Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Fey by Helen Lowe

your door
stands open still
at dusk, your light
a moth's antenna
shadowed lawn

bare feet rustle
in last year's
leaf drift, a wind
through naked trees

you say
you will hang
a cricket cage
above your lintel,
burn apple wood
in the grate –
dance, the circle
of your skirt
the moon's dark face

I ride
a rocking horse
with patchwork eyes,
through your door
to the cold-stone hearth –
of dervish footsteps
hurdy-gurdy trees

© Helen Lowe  Highly Commended, Takahe National Poetry Competition 2008 -  published in Takahe 68, December 2009, and posted with permission here

                                                              Editor, Alicia Ponder

I was first introduced to Helen's work through her novel 'Thornspell', and I remember being particularly impressed by the lyricism of her language, along with her obvious love for romance, myth and fairytale.  A very powerful combination - especially in a poet - so of course when I found she was a member of the Tuesday Poem group I was instantly drawn to her poems.  With pieces ranging from Haiku to works inspired by Homer's Odyssey, each has its own unique voice, its own soul, and its own story to tell.  

I remember seeing Fey when it was blogged in December 2011, and it sent me straight back to my misspent youth - where anything was possible and there were fairies at the end of the garden.  (Not to mention the besom on the front porch that could only confirm that my mother was indeed a witch.)  But Fey is somewhat more sophisticated than a piece of childhood wonder.  It begins with an open door at night - your open door - placing you as the reader open to all the possibilities of an open door - camaraderie and danger - hand in hand.

And then...

                                your light
                                a moth's antenna
                                shadowed lawn

Helen Lowe
Such a beautiful picture.  Soft. Welcoming.  But more than that.  While being a stunning image of light across grass at first glance -  the moths antenna is also a hint of something slightly alien or "other" that is about to creep into the narrative.  (Not to mention the rather subtle nod to the creatures that belong to the dark - but yet are drawn to the light.) Now I'm sure I could continue to dissecting the rest of the poem - and leave the severed pieces bloody on the page - while undoubtedly proving irrevocably that I've missed the entire point.   I think that would be a bad idea.  So the only other thing I'll note is how I love the picture of "hurdy-gurdy trees" I have in my head, and suggest you check to make sure 

                                your door
                                stands open still
                                at dusk...

Thanks Helen.  Lovely work  I look forward to more. 

Helen Lowe is an active member of New Zealand's poetry scene.  She is a member of the New Zealand Poetry Society, hosts a monthly poetry feature for Women on Air, Plains 96.9 FM, and of course is a member of the Tuesday Poetry group with her blog. She is also the winner of numerous awards which can be found on her website. Her third novel The Gathering of the Lost , the second novel in The Wall of Night series, is just out. 

When you've read and enjoyed Fey check out the other Tuesday Poets' offerings in the sidebar - the range will astonish you. 

This week's Tuesday Poem editor Alicia Ponder is better known for her children's stories.  She has been published in Australia and New Zealand and her short story "Frankie and the Netball Clone" was recently nominated for Best Short Story in the 2012 Sir Julius Vogel Awards.  Her poetry can be found on her blog An Affliction of Poetry


Anonymous said...

Love the rocking horse with patchwork eyes; somewhere between comforting pony and nightmare.

Helen Lowe said...

"...somewhere between comforting pony & nightmare"--Ah, my work here is done!

Ben Hur said...

Yes, lovely poem. Lyrical and rooted in the concrete, yet evoking something quite ethereal.

On something else: Helen, Vanda Symon gave your latest novel a glowing review on the Radio National afternoon programme recently. Great stuff.

Michelle Elvy said...

Great to come here and find this poem today. I particularly love the closing stanza -- the poems opens and closes with such possibility.

Helen McKinlay said...

Thanks for choosing this Alicia. Undertones of all sorts here. soft yes...eerie yes. Feeling of some thing about to appear from the undergrowth ....But lets forget the analysis. I can enjoy it for its gentle teasing of the hairs on my arms.

Elizabeth Welsh said...

I love the cricket cage hanging from the lintel - there are so many rich images like this that subvert your expectations. Great stuff, thanks Alicia & Helen!

Claire Beynon said...

There's a moth theme in the blogosphere this week. . . thank you for your fine poem, Helen - and for posting it, Alicia.

Keith Westwater said...

Good choice Alicia – memories, imagery, movement,quite superb Helen

ayaz rasool said...

i liked this poem for its imagery.

Helen Lowe said...

Thank you, everyone, for your very positive comments: I am glad that you have enjoyed.

And thank you to Alicia for selecting it!

Harvey Molloy said...

It's beautiful and it's not afraid of wonder.