Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Birthday Poem (working title) continues

The shyest sparrow's supplications in the early evening trees
are a careful arpeggio - each note liberates a flotilla of leaves
fleeting, indeed, left scattered as archipelago in a dew-grass 
The song's begun: feathered entreaties lift from every hedgerow, every
field, join in one great arc of beak and wing and downy plume --
brief benediction for the worker trudging home, a heart-lifted pause
at day's end. Summer's pages fall. Leaf by leaf, they shorten days,
strip bare the trunks, spill forth a concertina of split, sagging plums,
crimson globes -- Demeter's heart strung low against the blue note 
sky. Furrowed fields lie flat beneath the tramp of corn-fed feet.

The scene is set, two candles lit, another year opens a window 
through which we pass in streak of silver, burst of wheels' screech, breath
of horns' bright blasting. Inside, the chink of glass against china,
bubble of laughter tossed from one guest to the next draws us
to warmth, the blissful promise of shared experience. How it swells
the soul's bright plumage! A winking flame copies itself on the clean
slope of the knife before it passes. The reflection flickers: and beyond 
the window frame, a final guest hesitates in mauve-hued shadow, ghost 
of Keats maybe, listening still, reticent, reluctant to eschew autumn's 
arias or chorus.

Now, along the bay, the pulse of song ticks out again in joyous iteration, 
a boy kicks a ball against a wall, a sole finch adds bebop syncopation. Gabble, 
and its consistency of warm honey dampen the tenor, the tune -- best left out
in the tang of sharpened daylight. Shadows unwilling to retreat
stand shoulder-to-shoulder and beat the day's thrum chanting come, cold,
come, dark, come firelight, we too have our part. Gladly, watch effulgence fade,
into this gentler glow of murmured crackle and spark-fed thoughts. Each year
is gathered and falls away in a clap of digits, up from nothing to where
we find ourselves surrounded. It's come to this: the riffle of breath, the winking
flame. One is out, then the other. Stay with us, poet, it's time to start over.  

final update 11:20 am, Tuesday April 15 from Wellington - the final poem posted April 15

by Melissa Green, Claire Beynon, Saradha Koirala, Janis Freegard, T. Clear, Catherine Bateson, Renee Liang, Elizabeth Welsh, Alicia Ponder, Tim Jones, Kathleen Jones, Helen McKinlay, Helen Lowe, Eileen Moeller, Orchid Tierney, Susan T. Landry, Keith Westwater, Belinda Hollyer, Harvey Molloy, Bernadette Keating, Andrew M. Bell, Michelle Elvy, Catherine Fitchett, P.S. Cottier, Helen Rickerby, Mary McCallum.

Editor: Mary McCallum, TP co-curator

Tuesday Poem is two years old, and to celebrate we're writing another global poem. Twenty-six of our 31 poets living in six countries and 12 different cities will contribute a line each over 14 days to create it.

The global birthday poem kicks off at one minute past midnight on April 3, 2012 with a line from Boston poet Melissa Green - who also celebrates a birthday on April 3. Co-curator Claire Beynon (a New Zealander but currently in Ibiza, Spain) contributes the second line ten hours later, with Saradha Koirala from Wellington New Zealand posting at 6pm NZ time. The next day, it's Janice Freegard of Wellington in the morning and T Clear of Seattle in the evening, and on it goes until Tuesday April 17 when I post the final line and add a title.

The posts will be twice a day, usually around 8 am and 6 pm NZ Time, with some variations either side. Go to our global poem page to see who posts when and how, and remember to pop back to see how the poem unfolds and to cheer us on. Here's our first birthday poem, Tuesday.

Yes, Tuesday Poem is two years old. It began here on April 13 2010 after a casual start with a bunch of poets on my blog O Audacious Book , and has been posting every week since, bar a couple of weeks off over summer. Our Tuesday Poets take turns to be editor, and this involves selecting a poem, getting permission to run it, and writing up a response. It's that personal choice and response which, we believe, makes our posts so interesting and engaging for readers. Each of our poets also posts a Tuesday Poem each week on his or her own blog -- their own poems and poems they admire written by others. Look to the sidebar for those.

We have had so many wonderful poets and postings this year we can't begin to list the 'best of'. Fellow curator Claire Beynon and I bow deeply to the wonder of this - that a bunch of 30 poets (31 in fact) from six countries can work together to produce something so exciting, so profound, so community, so poetry and with so few hitches. Claire lives in Dunedin, I live in Wellington, and we've only met once ever, but we email, we talk by phone, and mostly TP progresses effortlessly giving poets and poems a platform and celebrating poetry in all its guises.

Our thanks to all our Tuesday Poets - including those who are on sabbatical or are in the alumni file - and to our guest editors, and all our followers and supporters. Reel through our posts - use the search in the sidebar - click on our Tuesday Poets sites - and see what it is we have here.

Nga mihi -
Happy Birthday -

Mary McCallum and Claire Beynon (curators)


Helen Lowe said...

Now we are two! Happy Birthday to us!

Janis said...

You and Claire do a marvellous job, Mary. Many thanks to you both.

Ben Hur said...

Yes, Mary and Claire, I echo Janis' sentiments. We know that you both lead full and busy lives and we hope you realise that we really appreciate all the energy and commitment you both put into Tuesday Poem.

Claire, I hope you are having a wonderful time on your overseas travels. I'm sure you are. Stay away from any spiked drinks in those Ibiza nightclubs!

Penelope said...

For me, one of the best things about becoming a Tuesday Poet has been learning a little about another culture through its literature. Nearly every week I am surprised by something new. And that has to be a good thing, which wouldn't have happened without people having the idea and organising the site in the first place. Consider my lid dipped, M and C. (The MC.)

Melissa Green said...

The Second Year Birthday Poem is unfolding beautifully--each line added seems to be inevitable and necessary--it's quite amazing that this is a communal effort. It feels as though we are all in a boat of language, and are rowing in sync, with strength and attention, both to all the images and sounds and lines which came before and to each poet's singular eye and ear. Lovely.

susan t. landry said...

phew...now that my turn is over, i can breathe deeply and say:

Happy birthday, POETS of TUESDAY POEM!



lillyanne said...

It's a masterpiece of co-ordination and aspiration, and it gives me enormous pleasure to watch the story unfold with such creative energy. (It's also good to have your turn over so you can breathe easily again!) And yes, very many thanks and hearty congratulations to Mary and Claire.