Friday’s Commute

The passing glare of headlights

Is interrupted, through the side

Window flames lick the horizon

Like dragon’s breath has set alight

That perfect point where land meets sky

And it is beauty, breath-taking,

Enough to make you want to stop

And pay attention. A new day is dawning.

You should celebrate, do something

Significant, mark the moment,

But you have work to go to, so you drive

On, reluctant, take one last glance

In the rear-view mirror as the sky

Explodes in crimson colour, hues

Which seem to scream murder

As you round another corner

And flee the scene.

~The H Word~

Fear Not My Darling

We wait together, you and I

as night falls, light dies, extinguished

day’s death never grieves us

illuminated in moon’s torchlight

we navigate night’s crippling darkness

find shelter in its blank canvas

and feast on fear, you and I

swallow bitter disappointment until

satisfied enough to try again.

~The H Word~

Slipping Through the Cracks

How much more can we possibly take?
Before this life we have built will come
tumbling down. Our homes made with love,
gentle hands, how can they withstand
all that’s expected of us? Our collective
stress evident on every street, in the faces
of strangers and those that we love. The
crumbling has already begun. Dust clouds
around our feet as we trudge through the rubble
of collapsing society. Trying to pretend everything
is okay. When nothing is okay or ever will be again
any time soon, or so it feels. Yet, we hope.
For hope is all we have, that kindness and
compassion will win through in the end.
I hope for you now. For me, for all of us
existing day by day, week by week, wondering
How much worse can things possibly get?
Knowing only too well what the answer could be
and gripped by fear of what comes next.

~The H Word~

Attention!

The gatekeepers are working overtime,
again. They’ve polished their swords
with blood, sweat and tears collected
from those they deem less than themselves.
They’ve upgraded the locks, see how
they capture the light. Let them stand
for attention, guard all they can.
No-one wants to gain entry
to a poisoned domain.

~The H Word~

Where You’ll Find Me

Used to being on the outside
looking in   observing all who
seem to fit with no difficulty
how I wish it were me   just
once   to feel like I belonged
not bystander or onlooker or
never truly part of it   maybe
my time will come or maybe
it won’t   so for now you will
find me on the edge   waiting
patiently for a sign it is okay
to come inside and join you.  

~The H Word~

Tomorrow is always another day (with audio)

Each morning arrives like clockwork
lightened with love the sky opens up
offers new hope like candy   take a handful
stuff pockets with endless possibility
it’s no-one’s fault we tend to waste it
fail to embrace its blankness   insist
on carrying forward yesterday’s garbage
such a waste of a new beginning
maybe tomorrow will be different
maybe tomorrow we’ll take that sweet
potential and decorate our day with fresh
perspective   hope that others do the same
welcome this gift we are given each morning
regardless of whether or not we feel
we deserve it.

~The H Word~

Poems from ‘The Water Engine’ by Ankh Spice

I have been impatiently waiting to share poems from The Water Engine (2021), Ankh Spice’s debut collection published by Femme Salve Books, but I was struggling to pick only one or two and kept changing my mind about which ones to share. This is one of those collections that immediately takes up residency in your chest, it snuggles beside your heart and let’s you know it is always there for you whenever you might need it. And the poet is pretty darn special too. I first encountered Ankh’s poetry on Twitter and was, for want of a better phrase, blown away. His ability to capture a single moment alongside the entirety of the universe and everything in-between is outstanding. He gets to the heart of what it means to be human; how we treat one another, and this wondrous earth we call home. How our relationship with both can be flawed and joyous and more often than not breathtakingly beautiful. I highly recommend purchasing a copy of this collection for yourselves, you will not be disappointed, and you can purchase a copy via the publishers website by following this link – Femme Salve Books.

