This is the last day of Paul Brookes’ April poetry challenge. It has been a very fruitful collaboration for me, and judging by the quality of the poetry it produced, I’d say all the contributors probably feel the same way.
Thank you, Paul for all your hard work in putting this challenge together, and to the three artists, Anjum Wasim Dar, Gaynor Kane and John Phandal Law for their inspiring artwork.
Please visit Paul’s blog to read the poetry, and to see the three pictures that inspired this final poem.
Ways of knowing
Shall I paint a prism, write a rainbow in the teeming trees? Is the peeling silver bark a peering badger face, the blue of frosted sky a jay’s bright-striped wing?
Last year’s leaves sift and sigh, sinking underfoot into deep earth, my hair caught in the frothing laughter of new green growth.
Dull day sullen on the strand, grey pebbles click and clack where oystercatchers search in pied beauty for sandy scuttling things,
one eye on the wave-curl shaved off the skin of the sea, waiting for a stray ray to turn on the footlights, the sound of glitter.
Some days of winter dark, a thrush sings high and clear, and suddenly we remember spring.
For the penultimate day of Paul Brookes’ April poetry challenge, inspired by Anjum Wasim Dar’s painting, Oxygen. I’ve just written and sent off the final poem for the challenge with a feeling of a job well done, but regret that it’s over too. Please go to Paul’s blog to read all the poems. No regrets there.
You can see the artworks that inspired this san san for Paul Brookes’ April poetry challenge here, and read all the poetry that came out of them.
Green grow the ashes
Green grew high then golden faced, scratched black with eyebrow-arching crows, a glitter in the blue then screaming red. The scattered gold, infertile waste, where only twisted shrapnel grows, red-bloomed black mouths O in surprise. Tears glint among the ashes; dead the hope that Firebird might rise.
For day 26 of Paul Brookes’ April poetry challenge, a san san poem inspired by Anjum Wasim Dar’s painting Half the Year. You can read all the poetic responses and see the other images on Paul’s blog here.
When no bird sings
We have stepped into the light, the leafing trees with birdsong ringing, and slanting sun is honey-sleek. Behind, the dark year, deep as night, and black as feathered crow-birds winging, we sup the sun, with up-palmed hands, forget how silent, bitter-bleak is dawn in stark and birdless lands.
Today’s poem for Paul Brookes’ April poetry challenge was inspired by the painting Peace by Anjum Wasim Dar. All the images and the poetic responses are on Paul’s blog here.
Peace is one of those words like truth and freedom that we have twisted and deformed, wrung out its meaning, sucked dry of sense.
Peace was never a paradise of lions lying down with lambs, it was balance, harmony, respect of the other’s needs, trust, not to trample boundaries, moderation, not gorging, until vomit chokes the greedy gullet.
Peace has only ever been a temporary thing, ringing with patriotic music, a fleeting illusion of an imaginary past, when lions lay down with lambs and the city limits were not girdled by a moat filled with blood and bodies.