Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday Poem - Scriptorium

for Melissa Green

The knot in your old oak table pulses in synch with the lighthouse
storm warnings; Cato – draped like night around your neck – smells
of salt water, gold leaf, barnacles, the blunt-sharp rocks of proximity

and distance. He purrs in metronomic lighthouse time. The tip
of your fountain pen dips into black ink, shakes off the dark, ignites
a constellation of stars on the page. “I always write,” you say, “on yellow

paper; let it be as close to ochre as anyone can find, in honour of Lascaux’s hooves,
Nuri’s song lines, Altamira’s bison thundering; yellow paper, with dark blue 
veins in the page to stop me trembling; ancient tributaries mapping my way.”


Away now from that ancient shipwreck of a house, that living catacomb – the unsafe
ark - words fly from your pen; those not already here, climb your apartment
steps, find their way in. Daily they come and never leave  - always with you

and life in mind. Like the torches that illuminated the first cave paintings
they peel back the shadows: inside the page, lanterns are waiting to be lit;
the vaulted ceilings of Medieval churches; fresco figures beckoning.

Lovers meet at dawn. In silence they greet each other’s deep, 
forbidden places. “I see,” you say. “I see,” I say. Your old oak table 
has the presence of an altar, the rounded belly and arched back 

of a much-loved cave. It’s a secret and a sacred stage. 
The tea in our cups not tea at all, but terracotta rain
gathered in a downpour, shot through with molten gold. 

CB - 14 May 2010/24 March 2011

To be dazzled, humbled, grounded, uplifted; inspired, encouraged and transported, 
visit Melissa's blog,  Vesper Sparrow's Nest. . .

For more Tuesday Poems, please click on the quill. 
This week's editor is NZ poet, Orchid with a poem by Canadian, Stephen Bett.

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new NEWS new NEWS new NEWS new NEWS

I urge you to pop over to Rachel van Blankenship's blog where you can listen to her spellbinding reading of her poem - TWO BODIES


  1. I really enjoyed hearing this read after I had read through it.Perhaps it is words that wake me in the morning, telling me to place them in an order.

  2. this is what a gift is.

    melissa gives with her writing; claire gives back with art and writing, acknowledging the gift.

    as lewis hyde says: the spirit of a gift is kept alive by its constant donation.

    and we who lie on our backs in the sand at night, gazing up at the stars, can only marvel.

    xo, all around.

  3. Lovely Claire!!! (((((0)))))))) xxxx The poem, the audio (delish), the gift, the comments here... All a good kick into my Tuesday> Thank you. Off for a walk now....

  4. The very best goosebumps...such a wondrous gift, and to have your reading and visuals as well. Should I ever forget the depth to which mystery and magic and love fill our lives, may I remember to return here, where one may be known and understood. Smiling and nodding. xo

  5. This is such a wonderful poem--I love the richness and magic and power of it.

  6. "purrs in metronomic lighthouse time..."
    One day, thoughtful teachers will analyze, explain this fluid line. I will just absorb it.
    Thankyou, Claire.

  7. Phew, Claire, where do you come from, you and Melissa both, and where are you taking us? Blessed and blessing creators . . .

  8. Dear John - [o^o] = [(((o)))] ?

    You are inventive as ever ; ) Thank you.

    And thanks, Melissa.
    L, C

  9. Steve - thanks for your encouragements. I must admit it felt more than a little unnerving to put my 'speaking' voice out here! Am happy to know you enjoyed listening to this poem for Melissa ; )

    Spring will be springing in the Mid-West. I am behind in my blog commenting; read regularly but life's been unusually chokka (NZ term for 'full'?) lately.

    Oh, I've just looked up the word 'chokka' and see it's also a small squid-like creature that used to be caught as bait in the fishing industry!!! Well, well. How wonderful that we learn something new every day.

  10. I was caught up in the evocative images of your poetry. I'm glad I stopped to listen and appreciate your talent. Thank you, Roland

  11. Yes, goosebumps with Marylinn. It's incredible to HEAR the people we talk with on the blogs. We read and hear the voice inside us, but to hear it from you is another gift entirely. You have a beautiful voice.
    It's funny - on the same day (I think) we both posted small breaks in the usual silence of blogland. We do exist! We are real voices!
    Thanks for posting.

  12. Thank you dear Claire for this gift of words and warmth. I printed this and it's going into my journal, with your permission of course. I suspect copious amounts of Yellow Ochre may be used.

    Catching up too:)

  13. Dear Susan - Melissa gives so much with her writing. It seems to me to contain centuries past and at the same time to light a way forward.

    The Gift (we have talked about Lewis Hyde's book before, haven't we? I can only think 'yes, of course') is one of the books that lives beside my bed. It confirmed so much me at the time I first read it, cracking something open and into the light. The line you quote here seems inherent in our community - our 'band', as Marylinn has named us - where gifts of all kinds are kept alive through exchange and circulation. We are blessed indeed, each and every one of us. Thank you for the generosity of your offerings, Susan. L, C xo

  14. o<<<<
    (my attempt at a lighthouse)

  15. Dear open-hearted Mary - thank you. You and I set out from our homes and go walking more-or-less in synch. each morning, you know? Nice! L, C xo

  16. Dear Marylinn - I feel the same when I come to the threshold of your room, find the door ajar and enter. Thank you. xo

  17. Dear Helen - I think you just gave us a precis of our shared creative practice? Thank you.

  18. Dinahmow - where some of our lines come from remains a mystery. I imagine you find this, too? Thank you for highlighting this one as speaking specially to you. ; )

  19. Dear Pen friend - we live more and more with mystery and in the mysterious, don't you find? Where do we - or anything - come from? Where do we go to? It's more than ashes-to-ashes, dust-to-dust? Unless the dust is star material. Is it enough to trust in the 'Ah-ha' of it all - the head-scratching as much as the whirling dance? In the end, or so it seems to me, everything comes down (or up!) to relationship. That's where it all happens, where it all comes home to roost, where inspiration sparks and passions ignite. Is not everything we embark on some form of conversation? So much to ponder. . . ! L, C xo

  20. Roland - a new face and name. Welcome! Thank you for coming and for leaving a message here. I will pop over to your blog(s) later today. Take care - Claire

  21. Dear Rachel - 'small breaks in the usual silence of blogland. We do exist! We are real voices!' Yes! Funny that ; ). I loved - loved - hearing you read TWO BODIES this morning. You quite took my breath away. How powerful the river that runs through you; thrilling to witness. L, C xo

  22. Dear Antares Cryptos - I'm touched that you would want to print this poem for Melissa off to keep in your journal; thank you. (And, of course, please feel free to do so!).

    Have you read Victoria Finlay's glorious book 'Colour - Travels through the Paintbox'? If not, you are in for a treat. She travels the world in search of the raw ingredients used to make paints and dyes. The excitement with which she addresses colour, the reverence with which she researches place, culture, ceremony and lore is captivating.

    Bring on the Yellow Ochre! One can never have too much of the real thing ; )

  23. O ~ ~ ~

    A lighthouse for you, too, RachvB xo

  24. Thank you Claire. I will definitely have a look, this may mean another purchase. Sigh.:)

  25. Hi Ant. C - we can do worse than collect books?! I do hope you get a copy. It's guaranteed to satisfy left & right hemispheres ; )