Feng Shui the Poetry

feng shui poetry

Hi! My name is Bee. And I am messy.

I know all about the theory of feng shui. It really appeals to me philosophically. It’s just – I’m messy. Or lazy. Or more interested in reading.Or writing poetry. Or cooking. Than cleaning and sorting out stuff. There is more living to be had.

Until one day even I can no longer stand the chaos. I hit another wall with poetry practice this morning. I was up before dawn and I just was not feeling it. I just felt achey from eleven weeks of it. But I kept pushing the pen and then realised that afterwards, I need to start clearing up the rubble that has accumulated while I have been doing other stuff.  I have a friend coming over. I will do a mea culpa about the mess. Fortunately, I am secure in her love and non-judgement. Yeah, I’ve been busy. But so is everyone else.

Anyway, this was what finally emerged after I started pushing the pen across the notebook’s surface.

Feng Shui the Poetry

I am a heaps and piles kind of gal
and was a heaps and pile kind of kid.
It was my mother’s frequent plaint –
to clear the bureau top, to dust its patina.
So I have been having this urge recently,
to purge all the house’s cupboards and drawers,
to do a proper inventory of everything in stock –
foodstuffs, craft materials , old crocks.
I need to organise this almighty jumble –
maybe even invest in some labels-
instead of being a rummage sale poet
who is burrowing through heaps and piles.
I feel like I am living in a rummage sale
happening in some church’s basement.
I can’t see wood from tree let alone patina.
Maybe I need to be like those forestry guys.
The one’s across the lane culling the plantation.
They are stacking timber at 8pm
following a klieg light and revving their engines,
clearing at dawn and organising in darkness.
So maybe I should feng shui the poetry
and start by collecting my three sacks –
the one for keeping, the one for rubbishing,
the ones worth re-cycling to the charity shop.
But first I have a lot of heaps and piles
and too many over-stuffed drawers.
I’ll tackle them now before Christmas
and start anew with immaculate conceptions.
Copyright © Bee Smith 2018

Featured image Photo by John Weinhardt on Unsplash


Cento on Hope

For today’s poetry practice I thought I would be a bit lazy. Except it turns out that what I picked is not as easy as I thought it would be. I was researching new poetry forms to give a whirl and the cento appealed. Poets. org set out the guidelines for a cento here. They call it a patchwork poem, which does have alliteration. But I kind of feel it is a Mash Up. My own attempt does not use complete lines from a poet in every line. Some only use a fragment, or, in one instance, literally mash up two in a single line.

In view of my gratitude brief for November in terms of subject I feel today’s poetry practice celebrates my thanks to the lineage of poets stretching back into antiquity. The subject, Hope, may reflect what some are feeling today.


Hope Mash up


I stood out in the open cold.

The dark, too, blooms and sings.

We all approach the edge of the same blackness.


When the world falls in around you,

the sun rises in spite of everything.

A joy, a depression, a meanness…


When the worst thing happens

Time flies, hope flags, life plies a wearied way.

You see behind every face the mental emptiness.


Hope is the hardest love to carry.

The thing with feathers doesn’t need anything

from my old bitterness.


And just for those who are interested in knowing which poets got picked for the patchwork poem, this is the line by line reference.xds  p


Richard Eberhart

Wendell Berry

Elaine Feinstein


Naomi Shihab Nye

Derek Mahon



U.A. Fanthorpe

Christina Rosetti

T.S. Eliot


Jane Hirshfield

Emily Dickinson/Naomi Shihab Nye

Antoniio Machado

Letting the Wolf In

Okay. I may have to channel more Allen Ginsberg today. For the one day, which I hope I live to see, when the women of the world inherit the earth. That going high actually wins the day. Because it is never a good thing to let a wolf into your house. Because, as the song says :

When the wolf gets in your house, you can’t get him out.

Letting the Wolf In

Everyone knows the one
of the one in three. Or is it one in four?
Or more?
But everyone knows her, that one,
the sister friend daughter wife.
We know the why
of whether or not she did not
For fear of
More humiliation,

The shame.
Even if you managed to dodge
that particular bullet-
pushing him off,
not being too drunk or stoned,
or tired and emotional
(because the wolf smells that).

Every woman has seen
That Look –
red-faced roaring,
the mean drunk squint,
the huffing and puffing
that will blow your House down,
big toothed laughing at your door

that it was a joke,
he was teased,
led on,
innocent as an unabused altar boy.

Everyone of us
Has met him sometime, somewhere-
at the Beer Bash,
or dorm party,
in a dark parking lot,

in your own home
where the wolf
has been let in
the House.

Copyright 2018 Bee Smith


Poetry, PoeTree & Culture Night

A busy couple of days without the leisure to polish a lengthy poem for poetry practice. Tonight is Ireland’s Culture Night and up and down the country there will be events celebrating every kind of art form. Tonight I will perform some poems at Dowra Courthouse Creative Space, a repurposed redundant rural courthouse that is now an exhibition, performance and meeting space. It kicks off at 4:30pm with a pottery class by local ceramics teacher Jim Fee. (The courthouse even has a kiln to finish off the production!). From 7:30pm there will be a procession of performers starting with estimable Mike Absolem and his harp. My husband, Tony Cuckson and I share a storytelling and poetry slot at 8pm. Musicians and singer/songwriters will entertain until 10:30pm.

