If one of the purposes of poetry is to be a ‘means of redemption’ as has been suggested, another question we might ask of ourselves is ‘why do I want to write poetry’? I continue to be amazed by how many people, writers included, who seem to feel that we write poetry as a means of making visible the deep emotions that churn deep inside us. Well, if that is true, what do we make of Wordsworth’s Daffodils or Keat’s To Autumnfor instance? A friend stopped me on the street last week. I had not seen her for two years, and as we caught up with each other, she told me that she was in a poetry group and really wanted to ‘get published and have an ISBN number’. No deep emotional material to expose there then? We will all have different reasons for writing poetry and if we go back to Hart Crane’s Bridge and look at my friends reason for writing poetry, we can perhaps see even here the new vistas of Crane and the redemptive purpose in poetry as my friend seeks to turn dreams to reality.

Feel free to post your poem to this blog…you will retain full copyright while giving yourself a hoist up onto the bridge.

Ferns

Native Earth

Hidden deep in ferns,
Damp, warm scent of earth.
Tears watering their dry ground,
My heart shrinking.
They were taking me away,
Again,
To smoke,
Buildings, smells I had never known.
I was home here,
Mothered by my native earth.
Do not let them take me,
Please.
I cry into this weeping April soil,
My tears
The children of this ancient hill.

They shout my name with urgency.
A waiting bus,
A hand upon my shoulder.
Come on, he says,
This elder whom I trusted.
Uncle, friend, paternal guide –
Betrayer!
Carried from the little bridge that marked my home,
Through the Viaduct,
The boundary of my life.
Lost now to that dear place,
An exile at the age of seven.
The ferns grew on in native heath,
I wither in a foreign land.

Fading Light

Mocking Shades

Sitting in fading summer light,
I watch shadows slide down greying walls,
The off-casts of West’s ending day.
Or are they the shadows of an old nostalgia?
Shady memories of youthful days
And forever promises?
Spent loves haunting some gloaming’s light?
High expectations?
Untamed joy
Now reflected in half-lit corners and
The Li li li’s of Garfunkle and his friend?
Drinking the heavy brew that time has soured,
Lost love mocks me through the dimming rooms.

<sttrain

One Hour Friend

I don’t want to get lost in books,
In the imaginary world of other lives,
Nodding my head on the pm train
Pretending I am interested
Intellectual
A patron of the Arts.
I don’t want to look lonely,
Living my life through fictional characters,
Displaying to you that I am clever,
But I’m not!
Just bored
My own life a fiction.
I read because Radio 4 said I should.

I need to keep up you know.
Be one of the crowd,
Talking with banal intelligence at the party.
Almost saying I know the author,
But I don’t.
I’m just a lonely old codger on a train,
Saying to you by the holding up of the cover page,
I am lonely and I am old…
Please talk to me.
Ask me what the book is about,
And I will tell you all my life,
My family
My travels
My work and has-been years.
I’ll appreciate the attention,
The moment’s friendship.
Then when you’re gone,
I’ll hold the cover page up again
And find another one hour friend.

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