You bend the reeds of sanity back
and they fall back into place with a snap
I’m watching waiting restless at the thought
tense enough to make myself scream
It’s a fleeting feeling of love which lingers
A moment of clarity tossed into my mind, a sudden flush of salt in the wounds
An inch is not enough, I need at least a foot more
and never mind the miles I’d travel to keep you awake
Or the lonely roads I’d walk to see you come home.
The wonderful people over at Octavius Magazine held a launch party/reading type thing last Thursday in Edinburgh. It was a really fun event and the magazine contains some excellent pieces.
And something by me. A poem. Which was unusual because I hadn’t seen it in about 10 months and I haven’t written a poem in a while so it was a bit weird.
Anyway, you can go buy it here for a fiver. Great value for money especially given that it contains 42 other writers and has some truly wonderful things in it. So go get it.
The wind makes this old house creek.
Where Victorian walls meet modern windows
the wind makes this old house sing.
The gale force breeze
forces its way through the cracks
so hard that your breath starts to freeze
and the wind makes this old house creek.
When these walls talk
they never shut up.
The wind brings this old house to life,
old wooden floors and new plastic doors
converse with each other in frozen language;
when these walls talk
it’s all you can hear.
Every day a piece of ourselves is lost
when we move a little, shed a little, dust a little.
Dead cells tell a story;
our whole lives could be replayed in the dust that fell
to the floor when I was down cleaning on hands and knees,
and memories of the past came floating back.
From the fight in ’07, when the wind was howling outside,
I thought we’d never see the end of it until you held me close and sighed,
To the day you graduated in ’09, when we drank until we couldn’t see,
and fell home drunk, glad that the silly black flat hat signalled the end of your degree.
Or that time when you dropped the ashtray
and it shattered on the floor, causing the neighbour below
to bang on the ceiling, disturbing the dust some more.
The events of our lives are distributed amongst our possessions
with a fine layer of grey which chronicles the passage of time,
little bits of dust, fragments from a life before.
Dust is where we came from
Dust is what we become
Dust is perhaps where we belong.
It’s actually gotten to the stage where I have to look at the post from yesterday to figure out what number of day we’re on.
Anyway, some people found yesterday’s post uplifting. That’s good, and I’m actually working on a poem related to yesterdays post which may or may not see the light of day some time soon.
What I’m about to post is probably not that uplifting. However it is pretty powerful.
I’ve already posted some Seamus Heaney and the poem posted by him before was taken from his collection ‘North’ which this next poem also happens to be taken from. You can read a nice wee article which talks about this poem here. As ever all right belong to the original author.
by Seamus Heaney
Here is the girl’s head like an exhumed gourd.
Oval-faced, prune-skinned, prune-stones for teeth.
They unswaddled the wet fern of her hair
And made an exhibition of its coil,
Let the air at her leathery beauty.
Pash of tallow, perishable treasure:
Her broken nose is dark as a turf clod,
Her eyeholes blank as pools in the old workings.
Diodorus Siculus confessed
His gradual ease among the likes of this:
Murdered, forgotten, nameless, terrible
Beheaded girl, outstaring axe
And beatification, outstaring
What had begun to feel like reverence.
We went long into distant family homes,
With a man who can write, but has no idea of prose,
He obtained stilted grammar, and spat it out on a page
Almost like English is a foreign tongue,
Even though he’s English born and bred,
We were almost never impressed –
Childish fiction, comic book in orientation
Writing in half-baked academic tones
Because for so long that’s all he had ever known.
Something I submitted to a poetry competition but never won.
My heart swivels when you leave the room
to follow the faint scent of your perfume.
Creases on the pillows,
bedcovers tossed back like an arctic willow,
your wrinkled outline frozen to the sheets,
bitterly hinting at the sense of longing
that your morning departure will bring.
Two egged omelette and a slice of toast,
Sunday breakfast enjoyed in warm content silence.
But amongst the crumbs I can tell what you’re thinking,
the same thing as I; the night before.
Your hourglass figure melted, curved and contracted into mine
for a time,
followed by a snug slumber that could defy the ages.
Four lungs breathing in perfect harmony
playing together in a major key.
It is a beat that repeats over and over
but it never gets boring.
After a while it’s time to leave
and things cool off as you pack up your things;
icy blue bag zipped up tight,
escorted to your car in the crisp daylight
it is in that moment, mere inches from a cold car door,
that I’d give anything for you
just to stay for a little bit more.