Sunday, 25 January 2009

Birthday post

Clarissa, 25 January 2009

It is C's birthday!!! Poem for her, on front of site. Or, if too lazy to check, it's here as well.

The Songlines

Timing is all, and as your eyes move along
the page, like a typewriter, pressing the return
key, you begin to hear the riff of time’s song-

lines, filling up, taking over. So you turn
round and, there in the mirror, you find a script
written without your permission, which, you learn,

is the script of your life in progress, a life stripped
from you and turned into a pattern that is more
pattern than you’d like, stricter, more tight-lipped

more revealing... But, you ask, how can we restore
the body into its lovely shapes, send the music
of time into reverse? Is there a way to score

music so it holds us in eternity, in some classic
frozen moment? Are the shapes we discover behind
our backs capable of movement - jerkily physic-

al, broken, like this line - into ourselves, refined
like oil, or gold? Here is a hand, two eyes
a mouth, each fine detail singing in an unlined

unwritten poetry that takes everyone by surprise,
the street itself moving in time, its music faint
but relentless, of happening, of song-lines, lost cries.


Curiosa said...

Happy birthday, Clarissa!

Poet in Residence said...

What a poem for a birthday present!
And what a special day it is today, for today the spirit of that Ayrshire rake about town, known out west as Robbie "ach aye jist a wee dram" Burns is 250 years this very day. Enjoy the haggis 'n tatties!

"My Love is like a red red rose ...

Poet in Residence said...

Good morning, C & G and here's hoping that the day-after-the-night-before hangovers light.

George, an haiku birthday present to Robert Burns, it's also a kind of present to your C, since you G are responsible for the darned thing for as you know pondering poets leap instinctively tangent-wise like bardic frogs jumping from one pond lily to another, setting off a chain reaction...

Billy C. said...

Yes, I read your poem on the front page, George. It's a bit complicated so I'll spend some time under the elderberry tree thinking about it.

Happy birthday, Clarissa. First time I've 'seen' you. There's character in that face: a nice one. But, the eyes have it for me. They are saying, "don't mess with me" but at the same time, there's a welcoming sparkle for those who would treat you right.

Have a lovely day.

Billy C. XXX

George S said...

Billy, there are horses for courses, and this horse may not be for you.

It's a poem about time. As your eye moves along a line of writing so time passes, and when you press the return key on your typewriter or keyboard, you jump on to the next line. So time goes on, writing its songlines, jumping on, sometimes suddenly, in the middle of a sentence, (and think of the lines on your face too). At such times you turn round and see yourself in the mirror. It isn't what you'd like to see if only because the face there is older.

Can we get back to youth, return the body to its once lovely shapes.? Can we hold time still? Do our reflections have some kind of will of their own to actively yank us back into the past? Could they show us a refined down, purified version of ourselves - the way, say, a soul is conjectured to be at the time of the bodily resurrection -, a version that would not be us at this or that time, but something smooth as oil, bright as gold?

No. We are hands and eyes and mouths, those are the songlines we are stuck with, and it is rather miraculous they should be there at all. They are the same songlines as the people moving in the street move to, with their faint, relentless, distant cries.

Dubois said...

When I read it I thought you were saying, "Sorry C, but you are looking a bit old". But then I thought I must be wrong because you wouldnt really say that to your wife would you.

George S said...

Between ourselves, Dubois, C was sixty on Sunday. I think she looks a good fifteen years younger than that (and claim part of the credit:) The poem is not about how I think she - or the person in the poem looks - but how she thinks she looks - or indeed how I actually look.

Billy C said...

You look like a rogue, George. There's a man of fun behind that (both spiritually and mileagewise) well-worn, well-travelled face. :)

Poet in Residence said...

We can with soft lighting
say in a dimly lit bar
disappear our songlines
but they will be back in the
glare of the bathroom mirror.
I thought of the typewriter
but also of Chatwin's aboriginal
songlines, how they found their
way across Australia by words in a long song, a poem if you like, rather than by map.
By 60 we are well on the way to the face we are working towards; lines not yet fixed in concrete.
that is the question