72 Seasons: Tristichs 21-30 April #NaPoWriMo 2019 – #lettersfromladyn

“At first their names too were borrowed from the Chinese, meaning that they did not always conform to the vagaries of our local climate. Eventually, in 1685, the court astronomer Shibukawa Shunkai revised them and in their present form they now serve to illustrate a natural, poetic pilgrimage through the ever-changing landscape of the Japanese year!” Read more: https://www.tokyoweekender.com/2018/05/the-poetry-and-precision-of-japans-72-microseasons

For Poetry Month 2019, 1-30 April, I have been creating a daily three-line piece on the theme ’72 Seasons: Three Lines that are True’. I haven’t been quite as disciplined as in previous years, letting a few days lapse at a time. I am remembering that my grandfather kept a diary where he entered fragments of facts of the day – amount of seed ordered, a visit, a doctor’s appointment. I always wondered about keeping a diary with such spare wordage coupled with a consistency of updating. I have found the process very anchoring – enough that I might continue it for my own pleasure. There is a real, but easily forgotten, wonder in playing a day-to-day life part in the earth’s turning – and the continual joy of feeding! The final 10 below. The previous two lots of ten are also on the blog.

21.04.2019

‘new ruins’ on display at the Abbey

lonesome hoot of a reclaimed CIE train

memories of the level crossing at Buttevant

22.04.2019 (Earth Day)

not wasting things that might-not-come-again

moveable feasts and coinciding celebrations

the last of the stash of easter chocolate

23.04.2019

freckles on fresh eggs shells

chilli jam

seeded wholemeal bread

24.04.2019

wednesday: the working week

wondering about the truth of weather forecasts

the usefulness of sodium bicarb for brown bins.

25.04.2019

a windy day is not a day for thatching

april is not a month for hay-making

being a hoarder is not without advantages

26.04.2019

middle parts are mandatory

at times neither memorable nor noteworthy

friday is not the end of everyone’s work week

27.04.2019

another 10 year milestone

food and friendship are the best of company

relief of boarding a double-decker bus

28.04.2019

middling news from home

comfort of clearing out old stuff

wild garlic pesto, locally foraged, is a gift

29.04.2019

wildflowers

a patch of daisies that escaped the cut

dandelions half blossom, half clock

30.04.2019

last day of April

nothing unusual about rain

always, nonetheless, a little extra to the ordinary

72 Seasons: Tristichs 11-20 April #NaPoWriMo 2019 – #lettersfromladyn

“At first their names too were borrowed from the Chinese, meaning that they did not always conform to the vagaries of our local climate. Eventually, in 1685, the court astronomer Shibukawa Shunkai revised them and in their present form they now serve to illustrate a natural, poetic pilgrimage through the ever-changing landscape of the Japanese year!” Read more: https://www.tokyoweekender.com/2018/05/the-poetry-and-precision-of-japans-72-microseasons

For Poetry Month 2019, 1-30 April, I have been creating a daily three-line piece on the theme ’72 Seasons: Three Lines that are True’. Unlike other years, I am using the older proponents of haiku as my mentors with their focus on close observation and their trust in the moment-as-it-is and with an emphasis (though not strictly observed in my case) on the natural world. A nod here too, as always, to the go-between that is Imagism. Find the middle 10 below.

11.04.2019

talking about art

artificial air

a real fear of falling

12.04.2019

scent-notes non-blending

garlic sweat and aftershave

blocked sewer and sweet magnolia

13.04.2019 – Castle Ward

first bluebells

a dandelion clock poised for take-off

animal scat mostly composed of seeds

14.04.2019

last sunday of advent

adding lemon juice to warmed fresh milk

curdled milk to baking soda

15.04.2019

high wind

sirens

a recorded version of Fauré’s Requiem

16.04.2019

a day for looking forward

weather forecast – good and bad in it –

making lists

17.04.2019

new takes on old recipes

top-hat types: hen-shaped mallow and candy eggs

frozen berries with experimental crumble

18.04.2019

this walk by the river is called Jane’s Shore

I don’t know who Jane is

the hollow stump seems to have become hollower.

19.04.2019

hot cross buns

gluten-free crumpets

everything is improved by melting butter

20.04.2019

im Lyra McKee

holiday saturday, spring sun on a bluebell path

and were you there? did you see which hands held the gun

that, just last night, took the life of this sacred woman?

72 Seasons: Tristichs 1-10 April #NaPoWriMo 2019 – #lettersfromladyn

“At first their names too were borrowed from the Chinese, meaning that they did not always conform to the vagaries of our local climate. Eventually, in 1685, the court astronomer Shibukawa Shunkai revised them and in their present form they now serve to illustrate a natural, poetic pilgrimage through the ever-changing landscape of the Japanese year!” Read more: https://www.tokyoweekender.com/2018/05/the-poetry-and-precision-of-japans-72-microseasons

Happy Poetry Month and hoping this finds you well! From 1-30 April, my plan-of-action is to create a three-line piece on the theme ’72 Seasons: Three Lines that are True’. Unlike other years, I am using the older proponents of haiku as my mentors with their focus on close observation and their trust in the moment-as-it-is and with an emphasis (though not strictly observed in my case) on the natural world. A nod here too, as always, to the go-between that is Imagism. Find the first 10 below.


01.04.2019

a shade above third of the standard size –

narcissi and

makeshift vase.

02.04.2019

unremitting, three-part-call.

unseen collared dove

unkempt backyard.

03.04.2019

Steeped in luck”

the long dry spell is over – mammatus clouds,

as seen in photos, over the Copper Coast and Teconnaught.

the slow dragging éisssst of tyres over surface water.

04.04.2019

a Thursday

sun, rain, gale, storm

a sense, you could say, of there being time for things

05.04.2019

all the furnishing has been lovingly chosen

nothing inpires

only the houseplants radiate light

06.04.2019

Mournes hidden in a heat haze

behind the Cathedral, gravestone carvings

‘good’ and ‘love’

07.04.2019

enough funds

at this rate

today

08.04.2019

yesterday now

nothing substantial

planning the next adventure

09.04.2019

sting to the bright day

a new skill mastered

joy of an easy-to-cut turnip

10.04.2019

(found)

only identified by her last name He

4 bees lived in a woman’s eye and fed on her tears

she was cleaning a relative’s grave when they got in

– Source: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/10/doctors-discover-four-live-bees-feeding-on-tears-inside-womans-eye

72 Seasons: Poetry, Precision and Three Lines that are True for #NaPoWriMo 2019 – #lettersfromladyn

“At first their names too were borrowed from the Chinese, meaning that they did not always conform to the vagaries of our local climate. Eventually, in 1685, the court astronomer Shibukawa Shunkai revised them and in their present form they now serve to illustrate a natural, poetic pilgrimage through the ever-changing landscape of the Japanese year!”

Read more: https://www.tokyoweekender.com/2018/05/the-poetry-and-precision-of-japans-72-microseasons
Narcissi & Mini Proseco Bottle

Happy Poetry Month and hoping this finds you well! For the last couple of years I have set myself a daily poetry practice for what has become Global Poetry Month based around the tristich or three-line stanza. I’m working with in the three-line format again this year. From 1-30 April, my plan-of-action is to create a three-line piece on the theme ’72 Seasons: Three Lines that are True’. Unlike other years, I am using the older proponents of haiku as my mentors with their focus on close observation and their trust in the moment-as-it-is and with an emphasis (though not strictly observed in my case) on the natural world. A nod here too, as always, to the go-between that is Imagism. I’ll post them here on the blog every 10 days. What follows is a kind of meandering meditation on the motivaion behind this year’s approach.

