Monday, March 21, 2016

World Poetry Day - March 2016

Bit of a 'two cigarette' effort, done on my phone in January, lying on the sofa (I think) on the one snowy afternoon of the year in Nottingham and then briefly tidied up on Sunday evening.

Not sure about the bear and not the ideal time of year for the subject but let's see how it goes...


Snow

I wish the snow would fall and not stop.
Tuck the houses up and draw a hush tight around them.
All the movement and bustle fading.
All the paths hidden and footsteps erased.
 
I want the snow to smother the world.
Bury our mistakes deep and numb.
The birds could carry on,
the wind prowling restless,the cloud streaking the blue sky.
 
I'll sit alone with the unwritten page
and gazing out at a world unmade.
Peering into the whiteness for a shrouded figure.
Waiting for them to stamp their feet on the mat and knock three times.
 
I dream of a hibernation where we can lie good as dead.
Waiting to be reborn into a world wiped clean.
Waking with the clear purpose,
and the clean sharp mind of a sun irised bear.
 
David Millington
March 2016
Nottingham


Thursday, October 8, 2015

National Poetry Day 2015

A couple of short bits, scraps almost, from earlier this year.  I’d have written more but it this is a good time to leave them be.  There are a couple of others that go with them but one’s not finished and the other might not be worth finishing. 

She plucks the compliments from her hair

She plucks the compliments from her hair like bobby pins
And brushes the fleeting glances from her shoulders with gloved fingers
She averts her eyes from each proffered heart, giving only a smile in return.
To the ears hanging on her every word she offers only laughter
as she steps lightly through the longing gazes, placing each foot just so.


Bright Edges

A hundred poems I had for you
Unread, unwritten, unlived, but not unfelt.
And the bright edges of those days cut cleaner into me than any other.


I can feel them still.




Thanks for reading.

David Millington
October 2015

Nottingham

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Wedding

Another poem I'm afraid.

I scribbled down the bones of this on my smartphone whilst under the influence at my friend's wedding reception back in January.  I've tried it a couple of times since and come up with nothing so it's not a recommended method.
It's been sitting and waiting to be finished for a couple of months but having finally sat down I've only made very small adjustments and solved the troublesome verse by removing it. 
It was a lovely occasion anyway and I hope that comes across.
The Wedding
The rain leaves diamonds on the windows
and past-your-bedtime children dart like swallows
beneath roof beams and across the polished floor.
 
There are wine glassed haloes on the tablecloths
As squeezed-into jackets ago are eased off
And trouser tops are discretely unbuttoned
 
Remembrances are chewed fondly over,
tall stories and big plans and our might-be and maybes
as new memories are laid down like whisky.
 
All our days are woven together for this one day
to be folded and packed as neatly as Sunday best
and to brought out and held up to the light in days to come
 
Women stand heron heeled in corners.
Grown giddy and gaggled as schoolgirls
Taking tonight’s chance to be someone less well worn
 
The dancers move to oldies from way back when
(is it really twenty years? I used to hate this then but now it sounds ok.)
The songs remembered as fondly as old enemies.
 
Watches are checked and babysitters discretely consulted
Hugs, promises and smiles swapped or given
We won’t leave it this long again, surely

Outside taxies cluster like fireflies,
The guests scatter like the confetti in the chill air
As the last record sings ‘you can't hurry love.’

 
 
David Millington
27th May 2013
Nottingham
 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Snowflake




This is very short but it seems an appropriate day to post it.  I wrote it late in 2011 in response to a painting (not the image above by the way).  I kicked around some other snowflakey ideas but this seemed to hit the mark I was aiming for in a very few words.  Snowflake's not the actual title of the poem but it'll do.

Snowflake

I looked for you
as a man searching for blossom in a snowstorm.

For a heart to cradle

that would not melt away.



