I'm far from satisfied with the first of these two poems - however, NaPoWriMo is definitely not about ego so I figured it was time to post it anyway. The prompt was "old flames" and since I married young and don't really have any "old flames" I thought about flames in a more literal sense, and remembered this poem I have been trying to write for quite a while.
At Halswell Quarry
Clear sky now – once a mountain towered here
three times as high as the crater’s rim.
Upwelling magma, turmoil and heat.
These slabs of basalt are frozen fire
silent for centuries. Then men came
with dynamite, the clangour of hammers,
quarried the stone to build a city.
They too have gone. Only picnickers
come here now. Piwakawaka flits
from tree to tree. And in the night sky
a star. It was fiery too, when flames raged here
- who knows if it is now alive or dead?
It’s light has travelled to reach us
for millions of years, a reflection
of what once was here.
The next prompt was "Paradise". I have always thought it would be really interesting to meet my greatgrandmother, so I imagined myself meeting her, and I also wanted to give her a better life than the rather hard one that she had in reality.
I Take Tea with my Greatgrandmother in Paradise
“Your greatgrandfather? He’s around here somewhere
probably in the library. All the books that were ever written
or ever will be. If he’s not there, he’s in the pub.
Drunkenness is so much more attractive
without the unpleasant consequences.
Oh yes, I loved him, still do, but there is so much more here.
Signora Gentileschi is painting my portrait. She is teaching me
the fundamentals of painting in oils. My lack of Italian
was a difficulty at first, but I am learning quickly.
I always had a passion for languages, you know
- we had such a dashing French master at high school,
and then I taught myself to read Gaelic, but my opportunities
were limited then. My French is progressing fast.
I have been conversing with M Voltaire, and his amour,
Mme du Chatelet. Such an intelligent woman. We have been discussing
the incredible lightness of light. Of course, we are all light here.
Miss Tinsley has been teaching me about the stars. We met
at last week’s dinner party – oh yes, we get hungry here,
just enough to give an edge to the appetite, but never overwhelming.
The meats and fruits are magnificent. And the aroma of fresh bread
is so much more appealing when one doesn’t have to rise
at three to start the ovens. Your dress, my dear –
how like a man’s. I think I should have liked
to dress like that. My brothers were always in the fields,
while I was in the kitchen. No matter. I am used to this attire now,
and since nothing here is of substance,
it no longer interferes with anything I might wish to do.
We have a wonderful choir here. My girls sang beautifully,
but I was too busy raising children to join the church choir
until my voice was quite faded. Here, it is completely restored.
Well now, it has been wonderful meeting you. But now,
I must be going. I have so much to learn
and I don’t have all the time in the world.”
For more poems on the same themes and others, visit Readwritepoem