Archives for posts with tag: symbolism

Northern (Hen) Harrier.jpg
Northern (Hen) Harrier” by Len Blumin from Mill Valley, California, United States – Northern Harrier. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

a poem written in London on Sept. 26th, 2014

Sky’s signal stopped September 10th.
Three days later, Hope’s did too.
Birds of their kind hunt small mammals.
Birds of their kind are near extinction.
This plight of the birds sparked action
and the hatchlings all were tagged.
Now Sky and Hope have vanished
there’s a reward for word.

In bed after my radio-alarm clock goes off, I listen to an early morning news bulletin. Half-asleep, half-awake is a strange state in which to have the bad, ugly and feel-good filter into one’s mind. In this doze I have half-heard, half-imagined many strange things about the world’s antics. The juxtaposition of the news items can in itself be uncanny, as was the case yesterday. The opening story was the impending Westminster vote about whether or not ‘to go to war’. Later in the bulletin was the item about two rare birds of prey that have disappeared.

I take in a breath when I see magnificent birds of prey in the air. Condors, eagles and falcons soar with a self-assurance that inspires awe. I don’t think I’ve seen hen harriers; they’re found further North of London. Yet the image of sharp-winged birds of prey cut down, whether by game shooters of misfortune, struck me. (Hen harriers are on the brink of extinction due to their unsuccessful breeding rate.)

With the names ‘Sky’ and ‘Hope’, a poet couldn’t have asked for better ready-made symbolic material.

The Westminster vote, the first item of the bulletin, is scheduled to happen today (Friday, 26th Sept.). I have omitted this last line from the poem, “In cabinet they vote on war.”

The line felt too obvious. I hope the smart reader is able to join some literary dots.

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

This time last year I wrote up an explanation about “Winterreise”, a poem in which a glass of water features as a symbolic object. (Regular readers will have noticed that water is a recurring motif in my poetry.) “Winterreise” describes a meal out with my father, who passed away on the 5th May five years ago. Click on the drawing above to read both the poem and the write-up.

Image courtesy of http://olddesignshop.com/ – Vintage Image Treasury

The radio station holds
a ‘phone-in about How to
Seduce Every Sign of the Zodiac.
Every star-sign, says the guest expert,
has a romance silhouette.
Taurus to Scorpio sound good.
Pass on the Virgos
and Cancerians.

22/12/13

Anything to do with signs and symbolism pulls at my imagination. Just today I was thinking about the symbolic resonances of my first, middle and sur- names.  The fascination is with how humans try to make sense of the world through words, images and parallel realms of meaning.

I seldom read astrological predictions, but identify in myself qualities that could be listed as quintessentially Cancerian: homemaker, moon-ruled, tidal (i.e. excusably moody), quite happy to hide away in my shell or under a metaphorical rock, a little sensitive and, as required, more than ready to whip my crabby pincers into action. Zodiac signs, especially in romantic pairings, may be hooey. Yet, it might be worth knowing that in love Virgos are regarded as pernickety, over analytical with a leaning towards rescuing, while Cancerians are supposedly sensitive, moody and armoured by their shells. Taureans and Scorpios must also have their faults, but for the sake of a poem, we shall let them pass.

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


"Auspicious Cranes," a hand scroll on silk attributed to Song emperor Huizong (r. 1101 - 1126). Image courtesy of http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AAuspicious_Cranes.jpg

“Auspicious Cranes,” a hand scroll on silk attributed to Song emperor Huizong (r. 1101 – 1126).

Twenty Auspicious Cranes, 1112 On the day after my birthday, 2013 The Emperor Huizong opened his palace to the ever-busy common folk. I sat on my bedroom floor. Twenty white cranes appeared flying in the sky; two alighted upon the palace gate. A brown-winged bird darted into my room; there he hovered, over my bed. Auspicious, confirmed Huizong’s counsellors. Symbolic, suggested by sister when I said it was a robin.

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For more about the sighting of the twenty auspicious cranes during Emperor Huizong’s reign (1101 to 1125), read either this extract from an article by Peter Sturman or these few paragraphs from “Art in China” (pg. 57) by Craig Clunas. The event, which supposedly occurred on the eve of a palace open day in 1112, was documented by the Emperor in memoir and as a poem. His words accompany a now well-known painted image of the scene. See the image reproduced above.

My father’s name was Robin. The rest of the poem I shall leave to your imagination.

Own a copy of my first volume of poems! “Shining in Brightness” is available for preview and purchase from blurb.co.uk

I tweet regularly about art, topics which pique my interest and my current interests. Follow me as @BeadedQuill

Image courtesy of Wiki Commons.