Monday, 27 April 2009

The Creaky Autumn House of Smoky Myth and Lamplit Poetics

NEWSFLASH: this may seem a tad premature but book out the evening of Friday the 6th November right now. The Westcountry School of Myth and Story will be hosting the acclaimed New York State Poet Jay Leeming and myself for a night of Poetry and Ancient Story, here at the Myth school H. Q., Tregonning House in Ashburton, Devon.

Jay is a curious gnome at the edge of the devils garden, a Gazelle of thought eating burgers on the midnight train to Harlem, a doctor in the secret heart of all long lashed Iranian Girls. He's a last chance, an old friend, a violent quarrel,a liminal streak of hooligan spirit. He's a midnight reprieve from the Governer, 10 bucks found in the washpile, a nimble Cheetah dancing on the teeth of the Mabinogion.

We've been on the road a bunch together, and that rainy night in November our Poetry Coach will be pulling into Leafy Ashburton-Pulled by the wild-eyed Colts of Robert Graves and Hafez. free accomodation for any travelling over 200 miles. Maybe a full English breakfast.Maybe a spontaneous workshop on Taliesin and the Chakras via the poetry of Emily Dickinson-it could happen if the vibe is good.

I will repeat all this sometime down the road. Check out today!

Ghazal with Butterfly and Hurricane

From the roof I watched the storm passing north of us, white
ladders crackling to earth, its thunder too far away to hear.

"Know thyself!" advised Socrates, gesturing down the dark path
of tigers, trapdoors and poisonous snakes.

To live is to know death. I tried to separate them
but the waters joined, grew, swept me away.

Who sewed your shirt in a warehouse with no windows?
Who assembled your computer on a rainy day in Bangladesh?

Harnessed to the table I cried out as the lightning filled me.
Then I opened my eyes, broke the straps and began to walk.

When the Normans invaded England they brought us words
like flower, bureau, overture. Grammar of knives and blood.

If only there were still time to set Lorca free, to call back
the soldiers about to shoot him in a field outside the city.

Fill your lungs with reality and then dive out of the boat down
to the red coral and yellow shells that watch you from the dream.

I threw some clothes into a grocery bag and left her for good.
Bagels and peanut butter in my car and no looking back.

If every blues guitarist is a potato in a field, then what is needed
to make them grow best? How much light, nitrogen, rainfall?

The body temperature of the hibernating squirrel is below
freezing, the library locked, the guitars shut in their cases.

In Memphis I stood by the river in which the songwriter
drowned, remembering how his voice once pulled me under.

The lethal sting of the jellyfish. The prick of the rose-bush.
Those muscles in the ballerina's calves are strong as iron.

What really drove us nuts were her hands, caressing our wooden
horse as she called our names. Even our knives began to sweat.

After removing a few bolts from the Bill of Rights the President
gave it a good kick and the whole thing fell to the ground.

Remember the cattle moaning inside the railroad car.
Remember the carrots shouting as they are pulled from the earth.

In silence the Bach fugue is planted and it grows, buds opening
to blossom into flower and then close again in the dusty church.

Always another explanation, another theory, another dream
beyond this one in which you rattle your cup against the bars.

Sailing a model boat with my father, months before his death.
How it circled the pond, then struck out towards emptiness.

Even the flap of a butterfly's wings can change the future.
The old woman says her prayers as the hurricane nears land.

Jay Leeming.

No comments: