Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday Poem: Will you dance with me

Will you dance with me
hold my hands lightly
as we learn to stand together,
learn to breathe and walk
as though we were doing it
the first time

Will you dance with me
work out each new step
laugh at our mistakes
find out how by pushing
at the spaces between us
we can find balance

Will you dance with me
through the long night
as violins fade
to something more real
as light cracks the sky
and dark becomes dawn

Dance with me when we’re at the beach.
Dance with me in front of family.
Dance with me and my friends.
Dance with me in the cobbled streets of Valparaiso,
wearing kimono in Tokushima, walking the Great Wall
at Badaling,
in Paris and in London

then come to dance with me at home.

Dance with me
again and again
dance through the tight places,
the hard places, the forbidden places
the soft places, the places
where we’ll find each other

Will you dance with me
this first dance til the last dance
the many dances in between,

will you dance with me.

This was the poem I read to Mark just before we stepped out for our first wedding dance, a tango.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tuesday Poem: Blessing, by Greg O'Connell

Today when silver ferns uncoil

Today when dolphins polish their beaks on the sea

Today when the seal chaperones its pups

Today when palms put on their red beads

Today when waves keep their promise to return

Today when night keeps its oath to sleep

Today when someone you love has gone
and someone wombed has been safely born

Today when mountains listen to the silence of the broken
and sunlight whispers to the waiting seeds

Today when someone arranges old age, long as a cloud

Today when someone inhales the blossom of a first kiss

Today let this hour bless you

With the smiles of friends let it bless you

With ocean-tang and manuka bless you

Let the vow of this day arc wide and high

Let its freedom and shelter hold you

Let its truth be boundless as the sky


This poem was read ten days ago at our wedding. It's by Greymouth poet Greg O'Connell, and written for his own recent nuptials. It was very generous of Greg and his wife Zoe to let us use this lovely work and add our own meaning to his images. The poem spoke to me, and continues speaking to me, because it acknowledges the fact that marriage is just one step in a cycle, but a significant one. I love the juxtaposition of the images "when someone arranges old age, long as a cloud" and "when someone inhales the blossom of a first kiss". We got married in a garden that Mark's grandparents had sown and that many family members at the wedding could remember playing in as children - very apt.


PS. For more Tuesday poems (yes, some are up early!), click on the feather top right.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Things I am not allowed to eat at Christmas

Garlic prawns and flambé scallops
a turkey roast fit for a palace
a ham that’s soaked in marinade
then slowly cooked for a whole day
and sirloin beef that’s tender-smoked
all smothered in a honeyed coat
soft-boiled eggs and panfried bacon
drizzled with an oil libation
and rolls of icecream, rich and pure
I do not touch – I do not dare

Camembert, a waxy crust
with creamy magma I do lust
and brandy snaps with farm-fresh cream
served with strawberries, pav and steamed
Christmas raisin pudding – a tiny piece
perhaps I can afford to eat?
It’s after all a special day
but if I do, I’ll surely pay.

Really I should not sit down
or I won’t fit my custom gown
for silk shows every belly bulge
and I’ll regret if I indulge
but all the family’s lining up
to load their plates – I can’t miss out…

The deed is done – the die is cast
I really can’t let Christmas pass
without the usual homage paid
to all things good, and rich, and baked.

I know that Wednesday, my dressmaker
will measure guilt in millimetres
Her tape is vastly unforgiving
the shape I’ve worked on - lost - to sin.

But what the hell, tomorrow morning
I’ll get up early and go running
or that’s the plan….. for now I reckon
I’ll take my empty plate for seconds.