Archives for posts with tag: wood
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

With appreciation to Val Ghose for use of the photograph. Original image to view on Wikimedia Commons.

With appreciation to Val Ghose for the image. Original on Wikimedia Commons.

They are tall
and have green eye-lids.
See how they blink 
at the sun.

trees


Being amongst trees makes my soul so happy. There are a number of woods where I live in London and I consider it my commute to work to walk through them when I have time set aside for writing. Below the Cape Town’s world renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, is a piece of land known as the Arboretum. As the name suggests, it is filled with trees. In the periods when I had my own transport and was a working gal in Cape Town, I took up tramping through the incline of the Arboretum as a Sunday ritual. For a long time I have turned to trees for solace.

The trees that really call me out of myself are the tall, old ones. They are such majestic beings.

When my father wasn’t well, one of my aunts sent me a postcard with a two wonderful lines about trees from a poem by an Irish poet. I propped the postcard up on my makeshift nature table/ altar amongst my treasured stones, pinecones and loved leaves. I tracked down the whole poem online and wrote it out. As it goes with such meanders, in the years that have passed and all my moves, I have mislaid the scrap of paper. But I often repeat the two remembered lines, “Those tall truths that tap and trap the sun”.

At this difficult time, I started to carry a call around with me, “May the peace of the tall, wise trees be with you.” Every time I saw a tree, I asked for perspective and wisdom. After all, some trees in our cities and suburbs have seen many more decades than we have. Many people have walked under their branches. They have shaded many incarnations of the road and pavement. Those tall truths have seen storms, sunshine, rain, troubles and peace.

Trees are incredible.

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

Onto my raft of plaits
I shall step,
with dreams of Alsation-men.


This short poem dates from the last quarter of 2013 when I did indeed have a dream about a raft of plaits and Alsation-men. Perhaps it was a subconscious mash-up of my plaited rag rug  (A craft project that’s still incomplete!) and the beautiful dogs I see on my almost daily walks in a local wood.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
The books: Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys and 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

New paths will take you

through the wood: A diff’rent

route you’d not expect.

 

From there you’ll see things

– like the lake – from points

of view you’ll not forget.

 

A green bench here. Let’s

sit a while. The blind,

we benefit from this.

 

Dec. 2012

Another poem triggered by amblings in Waterlow Park, a green-space in the London borough of Camden. In the park are a number of benches, many of which have been sponsored in memoriam of loved ones. One such dedication described the deceased as a “benefactor of the blind.” Since many of these benches are strategically positioned at resting points and viewing spots in the park, I worked the strands of literal views and sights and internal, psycho-emotional vision into the poem.

If you enjoyed this poem, have a look at other work in my first volume: SHINING IN BRIGHTNESS.

I tweet regularly about my London ambles as @BeadedQuill