Three poems today, and two more on the 29th February because that is such a rare date. Then there will be a few on the following Monday 8th March, after StAnza Poetry Festival. These should keep you going.
Carolyn O’Connell describes Toby Glanville’s photograph in great detail (the photograph is available on Creative Commons) while Janice Fitzpatrick Simmons experiences the interruption of a teaching session on a poem by Roethke by an emperor moth in the garden. Great stuff.
Then a change of mood with the late Maurice Lindsay’s thoughts as an elderly poet on the world’s recurring problems, which seem to be even more pressing today than in 2008 when he wrote this poem.
And if that isnt enough for one reading, the Chinese spring and the rest of last week’s poems are still there in the February posts.
from Plasterer’s Mate 1992 by Toby Glanville (Ladbrooke Grove)
You stare at me, impatient to be away
as the five o’clock light dapples your
marbled nakedness. Your eyes are already
elsewhere, every nerve striving escape.
the pan you fried eggs in lies empty,
the last of yesterday’s papers sculpted by
plaster wiping’s wait the black plastic bag.
Now our history-moled basement walls
are hung with new ochre skins
made from your unblemished plaster
drying in the trapped heat.
Published Envoi 140 2005
also in Timeless, Indigo Dreams Press
Janice Fitzpatrick Simmons
The Word Made Flesh
I was teaching the Roethke poem
where the glass house is a boat enduring the storm
when the moth landed. I should have stopped talking
and pointed the moth out, but couldn’t.
The moth was an angel of the afternoon
stopped for a moment between the cherry
and the climbing rose. An emperor moth the size
of my hand
rested on the white wall of the cottage back garden.
A great arch of sunlight caught the moth’s wings.
The eyes of the wings were flowing deep blue
almost indigo, swirls of white made an illusion
the spinning earth then;
in miniature on the wings of a moth whose body
the colour of sunset and of the night sky
is doomed as we to brief life – caught in the light
of an afternoon
to be a sign for seasons, for day and years.
(From The Bowspirit, Lagan Press: 2005)
George Square, Glasgow
Watching the hunger marchers fill George Square
God, what a hash my father’s generation
has made of things, my callow indignation
would flash and, stiff with idealism, swear
we’d make a better showing: all share
the goodies; each to fit his occupation;
fulfilment reached, the rounded restoration.
Somehow we’d organise peace out of the air!
Fifty years later, hearing shouts and screams
protesting their inheritance – cold and gone
my idealism – violence the themes
despair provides to variate upon,
for your, my father’s, ghost beyond extremes,
and for myself I mutter, Pardon, pardon!
First published in Poetry Scotland 2008. Maurice Lindsay, 1918 – 2009.
The marchers in George Sqaure, Glasgow were assembling to march to London, in the same era as the Jarrow march.