Tag Archive | Poetry

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Maya Angelou

Apple blossom time

I love it when the apple blossom appears, especially after the long, dull winter we have just had to endure. It tells me that summer is on its way with the two-tone pink petals happy to unfurl in the warmer temperatures. It also reminds me of one of my favourite poems, Apple blossom by Louis MacNeice;

The first blossom was the best blossom
For the child who never had seen an orchard;
For the youth whom whiskey had led astray
The morning after was the first day.

The first apple was the best apple
For Adam before he heard the sentence;
When the flaming sword endorsed the Fall
The trees were his to plant for all.

The first ocean was the best ocean
For the child from streets of doubt and litter;
For the youth for whom the skies unfurled
His first love was his first world.

But the first verdict seemed the worst verdict
When Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden,
Yet when the bitter gates clanged to
The sky beyond was just as blue.

For the next ocean is the first ocean
And the last ocean is the first ocean
And, however often the sun may rise,
A new thing dawns upon our eyes.

For the last blossom is the first blossom
And the first blossom is the last blossom
And when from Eden we take our way
The morning after is the first day.

These words are particularly poignant for me when in periods of extreme low mood as I sense a great deal of hope and encouragement to live in the moment and live life until things get better-which they will.

Apple blossom

Apple blossom

National Poetry Month (US)

April is National Poetry month in the US and the great thing about the global Blogosphere is that we can all share in their celebration.

Regular readers here will already know that three years ago I went public about my depression. One of the results of that admission was a release of creativity which I had suppressed for almost 3 decades. As a child and young adolescent I was always very creative and artistic, but once depression struck, all my energies were focussed elsewhere and I had nothing left for creativity. It was buried deep and long.

My first creative release came through writing. I couldn’t stop writing. I took a notebook everywhere and wrote lots of poems mostly in Haiku format. Haiku is great for me as it combines expression with use of language and vocabulary with a structure.

One of my first efforts was to describe my take on depression.

In celebration of National Poetry month, here it is again.

BeFunky_0014

Depression-what does it feel like?

Wings clipped, feathers oiled
Aborted daily take-offs
Wading in treacle

Lacklustre. Can’t breathe.
Manic inactivity
Encroaching numbness

Confused, forgetful
Endless lists, tasks for the day
Sleep; insomnia

Dark introspection
Fatigue, every effort blanked
Fortified shutters

Rainbow long faded
Black and white and shades of grey
Monochrome living

Endless shivering
Blue ice pumps through veins
This polar cap never melts

Deflated, let down
Weighted to the ground; handcuffed
Every bubble bursts

No winner’s medals
Struggle to the starting line
Not at the races

Creativity
Dries up. Flourishes; small steps
Something from nothing

Callous self-hatred
Stricken senseless. Alien
Crushed by fate. Friendless

First hurdle faller
The conspiracy of life
Odds on a loser

Inevitable
Break down, break up, no breakthrough
Corralled, reined in, trapped

Frustration, anger
Crescendo of emotion
Threatens to burst forth

Regrets, lost chances
Tears of disappointment well
Lost soul, futile search.

That’s what it feels like to me.

BeFunky_0014

Poppies- Carl Sandburg

POPPIES

She loves blood-red poppies for a garden to walk in.
In a loose white gown she walks
and a new child tugs at cords in her body.
Her head to the west at evening when the dew is creeping,
A shudder of gladness runs in her bones and torsal fiber:
She loves blood-red poppies for a garden to walk in.

Carl Sandburg

Happy Birthday Willy Wobbledagger!

Today, the 23rd April,  is traditionally recognised as William Shakespeare’s birthday. Not many people realise however that he also died on 23 April aged just 52.

Many of Shakespeare’s characters appear to suffer from mental ill health; Hamlet, Romeo and Antonio to name but three. Depression however was not a recognised illness in those days although a diagnosis of “melancholy” was prevalent.

Some of Shakespeare’s sonnets are thought to have been written whilst in a state of  depression; Sonnet 29 amongst them.

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Sonnet 29 is the Sonnet which Richard Gere is reading  to Julia Roberts in the film “Pretty Woman” and here is Rufus Wainwright singing Sonnet 29.


Burns Night

Tonight is Burns Night, the annual celebration supper commemorating the life and works of the Scottish poet Robert Burns. So for everyone who is joining in with the festivities I hope that they go well and here is my tribute to the Scottish bard.

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only Luve
And fare thee weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.

BBC Robert Burns

Gerard Manley Hopkins

One of my favourite poets-Gerard Manley Hopkins-enjoy to Enya’s China Roses

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things –

For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.
Binsley Poplars, felled 1879

My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled,
Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun,
All felled, felled, are all felled;
Of a fresh and following folded rank
Not spared, not one
That dandled a sandalled
Shadow that swam or sank
On meadow and river and wind-wandering weed-winding bank.

