words like nets

January 2, 2020

‘Haunted!’ she cried, suddenly pressing the accelerator. ‘Haunted, ever since I was a child. There flies the wild goose. It flies past the window out to sea. Up I jumped (she gripped the steering-wheel tighter) and stretched after it. But the goose flies too fast. I’ve seen it, here – there – there – England, Persia, Italy. Always it flies fast out to sea and always I fling after it words like nets (and here she flung her hand out) which shrivel as I’ve seen nets shrivel with only sea-weed in them; and sometimes there’s an inch of silver – six words – at bottom of the net. But never the great fish who lives in the coral-groves.’

Virginia Woolf
Orlando

Little Red Cap

December 24, 2019

At childhood’s end, the houses petered out
Into playing fields, the factory, allotments
Kept, like mistresses, by kneeling married men
The silent railway line, the hermit’s caravan
Till you came at last to the edge of the woods
It was there that I first clapped eyes on the wolf

He stood in a clearing, reading his verse out loud
In his wolfy drawl, a paperback in his hairy paw
Red wine staining his bearded jaw. What big ears
He had! What big eyes he had! What teeth!
In the interval, I made quite sure he spotted me
Sweet sixteen, never been, babe, waif, and bought me a drink

My first. You might ask why. Here’s why. Poetry
The wolf, I knew, would lead me deep into the woods
Away from home, to a dark tangled thorny place
Lit by the eyes of owls. I crawled in his wake
My stockings ripped to shreds, scraps of red from my blazer
Snagged on twig and branch, murder clues. I lost both shoes

But got there, wolf’s lair, better beware. Lesson one that night
Breath of the wolf in my ear, was the love poem
I clung till dawn to his thrashing fur, for
What little girl doesn’t dearly love a wolf?1
Then I slid from between his heavy matted paws
And went in search of a living bird – white dove –

Which flew, straight, from my hands to his open mouth
One bite, dead. How nice, breakfast in bed, he said
Licking his chops. As soon as he slept, I crept to the back
Of the lair, where a whole wall was crimson, gold, aglow with books
Words, words were truly alive on the tongue, in the head
Warm, beating, frantic, winged; music and blood

But then I was young – and it took ten years
In the woods to tell that a mushroom
Stoppers the mouth of a buried corpse, that birds
Are the uttered thought of trees, that a greying wolf
Howls the same old song at the moon, year in, year out
Season after season, same rhyme, same reason. I took an axe

To a willow to see how it wept. I took an axe to a salmon
To see how it leapt. I took an axe to the wolf
As he slept, one chop, scrotum to throat, and saw
The glistening, virgin white of my grandmother’s bones
I filled his old belly with stones. I stitched him up
Out of the forest I come with my flowers, singing, all alone

Carol Ann Duffy

Words

November 30, 2019

Language games, playing with language. Using the dictionary is fun. Words play leapfrog with each other. Letters disappear. And, unexpectedly, poems appear…

Poetry’s all very well
but it rhymes and scans, its lines
strap you into carved Imperial chairs, tie you
to the headboard of a four-poster bed. What I need
is words that never sleep, a futuristic babble, glossolalia
ancient words that only unborn babies understand, pure sound.

Nancy Mattson

poets

November 16, 2019

We all write poems; it is simply that poets are the ones who write in words.

John Fowles
The French Lieutenant’s Woman

I dreamed what you dreamed

November 9, 2019

We live and breathe words….It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them. Reading your words, what you wrote, how you were lonely sometimes and afraid, but always brave; the way you saw the world, its colours and textures and sounds, I felt – I felt the way you thought, hoped, felt, dreamt. I felt I was dreaming and thinking and feeling with you. I dreamed what you dreamed, wanted what you wanted – and then I realized that truly I just wanted you.

Cassandra Clare
Clockwork Prince

Coal

November 5, 2019

I
Is the total black, being spoken
From the earth’s inside.
There are many kinds of open.
How a diamond comes into a knot of flame
How a sound comes into a word, coloured
By who pays what for speaking.

Some words are open
Like a diamond on glass windows
Singing out within the crash of passing sun
Then there are words like stapled wagers
In a perforated book — buy and sign and tear apart —
And come whatever wills all chances
The stub remains
An ill-pulled tooth with a ragged edge.
Some words live in my throat
Breeding like adders. Others know sun
Seeking like gypsies over my tongue
To explode through my lips
Like young sparrows bursting from shell.
Some words
Bedevil me.

Love is a word another kind of open —
As a diamond comes into a knot of flame
I am black because I come from the earth’s inside
Take my word for jewel in your open light.

Audre Lorde

My need is for poetry

October 31, 2019

My need is for poetry,
the burning magic of words
that awaken unguessed at emotion –
and understanding,
sometimes only partial.
I need poetry,
its vivid colours firing imagination
and opening the souls of us all.

P

Words

October 29, 2019

May I write words more naked than flesh,
stronger than bone

Anne Carson
If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho

She wrote her words

October 29, 2019

She wrote that her fingers became so many sable brushes on his skin, a subtle interlacing of sensations, creating even greater desire. She wrote that her hands were the tools of a sculptress, engraving tenderness in the clay of his body. She wrote that his mouth, like the poet’s pen, tenderly grazed the vellum of her skin in rhymes of intense pleasure. She wrote her words like torrid and obscene passage from a never-ending novel – sensual, voluptuous, furious. She wrote the words and they became…her lover.