Clear Sight: The Comfort of Close Observation

‘May you live in interesting times’

– Chinese curse

Poetry, precision and small acts of truth telling are on my agenda through the month. I’m trialling this as a kind of medicine. I have worked in the digital world through information/ communications/ marketing roles for almost a quarter of a century – mostly in the voluntary, community and arts sectors. Starting with web content management and listserv administration and graduating to social media and mobile platforms in line with changes in technology. The last few years in particular has seen an unimaginable rise in information sharing, and the task of Sisyphus that is discerning whether what is being shared has the marks of truth or not.

À la fin tu es las de ce monde ancien..’ This early part of the 21st Century is, in every sense of the word, ‘interesting’. In the noughties I carried out an act of translation of Apollinaire’s ‘Zone’ – http://www.toutelapoesie.com/poemes/apollinaire/zone.htm#. By which I mean I tried to really understand his movement through Europe early in the 20th Century, and what it’s translation-defying first and last lines were really saying, through reading everything I could get my hands on about it and all translations.

One of the commentators suggested that the start of new centuries tend to be turbulent. I’m adding my two cents worth having lived through and celebrated the change to the New Millenium, that the human spirit in those moments of momumental, but not naturally occurring, changes of calendar tends to register possibility in the new and try to ‘future proof’ so that the mistakes of the catastrophic past might not be carried into this ‘clean slate’ type new epoch.

There is no clean slate. There is now, I think, a sense of vacuum. A sense of having looked hard at the past with the wish to not recreate it, but like a horse refusing at a fence, there is a shying away from the normal task and pattern of ‘creating’ that future. I don’t know about you but I’ve often observed that while the demons from the past dance in the present, the first stirrings of the future also haunt this same premises. There they caday about together, as it were, in a fairly uncomfortable manner and are hard to organise into go or stay. And while a ten year plan may seem daunting to the average cricket, a whole millennium’s worth of forward planning, including the hope for Utopia, is beyond the human imagination. Quo Vadis. Cue the fake news artists, the snake oil sellers, and Chicken-Licken wired to the moon.

It is the end of the world as we know it. That is, of course, the true and ongoing part. In my humble opinion, however, what needs enquiry is the place where the desire ward off an impending cataclysm (I have quite a list from global to personal, as I expect you do) meets the desire to create a some sense of workable future. For me, this is aided by a clear-sighted look at the what’s here now. More simply put, information about seasonal fluctuation, no matter how reliable it may be in the location those seasons occur, aren’t at all as useful if a body is actually living somewhere else.

Foresight: Truth and the Future

“We are so far from knowing all the agents of nature and their diverse modes of action that it would not be philosophical to deny phenomena solely because they are inexplicable in the actual state of our knowledge. But we ought to examine them with an attention all the more scrupulous as it appears more difficult to admit them.” (also translated as ‘The weight of evidence should be proportioned to the strangeness of the facts’).

Pierre-Simon Laplace

“But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”

Carl Sagan

Foresight, as no one ever said, is 20/20 vision, like poet and prophet is the same word in some language which I forget now. This is in the category of a lovely lie I was once told (here as convenient lie is to the inconvenient truth, the lovely lie is to the plain truth) by someone who knew how to conjure and wield words you’d be forgiven for wanting to be true.

In the midst of all this début de siècle hubbub it’s hard to get an idea of what is actually going on. If truth is that which is in accordance with a sense of fact or acuality (broad brush strokes…), how is the truth related to the future?

I have a fascination with all things divination. Longer than I can remember. My first beloved toy was a small blue lion with a sunlike mane that I called ‘Leo’. Tea leaves, tarot, divining rods, crystals, horoscopes, dead sea scrolls, ‘gifts’ of extra sensory perception, bibliomancy, Novenas, apple cores, the yarrow, Nostradamus, Cathbad, John Dee, scrying… I once did a poetic listing for my own entertainment and to show that pretty much every stick and stone was inspiring some ‘fortune-teller’ somewhere to have a revelation or insight. I think this fascination is true for almost all those who write poetry, even those who ‘doth protest too much’.

