Self-Portrait at 38 BY JENNIFER TONGE

There are lots of ways in which I can relate to the speaker of this poem who thinks that Courbet ‘might capture’ her. I’d like to think he’d paint me as ‘L’origine du Monde’:A scandalous gift for someone important to keep hidden behind a green curtain.

A1E5573F-CA82-4572-BC5E-2A00BC98FAE0

An unused portion of ‘L’origine du Monde’ by Gustav Courbet

Hair still Titian,
but Botticelli’s grip has loosened—

not now Rubenesque,
and probably never;

Ingres approaches,
but Courbet might capture me.

Could I be surreal?
It seems almost likely—

bells in my ears
and fortresses under;

cones have been set on my eyes.
My spring is gone

and summer’s upon me,
rude in its ripening.

I’m espaliered, strung wide and tied,
pinioned, and thus can I fly.

Advertisements

Aloud

I like to say your name aloud.
I love the way it rolls of my tongue, 
To hear the syllables, approximant
In their approximation of my love for you.

Allowed, I would speak your name to anyone who would listen,
Releasing its long vowels and plosives
In explosive declarations of love
That would tell everyone and anyone that 
This man,
This beautiful man, 
Whose name rests impatiently on my lips, 
Is the man I love,
The man I need.
This man,
Is mine.

Aloud, I speak your name
As I walk alone in late evening sun.
I hear it, short and sweet,
Unrounded, closed,
As I disclose wildest dreams
To snag and hang on thorny hedgerows
To wave like prayer flags
For the passing birds and 
Startled fallow deer to hear.

Aloud, I speak your name to the wind,
Allow its pitch and tenor
To be swept away on the wings of warm, invisible currents
And imagine somehow, somewhere,
It will find its way back to you
So you can hear it:
My gentle voice on the breeze
Calling your name softly.

Ripple

8E3E10D2-EF55-493C-A62F-369F3E646E90

Lilies by Claud Monet, 1916

I want to hear your laughter,
The way its ripples extend out
Into shallow, glittering waves at sunrise
To where I swim naked amongst monet’s lilies,
Until I find myself in the centre,
Circled by circle after circle after never ending circle of
You

The joy
In this quiet moment is
More than anything I can believe possible

I will it to last,
To feel its gentle blue eyed lap against me whenever I swim and
I find I am not afraid to
Be here in this
Lake of mine, of
Yours, with its tangle of reed and hidden depths
That threaten to ensnare the legs
Of loveless bathers.
I know
You will keep me there
In the middle
With your warm wide circles
That could be arms
Or could be smiles
Or could just be.
And
Mine, is the heart that beats
At the centre of it all as
We dance and are
Spun and polished
Going dizzy as we go to that place
Where we can
Be the sunlight flashing on the water and
On soft silver skin
And span, sun spangled out,
Together.

Yellow

It’s the feeling of a yellow sofa,
A blue jumper in winter,
The barley, high in a summer field.
It’s the feeling of eating omelettes
Or strawberries, or chocolate
And listening to your beautiful voice as you sing in that tiny kitchen making tea
But didn’t know I was listening.
It’s the feeling of pub gardens,
Smoking fires and bears,
Wine that I drink whilst I drink you up and become giddy.
It is the feeling of dreams,
The ones I tell you
But more-so the ones I keep secret.
It is the feeling of waking up hoping to hear from you…

Or waking up knowing I’ll see you
And touch you.
It’s the feeling of poetry,
Music,
Art,
Icarus and his wings –
Ticking clocks,
Revolving planets
Universes,
Life, epiphanies
And other stuff and things…

It’s the feeling of you.

The feeling of something so great,
I’m insignificant.

I’m Sorry Elizabeth

Sometimes you need a bit of help with the words…particularly when it’s hard to put just how you feel into words! So thank you EBB. I can only apologise for the butchery of this beautiful poem.

2471DC48-1EFC-47BA-A9C8-42682E95B465

How do I love you? I couldn’t count the ways.
There is no depth or breadth or height
To my love for you when out of sight,
Only being. Only grace.
I try, and fail, to love you to the level of your everyday’s
Most quiet need, from sun rise to sun spent.
I love you, not freely but, with abandonment,
Not purely, but wickedly, as I wait for your praise.
I love you with the passionate grief,
Of my childhood’s broken faith,
The more than love, I seemed to lose like belief
With my lost saints – I love you,
Not only with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my strife–
But in every silent space and, if you choose,
I shall but love you forever, beyond death, beyond life

A Picture

EE2EC99E-2DD5-4950-8DB6-371EBA44E578

It made a glorious picture:
The nude and his lover
In a car 
In a field
Behind a hedge,
On the other side of which,
An old man walked
And cyclists, panting uphill, passed,
Whilst the nude and his lover
Just moaned and gasped.

Am

 

Sleep, be my friend,
Need me
I’m tired.
Take me in your arms and
Lie with me a while
Whisper softly in my ear
How much you have missed me
Until I am dreaming because
I don’t hear from you much anymore
And it keeps me awake.

Near by Carol Ann Duffy

Sometimes other people’s words are just far better than your own at capturing a feeling or a thought…particularly if they happen to be the words of an award winning poet laureate…

Far, we are near, meet in the rain
which falls here; gathered by light, air;
falls there where you are, I am; lips
to those drops now on yours, nearer …

absence the space we yearn in, clouds
drift, cluster, east to west, north, south;
your breath in them; they pour, baptise;
same sun burning through to harvest
rainfall on skin, there, far; my mouth
opening to spell your near name.

‘A Blade of Grass’ by Brian Patten

This poem by Brian Patten is so simple and clever and almost sure to remind you of someone you know…

 

You ask for a poem.
I offer you a blade of grass.
You say it is not good enough.
You ask for a poem.

I say this blade of grass will do.
It has dressed itself in frost,
It is more immediate
Than any image of my making.

You say it is not a poem,
It is a blade of grass and grass
Is not quite good enough.
I offer you a blade of grass.

You are indignant.
You say it is too easy to offer grass.
It is absurd.
Anyone can offer a blade of grass.

You ask for a poem.
And so I write you a tragedy about
How a blade of grass
Becomes more and more difficult to offer,

And about how as you grow older
A blade of grass
Becomes more difficult to accept.