Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

 

july-a-082

 

At last I have a bit of free time so my poor neglected blog is being updated.

The most exciting thing that has happened lately is that my poetry is going in the University of Lincoln Archive.

I recorded some of my work on Thursday 3rd of March after Claire Arrand  took me, the poet Paul Sutherland, and Mark, the engaging sound recordist, on an engrossing tour of the https://lincolncathedral.com/education-learning/the-library/ . I even saw some medieval graffiti, and Margaret Thatcher’s Latin/English dictionary. The illuminated manuscripts are incredible. The library is a warren and Claire has got a monumental job!

I am trying to get all my published poetry from 1982 to the present in a Word document so that it will be available on-line as part of the archive but I’ve found that scanning in with an optical reader gets the text but not the formatting – I keep putting it off because it is so time-consuming. It is almost finished but I slink off and do other things instead.. mainly painting.. but I think one or two more sessions will see it done. It is a strange experience to go back in time through my poetry to when I was a young mother with 3 children desperately trying to find the time to write; it is a diary really. Lately the poetry is dealing with illness and dementia instead.

My poem The Scarecrow Christ is being featured this month http://www.secondlightlive.co.uk/ It’s timely with Easter almost here. Is it a religious poem? I am outside the sweet shop looking in and wondering, but I don’t open the door.

The Scarecrow Christ

The fields are flat and brown, it’s hard to think
they’ll ever stand high with corn, flare with rape
again this summer. For now the scarecrows lurch
at crazy angles. They trail old coats and rags.
Polythene bags flap around the suggestions of
their shoulders. And yet the wind lifts
their shoddy clothes and they are touched with
magic; they always seem about to fly.

It’s Sunday and I’ve taken you to Chapel.
Everything is grey and earnest. There’s no
incense here, though  a sense of well-meaning
sifts gently through the air. I don’t think I belong.
It’s Lent and the sermon is all about temptation.
I feel I would not pass those tests. Now I see
distraction in the corner of my eyes; a painting.
When I can, I take a picture on my phone.

It shows me strips of cloth, snarled around
an empty cross, a tenuous fabric
lifting in air currents, tangled with light.
Something. Nothing. Faith, elusive as a sigh.
A scarecrow pinned to a stick.
Leaning forwards, with the wind stirring its tatters.
And always on the point of alteration,
by some sudden unexpected angle of the sun.

btg

The poem was in behind the glass,  the pamphlet I had to create as part of my MA in Creative Writing at Lincoln 2012/13.  Such a good year!  It motivated me to write again and right now I have so many poems in progress. They are kind of germinating so I am leaving them alone! Finally I’ve been short listed for some competitions and the poems will be in anthologies  so that’s also  good news.

Now I have such good intentions for keeping this up to date…

This grew out of struggling into the local Methodist Chapel with my less than able mother.

I felt very much an outsider, a watcher, and yet I would have loved a numinous moment.

I am not a believer or a disbeliever, I am just moving on through life with a vague Pascallian* (there is probably no such word)  sense that I have nothing to lose by hoping that there is more than this. So, religious thoughts, doubts are always hovering on the edge of sight and seem to creep into my poetry almost without my noticing.

The Scarecrow Christ

 

The fields are flat and brown, it’s hard to think
they’ll ever stand high with corn, flare with rape
again this summer. For now the scarecrows lurch
at crazy angles. They trail old coats and rags.
Polythene bags flap around the suggestions of
their shoulders. And yet the wind lifts
their shoddy clothes and they are touched with
magic; they always seem about to fly.

It’s Sunday and I’ve taken you to Chapel.
Everything is grey and earnest. There’s no
incense here, though  a sense of well-meaning
sifts gently through the air. I don’t think I belong.
It’s Lent and the sermon is all about temptation.
I feel I would not pass those tests. Now I see
distraction in the corner of my eyes; a painting.
When I can, I take a picture on my phone.

It shows me strips of cloth, snarled around
an empty cross, a tenuous fabric
lifting in air currents, tangled with light.
Something. Nothing. Faith, elusive as a sigh.
A scarecrow pinned to a stick.
Leaning forwards, with the wind stirring its tatters.
And always on the point of alteration,
by some sudden unexpected angle of the sun.

Taken from my pamphlet, behind the glass

“Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that He exists.” Pascal

 

This is like one of those places you visit

and you know you have been before.

It isn’t déjà vu –  some  Schrödinger’s

memory. This is real.

 

It’s the door you open when you have to

meet your dead. I am holding it shut

for I do not want to go

inside.

There’s quite a mix in there. Don’t look.

 

This should write itself for I have words.

The page should fill itself with a jumble

of protest. Or a jungle even. I have

words.

 

Such a strange time. Waiting. Both in

And out of time. Pre op. They have words

To cosy us. I have spoken of this before

as I have words.

 

They have your blood and your heartbeat

and now they are looking in your chest

where the bones are cradling your

heart.

 

Do they know that I have held you and felt

your beating heart on mine. Love is drawn

as a heart, with arrows, and Christ holds out

his bleeding heart. Pierced also.

 

Make it more relevant!

Someone is lecturing her junior, calling over

her shoulder, impatiently as she leaves a room

marked

 

PRIVATE. DO NO ENTER.

WE HAVE KNIVES. AND THINGS TO HOLD THE

BONES APART. YOU WOULDN’T WANT TO SEE.

It doesn’t say that.

 

In the toilet with its plastered signs daring you to

smoke someone is rushing to a meeting, pushing past

where I am looking in the mirror with eyes that

ought to have bled away their colour. No?

 

More relevant. I watch the  procession of the halt

and lame and someone whose feet turn up like

jester’s shoes. While you are somewhere

being processed.

 

You are becoming a patient, and you carry your

big brown envelope which tells them all your stats.

It’s in the Tesco carrier full of your pills.

Remember. Don’t take clopidogrel.

 

And I think I love the young.

At the bus stop after my squabbling stint as

driver we pass a mother with her little girl;

she strokes her face with such a light of

 

tenderness. In the field two horses stand

rubbing noses like the Inuit are said to do.

A coloured foal dances along their sides.

Apparitions.

 

Now I am patient too, like waiting for a

birth. Or some other alteration.

 

They will saw through your sternum

and display your beating heart, all

that mess you see in butchers’  shops

where I always say I don’t eat offal.

 

I want to share the venom of this

misery, it’s like a wound. Suppurating

and thick as  – don’t say blood – I have

words. My misery stains each day.

 

Don’t say tears. Like pus. The colours

are so ugly that I cannot look.

You say I’m ready now I wasn’t now I am

I will die if it isn’t done it’s my only chance.

 

And talk about your death or if you are left hanging

in the soft plush of some unknowable place

between life and death. Do not resuscitate

you say. There must be cosy words for that.