This name is still an uncertain bird in my mouth, perched at the tip of my tongue when I reach for its fragile feathered body. So small in the hold of my hand it cheeps, cheeps, cheeps and I say Finch, Finch, Finch to the mirror above the sink, check the windows are closed before loosening the grip I have on its wings uncertain if I can make the sound stick.
Write a poem that delves into the meaning of your first or last name.
There is nothing to report. Just cameras whittling time into little pixeled boxes. Behind a curved desk an anchor is just that today, a weight to keep the ship steady focused in on itself, to stop the rigging pulling loose, or port and starboard drifting too far from the bones of each other. The mics only capture seafoam, its hiss, hiss, hiss, on sand as the nothing news drags in and out across our feet.
Write a poem in the form of a news article you wish would come out tomorrow.
The birds build nest from found objects up in the eaves of my house where I have no place to call a home mine. Fragile window-frames of splintered straws, postcard door fluttering off its hinges. I stack these pieces on top of each other, ring the patio table in old newspapers, and build myself something small, contained, a space to fill up with just me and leave no part abandoned. When winter cracks against the garden, steps up to the windows, climbs the brickwork, I understand better why the birds all left when the leaves turned gold. These nests are skins for the shedding, a stripping out of last year’s hide, before the cold can come and take.
Tonight I’m writing for the DVersePoetics Prompt, where we’ve been asked to “write a poem in the first person that compares some trait of ours with something animal”, taking inspiration from Marjorie Saiser’s poem ‘The Print The Whales Make’.
He’d be gone before the rubble settled. Leave a town burning in his wake, crushed stone slithering through cracks like sand in a broken hourglass, pooling empty hours into empty streets. This seafarer, spacefarer, carving out his stamp on a place so he might be able to see it from above when he glanced down at the ruins he’d built. He must have seen a beauty in destruction or why would he have sought out more?
The greatest honour a woman can have is to be least spoken of in men’s company, whether in praise or in criticism.
Pericles’ Funeral Oration (after 490 BCE) from Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War
The Assassin’s Creed games have taken your image, placed you at the centre of their storyline as the ultimate villain and laid Pericles’ death at your feet. It makes me wonder if Thucydides was wishing you away when he wrote the Funeral Oration in his play, tongued words of rebuke into Pericles’ mouth to made it clear that you would have been best, sticking to your shadows with the other none-citizens. Or better yet, if you could have pretended the role of a true Athenian wife: silent, and isolated at her spinning in another room, while the men burned hot in their political worlds instead of staking yourself a place among them, and into history, as just too brilliant to possibly be respectable for where’s there is smoke there is always fire.
The men may have their forums, but I still speak and build my own places of discussion, for there is a freedom in love without the binds of law when means my tongue has no need to bow down to politicians or their stages. After two and a half millennium I am dust and nothing remains of what I wrote except in the gossip of others’ which is always a shade of fiction on the truth and too often without inspiration for how to bring down another woman stepping outside the chalk lines men draw. Do not believe all that is written, or all that is said, it becomes too easy to make figures when the known history is soft enough to mould into shapes that suit the reader best.
write a two-part poem, in the form of an exchange of letters. The first stanza (or part) should be in the form of a letter that you write either to yourself or to a famous fictional or historical person. The second part should be the letter you receive in response.
NaPoWriMo – Day Eleven Prompt
If you would like a half-an-hour podcast of who Aspasia was exactly, then I thoroughly recommend Natalie Haynes episode on her from Natalie Haynes Stands Up For The Classics on BBC 4. She was the lover of the Athenian politician Pericles, (known as the father of Democracy) and utterly unique for her time. Once I’ve finished my post on the women of the Peasant Revolt I think I’ll have to spend some time pulling together a blog post about her, because she was an amazing historical figure pushing the boundaries of what women were allowed to do, and what was assumed about them.