It’s also the province of crack-pots, conspiracy theorists, the business of government and corporate strategists. (In the interest of full disclosure, my academic training is in the area of business strategy – creating sustainable prosperity going forward – whether at the level of individual firm, sector, and national state).

For me it’s a triangular, or maybe a circular interest. If you look at the places where alchemy, religion and science cross lines you find that the emphasis on ‘that which is not yet known or is potentially unknowable’ – whether actual or future – sticks an exceptionally creative stick in the wheel. The drive to see around corners, to know the unknowable, to explain the inexplicable, makes the task to get the wheel in forward motion very compelling.

Whether increasing the probability of beneficial outcomes, a get-rich scheme, or a hope for immortality, this drive has configured all we know about our known world. In the mainstream, the forecasters – from frameworks to assess probablity of future outcomes to news programme pundits, are the voices crying out in the desert for better understanding of what is going on now in order to create a more favourable negotiation of circumstances at some time that is not here yet, given that what is not here yet may have some of its own elegant tricks up its epoch sleeves.

Nevertheless when I am inspired to write poetry, it has never yet been in the spirit of ‘prepare ye’ with a Michaelangelo-like sketch of a helicopter in the margins. I have rarely seen this type of poem and I’d probably, with no harm to the writer, not choose to read much further if I did. For me, there are clear lines between poetry and prophecy. The reason that I’m talking about it now is, however, that by the matter of clear transcribing of what is the poem-coming-into-being, there is a hard to account for, after the fact, enlightening sense of prescience which I am far from alone in experiencing as a writer, which is why the digging ground of the two being the same is an argument for which I can make a case.

So that’s a long winded walk back to where the car is parked.

The Three-line Trick

This year’s NaPoWriMo practice is a small good thing. That’s all it is. Day-by-day observation of what is there – poetry and precision. On the one hand, a good discipline in the kind of precision that is connective tissue in poetry and makes it long-lived. On the other, a kind of grounding, anchoring, that may be at least a tracking of the truth in reference to a present actual rather than the past or projected fears – which have their place, but here in the sense of being able to discern what is likely to yield good information going forward. A practice that while remaining true to itself also transforms simply by being recorded and where no transformation has actually happened in real terms.

Touch, don’t observe – #worldbrailleday @LabelLib @acniwriting #tbt

Today (4 Jan 2019) is World Braille Day and I have just taken up the RNIB’s offer to have a visual representation of my name in braille to raise awareness of braille (RNIB Connect Podcast) and happily remembering getting a better sense of braille last year.

2018-04-25 13.26.26

Label lit/Poetry Day 2018 ‘Poetry Surprises’

I loved being part of this initiative for National Poetry Day ’18 – taking to Downpatrick with a handful of labels to be found in places where poetry would not be normally found.

The individual micro-poems/labels were drawn from a deconstructed poem (reconstructed below) that I had written for a curating poetry course.

The poem’s curation element was born out of my frustration at the behind-glass at-a-distance visual presentation of art, particularly constructed or 3D artforms, where individual pieces seemed to silently scream from behind the glass, or whatever out-of-reach space, about how the best part of their innate artistic communiation was in the form of physical interaction which was prohibited.  I was also, in my own writing practice, experimenting with the sense of touch – that self-same physical interaction (skin-to-skin contact being the most profoundly inspirational but in my workshop experiments it was objects which were called upon to share their inspirational qualities through the medium of the fingers, the palms, the skin).

Working with the PageTurners – a creative writing group drawn from the RNIB NI membership – the idea of creating labels with a braille element presented itself to me. I am still so grateful to the RNIB braille team for responding to my strange request and so quickly. They said two things which I have filed away for future use. One is that braille isn’t as commonly known as it was by virtue of the advance in technology and the other is that I could, if I was a bit more organised, have organised actual brailled labels. This might have been a better awareness raising and access strategy – but my curation of braille ‘elements’ was also to invoke the language of touch, raising broader awareness of the predominance of the visual in our lives – and perhaps to create a bridge between the two.

