Tag Archives: Grief

NaPoWriMo 2022 ~ Day 11

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Read full prompt here.

Two featured participants: first, we have Whimsygizmo’s Blog and second, Snigdha Choudhuri.

Today’s online journal is Tinderbox Poetry Journal its archives are available online. In their latest issue, I’ll point you to Grace Q. Song’s “HOW THE STORY GOES,” and Ayokunle Falomo’s “ETYMOLOGICON.”

Prompt: Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem about a very large thing. It could be a mountain or a blue whale or a skyscraper or a planet or the various contenders for the honor of being the Biggest Ball of Twine – versify in praise of the huge.

© Napowrimo.net

Today my head is not in the game as funeral arrangements begin. I spent my time writing a reflection for the funeral and my head and heart are very much there. I may not post for NaPo tomorrow, as we have the funeral. I will double post on Wednesday, if I can.

I started with With Ardent Affection for an Indifferent Moon  one of the featured poems, a love poem to the moon.

They say 
we’re out of ways 
to woo you. 

But I, 
heart tied to sky,

Are you the smudge-sketched 
thumbprint tintype of some long 
-forgotten goddess, 

An open jar of firefly hope, 

Some beautiful reflections and questions of the heart.

Unfortunately the 2nd link doesn’t take you to the participants site – I did a quick search last time this happened and managed to find the website, no success this time.


I will come back to the magazine when I have time. Today I just read the recommended poems. I listened to HOW THE STORY GOES Grace Q. Song, a beautiful poem with lingering memories.

Like the dark, watery spell my finger traces

in search of the Little Dipper. Or the reason

we scream at each other like wild horses.

That love so helpless must be a child

in a field of lilies. That you can hear a blue whale’s heartbeat

10,560 feet away,

Then I listened to ETYMOLOGICON (Winner of the Majda Gama Editors’ Prize) by Ayokunle Falomo. Delighted I could listen to these in the poet’s voice – as I don’t have the strength to read poems today. I am not sure I will be able to write one either.

Depending on

how you say it, three letters—A R A— 

can mean thunder or wonder or body

or family.

A poem exploring language, mistranslation and meaning (and so much more than these themes). Thought provoking.


I had a quick look at the biggest ball of twine – who wouldn’t! Before going off to use a vast object in a poem of my own. After a couple of days of sharing the poems in their entirety I think we may be back to extracts.

Photo by David Guerrero on Pexels.com

At first I collected the idea of BIG objects, starting with this Ferris wheel. Some I’d seen before like the giant rubber duck art (especially as Mr G. has always wanted one)! There’s quite a collection here, although many are art/sculptural and not objects which usually command praise for being huge.

They did remind me of the giant teddy in Qatar Airport that I saw in 2018, Urs Fischer’s famous Lamp Bear. I started to think of other massive things I’ve seen, the Half Dome at Yosemite National Park, the Grand Canyon, both of these already feature in several poems I have written since visiting in 2005.

During my search I also found this site – which will blow your mind! mindblowingfacts.com/megalophobia I was particularly taken by the giant driftwood and the reminder (from the sun) of how small we are – not to mention that small circle of ALL the stars we see in our night sky compared to the entire galaxy!

Photo by Valeria Ushakova on Pexels.com

For a long time today (not surprisingly) I was blocked. In the end after hours filled with other things I sat to write the only thing I could. I wrote in one prose block/ separating thoughts with backslashes/. I wrote about how I couldn’t write about any of the big things whilst my head and heart are dealing with such a big thing.

Some extracts from today’s as yet untitled poem:

When challenged to write about something big today/ all I can think about/ is how big it was to lose you/ how colossal grief can be/ how huge the emptiness brought by your body missing in our time/

I can’t think about what I would write in praise of the Ferris wheel or Grand Canyon/ when all I want to do / all I need to do /is praise your life

how soft your hugs/ how huge your prayers / how dominant your light and love

how can I think of teddy lamps in Qatar or Redwoods in the States/ when all I want to be filled with is thoughts of you and your life/

Photo by Vasilis Karkalas on Pexels.com

‘Break on Through’

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It has been over a week since my last blog post, I come to write this post on loss and find that the programming has been updated and content looks completely different for us on WordPress. I wish there was an option to use the old format, but alas, as with life things move on.

A lot has happened in the poetry world, my world and the world since I last posted and although I tend to steer clear of media stories, I cannot let the passing of David Bowie and Alan Rickman go without a mention.

I discovered Bowie as a teen, music first, then ‘Labyrinth’ years later, even tried my hand at creating the jacket worn by the Goblin King and definitely copied the eye make-up! As for Alan Rickman, as I was training to be an actress, he was someone I felt even closer to. First discovered in ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’ – what an actor, what a presence, what a voice.

It is a sad loss to the Arts that these two stars have been extinguished at just 69, both dying from Cancer. May they Rest In Peace.

Rachel Green Sammy

Closer to home, the poetry community was rocked on the 5th January by the sad news that a wonderful poet, Sammy Joe, was no longer with us. The outpouring of love since has been amazing, I only wish she could read the heartfelt words. All the events I have attended in the past week have offered words in her memory and I know we will get to celebrate her life sometime in the future.

Lots of people are grieving and my thoughts are with her daughter, Rosie and the family. We (the poetry community) have shared compassion in grief. It has shaken all of us and it is almost impossible to imagine the world without her. It will be a long while before we realise we will not see her again, she isn’t going to turn up at events. It has also made us all wake up and appreciate what life is and how we need to let friends know they are in our hearts.

Which is where Sammy is now, Rest In Peace, my friend. x

bakehouse Photo Credit Janet Jenkins

I struggle to write about how it feels. Helen Calcutt has written a blogpost, shared across social media http://helencalcutt.org/2016/01/06/words-will-safeguard-the-spirit-eternally/ so I am sure she won’t mind me posting it here.

All this loss so early in the year, not to mention tales of friends and families who have lost loved ones over the Festive Season. It has been hard to keep buoyant New Year hopes alive with all this bigger things happening. Sometimes I feel guilty for pushing on regardless. It is what those of us left on the planet have to do though.

Headstrong fragility is the state I wear this week. There are many of us walking in this daze.

Take care out there and tell people that you love them! x

 

The photographs were taken on a poetry day last summer. Walsall Arboretum/ Bakehouse Workshop – Walsall Arts Festival and in the evening Pre-launch event in Birmingham for Arts all Over the Place. Sammy Joe did a lot of work with 1 in 4 Drama Group, like myself she was a poet and dramaturge.