Wednesday, 2 April 2014

A month of poetry

All these spring shoots must be getting to me. It is NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month, and the challenge is to write a poem every day. This isn't the kind of challenge I would normally rise to, but somehow the idea has got under my skin. After yoga last night, I wrote a little poem, and this morning, another. In the spirit of the enterprise I've decided to give it a go, not only trying each day to see if there is a poem there waiting to begin, but also to display the raw, tender little seedling poems here as they appear. I won't necessarily get them up onto here each day - there are lots of other things going on this month. But we'll see how it goes.

I am squarely obsessed by sailing at the moment, both with dreams of the coming season and memories of past experiences on the water. Last night's poem is from the former, and this morning's came from a look back over notes I made in the arctic last year. We had the trip of a lifetime sailing north from Scotland to Svalbard and around Spitsbergen in June and I haven't written much about it really. As the geese have now begun flying north over us, don't be surprised to find me full of arctic reveries.

So, here's last night's poem.


I am dreaming of sailing over the edge
where depth seethes and imagination fails

   a sail furls
   a rope coils

      a whale may rise 

And for this morning's it might be worth knowing, if you don't already, that a less-than-berg-sized chunk of ice fallen off a glacier (dangerous to sailers) is called a growler.

Ice teaching

'Man might be more tolerable, less fractious and smug, if he had more to fear.' J A Baker, The Peregrine. 
 Staring out from between two cliffs
   a small blue glacier
      scarred by its battle with air and water
         has nowhere to go.

Slow, incremental motion
   moves a mountain
      but the sea's toothed skin
         consumes from below.

The boundary between ice and sea
   is frazzle
      then pancake
         then floe.

We need nature to be fiercer than us
   to show us like a naughty child
         to growl at us, no. 


  1. Great that you're joining in NaPoWriMo, I look forward to reading more of your poems this month. I enjoyed these two, very much

  2. I'm looking forward to it too!