Category Archives: Poem – Not Written By Me Though
The best tribute I can pay to this piece, Betty, is to repost it so that others can stumble upon it – and you. The best poems are timeless.
REMEMBERING OF A SOMETHING
I shall not remember this,
Nor shall be remembered for this.
And yet for a moment I am here,
Settled between grey hills in slow rain.
My love, still sleeping, her dreaming breath
A slow mist down by the river.
Where did it begin?
Moving on, just so,
As a shifting sunset.
Stone stretched thin until i admits hollowed light.
Dark cliffs wane, and here we are:
Saints as numberless as sheep,
Sheep as numerous as clouds.
Clouds piling to heaven then whispering to nothing,
Pushed by hills older than themselves.
The river runs thick and dark, naming each stone.
It is as easy to forget, sometimes, as to remember.
(Bitter ashes, black soot, husks huddled that once had faces).
How fast the grass covers it all, takes away cause and reason.
Here we are:
A silted green valley down to the sea at Llantwit,
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How unexpected to find a second poem containing the word pilchard in such close (relative) proximity. And a fine poem too.
Where is the tang of salt,
the reek of the sea’s harvest?
No more the seafarer’s roll
caresses my pier side stones;
no more the women’s red hands
bear fish stained air to cellars,
to chapel, to marriage beds.
I am left to the idle,
the fanciful escapees
that smother my golden sands,
and the sea only knows rage
or seduction – picturesque
to the exclusion of life.
Pilchards were my life – “pilchards”!
Even the word lacks beauty –
‘a devious shining worm
of a man’ this oily fish
has become in a packaged age.
Eyes have turned to the shining
light, springing into the air,
to the translucent turquoise,
to shapes of leisured gesture,
and the abstraction of form.
But beneath, I lie silent,
founded in oil and offal,
grieving for the days of fish,
the certainty of produce,
of sea, land and working hands –
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Tick tock clock click
Clunk click every trip*
Locked in up tight
Count down to zero
Time is no straight line,
it is a serpent
crossing the room sideways
like a glance.
It burns rubber
around every corner
like bits of confetti
into our pockets.
Time dances a circle
around the fire of desire
then churns out to sea
on a wave of kelp,
unraveling one dream
It flip flops
in crazy eights,
bounces like a rubber ball
on a hot sidewalk
reflecting all angles
oblique and acute
but always right.
At its best
time is a spiral
lifting our vision
until the end
when it shrinks into a dot
in the palm of our hand,
and with one breath
blows us away
into the heart of forever.
© 2014, 2017 Betty Hayes Albright
Pen; a shamefully legalized sword and
a paper of forced reflections, I am just
a rented massacre frantically walking on a narrow lane,
burdened with ostracized thoughts and glimpses of reality;
denied, I was once told that my words have the power
to change the stagnant and uplift the meek voices,
but I am a fiction; dead, poetry; marginalized,
a novel unheard
for all they wear is white and all I know is to stain.
Truly enviable, Bella. And what a shame “masterful” remains so tainted with outdated and unwelcome sexism. 😦
That strong wiry body she wore
like a curse, smiling all the while,
nature diffusing her with passion
for dun and verdant, fruit and flowers
astounding nimble fingers, eyes darting
and dancing with delight not reciprocated
in a world of humans she tried to forgive
as we communed in silence, renegotiated
until endings inserted themselves
as they will, all gardens being temporary;
And refusing to take further insult
from a species short on integrity tried
to end it, booze and pills, vomit clumped
in a long tangle of hula hair, cradled
skeleton rocking back and forth, back
and forth, rejoin the living, meet us
again on terms of this earth, let us touch
the sparkle, share wisdom and laughter
while sifting over mounds of harvest
heaped onto old unblemished porcelain
as we pass time reflecting on budding
cloves and sliding doors to worlds
beyond the veil.
I grew up amidst plenty, Depression-era
lack transformed into expensive Japanese
silk paintings hung above a cut glass table,
black lacquer chairs, raw silk seats reserved
for holidays unfit for seven children, dreams
of people I never really knew, though
they precipitated my life;
I might have preferred distressed plank flooring
and a wood-fired oven over cork and carpet
and all the confusion, byproducts of too much
striving and not enough stillness;
motivations well understood by me now,
having thrown myself into enough fires
to acknowledge and amend miscues, misdeeds;
Like Arjuna in the Baghavad Gita,
many have have beheld the face of divinity
as it exists in all creatures and life forms
everywhere, whether perceived as good or bad;
I, too, tremble at the feet of this knowing.
CORNER OF THE EYE
(A touch of faery sight)
I see, and not quite see, this sleek man in blue
Quietly through the oak woods of Sunart,
(Just so, as through your own mind now),
The whispered past and the roaring futures.
Green rock, black root, the boulder house split,
Door leaning ajar, and the elders:
Roof and walls of a tumbled croft,
And hearth music in the song of insects
That drub the late summer air
In the folded waiting of the far north.
Listen to a tuning fork, high and clear struck.
The sense of it continuing on, a breath on sound,
A pulse of wingbeats. That is how it feels,
Stepping between the path and the oak
And the high larch, and the dripped lichen.
Watched by the timeless, curious eye.
Gone, to them, in a single blink,
As they to me, a flit of mind
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Illustration by Arushi Gupta
Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past.
– Anne Lamott
If Hope were a guest I would lock her in a cellar.
If Hope were a movie I would not eat the popcorn.
If I saw Hope on a sidewalk, half broken, I would keep on driving.
If Hope knew the real me she would run screaming.
If Hope were a digestive biscuit she would be full of animal fat.
If Hope attended your wedding you can be sure you’ll end in divorce.
If Hope were sitting here I would tell her I want her back.
If Hope saw me naked she would say, We’ve got work to do.
If Hope found this poem she would burn it.
If Hope were a bartender everything would be on the house.
If Hope were a fruit she would be an apple.
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