For reasons not relevant here, I have been reading the sonnets of Shakespeare.
Of course, someone who claims an interest in poetry probably shouldn’t need a particular reason to read poetry, but I’m afraid I do find “the sonnets” uphill work – not all sonnets, but Shakespeare’s in particular. Continue reading “six sonnets”
Among the papers I was sorting last week, there were poems and fragments of poetry I had lost sight of. There were also titles.
Sometimes, like Wendy Cope and her Making Cocoa for Kinglsey Amis, you know that a phrase deserves to be recorded. You don’t know if it will be a line in a poem or a title, but it strikes a chord of some sort. I walked around with the phrase “the inevitability of dragons” in my head for years before I found the poem it belonged in and I still hope to use it as the title for a collection one day.
One of the phrases I (re-)found last week was “On the topology of pockets.” I’m sure it’s the title of a poem, but that poem remains unwritten. When I tried, it morphed into something else entirely. Continue reading “pockets & bonnets”
My past has caught me up: this afternoon
I checked my e-mail, as I always do,
and found a message from an old flame who
I hadn’t seen since school. Out of the blue
a bolt that sends me tumbling through the years
to adolescent angst and teenage tears,
to poems scrawled in chalk while classmates jeer
and playground fights that fade when Sir appears.
I was his One True Love, there’d be no other.
At sixteen I was far too young: I fled.
But now he’s tracked me down; who needs the men
from Pinkerton’s when Google is your friend?
(Though Google’s failed me time and time again
in my attempts to trace his younger brother.)
Yesterday‘s narrator had all she wished for, which might be why the poem was so short. Today’s narrator doesn’t, though she seems to have realised that wishing on a star won’t help:
The night I met you fire flared in the skies
and seams of gold were visible across
the coalmine dark. Nature had purged the dross
of normal life, it seemed. We raised our eyes
to watch with joy as stars fell round about:
each one a dream of summer love, a wish,
each an unspoken promise, each a kiss
that fanned desire and silenced truth and doubt.
And so we boldly told each other lies,
pretending to believe they could come true;
we watched those stars like lovers, though we knew
that we could not escape existing ties.
At heart, we knew the stars are fixed, not free,
set in their courses, much like you and me.