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Metaphors for Living

I used to write poems, but now I live them. Not
a gentle lyric of the garden, but a wrack of words against silence,
a striving for punctuation. For that last full-stop on which all
the sentiments rely for their gravitation and their hope -
that resolution, that peace. The poem ends and ordinary begins:
weeding the garden, walking in search
of flowers. Until the next poem falls like rain,
or outright thunder. Or unexpected gossamer sheets of sunlight
for many stanzas of idyll, and then, then, I want to leave the last line open,
or with a dash, so that ordinary becomes beautiful.

I used to write poems about doing the dishes, but now
my hands just get wet.

This is why, you see, I'm bashing away at a novel, even though
it's slower than my heartbeat and harder to find - pressing against
veins, wishes, requirements, for words and structure. I need to remember
there can be a narrative that falls and soars, breaks
with chapters then regroups, wallows
in all kinds of weather and water in sinks,
until the heroine is utterly soaked with life and still on she goes,
trailing thread to find her way home, although she never will, after all,
because her heart will grow wheels and her eyes fill with rising suns,
and the thread will ravel into knots, snag on things,
just like old dreams always do, so that there is looseness for the new,
and she shall learn the peace of understanding her own full-stop
will be followed by a sequel.

And I am learning the secret wisdom of all the wild writers -
the ones who do not sign books deals but leave letters
their children find, and compose poems that they scatter
like seeds for the sake of the eventual surprise
(the whorled leaves or sudden colour that arise from dirt
when you least expect it, because three months ago
you read something and thought you forgot it)
the mother-writers and cheque-writers and dreamers of stories
which never make it to paper; the award-winning composers
who get their medal from the only person they tell their tale,
the self-published and unpublished and one-day-I-will people -
they all know it, or should know it, should be uplifted and validated by it:
whatever you write (however you do it) is the sound your heart is making
pressed against the warm body of life.


  1. this may be the most beautiful thing i've read today: "whatever you write (however you do it) is the sound your heart is making/ pressed against the warm body of life."


  2. This touched me so deeply and made me smile and want to shout with joy. I love this poem SO MUCH!♥♥♥


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