Live poetry reading

I just came home from a literary event which I helped to organise, and I got some lovely feedback (from audience, not speakers, thankfully). I’m a relative newbie at reading my own poems in particular, despite having recited some Heaney and Yeats at an event last July, and I found it difficult to decide how best to approach speaking.

I had this question going through my head when I was asked to read at a poetry event in Alboraya, a village just outside Valencia in June. I had a poem that felt urgent and I think that the crowd almost felt scared by my overblown theatricality during delivery. Afterwards I reasoned that maybe I had gone too far too fast.

So my question is, how do you like your poetry delivered? With gusto? With boiling rage? With raw emotion and urgency? With quiet passion? Slowly and deliberately enunciated? Or with humour and self-deprecation?

Answers on a postcard please. Expect a new(ish) poem soon.

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Poem quoting out of context song lyrics

Oft repeated lines

closed, interstitial times

Never failed to democratise,

criticise the eyes that light up

when you shut up

and go your own way

so far away,

singing a song that’s not your own

in a land where you’re unknown

and you see the signs in those oft repeated lines

text and ties, unloved and foreign

played for a fool, not your time

used your tongue to tie around the neck

of a slippery fish, not to be seen

to be obscene, ludicrous

a joke, not funny though, a lack of euro

not young, not thin, not full of wine

a chailín óg na mbriathar what could you possibly find

in this Wreck, this sandbar, this sunken face

where are those oft repeated lines

the signs o’ the times,

between the signs of age

not your words, nor mine falling on their page

but I digress, I feel pain in my chest,

a heartsick pain, a desire for your flow

unkindness wilting in your shadow

Oft repeated lines, running down my face,

silver whiskers on my brows and chin

running from an angel, running on empty

Running out of words and my well runs dry,

Who will repeat my words if I do not?

Words are all I have, and oft repeated

lines

Alone Among Oranges

I splashed past a flooded orange grove

Fruit bursting with juice hanging low on the branches

And greening around the slits where they have split open

wind and gravity hurling them to the ground,

The normally parched earth shining muckily through rivulets of spring rain

that came down harder than we ever expected.

A wet season, they said. Winter. This winter at any rate.

Puddles collecting at every zebra crossing,

stressed parents manhandling plastic covered prams

And style-conscious ladies flashing designer welllies,

Their annual show, finding excuses to parade through the square,

giggling and shrieking as they sprint to avoid the spray from delivery vans.

They remind me of birds, preening and presenting, using the rain as a weapon

a tool in their hunt.

A long-limbed snowy egret stands alone amidst the fallen oranges

Her eyes sweep the scene, watching vigilantly.

The rain continues to fall. I pass and the moment is gone.

Perhaps she is still waiting there.

 

 

I haven’t written a post in a long time. I hope you will forgive the rushed quality.

Painter’s Muse

You stood stock still in the golden hour

Your brush dangled from your hand as you scrutinised the scene

It was the first time I’d watched you work

And the joy and the freedom were almost more than I could handle.

If I moved – to speak or to scratch,

You would gesture impatiently for me to resume my stance,

The crickets clicked their deafening wings

While the lowering sun engulfed us both in its splendour.

The heat of the day would not subside, but would linger

Long into the hot summer night, the mosquitoes usurping the crickets

Your sensual, gentle strokes continuing,

As your final touches transformed the wasteland around us into paradise

Running on Fumes

If ​a final fume were found

In the recess of my tank

I could keep on running round

And I’d let my mind stay blank

If a final fume were found

At the bottom of my lungs

I would exhale it all around 

As I let my song be sung

If that final fume were found

At the end of a long day

I could run another hour

To see the ones who had to stay

When those final fumes are found

In my life of joy and toil

I can keep running on fumes 

And forget about the oil