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If you’re a regular follower, you’ve read three poems of emotional intensity over the last three days’ posts:
Glomerulonephritis
Dying is probably easier than this
and
The Age Show.
With this in mind, and given that it is Saturday, today’s poem is a light and breezy smattering of, well, nice words.

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

Remember how
your grandfather stumbled and then fell
into the garden pond.
You wore a suit, freshly pressed 
-  a strange look from your usual garb
of sweat and day creased shirts. 
I in a satin dress 
of peacock colours,
never wanted to be conventional,
but my bouquet was of white arums
from the garden.
Everyone clustered: 
your mother, mine, 
my siblings, your sister and her fiancé, 
those friends who could make it,
smiles and congratulations.
Remember how we teetered into crinkled rows
on the muddy lawn
for the photographer
and almost forgot to cut
the cake 
so carefully iced by your mother.

Remember our wedding, 
that happiest of days
of our life spent together

that somehow didn’t happen.

While editing today’s entry, I turned to the dictionary to double-check the correct spelling of the man who is engaged to a woman. Dictionary entries often provide a sentence in which the word is used in context. I glanced down. “My fiancé and I were childhood sweethearts.” Interesting, I thought. I wondered, what might be the explanatory sentence for the woman who is engaged to a man? Here it is: “He went back to the valley to marry his fiancée.”

This was beyond interesting. My hackles inflamed. What archaic whatnot continues to be delivered in these sentences?

The woman, as the narrator in the first sentence, is hitched conjunctively and in sentence subject position to the man to whom she is engaged (“My fiancé and I”). This in a twenty-first century dictionary entry designed to clarify the meaning of “a man engaged to a woman.” There are alternatives, which set the two consenting adults as independents entering into an agreed contract. What about, “I proposed to a man, who agreed to marry me”? Or, perhaps it would be congenial to keep the couple pairing and shared history. Then let’s at least add some more believable action to the construction, “My fiancé and I met at work/a conference/playing tennis/surfing/while studying engineering”.

The reference to “childhood sweethearts” adds an overlay of those happily ever-afters much fawned upon in childhood and, well, fairy tales. Of course, there are some folk who meet their partners early on in life. However, the strident feminist in me is most uncomfortable to read of marriage agreement overlaid with tropes of infantilism, at worst, or indulgent adolescent mooning.  For the twenty-first century reader, this explanation is at odds with the times and many adult women’s real experiences of marriage or long-term partnerships.

As general language understanding and accessibility goes, “childhood sweetheart” is a decidedly idiomatic expression. The explanatory sentence simply falters in accessibility.

Yet, the second sentence, “He went back to the valley to marry his fiancée” could be as confusing for contemporary English –language users. Why should a man return to the wilds below the mountains to marry the woman to whom he is engaged? Is this some special English-speaker tradition? Not usually, though country weddings and returning to one’s home ‘village’ is not uncommon. Here the explanation paints a pastoralized version of the cave-man returning to the tribe to take up his woman, presented albeit as a neater pre-Industrialist version. Try the revision method I engage earlier. (Yes, that was deliberate.) Replace the man’s claiming action with some other activity and the valley location to somewhere more in keeping with contemporary, metropolitan contexts. Consider, for example, “He took the bus to the town hall to marry his fiancée”.

And, pray tell, what on earth is any modern-day, city-girl doing back in the valley? Marriage is not exclusively a rural/ peri-urban past-time. Let’s try, “He and his fiancée took their vows in front of the magistrate”. Even better, as a homage to one involved groom I met, “He helped his fiancée by selecting the wedding flowers”.

It also bothers me that both sentences locate the forthcoming wedding/marriage as an activity that involves returning to the past, childhood (time) or the valley to which the man must return (place). The significance of engagement is that it is a preliminary contractual agreement for an event to take place in the future. But now I have run out of possible alternative sentences. Hang on, what about, My fiancé and I will apply for a mortgage with our combined incomes.” Or, “My fiancée and I are planning our wedding on a budget“.

I sense a forthcoming poem about grooms flocking to the valleys.

P.S. Though did you notice, the gender of the suit wearer in the poem is not made explicit?

Fresh off the press this week! My latest volume, Emily’s Poems for Modern Boysoffers insights on life, work and love from the kind and curious poetess, Emily. Preview her introduction and some of the poems here.

My first book, Shining in Brightness, is also available for preview and purchase at the blurb.co.uk bookstore.

Follow me on Twitter as @BeadedQuill. I comment on my practise, writing and anything else that captures my interest – from words to Russian animation.

Your greatest treasures

in actions and thoughts

are how much, how gently

and how gracefully

you let silent persimmons

fall into your lap.

