Archives for posts with tag: human frailty
A detail from Child Life, A First Reader, by Etta Austin Blaisdell and Mary Frances Blaisdell, 1902, courtesy of the Old Design Shop.

A detail from Child Life, A First Reader, by Etta Austin Blaisdell and Mary Frances Blaisdell, 1902, courtesy of the Old Design Shop.

I proceed on the outside with my daily life, all the while taking mental or handwritten notes. These observations saved ‘for writing’ often echo personal revelations. The regularity of this continues to astound me, especially as I re-post poems from this blog’s archive. It is sometimes said among writers that we are called to write what we are called to learn.

Today’s archive treasure is “a small heart panics.” It is a companion piece to “String.” In the former poem, the birds flit from the speaker in fear. In the latter, the birds in the wood are settled and stable, but here the speaker’s presence is not human. The speaker has transformed into a balloon, which is less threatening to the squirrels and wood pigeons.

A small heart panics” reminds me of my own jittery flight when someone veers too far off the path to say hello. I am cautious and prone to wall myself off against vulnerability. I also know that this poem originates from a walk in the wood when I tried to befriend some birds and did indeed see myself in them. Similarly, with my author’s knowledge that “String” resonates with one singular moment of comfort, I can measure how these poems inform and complement each other.

When writers are called to write what they need to learn, this need not be biographical or psycho-emotional. In some instances we are called to write in different styles (e.g. an annual report) or for unexpected purposes (e.g. an explanation of an alarm system). On occasion, I have been required to write about topics for which I could muster very little interest (a narrative report of a workshop comes to mind). Yet through these processes I have learnt about style, brevity, research and working with an editorial team.

You write what you need to learn. You often teach what you need to learn. In sharing the work and self-aware process, you expose yourself twice over. The passersby will not only proffer hellos, but indignance and criticism. In such a state of vulnerability, your forest birds will no doubt become wary. Mine do.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

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Alfred Stevens Le Bain

Alfred Stevens, “Le Bain” (1867) courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

In the facecloth
parcel up the little cry. Let it
well with the suds.

With your fingers, with what is left,
crunch up the crystals from the soap dish.
Rub such salt
against forearm, shoulder,
shin and knee skin;
sand out
the rough grains of today.

In the giant bowl of liquid,
soak off the dead lees.
This could be the basin
that dissolves sharp edges.


With poetry above and life advice below, it’s two for one in this post:

“When it’s been one of those days, the best thing left to do is sometimes to have a little cry in the bath. Let the taps run. Slough it off with the bath salt. Parcel up the little cry.

Then dry yourself off and have some cocoa, honey with milk or soya with cinnamon.”

At some other point, I must write an essayette about the bath I had the day after my dad died, Frida Kahlo’s bath painting and the metaphorical salve of bathing. Today, tea and lesson prep calls.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

The council of the rats.jpg

There’s that thing, that topic that gnaws away in an alleyway of your mind. Perhaps it’s the last acrimonious discussion you had with a lover or the overdraft on your bank account, or maybe it’s a work project that didn’t unfold as planned or your child’s school report. “In an alleyway of thought” considers such matters that the clinging mind chews over.

This poem is included in the collection of Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys, which was part of a year-long project during which I wrote over 129 poems. In the Ocean was the second book to develop from the endeavour.


T: @BeadedQuill
F: BeadedQuill
Books

IMAGE: “The council of the rats” by Gustave Doréhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/49580580@N02/5340390820/. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Ten days ago
I didn’t know you.
Didn’t know you 
walked the streets 
of anywhere
walked the streets
of London
Didn’t know
you 
Didn’t know you 
had walked 
the dusty sights of that anywhere 
near where I had
breathed the streets of 
there 
and then in London.
I didn’t know the sight of 
each “1 new message” 
could stop my lungs 
for 58 hours
stop those bellows in my chest 
which

for fifty-

eight 

hours 

half-inflate.

If I text,
will I have blown it?


Said plainly in acknowledgement of Valentine’s Day.

Both of my recently published books include poems on love and relationships. Preview by clicking on the titles below:

Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys

Shining in Brightness

Follow me on Twitter as @BeadedQuill or pop over to the BeadedQuill Facebook page.