more than one voice

Friday, June 8, 2012

dreaming in words

poetry dress I made a few years ago - 'I will fly to the sun'

Some months ago Jess and I spent a weekend at a dream retreat, where we were encouraged to use our dreams to write poetry.  We had a chance to talk about many different things, she shared how her spirituality has changed and how she sees things differently now that she is getting older. It was good to have the time away, time to reflect on where we were and to talk without the interruptions that always seem to be there at home. Jess has had a hard time over the last few years, battling with depression and a mood disorder but things are getting better for her and it was good to be able to put things into perspective.

It was also good to put pen to paper and write poetry again - something I have not done for a very long time.  It felt good to create with words, to use them like paint to create images and emotions, to play with dancing script on a page.

Just as I was getting all poetic about life, I discovered to my horror that my daughter doesn't like poetry. She was kind enough to tell me on the last day of the retreat. Oh well, at least she liked the food and the DMCs that we had. LOL

I have always loved poetry. I find it fascinating how people can take simple words and weave them into magic, creating alchemical with language.

Some of my favorite poets are Mary Oliver, Raine Marie Rilke and Antjie Krog - a South African poet.  I would love to know what poets you like as I’m always looking to ‘discover’ more hidden treasures.

I love the blog 'Willow Manor' – where the poet Tess Kincaid shares her poetry – it’s a blog filled with all sorts of treats not just poetry.

first sign of life - Antje Krog
you moved in me today
perhaps you turned
or adjusted a limb in the dark
you were not urgent
nor rowdy
just inescapably here
with my hand across my abdomen
I wanted to hold you in words
how you look
how you sound
how I am going to utter you
but you drifted wordlessly in placenta

like a poem you began without my knowing
a couplng of image and sound
with an umbilical cord to life veined through my blood
after weeks swollen into a gesture of word an vertebrae
a verse trembling this morning into wanting to be written

caught in a tender vortex of sun
my hairbrush forgotten in my hand
I was suddendly utterly lonely in astonishment
about this omen
of a yet unwritten, but most awe-inspiring poem

Bone - Mary Oliver - 
Understand, I am always trying to figure out
what the soul is,
and where hidden,
and what shape
and so, last week,
when I found on the beach
the ear bone
of a pilot whale that may have died
hundreds of years ago, I thought
maybe I was close
to discovering something
for the ear bone

is the portion that lasts longest
in any of us, man or whale; shaped
like a squat spoon
with a pink scoop where
once, in the lively swimmer's head,
it joined its two sisters
in the house of hearing,
it was only
two inches long
and thought: the soul
might be like this
so hard, so necessary

yet almost nothing.
Beside me
the gray sea
was opening and shutting its wave-doors,
unfolding over and over
its time-ridiculing roar;
I looked but I couldn't see anything
through its dark-knit glare;
yet don't we all know, the golden sand
is there at the bottom,
though our eyes have never seen it,
nor can our hands ever catch it

lest we would sift it down
into fractions, and facts
and what the soul is, also
I believe I will never quite know.
Though I play at the edges of knowing,
truly I know
our part is not knowing,
but looking, and touching, and loving,
which is the way I walked on,
through the pale-pink morning light.

from Why I Wake Early (2004)


  1. I also love the poems of Mary Oliver too! I loved to write poems but find myself writing less and less these days... have to wait for that muse to strike again! what a lovely post Clare! please do share more of your poems and fave ones and writers its always good to discover new writers!

  2. First of all, what a lovely dress you made. You should do it more often. I have always admired those who can create intense magic by words only. Unfortunately I'm not capable of that. Awhile back I read Leonard Choens poems but had to stop. Some of them was far too "cruel" for me. Otherwise I often listen to song lyrics and can be touched by them. Well, not all this love stuff but when the writer surprisingly combine new words and describes everyday life as it is,and I know for sure he/she is telling the truth. Magic moments!
    Good to hear that your daughter is doing better, it's always such a sorrow when our children suffers. Best of luck to her and to you as her mum.

  3. i loveLOVElOvE this poetry dress!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    wild crazy love! i clearly woke early to see it.


    Dream-Crowned (Rilke)

    Das war der Tag der weißen Chrysanthemen,
    Mir bangte fast vor seiner Pracht...
    Und dann, dann kamst du mir die Seele nehmen
    Tief in der Nacht.
    Mir war so bang, und du kamst lieb und leise,
    Ich hatte grad im Traum an dich gedacht.
    Du kamst, und leis' wie eine Märchenweise
    Erklang die Nacht.

    There is a lovely translation on the net, but it is copy righted - look for yourself!
    Happy Sunday dear Clare!

  5. i loved what laila said clare. so succinct! i too write poetry, and this so wonderful alone but for your soul as well as ours, i thank you. the dress and words are extremely SPECIAL and OUTSTANDING. XO

  6. I'm entranced at how people can use words to evoke emotions, images and other senses. I didn't enjoy poetry at school because it seemed a chore in those days so your daughter might change her views as she gets older. Today I love and marvel at the talent of good poets. Thankyou for sharing these lovely words here, I haven't heard of Antjie Krog. I must Google at once! :)
    Jess x

  7. I love everything about your poetry dress, so sweet and moving, you have an amazing way with words.
    Thanks for your sweet comments on my post, it would be great to sit down and create together, if you ever visit Utah, you better let me know so we can do just that.
    I have to tell you that I so much enjoy chatting with you and am so glad that we have met and struck up a friendship, your kindness has added so much to my life, thank you, thank you!!
    Be well!!


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