Archives for the month of: May, 2014

Seen from the bench

In our lifetimes, most of us will never preside over a court on a throne. Yet in death, some have been commemorated at a special spot with a dedicated bench. In the woods, gardens and parks I visit, I often stop to read the plaques and imagine the lives of the loved ones described. This poem, “Benefactor of the Blind“, follows from one such moment.

© Copyright David Lally and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Sea-salt diamonds dot
their freckled, crisped up skins.
They are the evening heels
that come to our table.


In a pub gathering there inevitably comes that moment when the group becomes peckish. Some institutions offer gastro pub nibbles, such as artisan-crisped potato skins. Depending on the group, these (or prawn crackers) are chosen over the cheerful packets of crips piled up on the counter. The poet imagines that the potato skins bring some glamour to the table.

My latest and third book, In the Ocean, was published this week! Preview this work and my other books on the BOOKS page of this blog or at my Blurb Bookshop.
I tweet as @BeadedQuill and you’ll also find BeadedQuill on Facebook.

Hot off the press! My latest book

I am very excited to announce that my latest book, “In the Ocean“, is now available for preview and purchase! Simply click on the image to access my Blurb Bookstore. This volume collects together all 104 poems of my recent 2×52 project. For those of you who are curious about creative process, you will enjoy the postlude essay which accompanies the poems. Like the cool ocean on a warm day, this volume offers a refreshing dip with each poem. It’s perfect summer reading!

To kiss a little human huckleberry

My poem ‘Huckleberry Thing‘ is such a crowd favourite that it gives me great pleasure to have an excuse to share it yet again with you, my readers.

It is one of the twenty poems in my first book, Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012.


The illustration image was donated by Pearson Scott Foresman, an educational publisher, to Wikimedia Commons, and is thereby in the Public Domain.

256px-Jack_and_Jill

Image attribution: Sue Clark (Flickr: Jack and Jill) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This time last year I revisited a poem based on the Jack and Jill nursery rhyme. This version was a shortened version of the ‘Tumbling After‘ I had written the previous December.

Both versions veer towards the same scene: Jill watching Jack from afar and awaiting his delivery. Although not true to the nursery rhyme’s narrative, I fabricated my own thematic direction. I wanted to evoke a pastoral world in which young people worked in particular gendered realms and were awakening to an adolescent sexuality. So I placed Jill in the kitchen baking bread and Jack outside in the field hoeing and on the hill collecting water.

If you’re curious about the original nursery rhyme you might find the Wikipedia write up interesting. I stumbled across it while preparing this post. A further link was this handy visualization of the rhyme. Perhaps you’ll have as much fun as I did playing with the graphic display options.

Both versions of ‘Tumbling After’ are included in my book, Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys.

With appreciation to Val Ghose for use of the photograph. Original image to view on Wikimedia Commons.

With appreciation to Val Ghose for the image. Original on Wikimedia Commons.

They are tall
and have green eye-lids.
See how they blink 
at the sun.

trees


Being amongst trees makes my soul so happy. There are a number of woods where I live in London and I consider it my commute to work to walk through them when I have time set aside for writing. Below the Cape Town’s world renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, is a piece of land known as the Arboretum. As the name suggests, it is filled with trees. In the periods when I had my own transport and was a working gal in Cape Town, I took up tramping through the incline of the Arboretum as a Sunday ritual. For a long time I have turned to trees for solace.

The trees that really call me out of myself are the tall, old ones. They are such majestic beings.

When my father wasn’t well, one of my aunts sent me a postcard with a two wonderful lines about trees from a poem by an Irish poet. I propped the postcard up on my makeshift nature table/ altar amongst my treasured stones, pinecones and loved leaves. I tracked down the whole poem online and wrote it out. As it goes with such meanders, in the years that have passed and all my moves, I have mislaid the scrap of paper. But I often repeat the two remembered lines, “Those tall truths that tap and trap the sun”.

At this difficult time, I started to carry a call around with me, “May the peace of the tall, wise trees be with you.” Every time I saw a tree, I asked for perspective and wisdom. After all, some trees in our cities and suburbs have seen many more decades than we have. Many people have walked under their branches. They have shaded many incarnations of the road and pavement. Those tall truths have seen storms, sunshine, rain, troubles and peace.

Trees are incredible.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill 
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness

All the Tonys of the World

In “Professions” I wrote about “all these Tonys of the world”. This poem about work found its way into Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys, a collection of 25 poems about life, love and work for the today’s gentleboys.

Thank you to Joe Depeau for the use of his lovely photograph of Tony’s Continental in N2.

Image courtesy of clker.com

When I first posted this poem, it elicited some strong responses.

“Blatant manipulation. Far better to say what you mean.”

Ah! Love chess.

This poem, along with 24 others about life, love and the modern boy, are collected in my book Emily’s Poem for Modern Boys.

vintage mens clothing image, victorian era man illustration, antique catalogue page, free black and white clip art, old fashioned mens clothes

Image courtesy of The Old Design Shop, a vintage design treasury.

Buzz.	
Ping. 
Hit.
Aaah!
‘Phone 
Coffee
Cigarettes 
Skin

High Dependency Units


Another quick read poem/ non-poem, which uses a list format.

See, gentlemen, poetry isn’t such an effort to read. And there’s so much more left of your day to do other things such as check your ‘phone, drink coffee, smoke and check some skin.

(The impressions for this piece came while I was sitting at a coffee shop watching the men come in, buy their espressos, sit outside with their cigarettes and then pour over their ‘phones. An ambulance, with the words ‘High Dependency Unit’ painted on its side, drove past.)

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill

Books:

My latest volume, based on my year-long 2×52 project, will be available at Blurb.co.uk in June. In the meantime, please preview my two other titles.
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness

vintage rooster image, visit to the farm, chicken chicks illustration, farm animals clipart, barnyard animals

Image courtesy of The Old Design Shop, a vintage image treasury.

stuffs
extrapolation
exponential
resonate
apt
assimilate
peanut chickens
plait

As promised yesterday, a current list of favourite words. Bachata should also be included, but it didn’t really fit with the rhyme and rhythm of the list. Follow me (@BeadedQuill) on Twitter for the latest on my current favourite activities, which include AfroCubanLatin dancing. I’m also on Facebook (BeadedQuill).

When I’m not dancing, I like reading. So, I decided to write a few books myself. You can preview them by clicking on the titles:
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness