Day 05 – the moon (& too much travel)

05b BluMoon cropped

Another one of those last minute ring-ins (it is one of the blessings of NaPoWriMo — firing up the creative cogs after something of a lull).

After pottering round with two others pomes for varying parts of the day, this one roared at me about 45 minutes to midnight. There are other myths/folklores I would have like to have worked in but I stopped tweaking at midnight.

NOTE: the formatting may be a bit out of whack: Wordpress doesn’t cope too well with unusually spaced lines. That said, it is meant to be staggered, messy, abstract.

*****

the many things we see in the moon

over millennia in the long night darkness
human eyes, seeking patterns, discover them:

a weaving woman;
                                 clusters of laurel trees;
an elephant jumping off a cliff;
                                                        a girl
with a basket on her back;
                                               many rabbits:
one working a mortar & pestle;
                                                   two fiery,
      one self-sacrificing,
                            & one thrown into a sun;
          yet one more carried by a crane;
innumerable frogs & toads:
                                             an immortal
goddess hiding
                         in the likeness of a toad,
another hiding
                         from a wolf,
                                             a marriage
broker for a Sky Maiden …

but of course it’s none of these
— it’s the Man in the Moon
sometimes carrying a bundle of wood
sometimes just his face (though many
Pacific Islander peoples see a woman)

the real mystery is comprehending how
others could see such bizarre things
when our interpretation is clearly correct

 


 

BONUS POEM: April 5, 2018

Mine haven’t arrived yet, but I’m sure we won’t be like this. Probably needs a good edit which I don’t have time for (sorry for long pome, I didn’t have time to write a short one 😁 NOTE: this incarnation, edited)

*****

Pax Familia

visiting endless iterations
of the long dead past
taxes the best of us
today I touristed more
   tears, tantrums & hissy fits
   pleas to be carried
   how much longer whines
   and demands to go home
than
   statues
   artwork
   or archaeological knick-knacks

despite non fluency in your tongue
I get you are
tense annoyed fully aggro
or just plain over it

such is the beauty
of traveling solo
no one to blame
for arriving late
getting lost
taking too long to decide

no, I never do those things
have never done  anything  so foolish

05 Crowds

Day 26 – poem about not asking your mother for ideas

Cat Nap Over a Starry Night CROP

Late at night, and no poem written, I foolhardily ask my mother for a noun, verb & adjective. The resulting cat, spinning & fluffy do little to inspire. Immediately I regretted asking. My first off-the-cuff effort took only 10 seconds.

     the fluffy cat
     did not sit
     on the mat
     instead spent
     her time
     spinning

After 45 minutes of trying other things, I had nothing so quickly whipped up… It could get better next draft. (Couldn’t it?)

fluffy spinning cat

i knew the cat was not
from the same universe
as me almost as soon
as she showed up
on my mat

now i’m not normally
a cat fan but this one
was so fluffy i nearly
forgave it its
felinity

which is, of course,
the very worst thing
you can do to any cat
intergalactic
or not

she slowly smiled until
she disappeared
teeth last, popped back
climbed with all claws
up my thigh

dematerialised with a ping
returned sitting on
the window sill, squeaked
in a high pitched voice
& sent me to asleep

as i start to drift off
the stars start spinning
she pulls out a red balloon
& floats away up
into the sky

& curls up for a catnap
in the crescent moon

 

Day 21 – poem about the dark

milky_way_panorama_by_bobby01-d48thle

Visits to my parents’ farm during New Moons have always been mystical. I like walking over land I cannot quite see. Beautiful blackness in all directions. Only the frail light of starlight millions of years old to guide my way (hell, that’s good, why isn’t that in the pome? haha).

I’m not satisfied with the last lines, but as I only started this an hour or so ago, I’m running out of time & will just have to let it stay as is for now.

source

i believe very little
but i truly believe
every human soul
should experience
true country dark
every 100 days, minimum

somewhere far from
a light polluted city
when the moon is in
recovery mode, & the earth
reflects back the black
birth of the universe

only alone in the vast absence
& endlessly reverberating silence
we find how much dark matters

Day 11 – poem about, er, art

5 Pieces of Moon

Um, yeah. Well. It’s getting ridiculous now.

I’ve been playing round with a couple of pieces again today, & I just kept coming back to a phrase a friend messaged me after reading Saturday’s poem which was, er, about the moon. She said, “I really want to frame this.” Being the sort of person who takes praise well, I replied: “what the poem or the moon, uh-hahahaha?” “Both.”*

& so, this.

the woman who wanted to frame the moon

not content
with mere admiration
through dark glass

no more
muted suffocations

in a shared over
crowded atmosphere

she wanted it
all for her own

something only
she could see

recompense for a life
too long lived
in shadow

 

 

 

[legal disclaimer**: the only connection between my friend & the woman in this poem
is the jumping off point described above.
To my knowledge she does not desire lunar-ownership of any kind.
The 
rest, as they say, is licensed.]

