Alexander Averin

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Twinkling toenails

Dear Diary,

Just a quick blog as I am off to library-land very soon.

The true poet is all the time a visionary and whether with friends or not, as much alone as a man on his death bed.
~William Butler Yeats

Who can tell the dancer from the dance?
~William Butler Yeats

Poetry is what in a poem makes you laugh, cry, prickle, be silent, makes your toenails twinkle, makes you want to do this or that or nothing, makes you know that you are alone in the unknown world, that your bliss and suffering is forever shared, and forever all your own.”
Dylan Thomas

And now a poem.

I am quite excited because I have just discovered a much-praised poet I had not come across before (shame on me I say). She has been shortlisted for this year's Dylan Thomas Prize.
She is very young...... and her talent?

I leave you to decide.

The Softness of the Morning

If the breeze through the trees were a tongue
it couldn't say a word. My bottom lip grew so long,
it wrapped around the rivers
and the wandering silent pilgrims set up picnics
in the curve of my mouth, each with a story to tell
of a journey that was never done.
In the softness of the morning, I entered the forest,
following my lip for the source of this taste,
I rode on a donkey that had once been a beautiful princess,
kept the heart of a nightingale inside my nostril
and gained a new gold tooth with every sniffle,
I ate apples from the poisoned shrub,
drank water from the holy spring, I washed my feet in quick sand,
and still my bottom lip stretched over mountains,
soundless and sore. I danced with sexless shadows,
phantoms with faces like soft holes
singing down my throat like the sighing
of a thousand ugly damsels trapped in turrets.
I shaved my eyebrows with a sharpened stick,
painted on a look of sudden surprise,
carved the deepest part of the ocean, crammed an oak into an acorn,
stitched my eyes with feathers, robbed a church,
picked a flower that could live without sun,
made love to a dwarf who nudged into my body
like a boat attempting to moor on my chest.
I filled my stomach with baby wolves,
sailed on a dew drop through acres of oil, bathed in perfume
until even my shit tempted mermaids,
found religion beneath a fallen log, stopped for a beer,
kicked August from the calendar,
stole a moment of joy from the breath of a swan,
injected moonshine into my ears, listened to butterflies swearing,
sat on a rock made of time, stuffed a glow-worm in my windpipe,
electrified the air. And still had nothing to say.
Just before lunch, I crawled back to the house,
planning to tell you with my hands instead,
make the sign of leaving, make the sign of regret,
make the sign of reasons not to stay,
but the gravel path had a saddening crunch,
the face by the window, a running tear.
You opened the door, my lip sprang out,
slapped me and said something wrong.

Caroline Bird

Well, did this one make your toenails twinkle?

Bye for now,
I wish you a happy (and maybe snowy)Tuesday,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,


mountainear said...

I think it did Cait.

I did think for a moment you had found the most gorgeous nail polish. Silly me...I loved the words though.

Frances said...

Yes, indeed, Cait.

Will you share more of her poetry with us?

willow said...

Yes, they're really twinkling! And I laughed out loud when I read this bit, "I shaved my eyebrows with a sharpened stick,
painted on a look of sudden surprise". It brought to mind the Seinfeld episode when Elaine draws eyebrows on Uncle Leo!

CAMILLA said...

Dear Cait,

Well it definately made my toenails twinkle.

An interesting poem by Bird, and so young. It is filled with such zest and energy. I am sure a third book will be in the making soon.

A wonderful quote by Dylan Thomas, and so true. This is how it should be on reading Poetry I agree.


Edward said...

If I'm being brutally honest, I'd say that the poem is almost brilliant, but for me (not the world's greatest fan of poetry, unless it's T S Eliot, W H Auden or Philip Larkin) I thought the effect was spoiled by the occasional wrong word - I don't mind the word "shit" in the right context, but it leapt off the screen and whacked me upside the head in this poem. But some lovely imagery and overall very clever (and probably waaaaay over my head in any case).

ChrisH said...

Yep, twinkling here!

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Lovely words but for one agree with Edward the word sh*t leapt out at me as well and dulled the toenails abit.