Thursday, 3 October 2013

A watery poem for National Poetry Day

Today's National Poetry Day so to celebrate that, here's a poem on the theme of the day, water. It's from my collection Castings, now out of print. I found this traditional Cree story and loved it so much I wanted to see if it worked in the environment I am familiar with. In the Cree version I found, it is told by a man who is watching, with a wishing bone, hidden in some bushes. I've translocated it to the Highlands and retold it from the woman's point of view.
Wishing Bone Poem
(from a Cree story told by Jacob Nibeneganesabe)

This is my story.
I am married to this peaty pool.
He washes me
quenches my thirst
is fond of amphibians and ferns
sparkles in breezes.
I show him my love
swimming in him

Earlier this summer
the arsonist sun
scorched him away.
I lay in the dry hollow
waiting for rain.
Storms came
but their waters drained away.
I wept in the dry hollow.
Salt tears crusted my face.

I went looking for my husband-pool
trawled the glens and mires
I found him in a dark rocky hole.
He bathed my eyes clear.
Ever since I have been bringing him home
little by little
cupped in my hands.

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