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Ursus arctos - Norway

Image courtesy of  Taral Jansen/Soldatnytt [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

January brought with it a blizzard.
Icy darts aimed for our knees
and the testing froze our sense
of belonging to that land.

The old bears sunk deeper in their caves,
groaned and turned their backs
on winter’s sluice
trusting that in time from it
would flow all the blooms of spring.

31/12/14

I wish to take this moment to applaud myself. Here, and in time for the end of 2014, I present my 200th poem for public consumption. (If you’d like to read them, there are 180+ poems available on this blog and another 20 poems in my book, Shining in Brightness.)

The threads of inspiration in today’s poem include a line about spring flowers in The Diary of Anne Frank, a childhood conversation about sluices with my Dad and watching Paddington (the movie) yesterday. There’s probably also a trace of my recent read, Willa Cather’s O Pioneers!

I shall make no secret of the fact that over these last few weeks I have found myself in a writer’s fug – and questioning my overall productivity. This surely stems from the seasonal tendency to review the year. Where is the novel I planned to write in 2014? What about all the poems I was going to submit to Proper Poetry Journals? When would I ever start earning any money from my writing (Indeed, when would I again start earning some Proper Grownup Money in general)? I am so, so, so tired. And it feels like I have been in this place (this winter?) for a very long time. It sometimes feels like this is the place people identify as ‘being an adult.’

When I was a child, my animal guide (or familiar) was undoubtedly the bear. In addition to my beloved teddy Edwina, who went to hospital with me and for years was carried all over the world as a security blanket, I collected figurines, books and anything teddy bear related. It was through this interest that I channeled my early writing. For over five years I compiled a monthly teddy-themed magazine.

It doesn’t surprise me, as I do a little cursory reading, that to call on the bear totem invokes grounding and strength. Since bears live a solitary life, they are examples of balance and comfort in one’s solitude. As expert survivors of harsh winters, theirs is an example of a wise animal-guide teacher. They are also associated with women of shamanic power who are able to communicate with other dimensions and pursue healing of self or others. The teddy bears of my past in no small way are the bears in this verse.

Finally, I must add that this poem was born of a prompt to “write about a heart that wouldn’t quit”.

2015, here we come
with our hearts that haven’t yet quit (even though they are a little tired).

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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Do engineers dream
of eiderdown chairs
and perhaps a world
without gravity?
	Do they poke
	with soft pencils
	at yesterday’s dreams
	and the monstrous dark
	in the bedsit?
Do they skilfully rush
to the day’s blasting rays
at the stretch of a morning
which never delays?


I know a few engineers and they are interesting people. Many of them have a creative side or an interest in the arts. However, in profession binaries engineering (like those other sensible paths: law, medicine, business) is often set in opposition to creative professions in art, music, dance and writing.

The engineers in this poem are, of course, a one-dimensional group set in opposition with an understood, yet unmentioned artist. These engineers cannot imagine a world where chairs are made of feathers or objects to do not respond to predetermined scientific givens. With an assured, strategic and rational understanding of their lives and the world, they choose to neither entertain nostalgia nor awaken melancholia. In new experiences they are guided by caution, or even attempt to avoid change. But change, like new mornings, proceeds with its own regularity.

To all my engineering (legal, medical, business and scientific) friends who carry artist’s souls, please indulge the binary. To my artist friends – I know full well that many of us are interested in scaffolding, load-bearing walls, the chemistry of glazes and neuroscience research. It is a great pity that in the myth of professions we are set against each other by the monies and social prestige allotted to our disciplines.

Under those blasting rays, may we all sit together on eiderdown chairs, poking at our dreams with soft pencils.

I have written a few other poems about professions and work:
Professions
An Artist Works
A Bequest of Wonder
At the Right Age
A Definition, Notably for the Cloud-Dwelling Artists

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

Here ‘fore me, plinth of polish

For the tree to rest on wood

In flat sheets with fastened thoughts

Set forth as marching words.

 

Heralded tonight and often

They are by crest announced.

We cluster! And applaud.

It is a shared experience.

 

Now, to – I must address:

 

From nothing written

from have

and only have

of a fatted dream now fit for parade

with open palms and empty hands

‘fore that company and polished staff

all suited in investiture

I on tip-toe said,

 

I have nothing written here.

I speak only from my heart.

Of late I have drawn inspiration from a combination of lived and imagined experiences. Today’s poem along with ‘Stuck‘ and ‘Genuine‘ of last week are the products of this current creative “sourcery”.

Please preview my first volume, available for purchase, here.

My second volume, Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys, is forthcoming. I’ll keep readers posted on progress, so if you’re interested please follow the blog.  See ‘follow’ box at far right of screen.

Alternatively, follow me on Twitter. I tweet about my writing and my life, which covers everything from recycling collection to Downton Abbey episodes to martial arts bruises. Follow me as @BeadedQuill