Tag Archives: poem

I will build a house – a poem

I will build a house

I will build a house at the forest’s edge

For the wild girls who loathe hunters

Live by shadow and moonlight, escape artists

Surviving at the margins if they can.

A house with generous windows, secret doors

Many rooms of respite and sanctuary

Places to sleep soundly for the girls

Who will not be tamed or trained

Who come and go at all hours by whim

As sexual or chaste as they desire

And at no man’s bidding.

I will build a house for the girls

Other stories like to kill while lamenting

Their being too good for this world

The girls whose unkempt beauty reads

As a debt to those who would tidy

Them up to screw them over and crush

The lush, untarnished splendour of their souls.

A house for girls with blood on their hands

For witches and sirens. For those who howl

At the moon, and those who root

In the earth, the ephemeral, and filthy alike

Welcome under this roof.

I will grow an orchard, a herb garden

Keep chickens and not become too fond

Of them, just in case.

I will build a house for the unrepentant

Unacceptable girls who neither kneel nor beg

Whose proud, flashing eyes are glorious wild

And I will build a house to shelter

Every woman whose spirit still holds

Some part of the wild girl who was

Punished into hiding deep inside her

And I will build a house.


What If?

What if we planted trees

Our urban spaces aren’t places for people

We get sick and sad, we go mad

Sucking in polluted air from grey streets

We need to leave the cars, make room for leaves

Turn our urban jungle from grim to green

Make it live, make it breathe, be serene.

What if we planted trees?

Scientists in studies the world over

Show us with numbers we need to hear

We’re better people with trees.

We hurt less, suffer less, do less harm

We’re calmer, kinder, cooler in the shade

No need for the air conditioning

That ironically helps us heat the planet.

Safer in the shade, cut down the cancer

Grow more trees. Forest our minds

Towards better mental health.

We need nature to feel whole and well

But what we do to ourselves

Is build hell, deny what gives us life

We make our strife, unhappiness is rife

Pouring tarmac over everything, we wonder why

Our souls are hungry

For a softer way, a gentle route through our days

Walk slowly to your job, enjoy the view

Live a few minutes distance from everything

That makes a daily life for you

Amble there sweetly, saunter beneath trees.

What if we stopped telling stories

About the gadgets we hope will save us

Rescued ourselves from our mistakes

With orchards where car parks used to be

And playground groves for children

Cities where people can live peacefully.

What if we plant more trees?

(Rob Hopkins has been asking ‘What If?’ which led me to write this. More on his website https://www.robhopkins.net/ )


White horse poem

White horse emerging

From amidst the trees

We are on the borders

Of faerie now

All is enchantment

For the space of a breath

If I could choose

I would live on this margin

In this moment

For all time.


Blackthorn Poetry

This poem came out of some recent divination undertaken on my behalf. I was told that what lay ahead would be blackthorn, and I got to thinking about what that might mean for me.

 

On the Blackthorn Path

 

I walk a blackthorn path

This is a hard way.

The longest, cruellest thorns

Keen to breed infection

When they cut your skin

Pierce your shoes, snag

Your clothes, scratch and wound.

I will bleed on this journey

It demands sacrifice.

You cannot pass through

Blackthorn hedge or spinny

Only take the path suggested

Go where it tells you.

If you would take control

If you would lay a blackthorn hedge

In the old way, it is the hardest

Wood to cut, or bend or tame.

What results is long enduring.

Walk the blackthorn path

Through the first frosts and harvest

Vibrant purple sloes, make magic

With alcohol – there are rewards

On this difficult adventure

Reasons to take so hard a way.

Survive a winter and in spring

The pale, sweet profusion, blackthorn blossom

Waits for those who will travel this far.

Heart torn, soul battered, hurting

I walk the blackthorn path.

I will turn my frost into sweetness

Find strength in my obstinacy,

Learn from the blackthorn

Make what good I can

Honour the unforgiving guardian

Until the very end of the bitter road

No matter what that means.

If you are walking this path

I may find you along the way

However hard the walking

It is easier faced together.

There lies richness in fruit and flowers

And the path with fewest thorns.


For You – a poem

For You

 

Let me tell you a story about

How good you were, even when it seemed

Your were failing and flailing and could not

See what you put into the world,

How precious and vital you are, how glad

Was I for the fact of your existence

Your beautiful, unique presence

Your glorious, irreplaceable self.

Even when you were wrong

You were so utterly worthy of love.

It was never about what you

Could do for me, never use or utility,

Only the sweet delight of your being

The joy of your perspective, your insight

The way you see the world.

And even on your down days, your dowdy days

I found you remarkable and enchanting

Watched out for you with joy

Felt your friendship as a rich blessing

In my life.

