Archive for February, 2015

Ghost chemo

Posted: February 26, 2015 in Anthony Wilson
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A haunting poem from Anthony Wilson about cancer.

Anthony Wilson

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It’s hard to describe.

One day your are fine, not quite the same (age will do this to you), then bam, something like a steamroller has massaged your body during the night, making sure it reversed out of the bedroom the way it came.

Tiny areas of your body, previously unknown to you, now throb with soreness.

Imagine the handle of a screwdriver. Something is screwing its handle into your hipbone. Just as the pain eases, or you get used to it (it’s hard to know the difference), the prodding begins in the side of your opposite buttock. This also eases, just at the point that your knees become jelly. And your neck. Who thought holding up a head could be so much work!

Now imagine the blades of a pair of nail scissors. Somehow they have found their way inside your kidneys. It’s hard to tell if they are…

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my pain can be measured

by the flickering flames of

fire burning in the corner

of my tear stained eye

 

it must be measured by the

angles of the rays of sunlight

and moonlight as they pass

over the wilderness of the moors

 

my pain is there in the distance

as the blackbird files to find pies

and near in the flock of

sheep counting till they go to sleep

 

it is in the spots on dalmatians

running down the road in single file

and in the tails of nine cats

staring at the world from a tree

 

my pain is in the well of oil

that spurts from the burnt crust

of sliced earth leaping from the

frying pan into a funeral pyre

 

my pain is here, it is there

it is high, it is low

it has no end and no beginning

i can see it in the stars


Kim Moore’s latest blog featuring a poem by Lindsey Holland

Kim Moore

Today I was supposed to be running the Great North-West half marathon.  However, with my dodgy inflamed tendon and random hip pains I decided it probably wasn’t sensible.  In fact, yesterday, after doing 5k at Barrow Park Run and having to slow down after the first three kilometres I decided I’m going to have a week off running this week, give my body a complete rest and then slowly start building up again.  This week I’ve only done three short runs of between 3-4 miles each time, and although it feels like it’s better, it still doesn’t feel right.  It’s a strange pain because it doesn’t feel bad enough to stop running, it’s not that painful, more uncomfortable, but I have a feeling that if I just rest it completely it might repair itself a bit quicker.  In between the short runs I’ve been doing Pilates and exercise classes, which…

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The latest from John Foggin

The Great Fogginzo's Cobweb

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Contrary to the truth universally acknowledged that British children aren’t taught standard English and the conventions of writing it down, here’s the actual truth.. What they HAVE to be taught has been there in black and white in the Framework for the Literacy Hour for years. Politicians don’t trouble themselves with this kind of detail. Maybe they should. So spare a thought for the teachers of 4-7 year olds who have to make sure that young children know how to use a full stop correctly. And, as a corollary,that they have grasped the concept of a sentence sufficiently for them to recognise one when they’ve written it. Think for a moment about that. You know a sentence when you see one. You just read some. Now tell yourself what a sentence is, or what it has to do to be a sentence. Maybe you say it has to have a…

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The latest blog from Seren Books

Seren Books Blog

The Tall Thin Tenor comes from Kathryn Maris’s collection God Loves You published in 2013.

Kathryn Maris borrows rhythms, vocabulary and themes from the Bible in this collection of poems. The result is more than artful parody, although a sly wit is in evidence. It is an approach that accommodates large themes, unravelling them in new ways.

The first section, ‘What will the neighbours think?, is a kaleidoscopic view of the sins and sinners of the modern city and opens, appropriately enough, with a vision of a flood to rival Noah’s. The poems feature domestic discord, gossip, suicide, celebrity and anxiety about the safety and behaviour of children and spouses. It says much about this poet’s meticulous poise and tone that we are lured into these scenarios with our sympathies fully engaged.

The following sections subvert scripture more directly. A mock-prayer opens: ‘My father, who art in heaven,/ sits under…

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On Tuesday 17th February I went to the Calderdale Industrial Museum in Halifax, West Yorkshire. Nothing extraordinary about a trip to a museum you might think, but the Calderdale Industrial Museum is different to other museums. The museum only started opening again last year after closing its doors to the public around 2000/01. Even now it only opens three or four times a year due to funding constraints and being staffed entirely by volunteers.

