Monday, 15 April 2019

Let Every Particle of Dust Breath Forth its Joy



For Raef, with thanks.

Europa gazes to where the sun is setting
Dust of dusk on Giant Taunter’s day,
Traditional for many kinds of meetings
I hike across the city; down a hill,
Along a railway line; under the ring road
Where they take refuge from Thorsday rain,
Through not so busy plazas of the brutalist period;
Mall trickle with folk whose homes are rucksacks,
Uber drivers, cyclists, students, tired workers;
But none as trangressive as I: I’m going to an evening of poetry!

Let every voice be heard,
Be it of pain or joy, innocence or experience
Cleverness, belly laughter or mind blown surreality,
Let each one be honoured equally.
May we all discover the truest voice we have
That the heart sings through, whatever weather
Might assail it; may we all
Be at one with our microphone stand
& even if not a single person understands
What it is we are trying to say,
May we successfully invoke The Muse,
Banish fear & discover through words what is beyond words.

The world is a better place that we are free
To gather & speak our diverse truths tonight
As passionately & as beautifully as we can
Then go our separate ways, content that we are part of something
Larger than ourselves that we just can’t see
But feel in our body, breath & mind
Some kind of transformation.
And when they use our atoms to make new lives*
Let every particle of dust breath forth its joy.**

* Philip Pullman, His Dark Materials
** William Blake, Europe: A Prophecy


My friend Raef Boylan is an editor of Here Comes Everyone an excellent Coventry-based, bi-annual literary magazine of poetry, fiction, articles and artwork. He is also one of the best comperes I've seen in his role as MC at the open mic poetry night Fire and Dust in the Big Comfy Bookshop on the first Thursday of the month. Recently he commented that there are plenty of poems with fire in them but not many about dust.



I immediately thought about Philip Pullman's dust & his reference to William Blake also using of the word in a mystical sense. The two great men are honoured in the final lines of the poem.



Inspired by the Knife Angel

Inspired by Alfie Bradley's Knife Angel some of us Cov poets have been writing & recording poetry about knives, knife crime & the effect the statue itself has had upon us. Here are two poems, on my Youtube channel.

These are the Madnesses.

The video features an extract from this longer poem & the video was made by my friend Russ Berry while I read the poem by the statue.




Teach Your Children

This poem was a direct response to the statue itself; the look of grief on the angel's face & the mundane, household nature of many of the would be weapons (100,000 of them, I believe.) I filmed the statue & added the recording of the poem later.




The Knife Angel is located by Coventry Cathedral, facing in the direction of the University. It is there until April 23rd, so if you haven't seen it you have about a week left at the time of writing.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Not Blindness, Knowing


 Into this well like deep
that has never seen the sun
I found a way within

In the self perfected darkness
of this tunnel, of this final
cavity I feel my way

Held by strengths I cannot see
walls I can barely touch in the flood
I am surrounded by mystery

The felt sense of the secret
the lightless presence
not an absence of sense

Not a blindness
nor a state of unknowing
but knowledge of an infinity

Beyond the abyssal valve
floating in a chamber of my heart
I find that I can really see.

We are never apart
there is no such thing as self consciousness
just an ungraspable, unspeakable, timeless knowing.