Revelations

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-40645745?SThisFB

Such grim revelations must surely
increase as the process we
have started gathers pace.

Mothers, fathers, daughters, sisters,
brothers, grandfathers, sons,
each in their turn born into the light

in the arms of that nurturing landscape
that held them suspended and undisturbed
with their mortal secrets all kept safe

before the climate, our cameras,
the long reach of our media
rudely stripped them bare.

A long lifetime has passed.
We take stock of their remains.
A woman’s shoe, a green glass bottle.

An old-fashioned back-pack,
a part of a body. The ghoul in us
goes searching for the rest.

For them when the angel
came swooping like an eagle
goodbyes were scarcely possible.

Not for them the reaching out
towards the touching of gloved finger tips
or the last, brief locking of iced lips.

Only sheer, steep terror and
a gripping of the guts as the
horror of it all became apparent.

Seconds crawled by
as the earth up-ended and they
played out their slow, soft descent.

Climatologists instruct us
how a rise in global temperatures
is thawing the ice of mountain glaciers.

Our greed lays bare the corpses
of those loved one who died
in a more transparent age.

 

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Image from the BBC news story. Click on the link above.

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For Vincent Van Gogh, 29th July, 1890

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Image by Abigail Elizabeth Ottley

Sometimes it happens that moved by some trifle
the flood-gates of the heart will seize fast.
Then tears that seemed foolish become a great flood,
a passion that defies all explanation.

In the very young you may see it sometimes
when they throw back their heads and howl,
their plump cheeks red, their eyes screwed tight,
their small fists like windmills through the air.

Do not think it naughtiness. It is no show of mere petulance
but the human condition that has touched them.
They cry their frustration with a world so cruel
that it will not let them have and be.

And the elderly too who have least time left for tears
will weep at the slightest provocation.
This may be what love is: to be touched,
to be pierced by this well-spring that has no end.

Yesterday I watched as three baby rabbits
frolicked after sunbeams in my garden.
Such a tenderness engulfed me.
Later, this morning, I counted only two.

Now, this same evening, a summer storm rages.
It tears at the beauty of my poppies.
My heart bleeds to see them crushed.
As you say, my friend, this sadness never ends.

 

© Abigail Elizabeth Ottley

Of Spiders and Threads

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Image by David Rowland
By narrow light
of thin, hooked moon
a busy spider spins
to turn to grace
her public face by fair
and private means.
A silver spool, a pool
of pearls, and rubies,
deep as hearts are dark.
Such are the jewels
a spider keeps to bless
her precious work.
Then inch by inch
comes creeping dawn
when spider’s midnight
toils must cease.
The fruits of all her
labour this bright
opal’s fiery face.
© Abigail Elizabeth Ottley Smith

 

 

Imagine That

Grenfell Tower

Image from BBC

Imagine yourself on the phone to your sister
who knows she is going to die.

Imagine your neighbour and your neighbour’s children
pressed against their window hoping against hope.

Picture your father fighting to breathe
as the smoke that fills his lungs half blinds him.

Imagine the mother who must choose for her infant
between certain and probable death.

Now picture the scene as the businessmen gather.
Imagine what they said to each other.

Imagine their smooth, untroubled faces.
Picture their pink and white manicured hands.

Imagine for a moment they knew what they were doing.
Imagine that it adds up to murder.

Picture how the truth might look.
I wonder if you can.

Lee Shore

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Image by David Rowland

 

I remember the day the tied went out,
with my toes in shifting sand,
the day we walked by the restless sea
with our backs to the huddling town:
when the salt breeze lifted up your hair
and I failed to understand
that, on this day, the sky would fall
and the stars flee underground.

We strolled from crop to rocky crop
across the sun-streaked shore,
and laid our fleeting tracks of time
where none had been before;
and I called to you above the wind
but it chanced that you did not hear;
for you turned your steps towards the waves
and I was left standing there.

Perhaps it was the sea’s complaint
that rose and fell in your head;
perhaps, it wasn’t me at all,
nothing I did or said.
I like to think you didn’t know,
that it took you by surprise,
the day you shook the heavens
till the stars fell from the skies.

Abigail Elizabeth Ottley (previously Wyatt)

Ice Age

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This time we more than disagree;
the air between us is arctic.
Though I hear the snow shiver
and the ice groan,
there is little hope of a thaw.

I search your face anyway
for signs of spring;
the poppies on your lips still flower;
but your tongue tears
at the root of my mouth,
and your sharp eyes.

The Token

(for Estefania, now gone)

Estef again

 

A caterpillar inched across the path
as we three sat to gossip in the sun.
On such a day as this it was,
and here, on this plush lawn;
the path shone white and he lay
there as bright as any jewel;
and soft he was as any fur
and plumper than a pod.

‘It is a sign,’ you whispered;
‘he comes here to point the way;
and ponderous and slow he is,
yet he comes straight from God.’

