Tag Archives: poem

Please stop trying to save me – a poem

Please stop trying to save me

 

What if I am not wrong, just different?

What if I do not need changing, fixing,

Healing, rescuing, improving, sorting out,

Toughening up?

In just the way that spiderwebs and flower petals

Do not need to be other than they are.

I might be fragile, but it is a quality valued in glassware

And butterflies.

I may be sensitive down to my nerve endings

Like the fine tips of roots and shoots

Or a wolf’s sense of smell.

I have been wounded, my body a fracked landscape

But you don’t mend that by demanding

I learn to better tolerate being fracked.

You don’t make me more well if you tell me

I am not good enough right now, if you

Have to tinker with me, recreate me in the way

You think I should be, over-writing the truth of me

With some story that suits you better.

Some way of being in the world that may

Tidy me into other people’s convenience, but makes me

Less myself, smaller than before so that

The next person can come along to see the damage

And decide what should be cut off now

In order to save me from myself.

What if I would never have been damaged at all

Without the people who wanted to repair me

In the manner of their choosing?

What if all I ever needed was kindness

And the space to live out my own difference?

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Anti-romantic poetry

All those heart metaphors

 

I wore my heart on my sleeve for you.

I spilled my guts.

 

I put my spleen on my shoulder

Was that helpful?

I draped my lungs over my ears,

Put my liver in the upturned cuff

Of my trousers,

Wore my pancreas on my wrist.

 

Do I make sense now?

Can you read my entrails?

Is the hollow place under my ribs

Understandable? Clearer?

Do you need to see all my bones?

 

Is honesty the exposed inner workings

Or was it the mysterious whole?

Where’s the true layer?

What should we dig down to?

 

I put my heart on my sleeve for you.

Just offal and mess, it turns out

And not much good at all.

 

(I may be going to do a run of these, exploring ideas around romance and dismantling them in whatever way occurs to me at the time. Especially what we’re supposed to do with hearts – which discernibly work better on the inside.)


Wisdom from the Ancestors – a poem

Wisdom from the Ancestors

 

If the ancient Druids spoke through me

They would say to you,

Now we are in crisis.

In drought and flood our crops will fail.

Our people are in conflict.

Many go hungry.

Our wild brothers and sisters

Even the sacred bee

Are in peril,

May leave us forever.

Faced with such disaster

We need a really potent sacrifice.

Not goats this time.

Not criminals or prisoners of war

No commoner we were finding a bit inconvenient

No!

In the face of dire circumstance

Only the brightest and best will do.

We need a sacrifice who combines

Wealth, power and influence. A leader!

A statesman, more valuable than any other.

Only the greatest and most noble of sacrifices

Can save us.

 

When they destroy the land and the people

For their power and pride

It is their own vanity that will lead them

All the way to the ritual space.

It’s not that we’re superstitious.

It’s that we know sometimes

The best way to protect democracy

Is to persuade the bastards at the top

To self congratulate themselves all the way

To a wicker man.

 

(I’m not advocating putting actual people in actual wickermen, but at times like this I can’t help but feel that there are other ways of looking at the idea of sacrifice kings…)


I remind you of a car? A poem

I remind you of a car?

 

This machine goes from nought to five

Miles per hour only in emergencies

And never uphill.

Top speed of not much

Gets about five miles

To the pint of beer

Can do twenty miles in a day

But not if you want it to move afterwards.

May be long overdue for an MOT

Best not to dwell on the exhaust fumes.

Or the state of the upholstery.

Difficult to steer, but offroad handling superb.

Indicating things that have nothing

To do with direction of movement

May or may not have brain in gear

Has no idea what a clutch is

Much less how to use one as a metaphor

Handles wet surfaces

Well.

The built in satnav says

“I know exactly where we are”

And takes you to a wood

Full of creepy art instillations

And gets you lost, but not killed.

Has the freedom of the open road

In all weathers.

Does not require a paint job

Or rust removal

Or new tyres

But may need oiling now and then.

There are no brakes.

There are no safety belts

There is no cruise control.

But there is an ample boot

And finding a parking space is easy.

 

 

The title of course alludes to Professor Elemental’s You Remind Me of a Car – if you aren’t familiar with it, it goes a lot like this…


The temple I am building – a poem

The temple I am building

 

There are no temples I can dance in

And while I glimpse in myth the names

Of women who may once have been

Goddesses of land, I can only guess

At whose temple I should dance

And there is no sacred music for me

And the steps are entirely lost

If they ever existed.