David Millington
14th January 2013
Nottingham

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Heartbeats

Someone once observed that each animal, large or small, has about the same number of heartbeats over its lifetime.  Animals with shorter lifespans have hearts that beat very quickly, 450 times a minute in the case of a hamster. Hamsters don't usually make it past 3 years. Sorry hamster lovers.  Long lived animals like whales, than can live to 80, have hearts that only beat around 20 times a minute.  A lifetime can be measured in a lot of ways, but it's about a billion heartbeats for most of the animals on the planet.

The exception to this rule of thumb is us.  About a billion heart beats would take us to 31 years of age.  We get around 2.2 billion heartbeats.  So think how lucky you are and don't waste them. And think how many of us are living on borrowed time.

I've posted this before but it'll stand posting again.



This has been kicking around for ages in my head so I thought I'd try and get it down on paper.  Possibly a waste of everyone's heatbeats.

Heartbeats

Only so many heartbeats,

Leaking like water from a drum.

Strewn like confetti over damp cobbles,

Or carried like blossom on the breeze.

Stamped into the brickwork of that midnight doorway,

Scorched into the table by the unfinished drinks,

Spinning like leaves in the rain-tide of the river,

caught in the station’s eaves with pigeons and announcements.

Yours and yours and yours all mixed with mine,

fading away until in a hundred years

all that’s left of us will be the echoes in your child’s breast.

David Millington
Nottingham
4th November 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

St Michael's Mount

I am planning on writing a series of blogs about various books but in the meantime I thought I'd post this as I'm quite pleased with it. 

Simon Armitage said that as a poet he looks for patterns and synchronicity.  I think I had that in somewhere in mind when the idea for this bubbled up to the surface when I was in Cornwall over Christmas.  At least it gave me something to think about as I walked by the sea in the hail!


 
St Michaels Mount         

A mile or more of Mounts Bay and the billowing wind
leave only a rain carved shadow in the mist.
I can’t see where the water meets the cliff
or the crag stiffens into wall.
Just grey on grey on grey.

But I can picture that sea-glistened causeway,
leading to that midnight island,
where we were the only people in the world.
It was as if the deeps had parted for us
and the path ahead was moonlight clear.

Now the years have piled up in front of me
like so many emptied glasses at a pub table.
The memories finger-smudged
and the paths we might have taken
are long since lost to the incoming tide.

The insistent hail at my back drives me along the promenade.
Storm hood tugged low to a letter box view of the world
hunch shouldered and fists stuffed into pockets.
The wind’s grip a tender doorman
escorting me firmly onwards.

David Millington
26th January 2012
Nottingham

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Quick hits


I've read somewhere that poetry is the art of saying a lot with a few words.  That seems quite a modern view and probably isn’t something that Homer, the unknown writer of Beowulf or even Keats would have necessarily agreed with but there’s something to be said for it none the less.  Often a book will try to open a door to a particular experience or feeling using sheer weight of words.  And sometimes a poem will fit easily into an unseen keyhole and open it with the slightest twist.

Scots poet Norman MacCaig used to say in reply to the question  "How long does it take to write a poem" that usually it was "about a cigarette" or "two cigarettes for a long poem". I’m rather skeptical about this as I find his work sparse, spare but beautifully crafted and I can’t believe that he resisted the urge to go back later and to tidy up. I think in many ways it’s harder to find a single word that works than it write a sentence or paragraph. When you have the freedom to write you can chase the meaning around the page before eventually pinning it down in submission. A single word is hard.
I’ve tried to be economical and ruthless with the writing and editing of these two poems. Flowers was originally twelve lines long and now it’s down to five. I thought I’d better post them while I still have something.
‘Flowers’ is about a month old, ‘Bookcase’ a little longer.

Flowers
I wished I could have curled the sunlight
around the plain stem of my words,
twisted strips of bright sky into blooms,
and wrapped them in the blue morning.
When I realised it was you that I had met today.

Bookcase
The bookcase looms
Square-shouldered.
Five gaping mouths,
crammed with teeth.
One of us will eat the other
And I’m the hungrier.

David Millington
Nottingham
23rd November 2011