**[legal disclaimer disclaimer: my friend is a lawyer so this only seems prudent]

Day 08 – poem about gifts

Blue_Moon_CROP

Arrrggghhh! Can’t seem to shake this subject. Despite several poems worked on today, the two I was considering for today’s post somehow didn’t seem to stack up, so had to go for this fallback. New subject matter tomorrow, I promise (I hope).

the gifts of the luni

every night the moon leaves me gifts
like a cat depositing nightkill on my mat

this week on the wall by the back door
a rectangular jewel box, waiting to be buried

above the kitchen blind, a sliver of laser light
as i stumble out for an insomniacal glass

repainting the window in my bedroom
into a mirror which reflects undreamt dreams

on the drive home it rezones the countryside
into a dimension far beyond the fourth

even its gilding of the boxangular city
until it is almost beautiful enough

to star in its own fairy tale

Day 07 – poem about bicycles

Penny-farthing bicycle on a distant moon CROP

Some of my favourite poems come out of the dreams I have. Coincidentally they’re often among the easiest to write, even if I’m not always sure what they mean (the dreams I mean; I always know what my poems are about, huh-ha… ha).

night bike ride

you ride your penny farthing
along the lush lip of the moon
while I potter along beneath

pushing the chunky wheels
of my trike round hard as I can
without getting anywhere

soon you’ll be soaring along
the roadway of milky stars
& i’ll be watching you fade

Day 05 – poem about shadows

talking_to_the_moon_by_gilad CROP

This strange little poem grew out of the first three words which just popped into my head. The rest flowed out afterwards without much effort. Gotta have at least one poem about the moon or else it isn’t a real NaPoWriMo. Hope I haven’t done my dash by tossing it in so early in the month.

the moon & me

the moon
smothers

in violent light
holds head under

satin stain
on the wall

awkwardly cast
shadowself

always clawing
through to the other

(dark)
side of me

Day 20 – All the Games, All at Once

Today was Day 3 of my Poet’s Residence (yep, already 3/4 of the way through it) & it was a wonderful day. When I arrived there was already someone waiting to start (Christine), and within a minute Kim arrived (I had spoken to him last week & he came back to participate this week). Within an hour, both had written quite lovely poems. Kim said he will post his on his blog. I hope he does & if so, I will link to it.

Neither Christine or Kim could stay for the whole session, but overall I had five people in today, including my friend & fellow poet Sarah Radford, who whipped off a wonderful poem based on the Last Line (Gone) of one of the books Kim chose (“bleed like me” was the line.) Kim also wrote a great poem using that prompt. My “bleed like me” poem, however, needs further work before I’ll share it.

The day ended with another new arrival, Rohan – who created in under an hour, a very sparse, elegant landscape poem which he also promised to put on his blog.

I also wrote a poem I was extreeeeeeeeeemmmmllllllllllllllllllllllyyyyyyyyy pleased with (tentatively called lift, the title’s the main thing that needs tweaking). I’m not sharing that one day here, but will read it next week during the performance phase of my final day.

But here’s the one I will share. It was made by combining the games Judging a Book By Its Cover, Last Line (Gone) & even, First Line to End It.

game of thorns

to live a life — where you are happy — more often — than you are not — where the jagged thorns — don’t puncture skin — too often — where your world is framed — by bramble — hidden away — in a castle — long ago abandoned — by disney — where the darkness — reflects — where stars salt the sky — where the cold — is sharper than sleep — where the zig zag path — always leads — to the crescent moon — & where — ‘once upon a time’ — actually meant something

thorn closeup CROP

Games played with the cover, first line & last line of Spinning Thorns by Anna Sheehan (reworking of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale). Last line: “And that really is all anyone can hope for” & first line: “once upon a time”.

Day 12 – The Art of the Tale

I have been reading a few  fairy tales most recently Scandinavian ones from East of the Sun and West of the Moon: Old Tales from the North (1914). This edition is gloriously illustrated by Kay Nielsen.

Today’s poem is breaking more than one of my self-imposed ‘rules’ – 1) it is not a cover image & 2) more than one illustration has inspired it. But given the rules are mine, I figure I can change em as I see fit.

fairy tale

she is the girl who understands
what the birds say when they sing
& if she has bad dreams, pretty birds
snatch them from her & fly away

she is the girl who can move
the moon with her eyes alone
& if her soul feels empty
stars come in close to comfort

she is the girl who dances with fairies
under leaves of endless autumn
& if her true love ever breaks her heart
they will torment him till his grave

she is the girl i loved & lost
once upon a time, long long ago

mooneyes

NOTE: image is a detail of she could not help setting the door a little ajar, just to peep in, when — Pop! out flew the Moon (pg 67) from East of the Sun and West of the Moon illustrated by Kay Nielsen (1914)

Day 2 – the first thing crossed off the list

On Day 1’s entry, I mentioned how organised I am this year. I have files, lists, titles etc. The title for today’s poem (along with the whole ‘vibe of the thing’) has been floating round nagging me to do something about it for probably two years.

Today − boom! − it got dealt with …

*****

7 ways of saying the same thing

the ocean dissolves every piece of salt thrown into it
the moon washes all things the same way
a stone can outlast the silence
all clouds are cousins
my heart pumps the blood that shoots my eyes
get lost enough & eventually you’ll find your way home
i keep folding colours into each other until they become white

in the centre of all emptiness, there is always you

*****

salt moon