Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tuesday Poem - Broken House by Jennifer Compton

Broken House

This house has been broken by incoherent words.
The lights have gone out. We can't find our way about.
We haven't got our faces on. Light a fire on the back porch.
It burns obediently all night. Until well into the afternoon.
It's not a fuse. The lights are broken. Under the roof
the wiring has been a meal for mice. Or something else.

Curl up like a baby on the couch and feel the damage.
Where are all the children with their pretty ways?
Put an argument in one hand, an argument in the other.
This is the way the women dance. How beautiful they are.
Do they own everything? They are laughing as they dance.
Leave this broken house behind and find another.

Some rapscallion little miss is looking for a lover.
A roof over her head, a light left burning for her.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Tuesday Poem - I know the truth - give up all other truths! by Marina Tsvetayeva

I know the truth – give up all other truths!

I know the truth – give up all other truths!
No need for people anywhere on earth to struggle.
Look – it is evening, look, it is nearly night:
what do you speak of, poets, lovers, generals?

The wind is level now, the earth is wet with dew,
the storm of stars in the sky will turn to quiet.
And soon all of us will sleep under the earth, we
who will never let each other sleep above it.

Translated by Eileen Feinstein

What a life this poet lived! It makes me tremble to read of it. I came upon this
translation in a book called Poems on the Underground, the project in London
which provided refreshment to commuters on the Tube. I have seen other
translations, but I prefer this one.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tuesday Poem - Influence by Luke Beesley


I'd like to have your address so that I can break into your
house and steal something. I want to squeeze between the
rose bush and trellis above your front gate so as not to
disturb your work or sleep and lift the gate latch carefully
and lay it down again. I imagine you sensitive to the sounds
of your surrounds. I could move without shoes and in pools
of darkness provided by leaf foliage, to avoid the moon.
There will be a path down one side of your house and
I will follow it with my hands because I believe I can imagine
architecture. It will be close to the neighbour's fence and he
won't have a dog. I will crouch in the true posture of a thief
with my hands forward and my dark clothes.
I read somewhere that when you write you like to
close the blinds and write near a blank wall, without wall
hangings. I have no interest in your art collection but I am
nearing the corner of your life.

When I have your address in my hands I will put it to
memory and then fold it numerously and swallow it at
the corner of your house where there is one single purple
flower. You will have a screen door or a French door. It's
where I am with a small screwdriver or a piece of plastic
removed from the collar of a business shirt. Can you give
me your address in a small inner-city terrace house? Or a
detached terrace with a small garden in the front and, as
I've mentioned, along the side of the house a small breeze
where the lilac swayed like a musician. Or a train.
'Celerity Breeze' could be the name of the jazz leaking from
your wireless near which I take a watch that sits like a two-
legged spider. I put it on and go to your study where I
wear the watch that you left there, too.

I have an image of you, also, pulling shiny molasses-black
records from their sleeves, bringing the records close
to your mouth, and blowing the dust away in one quick
breath. Later when asleep you hear the quiet distant
thunder. Though it's not the quiet distant thunder at all
but the full-length mirror which disguises a cupboard in
your spare room and I am opening it very slowly. One
sheet of lightning. Another pool coming away in my hands
like a fish in the moonlight. Hidden. Not an affair, again, not
an affair. Nor a jewel or your wife but a path – I take your time.

Although I imagine that it is possible (even likely) that Luke used the
idea of a writer he admired as the jumping off point for this poem, I
don't want to know who the writer is. If he tried to tell me, I wouldn't
listen, I would clap my hands over my ears. Because the poem dragged
me under very quickly and I realised that I have 'crouched in the true
posture of a thief' many many times. And never seen myself at it. Until
now. It is like 'The Thought-Fox' by Ted Hughes, in that it delivers you,
fully conscious, to the act of reading, through the fog of the act of reading,
and it is like 'The Poet's House' by David Musgrave, in the way it has the
true power of a simulacrum, realer than real.
BTW I had to look up the title of The Poet's House because I had got it stuck
in my head that it was called The Rydalmere Sonnets. Odd that, as if I knew
better than the poet himself what the title of the poem was. One does this sort
of thing sometimes. Claims a poem by giving it a little twist.

PS I have just finished typing up this poem, and an image arose in my mind
of Grace Cossington Smith's painting of the mirrored wardrobe door ajar.