Alexander Averin

Friday 11 February 2011

Crazy Valentine

Dear Diary,

When love is not madness, it is not love.  
Pedro Calderon de la Barca
I was thinking this morning (dangerous I know) about the places and times that inspiration strikes me.  I usually get an idea for a poem, or a line for one in in the middle of the  night,  in the shower, out on a walk,or when I am driving.  These are all places where a notebook is of no use whatsoever.  I wonder where you get your flashes of inspiration about what will be your next creation?  Do you always carry the essential notebook and pen?  Or are you like me who often has little scraps of paper all over the place?

I was leafing through a Country Life magazine in the library in my lunch hour yesterday as there are often interesting snippets in it.  I have discovered an artist I had not come across called Arthur Hacker, (1858-1919).  I expect you all know of him but my education is often sadly lacking.  I have picked one of his pictures to illustrate a wee poem about Valentine's Day.  It is a bleak poem which is about love but not the happiest aspects of it so I am posting it before Monday when I expect the day to be a happy one, full of Cupids, arrows, soft nothings and anonymous messages of love.

Vale of Farewell
Arthur Hacker

The idea for this poem came to me when I was driving. It is a true story, based on real people who shall obviously have to remain anonymous.

Crazy Valentine

He has lost his wife.
Some folk said he should have been more careful,
that the cause was his neglect.
He swore she was not lost,
that he had just mislaid her
but now she lays with another.

He lives a solitary life now
in their longhouse below a Welsh mountain.
Memories of their sweet union still hang around the yard.

Even the hills are sexy, their curves seem way too beautiful;
symmetrical, symbolic, their view from the cottage
both attract and pain him in equal measure.

He has joined a dating site and goes on nervous assignations
but the women all seem coarse and not remotely like his wife,
the one he swears is calling to him from some secret  place.

She is still arty, awash with sweetness and a cool allure
which he knows can quickly sway according to that moody moon.
He looks out for her in special hope upon the feast of Valentine.

Sometimes she is dominant and close,
sometimes distant, hidden and reserved.
but he believes that she is there and that she calls to him alone,

that she is waiting for the moment to return
that life will return to normal
and that everything will be the way it  always used to be,

before he had woefully mislaid her.

Cait O’Connor


Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Such a beautiful poem.
Wishing you a lovely Valentine's Day.
Inspiration is everywhere.

Dave King said...

My inspiration comes much like yours, it seems. Often at night, usually just after retiring or immediately upon waking, though either of these will usually be after having given some thought or done some work on it during the day. The shower is another area.

Strummed Words said...

Sad and very moving. Inspiration comes out of the blue at times, hard to pinpoint.

Ruth said...

My ideas for poems usually come after sitting down and "going inside" for a while, often after a walk in nature.

I really like the sad image of him mislaying his wife, out of thoughtlessness and neglect, taking her for granted. I also like the way the landscape is her body.

Mac n' Janet said...

Well that one's going to linger in my memory, I love the idea of him mislaying his wife! I think a number of men do that without even knowing it.

ds said...

Beautiful, Cait. I like its unexpectedness. Thank you.

hedgewitch said...

I've been mislaid a few times myself--one generally tends not to come back, I think, to those who are so careless. I enjoyed your words, and their picture of the Welsh hills and human heart.

I have scraps all over the place, and three different notebooks big and small. The hardest ones are those that come in the middle of the night, sometimes whole long ones, andif I don't get up and write, they are 'mislaid' forever.

Claudia said...

what a wonderful yet sad idea with him mislaying his wife - unusual and beautifully crafted

Unknown said...

"Even the hills are sexy, their curves seem way too beautiful;
symmetrical, symbolic, their view from the cottage both attract and pain him in equal measure."

this is an amazing stanza in the midst of a really terrific poem. Thank you!

moondustwriter said...

I love the image of driving through the Welsh countryside going down the wrong lane because I am trying to find a piece of paper. I have written poems half asleep; in the mornings it is beautiful illegible chicken scratch.

A sad tale of a man who could have done better with love

thanks for sharing with One Stop - I'm standing in for my mate Pete - hope you can hear the accent all the same


Anonymous said...

You've painted a picture that will now stay in my mind. It encompasses the Welsh landscape that I love so much. Thank you Cait for your perceptive, beautiful quiet and poetic creation.

Relyn Lawson said...

Your poem made me laugh. I enjoyed it so much. I'm very glad I followed you here from Gigi's place. It's so nice to meet you.

CAMILLA said...

Hello Cait,

A very very moving Poem Cait, thank you for sharing with us.

I am one of those people who have snippets and bits of paper all over the place.! I have a blank paged hardback book that I have entered some of my written Poems in, some too scribbled down in other note books.

I was only just thinking to myself this morning Cait of the Country Life Magazine which I have here, fancy that.!


girl daydreaming said...

beautiful poem. come to think of it, i find that is a story not often told, someone finding the right one and losing her because he did not take care...

beautifully written.

Fennie said...

Maybe he staked her at cards and lost her that way; at any rate he should at least look for her instead of bemoaning his lot. Still a very beautiful poem, Cait. Like all your poems. Full of longing, hiraeth even.

Posie said...

Cait what a lovely poem, with fantastic imagery your words capture the situation so well. I find I get creative bursts and then just have to grab a pen or brush as I can. It is funny how inspiration and creativity seem to come in bursts, it doesn't just flow smoothly all the time, but the clarity of the moment when it is there is superb.

Marion Williams-Bennett said...

What a sad poem.. he mislaid her, no she lays wit another. I know people how are getting mislaid...sad.

Beautiful writing, Cait.

I think inspiration comes when we are not in the doing, when our minds are relatively quiet. Like the shower. Lately, mine comes when I am just waking up and before I am out of bed. In that quiet space, much gets presented. I just need to remember the pen!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Pondside said...

So beautiful - you've put that terrible regret into words.

Fire Byrd said...

It's tough being alone, but particularly so on Valentine's day, if you don't have the resources to be okay alone.
Lovely clear poem.

Shaista said...

Ah poor man! Longing for the already departed one. A woman freed doesn't look back does she?!

Happy Valentine's to you dear Cait. lots of softened with chocolate candy heart arrows whizzing your way...

I have lines of poetry come to me anywhere at all, and I scrabble for a pen! Because of course if I don't get to tranfer the words quickly they stick their tongues out at me and whizz off to you, or Ruth or Terresa or well, the other Poets :) Have you seen this TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert? It is one of the most brilliantly compassionate things you will hear about Inspiration, the Muse and writing...(aside from Rilke's Letters).

Toni aka irishlas said...

What wonderful words, sad that they are. Lovely poem and beautifully written.