Tuesday Poem: Sabotage by Shirley Wright


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

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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