Tuesday, April 5, 2011

'Tuesday': an unfolding communal poem for a birthday

... all laughed except Tyr: he lost his hand. 
The Poetic Edda on the god Tyr hence Tuesday.

He puts his hand in the wolf's mouth, the wolf
swallows. Let's start with this. A god not gone
but waiting; his sacrifice a gesture of surrender
and determination. And what of the tricked wolf?
A god's fingers stuck in his narrow throat – no chance to spit out.
It happens as it must. A handy
guarantee. Let's start with the price of order:
the lean, worst place for a deity.
Sink in. Obeying destiny the wolf bites deep
and dreams of mocking laughter; Tyr of
the prize.

Let's start before this even, in the dark waiting
for the beginning, is it always the same?
The growl of night: descending, distending
like a rope woven with footfalls and hair,
bellowing storm and bee-wolf alike
embroidering new darkness with stories,
threaded like constellations in the sky's
blanket. A man has two hands, and no idea
he's about to give one up – a lesser sacrifice than the six
fabled elements entwined to order chaos. He lets go
his hand so the biter can be tied.

A yielding then. No runic miracle, no digits
carved into steel as Mahuika's fingertips ignite
fire from winter's heart to illuminate
the day of grace. Yet, here’s a bit of madness, a
lunar dream: the vulpine tether binds the gods
to the one-fisted man. The wolf-wrist twitches; light
pinkens the dawn, and a shoulder shove, a broad
back, a strong trunk separating day from night,
earth from sky.

Everybody laughs, the bitterness of sacrifice:
blood's iron taste exploding on the tongue
licking air, trading war for chill slippers,
marking Tyr's day as one not of trust,
hope or faith, but the righteousness of battle;
a sinister champion of single-armed combat
under the sky. A day when the earth itself heaves up
as if to throw off the wolf's shadow.
Let's see it as a day of arms, then,
a duplicity of protection and loss
from a silken ribbon of footfalls, sinew, spittle and breath.

By Tuesday Poets April 2011
Mary McCallum, Claire Beynon, Catherine Bateson, Janis Freegard, Bernadette Keating, Belinda Hollyer, Helen Heath, Orchid Tierney, Tim Jones, Kathleen Jones, Eileen Moeller, Andrew Bell,  T Clear, Harvey Molloy, Saradha Koirala, Helen Lowe, Susan T. Landry, Helen Rickerby, Jennifer Compton, Renee Liang, Robert Sullivan, Emma McCleary, Alicia Ponder, Catherine Fitchett, Elizabeth Welsh, and Sarah Jane Barnett.
In spirit - Zireaux.

Poem completed 10.45 am, Sunday, April 10 2011 - final edit on Monday to be published Tuesday April 12, here on Tuesday Poem. 

Welcome to our First Birthday Party! We're celebrating with a communal poem that will skip backwards and forwards across the world and between time zones over the coming week (NZ, Australia, UK, US), with the finished poem posted next Tuesday.

Our tag team of Tuesday Poets who live in the land of the sidebar (eyes right!) will add their lines to the unfolding poem at the rate of four or five entries a day until Sunday, and then the full poem will be up for a week. Check out the Birthday page in the toolbar for details.

In our vision we say: 'Tuesday Poem is designed to encourage poets to write poems and people to read poems, and to nurture a poetry community without borders.' It has done that.

Fifty-four poems have been posted at the Tuesday Poem hub alone, and an average of 25 poems a week written by Tuesday Poets, or chosen from work they admire, have been posted on their own blogs. At our reckoning - and allowing for some repeats - that's around 1400 poems. Some are by the famous, others by unknowns.

One of the joys of TP is discovering a new poet. Another is showcasing one. Then there's the pleasure of finding yourself writing a poem for a Tuesday, or digging one out of a forgotten collection to bring it into the light again.

Like all good blogs and websites, Tuesday Poem functions because its members are generous with that thing they love. It's been extraordinary the stimulation, warmth, support and fun generated by this wide-flung group of people, many of whom have never met.

We thank all our Tuesday Poets - including the alumnae, those on sabbatical, and Harvey McQueen who passed away - our guest editors, blog visitors and supporters for being part of this.

Now, check out the blogs in the sidebar, as it's a birthday the poems may be celebratory, but you can't count on that.

Happy Birthday Tuesday Poem!

Mary McCallum and Claire Beynon, Tuesday Poem curators.

More on the history of TP here.


Helen Lowe said...

I love the story of Tyr ... Happy Birthday, Tuesday Poem Blog!

dinahmow said...

one year old you say
this must be celebrated
I shall write haiku

Happy birthday and congrats, Claire, and all the other poets. Perhaps, when I next come up for air, I might get back to writing.

AJ Ponder said...

So close...watching for the next line is almost like waiting for it to breathe.

Mary McCallum said...

I knew the last line was up this morning, but I didn't skip to it when I opened up the blog. I started from the beginning and read through - line by line, as one does. Each one familiar by now, but different, because part of a bigger thing, leading onwards, ending - who knows where? And then there! - the final lines - and oh, wonderful things, woven with the spit and breath of all the lines gone before, from all over and everywhere, a NZ autumn, a London or Philadelphian spring ... Unbelievable. Thanks everyone.

Unknown said...

There is something so powerful about linking up in this way. What a community - each and every one fully invested in this shared process; all trust, zeal and surrender. . . Thank you all for this exhilarating experience - it is a joy and a privilege to be part of TP with you all.

susan t. landry said...

it was like christmas morning, to run downstairs, click on the link, see where our beautiful poem has ended up. it has taken on life, hasnt it? thank you so much for this brilliant idea...and the contributions of everyone.

Ben Hur said...

All I can add is:
Mary and Claire, you rock big-time!

Orchid said...

Just love it. Thanks for letting me be involved!