I thought I'd share a new poem of mine which has just been published in Mslexia, a women's writing magazine. It was chosen as one of the finalists in the Mslexia poetry competition this year by Gillian Clarke, a favourite writer of mine, netting me £25 *woo hoo* ! and a fair bit of pleasure..
Gillian wrote an interesting judge's essay and I quote a bit below because it rings true for me, and other people I know, and my mother too, who began to properly explore her talents when her four children had gone..
"If women are as good as this competition suggests, why do so few make a mark in the world of literary prizes? Are we ambitious? Are we sufficiently driven? Do we commit all to our art? Maybe for many talented women the art of living takes the edge off creative passion. Perhaps we are too ready to follow Yeats’ advice to himself, that he should leave poor verse alone and be content to live. These poems suggest we can do both."
Can we do both? I hope everyone who wants (or indeed needs) to express themselves creatively, in whatever form, will eventually realise that desire. The poem or the painting or the print is nourished by the life led anyway. We are very lucky to have these dilemmas really..
Gillian Clarke said Inklings was "a tribute to the sonnet, a charming poem about making love in a room haunted by – what? who? By the inklings. Despite the sense that the lovers are not alone, it is a joyful song of love."
It was one of those poems that had lived in my mind for a while, ringing with certain 'tone' of thought. Eventually the Inklings wouldn't shut up so I had to get out of bed and set them down with a pencil to get some peace.
If I had to be pressed on what it 'means' I would say they are the whispery, ever-present voices of people yet to be conceived..and how easily and joyfully and physically they can be brought into existence. But whatever the reader brings to the poem is equally valid. My favourite poems are the multi-faceted ones.
It's pretty much how it came out (which was a joy to write). And unlike a poem about Bats that I have been wrestling with for months and months. Unlike the Inklings they are awkward beasts and just won't get into into line...
Sometimes when we make love near the window
I can almost feel them waiting in the corners,
whispering in dusty spaces above the wardrobe,
their breath in drifts of light across the glaucous room, and sometimes I
glimpse filaments brushing against the panes, delicate as spider silk -
sense shifts in matter, stirrings, and then it doesn’t take much
to bring them into our warm bed, to call them down,
the two of us moving together, moulding them out of our hearts like clay,
with the mortar and pestle of our bodies, the cups and planes of our hips
and thighbones working like engines all greased with blood and longing,
for soon we are reaching towards shining crowns, our fingers straining to touch them,
and breathing out in one long rush into their starry lungs,
and sometimes afterwards if we are still they might come into focus,
step forward into the light, already entirely themselves.