‘From where?’ I said, and curled my lip
to think that God might care,
my life in disarray and only sadness in my heart.

‘From God,’ you said, ‘or from that place
where all your beauty is.
He tells you trust in time’s slow work
to grant you wings to fly.

On such a day as this it was
and here, on this plush lawn;
and, though the sun
sank down to sleep,
still all we three
sat safe and close,
just as the evening
air was warm;
and not a passing thought
we had for how the dark closed in
nor did I think this day to weep
to think how true you spoke.

Abigail Elizabeth Ottley Wyatt

‘Murder of Krows’ Anthology Launch with Dr Alan Kent and Redruth’s Own Les Merton

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‘Murder of Krows’ is an anthology of work by poets living and working in Cornwall, many of them closely connected with the Camborne, Pool and Redruth areas. The anthology is a not-for-profit venture and is the first major project of the Red River Poetry Collective. The collection has been edited and produced by fellow Red River Poet, Duncan Yeates, in conjunction with myself and it will shortly be available for just £1 per copy.

The launch evening for ‘Murder of Krows’ has been arranged for Wednesday, 20th March at The Melting Pot Cafe, Krowji. Our special guests will be Dr Alan Kent and Les Merton, both of whom have been gracious enough to show their support for this project by agreeing to read from their own works. In addition, there will be readings from some of the contributors to the pamphlet, Duncan and I included, a display of work from CMR artist, Janet McEwan who is among the contributors, and music from local singer/songwriters, David Rowland and Aston Drees.

The aim of this anthology – and of the Red River Poetry Collective generally – is, firstly, to encourage and support local poets and, secondly, to raise the profile of poetry in the Redruth and Camborne areas. We hope that lots of people will support us in this and there are a number of ways in which you can do this. The most obvious way is by coming along to the launch evening and buying a copy of the anthology. (The Melting Pot Cafe serves excellent coffee and a range of beers, wine and spirits.) There is no entry fee for this event and there will also be a free raffle. Alternatively, however, and if you can’t come along, you could do one of the following: order a copy of the anthology through me (which can be posted if necessary for an additional charge of 50p); contribute a prize for the free raffle (literary or artistic prizes are welcome);put up a poster in your place of work or study (contact me if you are able to do this); or simply share the link for this post and encourage your friends to do the same.

If this event is a BIG success we will be able to produce another anthology later in the year. Many thanks for reading and in anticipation of your support.

‘Words and Music’ at The Melting Pot Cafe, Krowji, Redruth

This evening, at The Melting Pot Cafe in Redruth, David and I will be hosting the second ‘Words and Music Performance Evening’.  The first of these evenings took place in May and was a great success with both musicians and poets saying how much they enjoyed it. I hope that in a day or two there will be photographs to post but, just to give anyone reading this, some idea of what goes on, here is a review written by Peter Jenkin of ‘Cornish Literature’.

Spoken Word Success at The Melting Pot Café

A large gathering enjoyed a mixture of serious and humorous verse at The Melting Pot Café’s new Spoken Word night.

After an opening musical interlude from David Rowland, Abigail Wyatt was the first to kick off the evening’s poetic entertainment. Performing two poems covering both the serious – the miscarriage of justice that killed Carlos de Luna – and the playful – George Galloway’s recent election attempts, she set the tone for the eclectic and high quality work that was to follow.

Duncan Yeates then took to the stage, opening with his poem: “A Small Work of Questionable Worth” which examined the sincerity of poetic declarations of love. This was followed by a poem looking at the same theme from a different perspective, reflecting as it did on Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s artistic reactions to the death of his wife, Lizzie Siddall.

The serious and intellectual tone of proceedings was reinforced by the anti-capitalist rhetoric of Craig Taylor-Broad’s poem, “Creation for Currency is Corruption” which was followed by some ribald but direct examinations of a failed relationship.

Craig was followed by Lorna Hosking who performed her understated and atmospheric poems entitled “March Moody Blues” and “January 2012” which received a warm and appreciative reaction.

Rather than taking to the stage, Sue Farmer offered an engaging mix of ukulele playing and political commentary from amongst the audience, causing many amused smiles with her forthright opinions on “The Sun” newspaper.

Other literary highlights included novelist Patricia Finney’s humorous but acute take on everything from the appeal of chocolate to the responsibility of bankers for Britain’s double dip recession. This more playful approach was also developed by Collette Loftus who managed to entertain the audience with some amusing personal reflections whose wittiness and insight was a refreshing change from the solipsism that can be found in more personal poetry.

Finally, all credit must go The Melting Pot Café’s house band: Mr Bones Presents as their lounge style musical productions never fail to delight. In addition to this, David Rowland, Aston Drees and Ice ‘n Slice all provided diverse and engaging musical interludes in a variety of styles.

The next Spoken Word night is scheduled for 22nd August. For further information, please visit the website at http://www.themeltingpotcafe.co.uk.