Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Tuesday Poem: Poem Walking, by Helen Jacobs

Poem Walking

If you cannot sing the world
if the tune is too complex
and the reach too vast

perhaps a poem walking
from door to gate is for you
a small parcel of contents

you can tick: nandina, potato vine,
weeds, letter box and constant cars.
Not an extensive list.

Bring in the blue and white of overhead
and a red helicopter. Now you have it,
your world written down, wrapped up.

But walk further
to the living street of springs
a pavement of design beside bush and flax

to the park and pond
where voices are heard, boys are playing.
they hope for fish.

You have pushed out the perimeter.
You have walked into the smallest part
of the larger sound, the Big Band.

You imagine playing the music of oceans
of river runs, mega-city percussion.
Your poem has come out

from behind the fence.

- Helen Jacobs

*******

We have had a wealth of poetry events in Christchurch lately, among them the launch of Helen Jacobs' new book, "Dried Figs", published by Sudden Valley Press. This is Helen's sixth poetry collection and as it says on the back of the cover, as she is now in her eighty-fourth year another book cannot be guaranteed.

Helen is an acute observer of her immediate surroundings. As the poems in this collection vividly express, one's horizons perhaps narrow somewhat with increasing age - but she makes a good deal out of such every day subject matter. I felt the poem above expresses this rather beautifully.

The poem was first published in the New Zealand Poetry Society collection "Across the Fingerboards" in 2010. Photos of the book launch and information on how to order Dried Figs can be found on Helen's website.

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3 comments:

leonie said...

This is such a beautiful poem. Encouraging and observant and filled with everyday things, and I love the idea of them being a song.

Helen McKinlay said...

I am delighted to resd this poem by Helen and to hear she has published another book! love this poem...and how it opens up like a flower and teaches us how to do the same with our poetry. Thanks for posting it Catherine and Helen.

Claire Beynon said...

Like Helen, I am delighted to come across this poem by Helen AND to know her sixth book has just been published! Today's poem is a beauty - love the pace, the sweetly deliberate focus and attentiveness of it. Thank you Catherine. Thank you both.