Archives for posts with tag: song
512px-Bicycle_two_1886

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. c. 1886

While it’s going for a song,
let’s play this dalliance.

It’ll knock wind from our sails.

That’s the hazard of entanglements.

Over the weekend I watched a movie about a song-writer. Many of the songs featured dreadful clichés. This prompted some fiddling of my own with clichés.

The poem’s title is thanks to an associative trigger courtesy of the illustrative photo. “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do…” was a song from my childhood.

Interestingly, one of the few words of dating advice that came from my father was, “One does not have to be the village bicycle.”

Associative triggers. They’re a funny, possibly Freudian, business.

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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Nos Liberavit

“the maiden’s voice soars
and plunges
as she elongates the siren call”

Image “Midnight Harp” courtesy of Esmira

"Midnight Harp" by Esmira, on DeviantArt

Midnight Harp” by Esmira, on DeviantArt

Bell-like, round and clear
Hopeful and transparent 
as a copper bauble,
it lifts the congregation.
From the sanctuary 
the maiden’s voice soars
and plunges
as she elongates the siren call.

 

I am not a groupie. I’d rather spend my days in a hermit’s hut on a mountainside with books, green tea and yoga for company instead of people. I find people politics and inane conversation immensely annoying. But I keep seeking out institutionalised assemblies. In these experiences I find vestiges of tribal inheritances, which seem to inspire my creative work. At least, this is my theory as to why I keep seeking out groups and gatherings which jar with my loner’s soul. Being part of a martial arts academy is one example. Volunteering in various organisations and an ongoing relationship with institutions of learning, such as schools and universities, are others. Then there’s church attendance, which has influenced a few recent poems (Just Punishment, Let them eat).

Attending church takes me back to my childhood and familiar language patterns. My father claimed a deep personal religiosity. When we were children, it was a weekly parental pleasure for him to walk me and my brother to Sunday School. After the morning’s service proceedings we would play outside. He would siphon egg sandwiches, Salticrax with cheese and little cakes from the adult’s tea-table for us. (The Anglican Church to this day offers an excellent post-service tea spread.) He would spend a long time explaining things to us like the flat stones in the graveyard, the gruesome Stations of the Cross and the purple covering-cloths at Lent.

Today’s poem is drawn from a recent church experience during which I was struck by the clear, enchanting voice of the young woman who lead the singing. Her voice was neither trained nor very brilliant, but it moved me. In that moment, a flood of young maidens singing swept over me. I saw maidens with harps in old villages. I imagined maidens next to seas and riverbanks singing as they worked with others or alone to keep themselves company. I saw maidens next to firesides singing with the transparency of youthful hope, watched by audiences of older women and men, who in that moment were reminded of their youthful expectancy. This memory suspends itself like a copper bauble, picks up the fire-light and lifts them in the moment. It was all this that propelled me to write the poem.

The title references the “Libera me” at the end of Verdi’s Requiem. Instead of an awe-inspiring chorus with trained soprano, the single lay voice of this poem rings out unaffected and haunting. The siren call in this context is not entirely destructive. It is hypnotic, but it re-directs its listeners towards hope. The catch is that for many of them this hope is a bauble of the past, but it still frees them.

It only occurred to me years later that our absence from the house on a Sunday meant that my hard-working, music teacher mother could have a morning of quiet respite. At the end of 1987 and in early 1988, my Mum was also pregnant with my sister. Now when I look back at those memories, I add this layer. While we were running around the grounds of Christ the King on Lower Milner Road, stuffing our kiddie faces with egg sandwiches (on white bread! With crusts cut off!) and staring at faux-granite gravestones, my Mum was at home with a growing belly which contained my little sister.

My sister is now big – a maiden herself in her later twenties. She plays the harp and occasionally sings, though not in church. Her siren work with words is in a different field. She is a journalist.

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 

This project allows us
a ruler
with a bit more flexibility.

We are looking for
a firm footing
with a ruler, fully naked.

This will provide
a clear way forward – stripped of all
his clothing.

From January this year,
thanks to Johnathan,
the ruler has been on a raft.

We have been able to
cover him – our ruler – in gold dust
and send him into
the middle of the lake.

We send him out with mounds of jewels
to tip into the depths
while on the banks
the people sing and dance.

We also have operations in Cambridge, Bristol and Brazil.

We believe this expression of micro-cosmos
is a good policy tool.

Another poem in part inspired by an exhibition currently on in London – Beyond El Dorado: Power and Gold in Ancient Columbia at the British Museum.  The museum hosts accompanying free lunch-time lectures presented by curators and experts in the field, a few of which I have attended recently.

When the lectures open, I sit up attentively relishing every new piece of information. I must remember this, remember that. But the open notebook on my lap fills with doodles and interesting snatches, not of content, but of expression that comes out of the lecture.

In part this poem consists of jottings from the BM lunch-time lecture on El Dorado that I attended. The other bits are derived from the sort of meeting jargon anybody who has worked an office job may well recognize.

Preview my books of poetry:  Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys and  Shining in Brightness

Follow me on Twitter: @BeadedQuill

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John William Waterhouse, "A Mermaid," 1900 Oil on canvas, 96.5 x 66.6 cm. Image courtesy of WikiCommons (http://bit.ly/162XAUQ)

John William Waterhouse, “A Mermaid,” 1900 Oil on canvas, 96.5 x 66.6 cm. Image courtesy of WikiCommons (http://bit.ly/162XAUQ)

as the Gothic Mermaid

in Act II

I siren from a fathomless sea

The kelp forest undulates to pulse.

 

in Act II

I am a Gothic Mermaid

my sequined scales swish side-to-side

I am suspended by a cable.

J. W. Waterhouse (1849 – 1917) submitted “A Mermaid” to the Royal Academy as his diploma work. Read more about Waterhouse and this painting on the RA website.

Follow me, @BeadedQuill, on Twitter where I tweet about art and performances I’ve attended.

I invite you to preview my first published volume of poetry here.