Thursday 26 June 2008

A Faithless Sister: Blood Fetters part Three

This the final part of the Trilogy: It took a long time to write and wouldn't have been written at all, had not old issues and devilment resurfaced.
The previous poems are here
Artistically I am glad - it's been a still birthed poem for a long time and as a poet, carthartic to release and finish. And it is part of but independent of the other two, as each of those are from each other.
As a person - slightly sad.
UPDATED: Thanks so much to readers for their comments and analysis of the Trilogy! I was surprised and interested by the level of reaction and the fact that most readers enjoyed the gothic journey. From answering comments I put together the following commentary on the poem from my pov : the legacy of madness and conflict can be seen either in the personal (eg within a family as Sara remarked) or societally (within the context of conflict in general) And there is another conflict, that really (for me as the poet) is the key to the trilogy and that is Creative Conflict. The conflict between the warring individuals within the poetic soul; the conflict between our varoius legacies and our desire to be new, free, reinvent. That creative conflict is expressed fully in the Trilogy, more so than in any other work I've managed.
As Penny wrote in her comments, the trilogy is about the Dark Shadow side of us all - the conflict between self and self image, and is an abstract journey, trying first to reconcile and then accept the divorce from warring aspects of my own self.

Thanks to all for reading and commenting!

Blood Fetters - History Erased.

I have a sister
in the shadows
- she is the spider in the corner.
I have a sister
whose blood fetters me,
ties me unwilling to her madness
her lies;
her house of shames and half-perceived
sleights of hand.
She has now re-written the past,
family history
through the kaleidoscope
of her madness.
We have acquired Jewish ancestry.
The kindly Jewess neighbour of our childhood
without her permission
into some distant,
My own Jewish friends
beyond words - bad enough she
hawks their collective pain
to produce some born again credentials.
she is a creeping
Poison pen wielded in
self aggrandizement
doggerel offered
as a palliative to gentile minds
by depth of understanding.
Our childhood reissued in gothic form
complete with a new province,
new vitae
in a new milieu,
part of our nation's conflict,
born in semtex
and raised by armalite;
inexplicable captions from events
grisly remains
behind golden altars
insulting the old
and the new, the very
marrow of our heritage
I read in disbelief,
that yield her delusions
read and disbelieve
and fear.
The truth is
a distant country
divorced from her now.
She has denied us
foresworn us
betrayed us.
We are the Tuatha and
she is now
My life has rooted
flowered in the essence
of my reality.
hers is withering on
a dead tree


Saturday 21 June 2008

Mary Bakes Bread by the Fire

Mary bakes bread by the fire, stout hands kneading fleshy fingers tightening and rolling amid folds of white dough. The flames flicker higher on her forearms match the red sweat of her face, fan the flicker of hate in her eyes. Mary is not pretty; Mary is not slender; Mary is not elegant; Mary bakes sweet dainties for sweet dainty ladies who are everything Mary is not.

Fire rises, fire warms, fire destroys, fire consumes. Mary is the light reflected in polished copper, bronze fireplace ornaments, pokers and tongs. Hammers and Tongs, she goes at it, the dirty wench. Mary blinks thoughts from her mind that she wishes were not there; but there they lurk, constant. Mary is not happy to be - Mary.

Fat Mary, Big Mary, Slow Mary. Hail Mary. Priest would not approve, Preacher would disavow. Wise woman says, make bread by the fire.

Mary bakes bread by the fire, sweltering in heat, heart rate raised, flushed and warm and moist, smelling her own body with each movement, enjoying now the sway of buttocks, the roll of fat, the swell and ebb of the heavy mix.
Mary is not alone, eyes watch transfixed, eyes follow buttock, hip and arm, eyes and mouth and nose concur, hands open door, feet cross floor.
Wise woman warns Mary. You don’t know what may happen. Mary doesn’t care. Mary is strong; Mary is brave; Mary is capable; Mary bakes bread for women whoa re everything Mary is not. She is tired of being only the names they choose to call her. She wants new names. Mother, Lover, Woman. The fire is still rising, she will not bank it down.

Someone moves closer, someone who should know better, old enough to know better, better educated, better born. Someone called better than Mary, bends over her, whispers to her, sweet words, soft words.
Fingers intertwined, breath mingling, hearts beating, arms still kneading, twisting, hands exploring soft, yielding - flesh or dough? Mary no longer knows. All she can think is yes, all she can reason is that this is hers, for her, about her. She is the one, the dancer in the centre of the hall, the masked lady performing for the court, she is the centre and the cause. Still the fire rises, eyes meet finally, surprise and intrigue leap between. Mary wonders, but she does not pause. Some things you wait for too long.
Priest would cluck, Goodwives sniff, Wise Woman merely smiled and winked – lascivious old woman enjoying the faint heat from another, faraway Hearth. Wise Woman gave oils, to be rubbed into the folds at the bosom, at the belly, in the soft crevices where leg meets sex, on the pulse; unguents that unfurl in the heat of the fire, mingled with the smell of baking, working their way into the sweat and tears and kisses. Wise Woman did not turn away, did not preach abstinence, did not despise the woman who yearned. Wise Woman merely smiled and winked.
Mary returns to herself, to the moment, to the heat. Spent and panting, bemused and wondering. Strong arms surround her, throaty chuckles into her neck, affection on a face that she thought had never noticed her. Strange words in her ear, words that caress and tease. She is not despised nor discarded. She has been noticed and wanted. She is not invisible in this place, perhaps never has been – dark eyes are troubled by her silence. Dark eyes smile into hers and ask questions men ask only of women whose hearts are not overlooked. Mary is warmed by more than fire. Heat rises from more than flame and coal. Mary feels cool flagstone tile under bare skin, and is suddenly afraid.

to be continued.......


Thursday 19 June 2008

Brighid's Runes Anthology

In Aid of the Green Belt Movement Rachel Mica McCann has produced and edited a lovely collection of women's poetry entitled Bridhid's Runes . Rachel describes the book as

"'Brighid's Runes' is a collection of around 40 poems by over twenty women from various parts of Scotland, Wales, England and Ireland. The poems celebrate the sacred in every day life and our relationship with the earth. They are funny, poignant, eloquent and passionate! Some of the poets are well published, others are new to print. The money raised from the sale of the book will go towards supporting Women's and Earth healing projects, especially the Green Belt Movement in Kenya established by nobel prize winner Wangari Maatthai which has empowered women through planting trees and community development."
It's a lovely collection and I'm delighted to be involved. Ms McCann has worked very hard to produce something that is worth reading, and for the Greenbelt Movement's sake, well worth buying!
Available directly from Rachel, e-mail:
£5.50 inc P&P