O if we but knew what we do
When we delve or hew—
Hack and rack the growing green!
Since country is so tender
To touch, her being so slender,
That, like this sleek and seeing ball
But a prick will make no eye at all,
Where we, even where we mean
To mend her we end her,
When we hew or delve:
After-comers cannot guess the beauty been.
Ten or twelve, only ten or twelve
Strokes of havoc unselve
The sweet especial scene,
Rural scene, a rural scene,
Sweet especial rural scene.


Rumi

Thanks to a school friend of mine who writes her wonderful Blog, Miss Whistle, out of LA I have been reunited with the Persian poet Rumi. Like many Persians who have a natural affinity with their poets and their poetry and sit for hours reading verses to each other, my husband can recite reams of Rumi beautifully in Farsi/Persian and it’s rhythmic, lyrical cadences come alive. Whilst I don’t understand much of what he is saying, and I am not of Persian culture, I can still appreciate the craft of a wonderful poet. Here are a couple of my favourite verses;

” Everything that is made beautiful and fair and lovely
is made for the eye of one who sees”

*

Because I cannot sleep

Because I cannot sleep
I make music at night.
I am troubled by the one
whose face has the color of spring flowers.
I have neither sleep nor patience,
neither a good reputation nor disgrace.
A thousand robes of wisdom are gone.
All my good manners have moved a thousand miles away.
The heart and the mind are left angry with each other.
The stars and the moon are envious of each other.
Because of this alienation the physical universe
is getting tighter and tighter.
The moon says, “How long will I remain
suspended without a sun?”
Without Love’s jewel inside of me,
let the bazaar of my existence be destroyed stone by stone.
O Love, You who have been called by a thousand names,
You who know how to pour the wine
into the chalice of the body,
You who give culture to a thousand cultures,
You who are faceless but have a thousand faces,
O Love, You who shape the faces
of Turks, Europeans, and Zanzibaris,
give me a glass from Your bottle,
or a handful of being from Your Branch.
Remove the cork once more.
Then we’ll see a thousand chiefs prostrate themselves,
and a circle of ecstatic troubadours will play.
Then the addict will be freed of craving.
and will be resurrected,
and stand in awe till Judgement Day.


Winter on it’s way..brrrrrr

Apart from my poem  “Depression-what does it feel like“, of which I am enormously proud, I do not profess to be a poet in any way shape or form. I like writing about what I see as it helps me enjoy the moment, a good tactic and useful lesson for anyone living with depression. You can’t change what’s gone before and it’s no good worrying about what may be, so what I see directly in front of me is important to note and appreciate. So I do.

As a result, you will find a large number of my “poems” on these pages purely because I see a lot. I am often sitting on trains for hours on end, contemplating my navel and life in general and writing observational pieces prevents me from sinking into self-indulgent melancholy. 

This was the case today, driving up the motorway watching the wind ripping through the trees, leaves flying  around in aero-whirlpools and  thinking dark thoughts about the impending four months of cold, damp unpredicatble weather to come. I started to write my latest masterpiece and managed to complete just two verses before  I realised that I was in trouble. The writing was stimulating the melancholy, not eradicating it.

Skeleton trees, stripped
Leaf litter, splintered twigs lie
Bare branches exposed

Faded ambers dull
Tarnished coppers, muted greens
Countryside transformed

Instead of feeding my soul with inspired verse and hope, writing about the barren landscape and dreary weather was draining me of my energy and positive vibes. So now I am in a quandry. What do I write about  until next Spring when everything starts to look a bit brighter?

I’m not sure yet so I’m on the look out for inspiration and ideas. Watch this space!

Haiku

You may, or may not, know what a haiku is. I can’t say I had come across them until my son  had to compose a haiku for his homework some years ago. With the on-line help of Wikipedia, I soon found out how a haiku should be written, and rising to the challenge, we had some great fun composing a few verses together.

If you haven’t come across a haiku before, it is a traditional form of Japanese poetry and consists of 3 lines per verse. The first and last lines of a haiku have 5 syllables and the second, or middle line, has 7 syllables. The lines rarely rhyme. You can have as many, or as few verses as you like. Strictly speaking, haiku don’t have titles but I have taken the liberty of assigning titles to mine which gives the reader at least an idea of what’s coming. I had forgotten about haiku until I recently read a funny post on the internet.

 It read;

Haiku are great fun (5)
But they often don’t make sense (7)
Refrigerator (5)

This tickled my sense of humour and so began my re-born enthusiasm for haiku. I like haiku because it provides a structure. 5-7-5. But you then have to draw upon your grasp of meaning and depth of vocabulary to create meaningful but technically correct verse. It is a challenge but very rewarding and children often enjoy this exercise.

Have fun with haiku.