The braille version of poem came back to me in one piece without line-breaks, so in order to create the elements I had to work out the system. I have always loved the feel of braille – words I can touch – but, up to this I hadn’t any idea how to transform the dots and indentations into communication. I am no expert now but I have a better understanding of it and even more respect for it than I had before.

Some more information about Label Lit 2018 by Arts Council NI here (video)

To Have & To Hold: A Curator’s Proposal

Let’s leave the world of the glass display case
Find a way back to our own space
Create a touch tank of the place we inhabit.

Touch       don’t observe

Impressions left on the spoon-bowl palm
Of the hand – a sustaining pleasure
Of weight and size and texture.

Touch       but with care

There are boundaries here to consider
How best to hold what’s fixed, passing through
All that contains you?

Touch      these four walls

Doors   windows   keep vigilant
For anywhere that feels like confinement
Ask yourself is this what home is?

What
Holds you
Here.

All the fun of the #flarf – #lettersfromlady

WP_20150930_08_49_00_ProAnyone in New York on the 1st of June?

You’ll want to know that the Flarf Anthology release party is taking place at Le Poisson Rouge at 7pm – details HERE.

To be honest the concept of Flarf is new to me.

However, the other side of my non-creative writing practice is in the world of information provision, communications, marketing – with over twenty years of online communication/information sharing, and, in the last eight or nine years, this has been heavily based on social media.

And, unbeknownst to me and with little excitement from anybody who has come in contact with it, I have been writing the odd piece of flarf (if I am understanding the whole thing correctly).

I think the lack of excitement from others has had more to do with the fact that in the early years I was unusual among my poetry writing peers on being online for the amount of time that I was and the bizarre cadences of internet/social media based communication were in my world for hours every day. Spam, when spam filters were not as powerful as they are now, was particularly wonderful in the rhythmic patterning of the language.

But if you weren’t on the receiving end of the torrent of offers of, what I’ll call here, potent-making support services that I was getting day and daily, the context would not have been there.

I had come across Flarf a couple of months ago when creating a piece for submission using found social media sound-bites, for want of a better word. It was interesting to see how it appears to have developed in its c. two decades of existence from sending up the mad world of the online (often marketers, politicians and those in the public eye), to a more meaningful engagement with the language, the concerns and the format of day to day online interaction.

I think this important.

The piece I created didn’t cut the mustard (is that even a thing) and I went back this morning to see whether there is a journal or online version that I could resubmit. I think it’s a good piece but I’m not sure whether there are protocal, copyright etc issues for it and people more used to that kind of content would be good to confer with.

In any case, the google-search trail appeared to go cold after the late noughties and I was sad..until I discovered that the anthology is coming out on Tuesday night. How utterly divine is that.

I may be wrong, but it looks to me having had a quick hashtag search of #Flarf,  that the early days of the preoccupation  (I think there is a fun-factor in this that hasn’t been about a big movement, more a pushing of the boundaries to include where the majority of words are happening these days) were when the Bush regime was in full swing. Then there was a lull, and now we have the wonder of communication – it’s communication Jim, but not as we know it – that is the Trump regime. I think we may all need Flarf to keep us sane.

Good to find this today – and every good wish to Gary Sullivan and all those who have been involved on the launch.

The Clock Repairer’s Companion (Thirty Tristichs): #KnowingtheDance #NaPoWriMo

6tag-3088414843-1483269340422047431_3088414843

These thirty three-line pieces are creative responses to my consideration of the moving parts of poetry composition – and are part of the ‘Knowing the Dance’ project.

