Listen like mad
Listen with your ears
Particularly with your heart
More importantly with your gut
Creatively with your wild imagination
Have you been listening?
it was a year that asked to be
or burned on a pyre
constructed from the shyte
that held my year together.
Or was it …?
Surely there was more to it than that?
Surely there was a before and an after?
Before was wintertime.
Before was the joy of the city of big shoulders,
the invitation to excitement desired,
an event looked forward to.
There was a new year
full of hope
a future to celebrate with Revolution.
There was a period of time
when I prospered.
The joys of March.
Days when my lover’s offer
came to Cork
were an unmitigated blessing
– before that offer was too much.
All those early days,
all those days before the French holiday,
before the paintbrush
wiped away the smile from my face
– I sat by a stream.
I imagined the whispering flow
of water over stone.
I imagined paint on canvas
and fell down in the field
during the drama of women
confronting the god.
Oh how terrible that field,
Bless Netflix, bless Breaking Bad.
You were so wonderful.
Where would I have been without …
Composed on 31 December 2014
List compiled in February 2015 (under review)
Tis time for daisy-chains and dandelions,
the thrush with gangly legs has gone to wind,
hostas, risen, pushed aside the shale,
and clover back to torment dreams of lawn.
There’s a cherry blossom behind my back,
the baby oak’s grown leaves on time
………………… in rowan and hawthorn writ
with showers for ink, lavender for paint.
The black dog tastes an apple core,
licks the fly and sucks for more.
The black dog’s in the grass,
…………… paws, panting fast.
She sleeps below the windline stretched,
out of senses, out of mind,
no rush to untangle the rest of the deep.
The black dog’s dead. The black dog’s dead.
The daisy chains are broken,
the dandelion’s divine.
There’s a place we know as light.
There’s a home we know is right.
Unfinished: you see the bits that I’m sleeping on. Waiting to approach this fresh.
The two poets who give me quotes these days are Walt Whitman (1819-92) & Mary Oliver (1935 -).
1. We all love travel
2. We all love Paris & the idea of Paris
3. We love women who listen & attend
4. We love to be educated
5. We love to experience another person’s style
6. We love stories of a day in the life
7. We love someone being a bit riske
8. We love people who are generous towards others
9. We love daybreak & sunset
10. We love people who are reliable
Claire Waddington live streams from Paris on Periscope – every day. Her Twitter name is @clairewad. Right now she is visiting her dad in New Zealand
It would be easy to miss the poets
in the Farmgate Cafe
encased behind glass
as you sip espressoed coffee
on a Saturday afternoon
in the English Market.
Poems slip by without fuss,
prefer to let you pass
until you’re ready to listen
to your breathing heart
– the minute they sense you ache
for a set of fingernails
with which to grip on to fragile life
ticking like a fading metronome.
Poems are used to coffee drinkers
who turn their backs on them.
Poems become taken forgranted
even when handwritten and hung.
Poets never have the last laugh.
Ink fades gradually away.
I wonder whether the spirits stay
hidden among fushia encased in a water jug.
This was composed in the English Market Farmgate Cafe in Cork Ireland in May 2015
Click on this link please – it leads to “The Walt Whitman Show (14 September)
Warning: it’ll take a minute to load up.
I submit for your consideration:
Note: I shall publish my readings of Cantos 1-6 in the next few days. My plan is to read, record & share all 34 cantos of “Inferno” by Dante.
This was a bit of an experiment: to learn how to embed a file from Audioboom.com into a WordPress.com blog.
To write a poem now
To write a poem now
fingers all too stale,
Unused soul went to sleep,
Christ rose from the dead,
threw off sheets drenched in blood,
woke up, pushed the stone –
so light and birdsong dawned,
his dream made flesh,
traces linger instead,
as if painted over.
Jesus wrote his poem
on the road to Emmaus,
recovered from Gethsemane.
The words even ascended into Heaven
and were repeated.
To write a poem now…
the least I could do.
First published 10 November 2011 in “From Bath to Cork with baby Grace (1)”. This was my first effort to write a poem since the lifting of depression. I began it in Ely, near Cambridge UK, & finished the first draft in Cafe Beva, Glanmire, Co Cork.
I whisper my secrets to blooming heather
and she whispers back to me.
I hum a tune to silver stream that rushes past
and she hums my melody.
I wipe my eyes in the mountain wind
and she cries her heart for me.
I see the sea wave on every tide
and she comes and comes for me.
She looked deep
deep into the mirror
to where her mother lived.
Inside her fading hair
from where that ghost slept
as if she heard an echo
laugh into eyes
that list their way
long ago before her self
wobbled step after step
away from a haunting house.
She looked deeper now
past the past
into the conundrum of being.
It would soon be time
for her to teach
the metaphysics of daily repentance.
You don’t have to like oysters,
there’s nothing wrong with you
if caviar and truffles turn you off.
Though some will look down their nose at you
if you decline champagne,
it’s not a sin to spend your life
without a diamond ring or stud.
As for grand opera, Wimbledon, Ascot
and the Royal Tea Party,
you’re not alone in preferring to dunk
ginger nut biscuits in Earl Gray
and nibble soldiers with soft-boiled eggs
I met one honest man who ate puffer fish
before his wife – with their Johney in mind.
He founded a not-for-profit that cared
for orphans in Somalia or earthquake
victims in Katmandu.
There are bungie jumpers, macro-biotic vegans
and others devoted to saving earthworms
from global warming,
before the bees run out.
You don’t even have to be like any of them,
if you want your tombstone to be admired.
Your legacy may not even be on your agenda –
and who cares if no one remembers
your greatest achievement?
No one teaches children to stand out from the crowd,
to plant their own standard
and translate their imaginations
into language you can use for talking to yourself.
Few parents instruct their offspring to ignore
advice from elders and betters –
which may be why I’ve yet to see
a mother feeding oysters to her darling
and a father making sandwiches
with earthworms or dead wasps.
You don’t have to have a religion
or vote for a political party.
You don’t have to love your teachers
or thank them for their work.
You don’t have to drive a car
or send Christmas cards to say you’re still alive.
You don’t have to eat too much
Or donate yourself to a worthy cause.
It’s not even compulsory to re-read this poem.
As we say in Ireland,
“You’re one of us Mary,
you’re a chip off the old block.”
I came across you recently
when I was looking for something
– like a better life –
(not even sure what it was).
Not even sure what it felt like
the day I opened the door to you
and you came into the kitchen.
Almost certainly, it was raining.
You see, I’d never have written
“You don’t have to like oysters”
if it wasn’t for the sound of your voice
– the way you didn’t just sit in the chair
opposite me, but got out of the chair
and sat on my lap.
Every now and again, daemon-like,
you’d change form (not substance).
You’d hop on my shoulder.
A whelk, a blue iris, a river, a goose
(Oh no, not a river, another creature.)
Not only was this a new experience for me,
it was an old experience, returned
to poke the cinders
to see if any of them still glowed.
We are humans
I am your soul Aylan
your true humanity
I did not die with you
sinking in Bodrum‘s sea.
Who do you think washed you ashore?
Who painted your t-shirt red?
To Kos the adults took you
‘We promise home’ they said.
Who do you think will lift you now?
Who’ll cuddle you warm and true?
Who’ll bring your people safe from war?
Who’ll bury your shorts so blue?
I am your soul Aylan, your true humanity,
I did not die with you.