October 7th, 2010
|12:23 am - Styvechale|
Today is National Poetry Day. The theme is Home.
I haven't written or performed any poetry for some time. I have been invited to a small event at Ellen Terry House in Coventry, and I am going to read the Neruda translation, and a new poem called Styvechale (pronounced Sty-chul) which is the part of Coventry I live in.
Back-alleyways of the West Midlands
Where is the country that you have replaced?
Your stinging nettles and your meagre dirt
Recall much harder years that went before
Your sorry palings stand
Where there were poplars in a lonely line
I saw Algol the red-eyed star
Hanging above the garages
Where the transit van is parked
And in the hot woods behind the houses
The relict woods
The Himalayan balsam chokes the banks
A fox races through the bracken like fire
Veers from my path
‘Reynard don't you know me?’
That morning on the London Road I saw you split apart
All red components spread
Do you know me now?
Have you learned my ways?
When I was a child I thought the alleys went on forever
I thought if I were allowed to run down, down the meanders, they would never end
I would be running on,
At the back of other children's houses
Forever and ever
As with all your other poetry that I've read, this piece hits me emotionally in a way that I can't quite articulate. I always want to say something intelligent in response and hardly ever feel that I can.
The final stanza brought tears to my eyes. I think this poem speaks to me about the shocks of childhood, how we grow up by means of them, and what a dreary world we tend to perpetuate as a result.
Wonderful. Thank you.
Oh thank you.
I almost didn;t go to the event tonight but I met some really interesting people there, including an Indonesian woman who has set up a Pablo Neruda society in Jakarta. Amazing who you meet through poetry.