But this also makes it enchanting, mystical even. And this is because the museum at the moment is stuck in a time warp. Everything is as it was fourteen years ago, the signs, the machines even down to a jacket hung up on a wall. But what hits you most is the smell. The thought of fourteen years of grease, oil, soap and metal might sound disgusting to some people but to me it is so evocative, it fires up the senses and the smells turn into images and the imagination is set alight.

Why? Picture the men who made these amazing machines from a solid block of iron or steel weighing several tons or just a few pounds. These blocks of iron would be fashioned into lathes 50 feet long, drills 10 feet tall, multi-coloured weaving looms, machines that can turn reduce steel from 4 inches to 1 millimetre and something so intricate and delicate it is a true wonder of the industrial age. And all it does is make a staple!

And what of the men, women and children who worked these machines? Men,  women and children who would rise before the dawn chorus so that they wouldn’t be late for work and have to go through the special gate just for latecomers. Who would work for 12 hours or more in conditions that would leave their senses dulled by the noise, the lack of light, the dirt and grime they breathed into their lungs and having to keep up with this new machinery that moved as faster than a bird diving for prey hour after hour after hour all day, every day.

And what happened if one of them should fall asleep at their machine or miscalculate the speed of the iron arm going back and forth at 10,000 rpm or more? At worse they might lose a finger, a toe an arm or a leg. At worse they would be killed as they tried to earn a pittance to survive. If they were injured and became too ill or disabled to work they would be cast into the street to beg and steal to live.

It is their lives and deaths I smell as I wander round the museum, the blood, sweat and tears they split everyday onto the wooden floors, the relief at another day over without injury and some money to feed the hungry mouths at home or the cries of pain as a finger was lost in a split second and their life was changed forever. And these smells transform themselves beyond the machines sat there silent but gleaming in all their splendour for the descendants of the workers to admire in awe and wonder. The smells transform into a fully working factory with all the sensory experiences you would have lived through then.

The Calderdale Industrial Museum evokes all this and much more because of what it is in an age of metal boxes. A true step back in time to an era that we should not forget nor sugar coat in a romantic sheen. But experience and understand it for what it is, what it was and what it stands for today.

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Here is the fourth and final instalment of Owen Vince’s quartet of poems about boxing titled The Bout, IV – Afterword. I hope you’ve enjoyed the poems and take the time to continue to visit Hinterland Poetry to read more wonderfully incisive and thought provoking poetry.

The link is here: http://www.hinterlandpoetry.com/owen-vince-4/


Here is the third instalment of Owen Vince’s quartet of poems based on boxing. This one is titled: The Bout, III – Both Members of this Club (1909)

The link to Hinterland Poetry is here: http://www.hinterlandpoetry.com/owen-vince-3/


Another excellent blog from Kim Moore with a intriguing poem about a bath in a field from the lovely Keith Hutson.

Kim Moore

It has been a funny old week this week – overshadowed by the poet Graham Austin’s funeral.  It was sad and funny all at the same time.  Graham’s son and two daughters read beautiful eulogies for him which were really interesting as well as being funny and sad.  Graham’s other daughter had made a beautiful slideshow of photographs of Graham and his family.  I found out Graham used to be a runner – there was an amazing photograph of him in full sprint mode on a track.

The loveliest thing though was that the funeral was full of poetry.  Graham’s grandson read one of his poems, and other poems were quoted from and then Mark Carson, Ross Baxter and I each read a poem.  I read the poem that Graham sent me for this blog a while ago and it sounds inappropriate, but it nearly made me laugh whilst I…

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Another thought provoking blog from John Foggin featuring poems from Wendy Pratt.

The Great Fogginzo's Cobweb

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One of my fictional heroes is Esther Summerson in ‘Bleak House’. Most of the students I’ve ‘taught’ on A level and on degree courses disliked her or dismissed her as wetly pious. I argued long and hard for her courage, her moral strength;  I always believed in her genuine humility rooted in a sense of her own worthlessness. It takes a lot for her to believe that she can truly be loved, as opposed to being relied on. I’m not sure if this is germane to this week’s cobweb strand. Who knows where we’ll end up. But, like Esther, ‘I have a great deal of difficulty in beginning to write my portion of these pages, for I am not very clever.’ She adds: ‘I always knew that’. I wish I could, hand on heart, say that. And let me clear up what I mean by clever here. I’m not…

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