 

There are no temples I can dance in

But I will honour the call of music

With passion embodied. I will dance

The imaginary steps for a nameless Goddess

Wherever I can, I will shake my hips,

Open my thighs, raise my arms in salutation

In spiritual offering, make sacrament

Of rhythm, make sacred the energy

Of limbs and loins.

 

I make temples I can dance in

The width of my open arms

Any tune is my holy ground, any beat

Or song so long as there is sweat

And presence, breath and pulse,

Where there is desire I will build my temple

In the shadowed edge of your stage

In your club, your field, your kitchen

Summon ancient magic

And dance what enchantment I can.


People on Pedestals – a poem

People on Pedestals

 

Putting people on pedestals (for the alliteration)

People on pedestals fear falling fatally

Pride puncturing plummets are promised.

Fear finding the fall too easy.

Feet of clay, people on pedestals

Afraid of awkward viewing angles

The upskirt shot, the up nose, up trouser.

Searing spotlights illuminate the people on pedestals

Searching, scathing spotlight scrutiny

Revealing, and the people on pedestals

Want not to be revealed, not really.

Want a little private, unobserved obscurity

Attention an attack and an artifice exposer.

The real risk that in looking up

Unvarnished truth unveiling.

Honest anxiety or narcissist needling?

People on pedestals who perpetrate poses

Market, mythologize, misrepresent to look good

Purchase the pedestal, polish it proudly

Help you put them up there, but then

When they fall off, incompetent, inept and over sold

It is your fault.

Your pedestal putting predilections

Selfishly setting them up for a stumbling

 

I like to look from on a level.


Family Afternoon Out – a poem

This poem is based on observation of many different people over some years. This is what tends to happen within a few hundred yards of the car-park.

 

Family Afternoon Out

 

They emerge from the four by four

In country wear jackets and boots

With matching children and dog.

Stand at the viewing point, and point

Like models in a clothes catalogue.

Little Jemima shouts repeatedly

About who once sat on which rock

Like she owns the place.

Eyes down, they head off

Talking about Priscilla in human resources

And what Gareth said about Antigua

And Little Christopher is bored

And swipes undergrowth with a stick.

Aren’t children so natural, in nature

In their desperately expensive jackets

Just like mummy and daddy wear.

Meanwhile Hugo the hound runs wild

Sniffs everything, and they’ve already passed

Seventeen brightly coloured notices about

Keeping dogs on leads but Hugo is not a dog.

He’s family, and it is different for him.

Because he’s wearing a jacket, too.

And nice, middle class dogs never worry sheep.

Now back to Priscilla, in human resources

The one with the bad botox experience.

This story is so good it requires enough decibels

For every other walker to hear the gruesome details.

Generations of squirrels now know what

Priscilla did about the stains.

Little Jemima is picking orchids, isn’t that pretty?

Never mind if she’s breaking the law, she’s only a child

Enjoying the flowers and her parents don’t know

What these flowers are called or that you aren’t

Supposed to pick them.

Little Christopher throws stones at everything, but

Back to what Gareth said about Cypress,

And Sudan, and you really must try ice skating in Ethiopia.

Hugo flushes out a bird that no one sees

Too busy with Priscilla and Gareth to look or hear

And does the front bedroom need decorating this year?

Little Jemima throws her phone in a pond when no one is looking.

Darling Christopher stamps on beetles. Were they endangered?

Too late now.

And Gareth said New Zealand is a must at this time of year

And how on Earth is anyone supposed to manage

Mud in these boots. You could wreck them, and the cost

Of replacing them and the dirt in the car

And Little Christopher is banging his head against a tree

Because he’d rather die than walk any further and

Jemima is eating leaves and berries but nature is good for us

So it’s probably fine. And Hugo has done a vast

Steaming turd in the middle of the path

So let’s put it in a plastic bag

And hang it from a tree.

Because we love nature.

Nature is lovely.

And we’ve had such a wonderful walk.

 


A poem about love

I wrote this one to read at a local poetry event. I mention this because ‘you’ in a poem changes depending on how you present the poem. On a blog post it would seem impersonal, and the poem would read differently if I sent it to you personally via email. Saying ‘you’ in a roomful of people creates interesting ambiguity.

