Can you believe two years have passed since the London Olympics? I was fortunate enough to attend an evening of paralympic events. It feels as though it was only last year that I was sitting in the massive stadium, with an enormous lion emblazoned across my t-shirt and yelling encouragement at the athletes. Clearly, it wasn’t. That moment was in 2012.
In the spirit of archives – looking at the back catalogue in the present, possibly to inform the future – I encourage you to read this post about progress. Joanna Penn recommends measuring achievement across the span of four years by asking oneself, where was I during the last olympics? Equally, you can plot your goals by projecting, where would I like to be by the next games?
Where will you be in 2016?
In the meantime, I’m still waiting for this summer’s golden mangoes to appear on the local grocers’ tiers.
For some time I was a regular attendee of a writing group. I often presented very short poems (some of which were to feature in ‘Shining in Brightness‘, my first volume and others which are earmarked for the forthcoming ‘Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys’.) It helped that I could print out eight copies of a poem on one A4 page. This meant I saved on printing. The resulting items to be read out were palm-sized scraps of paper. In honour of their size and effect, one of my fellow attendees declared my signature pieces “sushi poems.”
I love the idea that these short verses might pack a punch, prove tasty and nutritious. The poem above is a fresh addition to the ever growing bundle.
Here are some more of my sushi poems available on the Beaded Quill blog:
A loose Pindaric* ode to a delicious mango
As still-hard flesh, this baton passes
blushed apricots, green-skinned Hasses,**
to triumph in a grocer’s tier.
Event two in a domestic Mount Olympus:
here ripens the sweet-juiced summer discus.
My 87-year-old landlady swears by the small, golden-skinned Pakistani mangoes that are imported each summer. “They are absolutely the sweetest mangoes I’ve ever tasted.” This is the second year she keeps telling me this and occasionally leaving a yellow orb in my allocated fruit-bowl, a brown earthenware creation that she threw many years ago during her Friday pottery class.
The orbs tend to arrive hard and unyielding to a finger squeeze. I must leave them to wrinkle and move into their mango aroma. It is an anti-race, for the ripening takes time. It only speeds up if there is a helpful warm spell such as the one we have had these last few days.
When they are ready – and too often I am impatient – I eat the ripened treasures over the sink. Slicing off the skin is as pleasurable as paring orange slivers off the stone. I forego a bowl; I eat the slices there and then.
Gazing at the garden, on view from the window above the sink, is part of the moment. With this mango I take in a blue summer sky above, the pink and cerise wall-roses in abundant bloom. Ah! Such is a full summer discus of a moment.
It’s then that a gust whips a rush of browning petals over the wall, across my scene.
* The Pindaric ode, named after the poet Pindar, originally celebrated athletic victories in Ancient Greece. In this context, it was delivered by a chorus and dancers. In English, Pindaric odes exhibit formal and metrical complexity. The opening strophe is followed and mirrored by the antistrophe. The closing of the ode, the epode, adopts a different structure. Read these odes by Wordsworth and Thomas Gray to see these elements engaged to good poetic effect.