FOR THE POET’S SWEATSHOP

I’ve talked, on and on (!), about my own boring ‘agony’, or hell, but it is not the same as what we all suffer at times, when you own ability to make art is also taken from you, or so blocked at your own publisher. What kind of front dominates now, to hide the very humanity books are supposed to represent? I talked about some mismatch in the world of children’s books for me, and my experience, or perhaps the scope I tried to approach. But never give up, and perhaps a poem pair I ‘blogged’ at the beginning of Phoenix Ark might express something of trying to come through the most enormous darkness:

The Corner Spider

My tiny legs are threaded through your lives,
So many eyes, there, in the corner, watching,
I am a spider, universal, utterly particular,
Small as a bead of angry virgin’s blood,
Black as the holes of mind, that swallow light –
A singularity.
Tiny, unnoticed, insignificant, perhaps,
And yet my mouth is bigger than the stars,
And speaks in tongues, though spiders have no tongue.
So there I whisper, watch, and listening, wait for what?
The room to change, a wedding feast to come,
The paintings, windows, straightened on the walls,
But in all corners, in all rooms, all halls,
I weave the blowing shape of all your are – the gatherings of dust.
My endless fear is woven through your cells,
The helixes of searching, joining threads,
Combining webs of intrigue, and of life,
Spun with the cruel tension of a boy,
And hanging my future in your doorways –
My webs for catching lies.
I cannot love, or know your burning souls,
I cannot hate, or fight for pure ideals.
I cannot pierce into your mystery at all,
Yet I am wanton too, and bite with poisoned teeth.
I am the question sitting in the crevices, the one you must not ask,
The thing between the gaps, the name of loss.
Sometimes I hurry, ink-like, through your lines,
Seeking your point; a colon, coma – dash, but waiting for your stop.
Until some hired maid, buxom with life,
Decked out to form your power,
Runs in to sweep my startled forms away.
Your homes are cleaner now, the corners freshly painted,
The hobs new bought, with all the shiny brilliance of hope.
The linen sheets lie crisp for blood and night,
Yet me you cannot kill, for I am curled in time itself,
Sad as a lover’s sigh, on blowing dandelions,
Harnessing the wind, travelling inside the dark, strong as a stain,
Spreading once more, like fear, across your world.
I must return, and take my rightful place,
And there I sit, and wait, for all your eyes,
To turn and stare, in horror, at the corner.

The Corner Spider II

Why do your tiny, tragic words accuse,
Buzzing like hopeless flies inside the pot,
Wasting your real ink?
Do you not see the secret, marvellous patterns.
The brilliance of gossamer, the gentleness of time,
The lovely web of life?
What makes us, makes you too,
And all that travels on the wind, fearless of death.
Our point is not some fatal, pointless question,
Trapped inside the chasms of your mind,
The point is all there is, which has no point of failure, loss or hurt.
Some say it is the violence of the start,
Others the moon-kissed fullness of the night.
It is the secret thread of light,
Held between the finger and the thumb, of careful lovers,
Drawn from the delicate belly of the dark.
Energy you cannot harm, it is immortal.
Time itself, it spins
Out of the marvellous threads of bursting light,
That deck eternity.
Behold then, in your corners, not our spaces,
But your turning galaxies and fiery chains of life,
Far stronger than your walls.
The fulcrum of their movement is the dark.
Black spiders sit at the centre of everything,
Holes that give you blessings, genius and luck.
Try again, we say, and be your exiled Kings,
And so return, but this time love your hopes.
And as we live, with you, we will make meaning.
Our clever, tiny legs will cross the tyranny of each page,
Making the new connections.
Like ants that name the structure of an arch.
It is your frightened eyes that spy, not ours,
For we remove the flies, from cruel and wanton little fingers.
While seeing only maids, or paintings, feasts and halls,
You miss exactly what you are,
Alive – weaving with passion, light and blood,
Joining the beauty of your tender hands,
Piercing the womb of fear,
And worthy to lie on sacred sheets and live.

David Clement-Davies 2010 All Rights Reserved

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