 

 

 

The Clock Repairer’s Companion

Tristich 1-10

Tristich 11-20

Tristich 21-30 (sequence)

 

Notes and Acknowledgements

  • ‘The Clock Repairer’s Companion: Thirty Tristichs’ is series of three-line pieces written daily, exclusively for National (Global) Poetry Writing Month (#NaPoWriMo), to be shared via instagram @pearldiver32
  • They are responses to my consideration of the moving elements of poetry in general, and my own poetry in particular,  which is part of the wider ‘Knowing the Dance’ project, supported by Arts Council NI’s ACES programme. Reading material is included with each ten day installment.
  • I have a fascination with tristichs since meeting the form in the poetry of Yannis Ritsos – and am still in realm of Lorine Niedecker’s ‘condensery’.
  • Again many thanks to Emma Whitehead for the use of the ‘Time Bug’ image.
  • ‘Letters from Black Hawk Delta’ Thirty Tristichs for NaPoWriMo 2016 can be found HERE.

About NaPoWriMo

April is (Global/)National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) and the idea is to write a poem a day for the month. You can find some great prompts at the official site, and poetry support organisations like the Poetry School

OliveBroderick@2017

The Clock Repairer’s Companion (No 21-30): #KnowingtheDance #NaPoWriMo

6tag-3088414843-1483269340422047431_3088414843Nos 21 to 30: the third (and final) installment of three-line pieces which I have been sharing each day this April on Instagram – @pearldiver32 – as part of NaPoWriMo.

The work is a creative response to my consideration of the moving parts of poetry composition – and it is part of the ‘Knowing the Dance’ project. The final 10 tristichs form a sequence which was called ‘The Body is all Water’ when shared on instagram.

 

The Clock Repairer’s Companion

Now the clock tells the time right,
inseperable as water, light and shade,
all one body – moving, turning.

The body is all water and returning
to its source: its fluid nature all surge and
gathering together as it covers old ground.

Fear is real – the cell wall, the membrane,
the karstifying rock, a place of waiting,
of permeation – it has its own time.

Inseparable, those times that we don’t talk about,
forty days and nights of rainfall, the turlough
and freshwater lake flow into each other.

Far from gone forever, this place of surface stone
is a conjuring trick, a feat of dry spells,
sunlight and vapour mirages that rise, evaporate.

Neither you nor I, and far from lost for ever, this water
flows, filling in and filling out, though I’ve needed
to contain you in a limestone-walled oubliette.

Fear is mostly mind – and badly scripted voice-over
that speaks in a whisper to a face behind a mirror, who,
if not pixelated, is certainly dried out and all 2D.

The body is all water – and sometimes walking away
from its surge, its eddy, retreat – the sound
makes its way through the membrane of the ear.

Dance with me. The clock in its waterproof case
will beat, will beat. Let it be the meeting point
between the river here and the river beneath.

The shade is you. The Lough is all sunlit and still.
Anchored boats with phantom people. The call
to water, of the woodland beyond, goes unanswered.

‘Fear of the body…Fear of words…Sometimes the two are inseparable’ (‘The Body has its Reasons’, pg 123) is the epigram for this and its reflection in the water – shimmering slightly, not a perfect mirror.

The shade is you. The Lough is all sunlit and still.
Anchored boats with phantom people. Call
of water, of woodland birds, go unanswered.

Dance with me. The clock in its waterproof case
will beat, will beat. Let it be the meeting point
between the river here and the river beneath.

The body is all water – and walking away
from its surge, its eddy, retreat. But the sound
makes its way through the membrane of the ear.

Fear is mostly mind – and badly scripted voice-over
that speaks in a whisper to a face behind a mirror, who,
if not pixelated, is dessicated and all 2D.

Neither you nor I, and far from lost for ever, this water
flows, filling in and filling out, though I’ve needed
to contain you in a limestone-walled oubliette.

Far from gone forever, this place of surface stone
is a conjuring trick, a feat of dry spells,
sunlight and vapour mirages that rise, evaporate.

Inseparable, the times that we don’t talk about,
forty days and nights of rainfall, the turlough
and freshwater lake flow into each other.

