Tall, lean, feline, black eyed Winter is aprowl high-shouldered, haughty, she swirls through branches that strain to catch her bleaches an expansive sky watches for lonely bones
This night a god will sing in the storm lay her glitter cloak over all reveal a power and deadly glory to make you question your beliefs as she slithers under doors to embrace you gnaws your bones with cold takes you
Chickens roam the aisle, having burst from their basket, but it’s only a problem when we stop to let more people on. The driver pulls us rounds tight curves blasts his horn at slower traffic squeezes between them and a sheer drop onto smoking fields.
It’s 1983 and we are climbing Etna the hard way in a local bus. Someone is praying in a low voice and there’s nothing to hold onto except each other and perhaps God. Certainly not the chickens who squawk at every bump and swerve. Three villages later we get to the hotel. It is empty, embraced by a tall curve of still glowing lava. Hailing a battered Landrover, we pay its owner to take us further see the bus turn to descend to Catania once more.
Up once more, at a steadier pace, until the driver stops. We walk over hot ground, to a raised snake of rock which we climb, until I realise it is a lava tunnel and dangerous. As we climb down you pause to take a photo and the mouth of the volcano explodes. Our terrified driver flings his vehicle around we chase after him, get in, race down past the deserted hotel down further to find the bus in a village.
We sigh with relief at the safety of the bus, Enter, find seats together. A chicken pops onto my lap You stroke her gently and a goat puts her head in yours.
This poem is constructed as per the instructions over at Dverse today where everything is about endings:
– take the very last/final line from each of your most recent poems and re-write them as a poem – choose at least 12 poems (for this 12th month!) – keep each line intact, unadulterated – you may add preposition, conjunction or change of tense if it helps the flow – you may use enjambment to break a line – the lines do not have to follow date order
November, and you stand in your mobcap that hated worn black gown look up at the big house, lit and warm your tear-stained face pale as the mist a mist cold as the employer that has told you to leave leave the one job that feeds your family family bereft of a father or sons to work servant work you despised, literate girl that you are work you so needed
Beggars can’t be choosers
But once the son of the house chose to court you and you rebuffed him your days there were numbered have been sent home without a reference on a chill winter morning so you stand in your mobcap, your servant uniform look up at the big house, lit and warm weep for the hungry mouths at home those so small sisters
This poem has been written in response to a prompt at Dverse, where we are asked to respond to one of four paintings. I chose John Atkinson Grimshaws painting entitled A November Morning (1883). I looked at the painting (see below), saw the servant girl looking up and her story just came to me.
The other nations of this Earth live along side us Misunderstood, undervalued, used and abused So many of us not longer see them We fortunate few may wilfully misunderstand But many see the truth, see the power and strength Even in a hen, blackbird or crow Animals are the other nations of this Earth Caught in the net of time Travellers with us on this one green globe
“….the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.” ~ Henry Beston
The poetry of the BBC Shipping forecast, broadcast late each night, has filled my adult life from my university days using telescopes, via night feeding babies to now, when I often can’t sleep until well past midnight.
A typical forecast for several sea areas might be;
“Dogger, Fisher, German Bight. Southeast veering southwest 4 or 5, occasionally 6 later. Thundery showers. Moderate or good, occasionally poor.”
What this is telling us is that the sea areas Dogger, Fisher and German Bight are forecast to experience a SW wind direction blowing Force 4 or 5, sometimes F6 later. ‘Later’ is specifically at at time over 12 hours from the time the forecast was issued.
For those of you wondering what the first line of this poem refers to, here is a map of the sea areas covered by the forecast……
Sharing this poem in the Open link Night over at Dverse!
It is time for the monthly poetry challenge at Fake Flamenco. Rebecca has asked us to write a Haiku about something that fascinates us in nature; an experience, creature or setting.
I’ve chosen to write about the night sky, specifically the glory of the Milky Way. I live in a town, so don’t often see our home galaxy, but when I do it’s like meeting an old friend. My university degree is in Astronomy, and the sky is certainly something that fascinates me!