Happy writing doesn’t come naturally to me. I worry about sounding trite or, worse, soppy. These past few months have been the happiest I can remember, so I haven’t much felt like writing.
Last year I wrote my first love poem – for my beloved’s birthday. I was 45. It didn’t completely suck. He has a copy on the wall by his bed, so I guess he must like it, or at the very least like that it was written.
Yesterday I ventured out to a poetry gig. Later, we saw Jim Jarmusch’s ‘Paterson’ together, in which Paterson the bus driver writes poems deeply entrenched in ordinary wonder. The film is a calm mindful view of what might be considered mundane until transformed by the poetic lens. Unlike the two women seated next to us who talked and looked at their phone screens throughout, we were quite captivated. Hands clasped across the restaurant table we discussed the film and the kangaroo gargoyles on the building opposite. Perhaps it was the film that triggered an especially mindful moment this morning and the subsequent urge to write it.
face sleep slack
your lips whistle slightly
with each exhalation
your right cheek
rests on the pillow of my left elbow
our noses close enough
for the hairs you won’t let me pluck
my right arm drapes
across the soft pelt of your back
fingers seeking the smooth valley
of your spine
I enjoy the play of texture
squash my breasts against your chest
rest my right knee
on your thigh
though your breaths are quicker
I synchronise my intake
with each lip whistle
brave those ticklish hairs
breathe in your waste breath
so that I might merge further
in my slack muscle trance
lost in the detail
of the lines round your eyes
each fingertip on my skin
my idling mind wonders
if your excess carbon dioxide
is responsible for the giddiness
(PS My beloved is cool with me sharing.)
I’ve been doing a lot of walking. It’s good for my body and my head. Mostly I shimmy along to tunes delivered directly to my ears courtesy of some splendid headphones. I have a walking playlist on my phone – of tunes for tackling hills, striding purposefully or whimsical rambles. This morning I walked to a different soundtrack.
Mindfulness. It’s a bit of a buzzword. Something of a trend. I am undertaking an introductory course explaining the theory and practice of mindful behaviour. I’ve discovered some interesting aspects of myself, one of which is that I already tend towards the mindful. My walks are often meditative, despite the headphones. I observe the gardens, the birds, animals, plants, the play of light. Sometimes I am literally lead by the nose and follow the scents of jasmine, rose, dianthus, lavender.
Today I decided to walk without headphones. I had chosen a shared footpath along the Yarra. The decision to allow my ears full reign was principally for safety – being mown down by a Lycra-bedecked cyclist not being high among my list of priorities. Not long into the walk, and already feeling attuned to the soundscape and noting the preponderance of human noise, I came across one of the signs for the Heidelberg Artists Trail. Arthur Streeton’s “Still glides the stream, and shall forever glide” had been painted from nearby and the title made me aware of the manifest silence of the river. This continual flow, silent into the future, that seemed to draw the sounds into it, as though creating a hushed void. And so my walk became ekphrastic – a future-bound flow, surrounded by sound.
Yarra Flats Sunday morning (a walked ekphrasis)
carpark shuffle thunk
joggers chatter huff
undulating traffic rumble hum
woodwind plane moan
cyclists ding doppler whirr
pixelated leaf shushing
bridge thunder chunk
babbling inner monologue
a cappella birds twinkle choir
mountain bikes clumber mumble thanks
my metronome gravel scrunch
the river glides silently by