Wednesday, July 01, 2015

No title

I need to get through the next seven days.

(KM, look away now.)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Scroll VI

My last column for Scroll on poetry was up some time last week. 

Here it is.

It's too beautiful outside to be online, so.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Sideways Door June Prompt

Better late than never - counting today, there's 10 days left.


Yes, I continue to be fascinated by borrowing, conversing and writing back.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Sideways Door & Scroll V

Having mush for brains in the middle of this heatwave means that I forget to post things when they're out.

The Sideways Door's May response was up a few days ago. You can find it here.

I have been writing a series on poetry for Scroll and the penultimate column is up today.

How to write new ones is the real question. I'd rather fill a bathtub with ice and hide in it, rather like Tom Cruise (aargh!) in Minority Report.

Sunday, May 24, 2015


For the first time ever, I have missed this blog's anniversary. I began this thing nine years ago on the 21st and I'm rather surprised at myself. 

Maybe I should even change my description and all.

Then I remember that after all I forgot to announce the blog's ninth so.

Let's have another kind of ninth, huh?

And just for fun, the flash mob version.

[Belated] happy anni, Spaniard.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Scroll IV

The latest in my series on Scroll is now up. I was thinking of Tony Leung; I admit it.

Everything else - I can hardly bear to be on my laptop. It's so hot my wrists burn. Coping with summer takes more energy than I have.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The Sideways Door: May Prompt

Perhaps I am sick of sitting in one place using just the tips of my fingers. Or I'm fed up of driving and driving in this heat, doing tasks rather like a worker ant, with no tangible result. Whatever the reason, this month's prompt comes out of that sense of wanting to reconnect with using one's hands.

Here it is: 'The sweetest dream that labor knows'. 

(I have been itching to correct the spelling of the word 'labor' here and on Daily O but since it's a quotation, I'm leaving it.)

Monday, May 04, 2015

Catching up with April: Links to columns

The last two weeks of April were hellish. Two friends died within the space of a few days. Anxieties both specific and general tied in with what appeared to be disaster upon disaster made me want a cave rather badly.

It meant I was offline a lot and did not link to my columns as they appeared. 

So here - rather belatedly, especially now it's time for the next prompt already - are the two things that appeared while I was away.

The April response column at The Sideways Door, in which I wrote about the poems people wrote when they woke up from a deep sleep.

And Part III of my series for Scroll on what makes me write poetry. Or something.

I'm hoping May will be better than April was, but not holding out too many hopes. At any rate, not having watched Avengers, I have Thoughts on what I think the film is, and if I am not too traumatised by this week, I may even air them.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ibn 'Abd Rabbih: from 'The Unique Necklace'

The internet is a strange and wonderful resource and among its wonders is The New Inquiry's Sunday Reading. This week's SR has a contribution by kitabet that I went and read, because who doesn't like cats, especially when their paws have been dyed with henna?

Exploring David Larsen's blog, I found his translations from Ibn 'Abd Rabbih's, I suppose it's an anthology? called 'The Unique Necklace'.

Here's a short portion from that post, because it's not a single poem, but a collection of responses in verse.

Read the whole post here

from The Unique Necklace

by Ibn 'Abd Rabbih translated by David Larsen

Abu 'l-Bakhtarī said: The tales I used to hear of Abū Fahma, a madman of Baghdad with a gift for poetic improvisation, led me to seek him out. Our meeting came about in a lane of the city, where I said to him, "How are you today, Abū Fahma?" He replied in verse:

  "Today I awake at the edge of a cliff. Through you
      the way lies open to the wellsprings of my ruin.
   I see you turning, but not toward me.
      Whose heart is least corrupt you least attend.
   O you whose absence prolongs my lovesickness:
      it is a sickness with more regret in it than love."
Abu 'l-Bakhtarī said: At this I withdrew from my sleeve a small bouquet of narcissus, and pressed it on him with my wishes that God prolong his life. He stood smelling them for a time, then delivered these verses:

  "On my wedding day, there came from the South great spattering
      clouds decked out with rain so black that they were brown.
   Then kicked in the East Wind with its fecundating showers,
      and the curtailment of our nuptials was hard to bear.
   Our babe was born still. Labor pains came on,
      and there was parturition, and that was the issue.
   Springtime wove a shroud, and as one hand
      the dew and breeze gave color to its fabric.
   It was [this] flower's composite yellow, white petals
      cupping ornaments of unsmithed gold 
   on emerald columns raised aloft with the morning,
      like unto the sun in eye-like beauty." 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Li-Young Lee 'To Hold'

Today's poem is Li-Young Lee's 'To Hold'. On my laptop is a folder of poems that I've read somewhere of the other and liked enough to copy down. Often, I've not provided myself with a link or a bibliography; bad habits. 

This is one of those poems. It's also easy to see why I liked and saved it. There's an audio version here read by the poet.

To Hold

by Li-Young Lee

So we're dust. In the meantime, my wife and I
make the bed. Holding opposite edges of the sheet,
we raise it, billowing, then pull it tight,
measuring by eye as it falls into alignment
between us. We tug, fold, tuck. And if I'm lucky,
she'll remember a recent dream and tell me.
One day we'll lie down and not get up.
One day, all we guard will be surrendered.
Until then, we'll go on learning to recognize
what we love, and what it takes
to tend what isn't for our having.
So often, fear has led me
to abandon what I know I must relinquish
in time. But for the moment,
I'll listen to her dream,
and she to mine, our mutual hearing calling
more and more detail into the light
of a joint and fragile keeping.