The fear is real – the cell wall, the membrane,
the karstifying rock, a place of waiting,
of permeation – it has its own time.

The body is all water and returning
to its source: its fluid nature all surge
and holding together as it covers old ground.

Now the clock tells the time right,
inseperable as water, light and shade,
all one body – moving, turning.

 


A note about what I have been reading

This three-lines-a-day discipline for April has been away of me working through the learning elements of the ‘Knowing the Dance’ project – practice sketches is at were.  The ten-tristich sequence above is a response to ‘The Body has its Reasons’ and my rereading of it.  These last days of April,  I have also acquired the ‘Lines of Thought’ catalogue which accompanies the British Museum touring exhibition that has been on at the Ulster Museum, and ‘The Life of Lines‘ by Tim Ingold..and so the reading continues…in a linear fashion…

About NaPoWriMo

April is (Inter)National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) and the idea is to write a poem a day for the month. You can find some great prompts at the official site, and poetry support organisations like the Poetry School

Image: from Time Bug series (10cm x 10cm) by Emma Whitehead

The Clock Repairer’s Companion (No 11-20): #KnowingtheDance #NaPoWriMo

6tag-3088414843-1483269340422047431_3088414843Nos 11 to 20: the second installment of three line pieces (from fragment, to micro-poem to as much as I can fit and still call it, fluidly, three lines) which I have been sharing each day this April on Instagram – @pearldiver32 – as part of NaPoWriMo.

The work is a creative response to my consideration of the moving parts of poetic composition – and it is part of the ‘Knowing the Dance’ project.

 

20. Found Poem*

Fear of the body…

Fear of words…

Sometimes they are inseparable.

From ‘The Body has its Reasons’ page 123

 

19. Still dancing after all

this time, our lines close to connecting, but still a holdback –

the romance of the Latin Mass left in our fingers –

so there’s room to hold both each other and our preferred other as mystery.

 

18. Playing Checkers with Little Nell

I move. You move. They watch. Next move, my move – I move. Now you. You muse

watch me, watch them, then make your move. I move, then you – they watch.

We choose our moves – then move. They watch.

 

17. Aisling

Before the first cross-quarter day of that year, two little boys appeared

in my deep-winter drift, signalling me, with their spirit eyes, to cross-over

to join with gradual, waxing light – to rise as it rises, but not to fight.

 

16. Breathwork (b)

Difficult conditions, living seeds prepare to shoot through topsoil – a metaphor

she scores a dance from the breath pattern – all rise and rush, barely enough stop to refuel –

shapes of a body attacked by panic, or a cartoon charachter held in the air by ratata gunfire.

for Paula Guzzanti

 

15. Shoots (mark-making exercise)

The frank stare of the double-o. She looks at it, then takes the charcoal – breathes out

through its medium an upward moving vortex – swiftly overlaying another in red chalk.

Finished, she holds her body, without prejudice, where noun and verb meet in their sense of propulsion.

for Sarah Warsop

 

14. Where they hide their anger

the ones who never, mark that, ever feel even a frisson of that emotion,

is, in temporal terms, the minutest move on the face of a clock, but the oubliette opens

in the breath-crack between side-by-side words that begin and end again with hard letters.

 

13. Tonight, like housekeys in my handbag

I carry

The lines of your song.

Tonight I am safe, comforted.

 

12. What it is

It is the stick figures that run and leap as I flick the pages.

It is the rise and drive of dark lines marked on the paper.

It is the change in the speed of my breath, the ribcage follows: I sit.

 

11. Anxious scanning

Digital, my fingers on the keyboard typing.

My feet are on the floor tapping out a rhythm.

In between, I am – the doubt I feel is my own.

