(REPOST) Poetry Collaboration – ‘A Woman’s War’ (link to the poem)

This is reposted from my PhD research blog: www.writingRochdale.wordpress.com.

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Rochdale Rainbow

Wandering past the leisure centre heading towards the rainbow: last night’s walk to KYP’s headquarters in Rochdale.

I have written a brief summary of last night’s event organised by KYP, however, because I can’t quite work out how to reblog it verbatim, here’s the link to Touchstones Creative Writing Group’s website* where I’ve just republished our poem: Earnshaw & Bailey debut new poem commissioned by KYP.

I enjoyed this whirlwind process, getting back to research, and the challenge of writing a poem in a week over email as the snow scuppered any face-to-face meetings. (Some of my reflections on this process are in the two previous blog posts.) Working with Eileen was a complete joy; it’s not the first time I’ve written/created with others but it is the first time that I have co-created a poem. Collaboration is ace.

I hope that we’ve captured some of the voices and tales of the women, I feel that there are still so many narratives to learn and many we never hear. I will try writing something more substantial on last night’s event, mainly because there were stories that I was unaware of and alternative perspectives that I need to think about some more. This will be in the future as there was quite a lot to digest  – not just the amazing basmati rice and samosas! – and the next blog posts on Denis Wood and the Northern Powerhouse have already been planned and are being drafted.

Note

* Just want to state, for transparency, that I do facilitate writing sessions and am part of the group’s voluntary committee where my main role is web/digital coordinator for the writing group. I’m still working on fettling that website!

A Poem a Day #7: Thinking through making

Dodgy perspective but I'm happy for a first attempt!

Thinking through making

I craved green
so I tried to weave a wall hanging,
it came apart – the warp the weft – there were no threads left

I craved green
so I knitted a blanket to wrap the day up in,
vivid shades of jade, viridian,
it was unravelled by the cats.

I craved green
so I organised a picnic with herbs:
lacy white cow parsley, wild garlic, jack-by-the-hedge
the static rain made the grey tarmac black

I craved green
so I painted
so I potted
so I pottered.
A watercolour landscape looked grainy,
a thrown pot the same.
I walked in the park and found
dying daffodils, bald spots,
tried to grasp handfuls of grass
a reward of muddy fingers.
Looked left: a blue glass pyramid,
looked right: a beige housing estate
in front: all sloping browns,
behind: listing trees, broken brick.

We are not being bombed, or attacked.
We have fresh water from the taps.
This park isn’t (yet) being fracked.
So, why is this melancholy tract
not trying to make sense of that?

Thinking through making,
making and thinking,
wanting something to sink in
wanting something to stick.

There is more to this than craving green
and wanting to do more than making
but this will have to do for now,
this will have to do.

Poem a Day #6: “Guilty Pleasures”

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“Guilty Pleasures”

See all about it
the photograph tells
a thousand lies
a couple
smiles peroxide shark
eyes that lack
a starry glitter

can you believe it?
do you?

Believe that
they’re a loveheart
carved into a tree
sap-scabbed bark
a permanence
or collagen filler

They are
the carcrash
for your PritStick eyes
She’s in her free bikini
Venus with silicone orbs
paparazzi goddess
bottle brunette
hand held in the fist
of His
a butcher’s knuckle
of a Man

A Man without a Plan
for those sub-heads
tabloid’s favourite nightmare
you save to wrap
the china
you keep for Best.

A Poem a Day #5: On knowing nothing

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On knowing nothing
ipse se nihil scire id unum sciat – Cicero

And I said: nothing will come of nothing.
Then I tried to examine my life
through notebooks, pencil sketches, a drawing,
lines scribbled over. I’m supposed to strive
for high ideals
. That poem on the wall,
that creased, yellowed, clichéd observation
half-way up the stairs: a beautiful world.
Stodgy stanzas and then the frustration:
not knowing any “proper” poetry.
Subsistence, to stumble on or to climb
down, or up, to the (multi)verse. Well, try,
be that poet in that tree, on a limb,
watch the day shed in leaves then shade to blue.
There’s still a lot of nothing left to know.

Poem a Day #4: Cut grass

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Cut grass

Close enough to wake the dead,
loud as the roadworks,
close buzzcut of grass.
Morning mowing in All Saints Park

and a memory of chlorophyll,
of a green Elsewhere,
when we, summerslow,
cycled to that meadow

balancing instruments
on handles and crossbars.
We piled down on unmown lawns
someone played Wish You Were Here

on a battered Spanish guitar.
The sweet hug of hash
tugged into the lungs,
you tried to dreadlock your thinning hair.

We were two lost souls,
not swimming but drowning
in the buttercups.
You cut your locks that autumn.

I’m less green than I was;
I’ve not seen you for years
you had, and have, a habit
of appearing in the mind.

**

In the library, glancing down
at the short back and sides
there are daffodils,
drooped heads as if in thought.