"No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heaven's glories shine,
And faith shines equal, arming me from fear."
Emily Bronte 1818-1848 "Last Lines (1846) st. 1
How do you write with a broken heart? Things have come crashing down on me this week. By Thursday night I really lost it, and consequently it's been impossible to write anything but journal entries. My friend, who I love with all my heart, is now in Pallative Care. Not an encouraging sign. Ominous, in fact. But it's important, no matter what, to keep the Faith, put on a good face, transmit positive thoughts and count on answered prayers. I can't do this if I'm a basket-case, so yesterday I went to meet people from the Pandora's Poetry Collective who were writing and reciting poetry in the Van Duesen Gardens, one of the exceptional beauty spots in my city. I didn't think I would write anything. I don't often write poetry. But how could you resist the Muse in such lovely surroundings? (I had to ask myself why I have never made a habit of visiting those Gardens. What a brilliant idea to invite a group of poets there!)
We met under a tree where chairs and a mike were set up, decorated with blue balloons that advertised "Love Poetry". To begin with we were each given a prompt. Mine was
"Seabreezes and Iris". From that, I wrote two poems (amazing how quickly they came to me!)
'Seabreezes and Iris'
Iris petals unfurl
purple as the wine dark sea.
Foam crested waves roll shoreward
wafting the fragrance of flowers
on the sea breeze.
'At Dion' ("Sanctuary")
I remember yellow irises
tall as swords
standing in the reeds
by a silent pool
in Isis Tyche's sanctuary
far from the Aegean sea breezes,
in Dion's sacred grove.
Under the shadow
of holy Olympus
A shepherd boy came
whistling to his flock,
touched my arm,
said: "I'll show you how to cross the stream.
Stay away from the dogs, though.
They'll bite you here and here and here."
His nimble hands brush my breasts and backside.
Impertinent young Pan!
Thought he'd tricked me,
But I know those Makedoni rogues.
I've walked that way before.
Next, we went to watch some artists at work and were told to write something that was inspired by their paintings. I wrote this, (for you, my friend.)
In the arbour
under a tangle of vines
the artist wields his brush.
Strokes the canvas lightly
spreading colours: pink and lavender and yellow.
Flower petals take shape.
A garden is revealed.
I remember the touch of your fingers
on my arm,
soft as a brush stroke
awakening a garden in my heart.
Then we went on our own to explore the Garden and write whatever we wished. I chose another prompt, Wild and Bewildered.
I came upon a magical spot by a lily pond and sat awhile, mesmerized by the reflections.
'The Lily Pond '
two ducks, bottoms up
create a helix of ripples
on the lily pond.
'Wild and Bewildered'
It bewilders me sometimes
this wild feeling that overcomes me.
I want to be that butterfly
darting over the coralbells and irises,
free as the summer breeze.
I want to be a bee
gathering nectar from the dahlias
to store in a secret hive.
Instead, I seem to flit aimlessly
like a dragonfly
darting over the lily pond
bewildered by its own reflection.
What a beautiful healing experience this was, writing in the Garden. I came away feeling renewed and able to focus again on more positive thoughts. I'm taking the poems to share with my friend. They aren't brilliant (I don't consider myself a 'poet') but they were written from my heart, inspired by the Muse.
"God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform:
He plants his footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm."
William Cowper 1731-1800 "Shining out of Darkness" 1779