 


If you sit, just sit don’t wobble (zen saying)

After last week’s intense reading, this week I sat (not saying I didn’t wobble a bit) and reflected on what I had read and the wider ‘Knowing the Dance’ project. It was a strange, ranging journey – ending with the arrival of ‘The Dance Most of All’ by Jack Gilbert – which wasn’t entirely what I was looking for, and then again it might have been just the right opening to what is going to be a sequence for the next ten days. I know this is departing from the letter of the the NaPoWriMo project but I’m hoping it captures some of its spirit as this has arisen from the energy of working day-by-day during this April.  I also went back and reread chapters of ‘The Body has its Reasons’ which has been a part of my world since I was a teenager. I was very sad to find out recently that Therese Bertherat had passed away a few years as I would have loved to have actually been a participant in one of here classes.

About NaPoWriMo

April is (Inter)National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) and the idea is to write a poem a day for the month. You can find some great prompts at the official site, and poetry support organisations like the Poetry School

Image: from Time Bug series (10cm x 10cm) by Emma Whitehead

The Clock Repairer’s Companion (No 1-10): #KnowingtheDance #NaPoWriMo

6tag-3088414843-1483269340422047431_3088414843Nos 10 to 1: the first installment of three line pieces (from fragment, to micro-poem to asmuch as I can fit and still call it three lines) which I have been sharing each day this April on Instagram – @pearldiver32 – as part of NaPoWriMo.

The work in this case is a creative response to my consideration of the moving parts of poetic composition – and it is part of the ‘Knowing the Dance’ project.

 

10. Late afternoon full moon seen behind telephone wires

Held note. Between the lines
I am, you are, all we encounter
here, moving as we move, a dancer.

 

9. Pattern

Already:
in my hand,
the chalk across my palm.

 

8. Water Drums

The women. How they stand. Their hands as they beat
the river. Its resist, follow. The rhythm. My hands. Call
across continents. The songs in different languages.

 

7. Poiesis

Parchment, paper, tablet, stylus, pencil, ruler, plumb-line, quill-pens, inhorn, inks, desk, goodlight, chair –

Whatever the instruments, what moves this scribe is not to bring forth, exactly, what is imagined –

But making the marks of a map by which others can make their own journeys along these lines.

 

6. Illusions of Movement

In corners:
intimations of intrigue,
wall-to-wall intricate spiders’ weave-work.

 

5. A three line monograph on walking and writing poetry

Walk: find Basho, Raftery, Mary Oliver in the grove, town, forest.

Walk: let your steps fall in with the rhythm of the wind, river, traffic.

Walk: ideas, images circulate as blood does: always now.

 

4. Breathwork (a)

As you read this (or
are you hearing it really), ask
yourself where the breath is.

 

3. Mobile

A breeze triggers it, makes the strings, frame,
and dangling baubles all swing and sway:
the movements are followed by the baby’s gaze.

 

2. Still life with moving part

Indoors in late August, he paints ‘nothing but large sunflowers‘,
like this one – fifteen head-turners: yellow on yellow – while
outside a Mistral wind bloows over the still Arles landscape.

 

1. Who can know?

I am moving
I am not
movement

 


A note about what I have been reading

The work in this case is a creative response to my consideration of the moving parts of poetic composition. This is part of the written element of the ‘Knowing the Dance‘ project – and the technical end in a way – so the pieces are very much concerned with the writing itself. Should it be of any interest, this ten days has seen me rereading sections of ‘Rules of the Dance’ by Mary Oliver, ‘Lines: A Brief History’ by Tim Ingold, ‘The Making of Poem’ by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland. Revisitng objectivist poetry (?) gently, getting to grips with ‘Poiesis and Art-making: A Way of Letting-Be’ by Derek H. Whitehead. and I’ve also put my toe in the water of ‘Affect Theory’, without getting much of me wet as of yet.

About NaPoWriMo

April is (Inter)National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) and the idea is to write a poem a day for the month. You can find some great prompts at the official site, and poetry support organisations like the Poetry School

Image: from Time Bug series (10cm x 10cm) by Emma Whitehead