Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Tuesday Poem: Sabotage by Shirley Wright

Sabotage

Bluebells in a jam jar
cool wind on hot summer nights,
a snatched throat-catch of Satchmo -
so brightness comes
rolling on waves that splash
the horizon at my feet.

In the thinning of the trees
the deer’s eye holds my own,
slow-watching, patient -
we acknowledge one another
then move on,
blessed unexpectedly.

Autumn fruit falls,
Newtonian, prophetic, the grass
awash with jewels -
the hedgerows hang heavy
bruised with the bounty
of garnet, amethyst.

Stick-of-rock sweetness
bears yesterday all the way through till
mouth melts with memory -
toes curl in wet sand
the sea is in my ear,
and me standing here

sun-stunned
by moments,
fragments that stop the hourglass
like clogs hurled in the machine,
with all the fury and
astonishment of small things.

© Shirley Wright, 2013
from The Last Green Field,  Indigo Dreams Publishing

I met Shirley Wright when we were both at the writers' retreat (Singing over the Bones) at Moniack Mhor in Scotland last May.  I heard her read some of the poems in this collection, and really liked what I heard, so I bought it as soon as it was published and have been reading my way happily through it ever since.  The poems are lyrical and display Shirley's commitment to eco-writing - poems that explore humanity's relationship with the environment. I like Shirley's sense of humour - 'Climate Change' begins: 'There are polar bears in my kitchen.....'  and another takes a wry look at our ways of dealing with the new C word, 'In case you're wondering about the Carbon Footprint'.

Becoming serious again, in 'Field'  she hopes for 'myths to sing

the branching of our story -
born in the heart of wildwood,
nurtured by wolves
and told in antique voices
to the trees that built us,
whose paper holds our dreams.

Another poem - 'My Father' - won the Sunday Telegraph prize for performance poetry.
'My Father ..
loved fish - their slither
and slide, the rainbow flash
of scales that would leap
and glide past
in silence....

She uses a quote from TS Eliot as an epigraph, 'The historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence.'  And this too gives a clue to another of Shirley's preoccupations - the compound nature of time.  As in this poem, the past is present in every moment, and we're assaulted with memories 'fragments that stop the hourglass', leaving us 'sun-stunned'.

This is an excellent first collection - a very good read, with some beautiful moments in it.  Someone once told me that a collection should always have at least 3 'wow' poems in it - this definitely  has!

Shirley Wright
The Last Green Field
Indigo Dreams Publishing



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