on heat and light…

Goodness, its National Poetry day again. This means I had the rather pleasant to-do list today of:

Meet Kimathy

Harvest chard

Make something out of chard

Write poem.

Actually, I don’t think you are supposed to write a poem on National Poetry day, you are just supposed to share your favourite poem. My favourite poem is Wild Geese by Mary Oliver; a poem which means something different to me at different stages of my life, but always means something.

When I think about poems I always think about my amazing English teacher from school, Kate Symons; a woman who played an enormous part in my relationship with my own writing. As a teenager I used to write poems at the back of an old exercise book and hand them to her on the way out of lessons. These were largely confessions and explanations, ways of speaking things that were quite often unspeakable. I don’t think much has changed since then, apart from the fact that prose rather than poetry is my poison, and blogs have replaced jotters.

The theme of poetry day this year is light. When I thought about it for some reason I thought of all the times I have kneeled in penance and prayed for people I don’t particularly want to pray for, or the times when don’t really have the courage to pray at all, and all I can muster is something between a thought and a wish, a focus on some peculiar light, to bathe in or bathe someone else in. And this made me think of a sublime occasion on my crap balcony in Siberia, where I stole a moment to sunbathe in just my bra and pants in 30 degree heat, after a winter where I had known -28.

here is what I came up with:

there is a moment I remember 
 a narrow balcony after a long Siberian winter
 not much broader than my shoulders I lay
 down on the ground, and wondered
 would anybody see?
 nobody would see...
 never before or since but the feel of the heat on my skin
 after seven months of snow
 is a moment I remember

 that balcony and those days before life lined my body
 bound me, tied me to itself
 with marks and scars, each line across each other, 
 like the sand after tides my husband says, romantically, 
 as each wave washes me closer 
 and whispers that I am more yours

 life will write itself upon you as seasons change
 not so back then, that summer after that winter
 freedom, no words upon my skin nor ties around my heart
 what do I miss?
 The heat upon my back and skin
 of not just sun, but eyes or touch.
 Yes, but all of it I gladly trade
 a life bound is more free to not just love the heat but feel that light

 that light, even behind closed eyes
 and perhaps more so then than ever
 which sometimes we can only hold
 or hold another unto
 or which simply says
 hold on.
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