Poems for the weekend

Writing a poetry MA brought a new dimension to my own writing and there is no doubt that my writing improved. Studying for an MA – I cant think now HOW I did it in terms of time and commitment – was one of the best things I have ever done for myself.I developed that streak of ruthlessness we all need on occasion, to see things through. After that I don’t know where it went! However, cutting and pasting text, reversing parts, eliminating words, or writing using the seventh words on the seventh line of the seventh page didn’t always lead to the text that I intended. Some of the stuff I wrote, I quite like; some I don’t. Some is SO personal that I doubt it’ll see the light of day or screen. Other stuff manufactured in this way leave me cold and I suspect anyone who reads it.

This is one written in 2010 in Ty Newydd under the tutorship of Pascale Petit and George Szirtes . It’s one I’m quite fond of, as that day I was in a quandary and I experienced crisis of confidence. This poem was one way of working that out.

The banks of the Dwyfor
are greyed out from green
like the pebble that rolls in her palm.
Clouds hide all certainties and soften mountain peaks – her points of reference.
Mountains become textures and shades that
absorb her shape.

She’s lost
the salt water’s murky. This Jordan
leads to the thin line of steel
beyond the river bank.

Light clears a space.

Three swans dive.

The solitary one
faces the current,
appears serene in the strain and pull of
tide and undertow .

Anne Philips

I’m unsure when this next was written about a walk I took in 2005 with my husband in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Another dream would be to hire a fishing cottage in Marblehead and rent it for a month to write. I suspect though in Winter the intense cold would be a little too much for me to handle.But this poem is set on a hot day, eleven years ago.

Ghosts walk in New England

side by side we walk to Sewell Fort on a
June day; amble together –fingers
linked – by noon

Fishermen toss sea bass on the quay.

The steeple is yellow ribboned; a pennant pleading for children to return
The pavement slabs are oblong and grey.
Starbucks filters cappuccino next to the shuttered Jeremiah Lee mansion – where the original faded floral wall paper is shaded – renovated waiting for tourists.
The Marblehead tide teases this
granite coast where union flags, medals and uniforms are housed in cases.

Sea bass wriggle on the quay

Sharp blue tides jab the rocks on childless
Children’s Island; terns and gulls pick and scream wheel above chiming
buoys. A black gallery binds a widow’s
walk tower
The smokestack in Salem carves blue sky above the inlet and
Seven Gables, beyond the customs and counting houses, displays a canopy for a Jewish Wedding tomorrow.

Sea bass jerk silver on the quay.

We arrive at The Barnacle, brown boards shabby – chic- fishy;
fragranced with chowder, garlic and fries, humming with voices-
meals where deals are struck in Maine fleece
suits, celebrated with cold sweating glasses of
Chardonnay.

Seabass dull in the sun.

Along the narrow walk-way to the headland
fort – crumbled, tired broken in its defence. You tire too; so we sit,
smell the salted coast beneath us the
musseled barnacled beach is crisp where blue water hisses blessing my feet and the sand martins skitter across the tide’s edge.

The perpendicular sun has drawn in your shadow
and the sea bass are still
in nets on the quay.

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