Monday, 24 February 2020

No sense of farewell - reflections on the the launch of Sweet Nothings

The manager called to ask, "How many chairs shall we put out, and how would you like them placed?"
The waiter said, "We have created and printed a special menu for you."
Later I saw that he had pinned one onto a board and framed it in his own hand with coki hearts and curlicues.
Guests arrived, including some who had travelled far that day, and the reading began. The rain that had threatened to fall, restrained itself. No thunder disturbed the quiet event.
The gardener, whom I had invited, came on foot.
"I want to walk," he had said, when we'd passed by car and offered him a lift.
He sat all by himself: solitary and composed. When he had finished his meal, he rose and came over to thank me, before leaving.
The others ate and talked together. The owner of the establishment bought one book for himself and one to donate to the library. He asked me to inscribe it: To the people of Hogsback.

Back home, a poem appeared:

After the launch

We sit in the courtyard,
wind hisses through 
the oak trees' leaves,

our voices lift and  fall,
soft and full,
mingling for an evening

I also received a few kind messages, from dear friends, after the event:

"Beautiful evening ...
You sat in your chair like a queen:
Reigning over words
So serene."

"A lovely evening well-spent indeed. Thank you for the gift of the evening, and for the gift of your poetry."

"It was indeed an evening well spent! You managed the evening with style and warmth that we all could take into our beings forever with no sense of farewell."

Indeed. My heart carries all this wherever I go.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Articulating chaos

There are times when the chaos is overwhelming, the tasks too physically demanding, the tangles of relationships too complicated, the past too heavy.

At such times, your hands may not dance over the keyboard. They are diverted from the pen. The notebook, the journal, social media pages, your blogsite - all venues for reflection are pushed aside by the crisis. You are in emergency mode.

Moving house is always a crisis. Moving from the house of your late husband, who lived in it for thirty years, is unspeakable. Truths reside here, which hurt beyond words. You carry them as you must.

You are in a state of permanent shock. Day after day your hands sort, toss, choose, wrap, pack, tape, label, stack.

You are not alone. You have been sent a Beloved, whose kind words and jokes, whose strong arms and able hands you depend on utterly.
You are grateful.
You rise in the night to make order on the page, but your poems are a jumble.
You forgive yourself, are patient.

You pray for the boomslang in the creeper on the chimney. May his life be spared when the pest eradicators come to gas the borer beetles.
Your heart is slow and vulnerable as a slug.


Tuesday, 4 February 2020

The most beautiful expenditure

The word 'expenditure' is usually associated with cost, and thus with loss. But there are losses, which lighten the load I am to myself. The most worthwhile payment you can make in life is that of paying attention. The advantaged child is not the one with better shoes or wealthier parents, but the one who watches and listens closely in class. His exam preparations are minimal compared to the distracted others.

We are seven-tenths water and when we open our consciousness to allow inflow of information, intelligence, wisdom, perception, then that water organises an organic library, in our cells, of sensory experience, which we usually call memory. The attentive person allows themselves to be elementally altered by what is given them by the environment. I lose myself into the things I pay attention to, and so I become a kind of foreign exchange teller, a currency converter, if you like - whereby the words the most beautiful expenditure etch themselves (who knows from where?) into my thought to wake me, and I attend to this foreign thought, permit it to move my body to get up with the dawn, to take a photograph of the tree and mountain silhouette and pale morning star, and then my pen, so you, in turn, may have this, to give your time to, read and ponder.