Monthly Archives: October 2013

Reborn

Everyday we rise,

Replenished and refreshed

By night’s slipstream

Of dreams

And desires.

Everyday we rise,

Tasting the air

Colours dancing

Humming

Fresh hope.

Everyday we rise,

Shedding what has

Been

Eager to drink

From the brimming cup.

Everyday we rise,

Lit by now’s promise

Casting a glow

Ready to net

Lucent moments.

Everyday we rise,

Melting and moulding

Ancient pains

Into novel

Pleasures.

Everyday we rise

Stunned and surprised,

On life’s highway

Reborn.

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Simple Song

Morning springs

Laughter leaps

Smiles sparkle

Love completes

Sun blazes

Kisses sing

Touch yields

Bells do ring

Words dance

Looks convey

Happiness peals

Joyous day

Night falls

Clothes are shed

Stars illlumine

This sacred bed.

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Nil Desperandum

Do not despair

Beauty pulses

Everywhere

Do not despair

Truth is the match

While we do dare

Do not despair

Earth’s fruitful gifts

Flavour the air

Do not despair

Kindness bubbles

Beyond compare

Do not despair

These words I spell

Feather your hair

Do not despair

What is to come

Love shall bear.

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Timeless

Some say they find beauty in joy

Some say they find joy in passion

Some say they find passion in thought

I find all of these in fashion.

Some say they find wonder in sex

Some say they find sex is a song

Some say song is the way to be

I find all of these keep one strong.

Some say they find peace in talking

Some say they find talking is life

Some say life is rich with surprise

I find all of these stem time’s knife.

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Journey

Every night is a pilgrimage

Of visions and vim and vigour;

Feeding from your sacred flower,

Pulsing as the light gets dimmer.

Every night I cross the border

From sorrow to the joy of you;

Supping from brilliant beauty,

The gifts you bestow keep me true.

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Transmutation

To absorb this life single

Is fine, but not quite the wine

That shines, unless mingled with you.

Alone, our bodies cannot sing –

Or if they do, it is a muffled

Tune, but your bright song is a boon.

Days once monochrome dance into

Light, bathed in natural affection;

Alchemy makes us more than

What we otherwise would be.

For this, I pray these words may ring,

Hear the colour of love sing and sing.

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“Talking To My Body” by Anna Swir: An Unflinching Examination of Body and Soul

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Czeslaw Milosz, the great Polish poet, writes of Anna Swir, in the introduction to this collection, that she is “a poet of personal life, of love and love’s pains.” This, to me, seems a pithy yet perfect summation of Swir’s form and content. Her writing is such, that once you dip into her poetical waters, it is impossible not to want to embrace fully the limpidity of her poetry. Some may quibble that the plainness and seeming unsophistication of the style may militate against placing a high value on the currency of Swir’s poems. This reader would beg to differ. What may at first appear to be a simplicity, conceals profound truths about some of the fundamental themes in life that affect us all.

The diversity of the subject matter helps to make this collection resonate; whether that be poems about her parents, poems exploring the role of femininity, poems that deal frankly with matters of flesh, sex, ageing, mortality, motherhood, childhood and poems that investigate that greatest of emotions: love. This is poetry rooted in an earthiness, delineating the rich textures of daily-life. Abstraction is considered but these are poems that have a concrete foundation and, in their connectedness, celebrate the indomitability of the human spirit.

It has often been said that poetry is a “broad church”, which naturally means there are many definitions of what poetry is. I have always been fond of the brilliant British poet, Carol Ann Duffy and her belief that “poetry, above all, deals with emotion.” The emotional honesty in “Talking to My Body” rings apparent. It is as if Swir has taken a scalpel to her body and exposed the nest of feelings and tangled thoughts beneath. One gets the impression that these poems are written with an intent to impose some order,beauty and meaning on events. The intensity is manifest. Reflecting on the birth of her child in “Maternity”, Swir writes:

“And suddenly I am flooded

by a high, luminous wave

of humility

Powerless, I drown”

The translators have done a magical job in capturing the intensity and depth of feeling that Swir strove for her in her poetry (it seems fitting that Milosz, one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, should have a hand in promoting and praising his compatriot’s poetry). There are phrases that leap off the page, which the keen reader will want to cherish and savour: “How good to own/ a portable sun”; “I want to be clean as Nothingness”; I made love with my dear/ as if I made love dying/ as if I made love praying.” One can discern that Swir is triangulating three branches, which might best be described as: thinking, feeling, knowing. For there is no doubt that these are poems for the mind as much as they are for the body and soul.

Perhaps of equal significance to this compelling collection is the discussion at the end between Czeslaw Milosz and his collaborator in translation, Leonard Nathan; the discussion is as much a philosophical investigation of Swir’s form and style as it is interpretive and makes for essential reading. Of course, the poet should have the final word and Swir’s assertion on what she considers the poet to be will, one hopes, strike a chord and may be a springboard for those yet to discover the limpid,earthy and sapient quality of a supreme stylist: “the poet should be as sensitive as an aching tooth.”

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