When you were ill, tired, lacklustre

I worried for you, wished to do more

That could ease your load, comfort you.

When you raged, I felt your anger

And wanted to punch through walls to fight

Whatever threatened or horrified you most.

Even though I’m no warrior, no saviour.

When I was lost, you showed me paths.

When my heart broke, you held the pieces

Kept me together when I fell apart

You shared your food with me, your tears

Stories, hopes, fears and passions.

You shared what wisdom life had taught you

Reached out hands to welcome me

Opened your heart, your life, your soul.

You were more amazing than you ever knew

Your generosity humbled me and made me bold

A smile from you enough to transform

A grim day into a hopeful one.

You are a star in my sky

And my sky is bright with starlight.


Landscape poetry

Marginal

 

Life is richest

At the margins.

Wood edge, field side

Light and shade.

Butterfly places

Flower haven

Alive with bees.

I eat wild herbs

Underripe blackberries

Spot small birds

Too fast for naming.

Happiest at the edges

Where wild lives

Cling to the unwanted

Land at the boundary.

Untamed, uncut, unfarmed

But not unloved.


Poetry with Mr Death

For several years, the Piranha Poetry nights in Stroud were a key community space for me. I wrote a lot more poetry because there were people to read it to. It was a space that felt safe and welcoming, and that was reliably inclusive. I tend to show up in community spaces and fail to figure out how to be other than awkward and peripheral. But Piranha Poetry always felt like home. I’ve really missed it.

Organiser Gary Death had one of those large birthdays this year, so back before lockdown I wrote him a poem, because I thought it would be funny to jam on the ee cummings line about Mr Death. And then I lost the poem.  By happy accident, I found the hand written first draft at the weekend.

 

Happy birthday Mr Death (belatedly)

 

And what I want to know is, how do you like your blue eyed boy, Mr Death?

ee cummings man, his very how pants of the outside of his

Many bells trousers leaps to the microphone.

In the audience, three former students of English literature

Faint at the very sight of him.

No one who has ever tried to answer that question has survived

Unscathed.

But Mr Death is ready, like he’s been waiting his whole life

For ee cummings man, poetic anti-super-hero in a war against

Capital letters, to storm his stage and enquire about blue eyed boys.

Mr Death is ready.

Turns.

Lowers his trousers.

Moons.

This is his superpower and in the glowing radiance of his posterior,

Literature’s caped crusader has nothing more to say.

One elderly member of the audience has a nosebleed.

Seven will later require counselling.

Three will be haunted by erotic dreams.

Mr Death pulls up his trousers

And invites another floor spot poet

To take their chances.

He likes his blue eyed boys like he likes his piranhas

Allegedly.


A Selkie Poem

Storing a Skin

 

Not everyone who hides a selkie skin

Has stolen the soft seal fur

To trap a lover on the land.

 

Sometimes the skin is given.

 

Protect this skin for me

This secret self I cannot be

For now, this memory of

Water loving salt and playful

Swimming diving self.

 

Keep my skin safe, hold it

So that when I can bear

To wear it again

When my heart can encompass

The sea again

 

I may put on my seal self

And return to the ocean.

 


Ingredients for a spell – a poem

One face. Apparently good enough.

 

One body – sore, awkward

Also dancing, creative

Recently re-imagined.

 

One heart, much scarring

Bloody, raw

Easily broken.

 

Hands, two, open.

 

Words. All the words

To write a new life.

 

Love. (This is not a love spell)

Love is a key ingredient.

 

Time, trust, courage.

A spell to change everything.

 

I cannot tell

If I am making this spell

Or if it has been

Cast upon me.


Reclaiming Power – a poem

Let my power be

What grace I have,

The sway of my hips

A bolder spine

Defiant chin.

Available as I choose

Open arms

Open thighs

The power to say no

Is the power to say yes

With all my heart.

 

I claim the power to trust

That I will be honoured

My power not misread

As power over or excuse

No patriarchal Goddess

Of Justification, no deity

Of rape culture made to bear

The shame and guilt

Of violent transgression

I refuse this story, this history.

 

My power is in the gifting

Power to share and express

When that essential energy

Meets your generous power

When we are mighty together

For each other

None diminished.

 

Enchant me, seduce me, delight me.

You have no power over me

Except as I freely submit.

Gasp for me, yearn for me

Fall at my feet if you

Would give such power to me

And see your own strength

In the beauty of all

You give away.

 

Let my power flow in my hips

Open arms, open thighs

The willing, triumphant surrender

When it is safe to choose

Powerlessness

Safe to choose

Power.