From poetry to PoeTree on Saturday with another of my outdoor writing workshops. This one is free courtesy of funding from Create Ireland and Cavan County Council. The walk and workshop will concentrate on haiku as both poetry form and a mindfulness practice. Cavan Burren Park, Blacklion is my favourite venue and never fails to offer fresh inspiration on every visit. Meet me at the Visitor Centre at 2pm for a stroll with a pen and notebook. Be prepared for some stop and stare time. If you want more information ring me on ++353-71-964-3936.

So writing practice for today demands exercising the haiku muscle. Also, it is brief. So it. An ideal form for the time famished writer. Okay, breathe in. Breathe out…and

It can be done in seventeen syllables. Or less. It can be less.

The storm stripped the willows

The gaps between trees

Lets new light in

Some Poetry Making Etudes

Mostly I have been filling the creativity well this month. Sometimes you know something is not ready. You need time to pray at holy wells. Or stare at the birds perching in the sunflowers outside your window. To ponder locked room mysteries and the people inside them. To watch and gather one’s strength for a renewal, or a beginning.

As a child I was a piano scholar, and not a terribly gifted one. Essential piano practice came in the form of a book titled Etudes. They were five finger exercises to limber up the fingers, to get you stoked for the ivory so to speak.

I welcome autumn, the nights drawing in, the soulful click of knitting needles in the evening. It heralds the richest vein for writing. Like mushrooms that have had to follow the long, underground tracks before they can emerge, finally the words begin to pop up and patterns discerned. But start the practice, as Miss Mildred instructed, with the etudes.


Out on our lane one September morning



A humming in the distance

Coming from the south – probably

(But sound carries in odd ways in the country

The wind can play hard and fast)


A bee swarm

Of human speech

Rising and falling

Babel bearing down

Upon us


All at once

A sound not unlike

Once heard outside a Stamford Hill Hassidic synagogue

Where inside the men

Daven at their prayers



Inexorably moving towards me

Coming down the lane

Shaded by its shaggy hedges

The trees


A huddle of helmets

A lycra clad choir

Bent double

Constantly chattering

As pedals creaked, gears moaned


An all male

Tenor Baritone Bass


Words spilling

Over each other



One broke ranks vocally

Acknowledging me

In passing

Not missing a beat


(Also, the day –

How it was good

For drying the washing -)

A throw away line

Fluttering to my feet


The peloton rolled past

Pedalling north

Uphill and not so fast

Becoming echoes

Pegged to the washing line

Copyright 2018 Bee Smith

Beauty and the Beholder

Day 21 of NaPoWriMo/GloMoWriMo and I do sometimes feel the tiredness of the marathon runner. I didn’t notice it so much in NapoWriMo2017. Perhaps I have kept more studiously to the Poem a Day prompts in NaPoWriMo2018? I certainly have felt stretched into less comfortable poetic places on more days than last year. I have been busier, not able to lavish as much time on the product as last year, too. I worry about being a bit slap dash or hackneyed.

Today’s prompt looks at the myth of Narcissus. Here goes:


Even narcissi
shall wither and die.

The mirror never really

It may be open
to interpretation,

bit wind ravages
even that flirtation.

The cold will bow shoulders,
making  you look older.

Sunshine betrays more detail.
it’s not  so easy to evade

the echo  of the beauty,
the cause for sighs.

They do say it’s in the ‘I’
of the beholder.

Copyright 2018 Bee Smith

The World Outside My Window

NaPoWriMo2018 Day 19

NaPoWriMo Day 19 and today’s prompt is on a topic that I have addressed many other times, although not addressing it in the crafty way they suggest. ‘Erasure’ basically starts with prose and erases words back to some kind of poetry.  Although I am not sure that my own offering has achieved the intended repetitive effect.

I have been avidly watching what goes on outside my window now for nearly sixteen years. Only last week I was setting the table for supper when I spotted a stray sheep munching on the primrose flowers in the pots set outside the front door.  I ran out in my pinny doing my best imitation of one of those Dowra mart fellows to chase them down the lane. Except I didn’t have a stick. Only my hands.

To quote today’s prompt:

Our (optional) prompt for the day takes it cue from Brady’s suggestion that erasure/word banks can allow for compelling repetitive effects. Today we challenge you to write a paragraph that briefly recounts a story, describes the scene outside your window, or even gives directions from your house to the grocery store. Now try erasing words from this paragraph to create a poem or, alternatively, use the words of your paragraph to build a new poem.

Early Morning


The world outside my window


except for birdsong



but no mist to obscure

the wind turbines on Corry Mountain


I can see three counties

a streak of sunshine

lights up the willow and ash


Turning everything

Crayola crayon

spring green


Except the sky

a watered down ink

There shall probably be rain


But back to the now

the streak of sunlight



tits and robins flit

a solitary blackbird

perches on the apple tree


that slants at

a forty-fve degree

from the wind blowing in through the gap


Copyright © 2018 Bee Smith