, messages get mixed up, weather events that create stoppages. Mercury mayhem. We are advised not to buy cars, major appliances, or sign contracts during the three weeks when Mercury is retrograde three times a year.

On a more positive note, it is said to be good for anything that begins with ‘re-‘ – rewind, review, revisit, remember, requite. Editting old poems is an activity that should be well-starred.

However, there are additional weeks that foreshadow this mini-era of gremlins, tricksters and general frustrators. In 2019, I counted up twenty-five weeks out of the fifty-two that involves the run up and playing out of Mercury retrograde. And the foreshadowing of 2019’s first Mercury retrograde technically begins tomorrow. But I have seen some foreshadowing already in my inability to access some websites. The real McCoy Mercury Retrograde happens from 5th March. Plan for plans to change and change and change.

Meanwhile, resuming poetry practice…even if it is on a ‘Go Slow.’In between sneezing fits, sputters, coughes, and nose honking.

Mercury Retrograde

You can't go forwards
for going backwards
when its a full stop...

It's like you travel on
the local train and the express
flashes past

It makes you feel like
you are caught in a freeze frame.
Remember

the women in white swimsuit
caught mid-dive
in the Tampax ad?

That son of a So and So
trickster, who had a mother
fittingly called Maia.

It's all a con,
a sleight of hand,
conjuring trick.

Part myth and
part major irritation,
Mercury retrograde

winds you up
just like a clock.
And then it stops.

It's a pie in your face.
It's a spanner in your works.
Both designed to irk.

Unless you are in on the joke.
Unless you don't mind
an extended mending time

into the more timeless.
It's never a stop, just
a press on to pause.


Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.



Featured Photo by David Menidrey on Unsplash

Keep the Music Playing

Five months have passed since I started to write a poem a day and posting it on this blog. It started as poetry practice, the etudes of my youthful piano playing. It’s Saturday. When I was ten or so that would have found me in Miss Mildred’s upstairs room for a piano lesson. She was the one who gave me the etude sheet music. I was an indifferent piano scholar and intermittant with half-hour daily piano practice. Here I am fifty years on, finally getting the hang of it. Kind of…

In truth, my mother later confessed that I really ought to have had singing lessons with Miss Laura, the downstairs sister who taught voice. But she was a termigant, or reputedly so. My mother didn’t feel that talent should be an excuse for volunteering her sensitive child for trauma. But Mom came from a musical family and wanted to pass on that lore to her youngest child; Miss Mildred seemed the lesser evil. Both sisters had been Juilliard trained and promised more value for money than the nun who taught piano at our school at the time.

But I digress…. the five months of faithful daily poetry etude-making. But I did wonder this morning…how much longer can I keep this up? It is forty-five days until NaPoWriMo in April, when there will be poetry prompts for the daily taking. I woke up in a bit of a funk. Perhaps my bowels are disordered. Perhaps not. And yet, I picked up the pen…eventually, if a bit reluctantly.

Open Window

There are some mornings
where I would rather
listen to the birds sing
than pay attention to
my off-key musings.
Their notes need no lyrics.
Polyphony rings
round the townland, no words
to their offerings
heard through open window.
I can't stop looking.
There's two magpies. What joy
there is some mornings
where I would rather
listen to the birds sing.


Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Featured Photo by Dolo Iglesias on Unsplash

Spring Flow

Irrefutably, it is springtime. At least in our far corner of West Cavan Spring has arrived. The narcissi Tete a tete have flowered, not just in the pots, but out in sheltered parts of the garden. The first croci and hydrangea are starting to bloom. Of the wild flowers, the bold aconite has been out for a couple of weeks, outfacing the snow and frost at Brigid’s Day. The hellebores are in flower. The first of the primroses are flowering, too, again in a sheltered corner of the garden.

Yesterday was the first of what my husband terms ‘laundry days!’ Mostly sunny, mild,and with a breeze that promises it will dry your washing if you hang it on the line outdoors. Given the humidity in Ireland, outdoor drying is something of an art and whim of nature. Yesterday was the first time in many months that I chanced pegging out washing on the line.

We have now had the official opening of spring in my part of Ireland. Which happens to be a stunningly beautiful area. So much so that UNESCO recognises its significant natural and built heritage by naming it as a geopark. I live in a geopark community on the first village on the River Shannon after it pokes its head out from underground caverns and begins to flow towards the Atlantic Ocean.

Poetry practice may have an element of spring fever to it today. But indulge me a little as I have been up since dawn’s earliest suggestion of light. The dawn over the Playbank was a full on kiss this morning.

Arteries

Peachy rose gold threads
brocading the light
coming up over the Playbank.

The throated notes of waking up song
Is it a robin?
I do not know for sure.

The trickle of the flow-
ditch, spring, stream to out from, feed in
the River Shannon down below.

A clear light. A song's note.
Springtime.
A rise in bloodheat.

The snow on the Playbank
melted ages ago,
a cataract tear

flowing down the drumlins
sculpting  the karst below over ages
with the seasons' flow.


For Those Who Won’t Get A Valentine Today

Once upon a time I was the young woman who did not get a Valentine on That Day. And I might have told myself I didn’t care. But I lied. Because there are some people who genuinely prefer being single and/or celibate. But, dear Reader, I was not one of those. I was born with Venus in Libra and we have a strong urge to merge. Those arid Valentine’s Days were purgatorial.

So if you are happy to have dodged the Valentine bullet or Cupid’s arrow, today’s Poetry Daily may not speak to your condition. Today I am writing a Valentine to that twenty-something me who wanted to meet, and mate with, The One. And if any of you are living my past persona’s condition, this is for you, too.

When there is no Valentine


For those of you who do not expect to get
a Valentine's Day card today, let me just say
"I love you!" And I'm sorry I sound like your Mom.
It's a bit rich,  I know, for one of a pair to say
that it's okay, it's fine, really, being alone
on this one day when the whole effing
planet parades like they are going on Noah's Ark,
being saved from The Great Deluge.
And there's you left behind to drown.
I hated  the day once upon a time.
I thought I would never be loved. Be a beloved.
And it mattered to me that day, when it itched,
was a scab to get scratched and bleed,
when for all the rest of the 364 I was fine.
Most of the time.

My desire is not necessarily everyone's.
But if you, like me, are hanging in there
for The One, it can come.  I used discernment,
some discretion. I took a few risks.
Had the grit to have
the courage of love's convictions.
And here I am today. And I can tell you
even once you have got The One,
it's not easy, 481 lunations on. There's no trick.
But before you get stuck with the
wrong arrow in your butt, or your heart,
or your head, remember this:

You are loved.
You are already loveable.
With some fortune and fortitude
you will one day sign a card,
send the satin padded box of chocolates.
You will have the golden opportunity
to love.
And with fortune and fortitude
you will be loved
in return,
even when they want to yank on their pants
and run.
(The process is not all roses, you will discern.)

In the meantime,
you are a Valentine,
a great beating heart muscle
full of loveability
that one day some 'One'
will have the great good sense
to snap right up,
or court you with mannerly,
tender persuasion,
and then soul mate.

Until then, or even despite,
"I love you"
and this is your valentine
even though you weren't
expecting to get one
any day soon.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Featured image by Hannah Dugan “Sketches by Hannah” on Facebook, from an original card.