Ankh is a poet from Aotearoa New Zealand and is obsessed with the sea and believes our natural environment along with those old stories we don’t even know we know, mingle in magical ways to shape the human beings we become, and that sometimes we’re allowed to notice it happening. His poetry has been widely published with nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. He is also co-editor at IceFloe Press and a poetry contributing editor at Barren Magazine (Spice n.d.). Ankh is also one of the most genuine, humble and kindest people you will ever meet and whilst I have not even met him, or know him personally, I had the privilege of attending the launch of The Water Engine and it is one of those experiences that will stay with me forever. Alongside the other poets and writers in attendance, the love and respect and care for one another radiated from the screen despite us all being scattered around the globe. I am delighted to be able to share a couple of his poems tonight for those who have not come across his work before. I hope you enjoy!


‘No (thing is) right’ by Ankh Spice

Who told this calm day
it had any right
to reel delicate and radiant
when I am dissolving hard

Who said
that when a person falls
to pieces, there must be noise –
screaming, sharp edges

The only sounds here are distant:
the quiet, ordinary tide
and a long, soft keening –
the wounded ape in me
calling, calling


‘I mean how do we balance at all’ by Ankh Spice

At centre you carry the weight / I don’t mean
a heart but yes chambers liquid
with iron / I don’t mean blood I mean
restless and betrayed only by being
magnetic / your core invisible
to something on the surface
otherwise / I mean a heart is a constant kind
of collision / I mean momentum
dizzies us / sure as a slow leak
in the moon. I mean we tide.
I mean our being off-
balance has flow-
on effects. I don’t mean
to be dense / I mean if your heart
was different this whole life thing
would collapse. I mean fragile.
I mean, it is.


References:

Spice, A. (2021) ‘No (thing is) right’ & ‘I mean how do we balance it all’ from The Water Engine. Vermont: Femme Salve Books, 49 & 55

Spice, A. (n.d.) Ankh Spice – SeaGoatScreams Poetry: About [online]. Available from https://www.ankhspice-seagoatscreamspoetry.com/contact [22 April 2022]

‘The Summer Day’ by Mary Oliver

Happy Friday Folks! I hope you’re all having a fab evening whatever you’re doing. I’m going to do a wee extra bit of posting tonight as I’ll not be updating over the weekend due to assessment deadlines and my brain already protesting that it is being overworked and underpaid.

The first poem I am sharing tonight is by the wonderful Mary Oliver. I could not celebrate National Poetry Month without paying homage to a poet whose work always leaves me thinking far deeper than I was before. The hardest part is choosing just one to share! Her poetry is timeless and I hope that one day my daughter will rifle through the pages of the collections I own and find her own favourites that speak to her and bring her comfort and pause for thought.

I hope you enjoy the poem I have chosen to share for you all.


‘The Summer Day’ by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with you one wild and precious life?


References:

Oliver, M. (1992) ‘The Summer Day’ from New and Selected Poems: Volume One. Boston: Beacon Press, 94

Cellular Malfunction (with audio)

My grey matter is like chewing gum
that’s lost its flavour. Useless.
I want to pluck it out and stick it
to the underside of my desk
in defiance. Not that I ever
did that, you understand,
that’s disgusting behaviour
(don’t think badly of me,
I do enough of that). This brain
that is no brain is driving me
crazy. It won’t work like it’s
supposed to. It won’t think
like I need it to. Maybe that’s
the problem. I’m expecting
too much from this tired brain
of mine. I’ve never been an over-achiever,
a Brainiac, a high-flyer, what right
do I have expecting it to perform
for me now? Performance.
That’s what this is. I’m playing
a part that was never mine
to have. A fraudster. That’s
what I am. Pretending to be
something I’m not. Just give up.
Oh, so now you have something
to say? Pipe down brain.
Not today.

~The H Word~

#NaPoWriMo

Soon, These Too Will Be Gone

I wish I’d listened when they told me
memories fade, even the good ones.
When young it seems impossible
you could ever forget things like
how my gran’s skin felt, feather-soft,
to touch seemed like nothing at all.
Nivea-scented, only beauty product
she’d ever use. Or, my papa’s shaving
brush on the bathroom shelf beside
the bottle of Old Spice. Playing
bingo with cards for two-pence pieces,
doing handstands in the living room,
Gran shouting, Sam! Watch your heart!
I wish I’d done more to protect them.
Precious moments. So much already
lost and soon, these too will be gone.

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