Time for December Keep Poems Alive. Let’s have something non seasonal — we don’t always have to be relevant if relevant means frozen, sad and disillusioned by the world out there. Reading can be “escapist” in a good sense, it can be refreshing and warming. So we start with a poem by Fred Beake, on an unusual subject: he is saying goodbye to a car. This will take our mind off those December cares for certain.
But still we think about others. Tony Lewis Jones is warm too as he sets out in the milieu of his poem Christmas Cheer, based on the cold outdoor days of December, and the people he might find in the churches and streets, and how he feels about sharing his fortunes.
Next, a very unusual poem by Vivien Jones, to widen the subject matter of this month’s batch. This poem works by saying things we’re all aware of but hardly anyone ever says. The courage to look hard at the obvious. I find the title obscure but fascinating: it had me looking up Visions of Cody but I’m not quite there yet. Sometimes following a poem takes time.
A little self indulgence may be considered appropriate at this time of year. Nikolas Evanz was my uncle. He ws primarily a painter and the picture of a narrow boat on a canal was recently found in a Gloucestershire antique shop, by someone who managed to get in touch with me via his booklet of poems which I published. As you see, Thirty One Socks is a mild complaint against others in the family who found it hard or alien to accept him as an artist.
We finish with Yuan Hongri’s transcendentalist Chinese poem of whatever is inspiring out there beyond the leaves, flowers and trees.
To send poems for Keep Poems Alive International please email them to Sally Evans 35 at gmail dot com, stating where previously published . You need to hold the copyright.
For A546 HAD, commonly known as HAD
Well HAD I remember getting you from Avalon Garage
With Mr Smith’s usually reliable assurance
That you were a good car, whereupon your handbrake disintegrated
Which might have put off someone who was in a position to choose,
But I ground my teeth and persevered with you
— Rather like with a woman I could not quite give up on.
And that Christmas (or maybe the one after) my son and I
Were belting up to Yorkshire
And you spilled your oil in the middle of the M1,
And we were told it was a miracle you had not seized up,
But you went on with indifference.
And that summer my brother was forty
The garage left your oil cap off
And again you spilled your lubrication.
And then there were the trees at the eccentric Mrs King’s
Which covered your white with green strange mould.
Somehow I left it, feeling it became you.
Yet with all your vagaries of mood
You’ve been a good car to me, HAD.
All those trips to Wales, climbing the passes
On 900 c.c.’s, all those visits
To Devon to meet with Nicholas or William.
All that traipsing around back streets of this town for work.
I’ll do my best to sell you to someone with a sense of humour.
They will need it, but with luck
They will come to love you
And keep you a little longer from the scrap heap.
But with your looks increasingly I wonder if anyone will want you
And perhaps to end it now would be kindest.
First published Poetry Scotland 13, 2002
to pray and light candles –
After Kerouac’s Visions of Cody
there’s no one with me here tonight.
My sons making money in cities,
graqndchildren intent on growing,
siblings being grandparents —
any one of us might just stop living.
If it was me, my husband
would just come
looking for supper or talk,
with shavings on his clothes,
he would touch my cooling body,
want to ask me what happened,
re-calculate the rest of the day.
fallen over his work-bench.
I’d be mad that he waslate for supper,
march down there practising rage.
Then I would rage — how could he
better demonstrate our togetherness
than by deserting it?
it’s been there since the start,
the black side of love is fear of loss,
and one of you is going to get it.
Every Christmas I get from
Pairs of course
he raised his hands
They all know I paint
Why can’t they give me
Published in The Open Air Exhibiton, 2002
Chinese Poet Yuan Hongri
Translated by Manu Mangattu
Bright Star – Sweet Song
I do know that heaven is in my frame, in my front
Yet I still covet the covert far-off kingdom of aliens
Longing forever to hear the soulful song of the stone.
My footsteps, when I tread on the earth
Shall accompany the throb of the years
Every leaf is a word
Every flower is a poem
Every big tree has an old soul
And all could hear the sweet song of the stars.