I’ve written about fruit again. (During the summer I wrote “Summermelon” and “Pakistan’s Gold” – An Ode to a Golden Mango.) I’ve once again also turned to life instructions and direction. When I sat down to write the poem for this blog post, I didn’t deliberately decide on these themes. Initially I was writing about a photocopier technician, then a wedding that didn’t happen and finally I was grappling with a poem about ordinary people and chocolate cake. All these poems remain works in progress. They may yet make it onto the blog.

Preview Shining in Brightness my first book of poems here. Two essays on my writing process are also included. 

My book’s cover features the work of Norfolk-based artist Nicola Slattery. Nicola has generously provided the cover for my forthcoming volume, “Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys”. Watch this space for a sneak preview of the first print! (Sign up via the “Follow” option on the tab in the far right corner of the screen.)

I tweet as @BeadedQuill. Please follow me.

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

When it is from deep inside

and through my eyes,

that crinkled nose –

my truest smile.

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:

String

Pavement Writer

Ode to a Golden Mango

Things of the Heart Told in Quiet #1

A Poem about Scales (red herring)

Conversation

At Noon

The hummingbird stands for love

926 Breathless Accomplishments

The Poet

Clementi Brings in 2013

If you enjoyed the above read ‘Pavement Walker’, the first poem in my volume ‘Shining in Brightness, available for purchase and preview at blurb.co.uk

In pack-a-punch style, I love the challenge of a good tweet. Follow me on Twitter. I tweet as @BeadedQuill

There is exercise in

the rooted words. Knead! Knead!

Glance, the rooted words

are closing in.

About the even’ shift

the sprouting pipes creak thin their heat –

a flailing dance of

conker-burst  – Knead! Knead!

The Beautiful Life is different.

This poem is part of a current project to write two poems a week for 52 weeks. The aim is to create a pool of 104 poems and prove that if one writes enough poems some gems will surely result.

In the interim, preview here my first volume of poems published earlier this year.

Follow me on Twitter as @BeadedQuill. I comment on whatever passes through my day – which includes poetry and art.

Summer_Vintage_Woman_by_CherishedMemories

This image, ‘Summer Vintage Woman,’ is courtesy of CherishedMemories.

A few recent poems have orbited around summer. 29°C captures some moments from the July heatwave. Another Summer’s Day explores more delights of the warmer season. Summer food and outdoor eating, which we enjoy at such times with childlike relish, are enacted by the child characters who feature in Packed Lunches and Summermelon. Tightly Sealed and Look At draw on observations of ordinary days as they continue to unfold during a suburban summer. Leftovers accumulate in the ‘fridgeResidents must still go to work and pick up groceries on the High Street.

An Arrangement of Strangers, a poem about some childhood fears, proved the wildcard.

I consider Recycled the most beautifully put together of them all.

In four homemade hummus lines
I can tell a half bowl of you 
about leftover Friday rice.
In at five, the rather wrinkled mushrooms
tell their brown paper, we're from Zoe.
In four lines broccoli,
	I, a courgette, can three carrots tell,
	  tell vacuum-packed beetroot
	about yellowing curly kale on the lower shelf.
In a well-ripened four, mango lines,
	four in four egg lines
        can tomato concentrate.
I, a broached tell should
a carton of soya milk, you, pour
another four lines in coconut water.

I, an unopened packet of supermarket,
tell coffee opened 
you – Italian, Arabica blend –
about two purple bands elastic.

I as bands hold can and
tell the packet, you, as braces
spanning in the green design,
tightly I sealed can in.

In its elongated you-tupperware
about shelf top, left
in four far lines I can tell
in you days without lines 
and lines without tell
with leftovers about lines uneaten

--

An undertaking that combines 'fridge contents with the thought noodle -
"In four lines
I can tell you 
about..."

--

If you enjoyed the above and are curious about my other poems, preview my first volume SHINING IN BRIGHTNESS. 
I tweet regularly about food, coffee and the influences I find in suburban life. Follow me as @BeadedQuill.
Beaded Quill is also on Facebook. Find BQ here.

Simply say
I am here at this place
doing this thing, though I am writing to you.
Look – something I have observed.

You could add
I miss you much or
I wish you were here, because –
note something we could share.

Maybe you could sign off
Best,
Fondest regards, or
All my love and a thousand kisses,

but that is rather silly, so xoxoxo will do.
Here I am, in an afternoon,
noting the formula for correspondence.
Look, the whole point

would be a letter
from you

I am a great fan of letter and postcard writing and my recent correspondences have triggered a few turns to poetry. The above may make it into the forthcoming bundle “Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys,” which is steadily rising in poem count.

In addition to the other poetry on this blog, you may enjoy my first volume, Shining in Brightness. It is available for preview and purchase via blurb.co.uk

You can follow me on Facebook or Twitter, where I tweet 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