Once I dreamt
that I was a photon
travelling from the sun to the earth
and being drawn into a green leaf.
How happy I was
to be passed along
a membrane in a thylakoid
from one phospholipid to another;
a heavenly chain in a chloroplast.
The mechanism was divine.
I was ecstatic
to be part of the amazing energy capture
the splitting of carbon dioxide and water
the production of oxygen, ATP and food.
St Theresa of Avila’s visions
paled beside the stupendous significance
of my encounter with creation.
It was love of the most sublime kind.
And still I feel it when the trees
open their leaves in spring.
In the obscure dark
of night river, poised on rock,
the shag preens itself;
head tilts this way and that, beak
catches gold from a streetlamp.
Strike a match,
flares into flame.
Light the wick,
glows into life.
Illuminates our faces,
gleams in our eyes.
our magic circle.
But a spell with
a strict time limit.
expired at midnight.
Reduced to a stub,
gutters and dies.
A wisp of smoke
in a pool of wax.
Starlings rumble the morning;
dark clouds constantly moving.
Wren mute with their bantering.
They are potent.
I breathe and think of friends
who walk softly beside me
even though they are dead.
Your light kindles my light
and my light kindles another
and suddenly the darkness
is ablaze with lamps of gold.
In these short days (but getting longer, hurrah) here’s a poem by David Morley about light. More specifically, artificial light:
And here’s a completely different view of light from Dannie Abse:
Artificial, natural or imagined – Light.
In a window of blue
surrounded by rain.
A quiet spectre circles
between post and pond.
anoints white feathers.
Her keen eyes watch
for reed twitches.
in grass and branch.
A dive and a crunch.
Blood runs to ground.
Shrieks break the silence.
I run along the flooded lane.
Fear, joy and water
in my boots.
My old friend
I pass him in the street.
At least, I think it’s him.
Or is it..?
I turn, only to find
he’s disappeared into the crowd.
Sudden stab of regret.
Not seen him in years.
We were close for a time
but his job took him
to another part of the country.
Somehow, after a while
we lost contact.
Perhaps he’s revisiting old haunts,
maybe even thinking of me.
Or perhaps it’s someone else entirely.
I’ll never know because
the moment’s passed.
He’s the past.
isn’t the same
since it laid itself out
on the lane
It plays a double game.
Muddy prints in the hall
and an earthy smell
in the deeds
where it nuzzles 12th
among the heretofors.
And in the graveyard
where it barks 15th
and will bite
for as long
as granite lasts.
A passing problem
Parked behind a huge skip
piled high with builders’ rubble.
Quite an obstacle in such a narrow street.
Signal to move out,
glance in my mirror and over my shoulder.
Nothing coming from behind.
Start edging out, gingerly.
Suddenly notice a flashing light ahead
at the other end of the skip.
Another car parked there,
also signalling and coming out towards me.
How annoying, but I’ll be a gentleman.
Reverse back to allow him through.
Yikes, he’s doing the same.
The other car has moved back, too.
Signal again, begin to move out once more.
Good grief, he’s doing the same, again
The other car is re-emerging, light flashing.
This is ridiculous, I’ll never get past at this rate.
Life is one long obstacle course, so it seems.
I’m going for it this time, blow the other bloke.
Moving alongside the skip notice something:
the other car is the same model and colour as mine.
Reach the end of the skip.
No car there at all.
Just a parked lorry, its wide windscreen
reflecting my car flashing furiously.
Oh, bother, I was convinced that this prompt had been written and scheduled to appear at 7am this morning. But I can’t find any sign of it, so here it is again:
Here’s a short poem by Paul Farley from his collection ‘Tramp in Flames’:
As the crow flies
Became an idea, a pure abstraction,
all black vector, a distance in air miles;
Watling Street on the wing, a one-track mind
hell bent against a white, wintering sky.
And here’s another poem with a road in it – this one by Vona Groarke:
And here’s one by Sylvia Plath with a lane in it:
You get the drift. Write a poem with a street, a road, a lane in it. It can be a specific street like Paul Farley’s… or an unnamed road like Vona Groarke’s. Or a highly individual lane as in Sylvia Plath’s poem. Or… well, it’s up to you.
With very best wishes for a happy and productive New Year!