There’s a fighting chance that a few of the people who read this will be people I was thinking about when writing it – which is enough to indicate that this is not a conventional sort of love poem.

 

I may or may not be melting

 

I would love you unreasonably.

 

Unreasonably because it is in my nature

To love, but our culture treats emotion

As the opposite of reason.

 

So, I will present as an ice queen

Wearing my mask, cold to the touch

Expressionless. I will be clinical and calculating

And when I speak of feelings

Perhaps you will mistrust me, hearing

Cynical manipulation because we all know

That women who are glaciers do not feel,

We just grind our machinations slowly.

Crush things.

Do not ask where we melt

Violently into rivers, you won’t like

How that metaphor plays out.

 

I would love you unreasonably

Cast myself into your arms with a force

You could not ignore.

Hold for too long. Hold too tight.

Later perhaps you will call me creepy

Or unreasonable. Better not to melt

Into untrustworthy arms, better to hold

Cold still aloof in my glacial form.

Allow no heat to pass from my skin.

Better if we do not have the conversation

About what it means to love,

So there is never a chance for you

To tell me how horrified you are.

How I should not feel what I feel.

 

Should I take off the ice mask,

Show the scars from the many times

I’ve been cast out in the monster’s role

Because I dared to say that I care

And I dared to hug like it meant something

And my kisses do not taste of

Casual disinterest.

 

I would love you unreasonably

But most of the time I am too fearful

Of offending to be anything other

That cautious, cold

And a bit awkward.

Melting is a dangerous business.

 


A poem about friendship

Outside my Orbit

 

He wanted the cool relationship of planets

Held at predictable distances from each other

Moving in and out of proximity on pre-ordained arcs.

The friendship of planets; gas giants Jupiter and Saturn,

Of cratered moonscapes and lifeless, dry seas.

The friendship of rock enduring ages

Comets passing but never touching each other.

Influencing with gravity alone.

 

I want the relationships of woodland

Where we live and grow and die together

With our roots and branches intertwining as we

Exchange dreams, ideas, moments of life

Like birds, bugs and squirrels moving freely

Through the verdant home of our community

I want the relationship of woodland

Where we lay down layers in leafmould

For those who come after, where we

Make beauty, shelter and fresh air

Out of ourselves. Messy, overlapping, co-existing

Soil sharing, rain bathing and sun kissed

Together in disorderly involvement, in vibrant

Leaf rich lushness, co-created, co-living.

 

He is lost in space with his Uranus jokes.

I have earthy companions with thickets full of bird song,

And I know where I stand

 

(I didn’t make up this scenario, someone I once considered a friend has written a piece describing friendship in terms of planets, and I admit to not being impressed by the idea or their Uranus joke. When things annoy me in this way I try to emulate an oyster and grow something more attractive around the initial grit.)


The people who live in your head

We all assemble ideas about the people around us. In normal circumstances, that’s a work in progress as we try to improve our insight and understanding. However, it doesn’t always go like that. I’m sure I’m not alone in finding every now and then a person whose imaginary me is so removed from anything I can recognise that it proves disturbing to deal with them.

They often feel moved to tell me what I’m ‘really like’, and what I’m really like tends to be damning. Most usually it revolves around being mean, selfish, self important and power hungry, usually with a side order of being needy, doing drama, over reacting and making no sense. I worry about who I am for people, so when this has come up, I’ve cross-referenced with others who know me. The majority of people I know are fine with me, and I tend to trust that. So, here’s a poem on the subject…

 

What the actual fuck?

 

You’ve done it now, you’ve looked at me

And so there grows inside your head

Some version of a Nimue

Based on some little thing I said.

 

A Nimue I can’t control

Who lives a life I cannot see

And does the things you thinks she does

And does not owe that much to me.

 

The Nimue inside your hear

Can bear the weight of your projection

Be the villain of your tale

Blamed for your feelings of dejection.

 

The Nimue inside your head

May crave a torrid love affair

And offer great, or ghastly things.

I do not know. I was not there.

 

Blame me for who you think I am

Rage ‘gainst what you think I do

The Nimue inside your head

Is mostly made of you.

 

But once I’ve taken residence

Uncanny things may come to pass.

Your inner me could act like me,

And kick your sorry arse.