Writing a Poem a Week for a Year
Published by Nine Arches Press and edited by Jo Bell and guest poets, this wonderful book is a year of poetry-writing prompts.
I can’t quite remember when it first came on to my radar – possibly through a podcast. But I am now up to week 40 of 52 and could not be more delighted to have created this number of new poems.
I mentioned in my last monthly newsletter that I would share one of my poems with you and have decided to make it the most recent one I have worked on this week. The remit was to write about a place or a memory of being outdoors that meant something to us, and I chose a moment from several years ago. It didn’t last long, but you know those moments that stay with you? This is one of those.
When we stepped off the plane,
the small one that veered like a seagull and
pulled my stomach through my feet, we
pulled our rucksacks on, slung
haphazardly across our shoulders like shrugs
and walked along the quay
until we reached the pontoon
where a small boat awaited us to take us over that
narrow stretch, to the island.
Lamu. A two-syllabled
treasure chest of fabled tales, impossible to disentangle
truth from myth, but as
the motor sputtered into life and
murmurs of Arabic words grazed the hot, dusky air,
I fixed my eyes on our destination:
a car-less, comma-shaped slice of land of
winding stone streets where donkeys carried people and cargo
and dhows bobbed in the harbour.
The sun was slowly being tugged
over the palm-thatch rooftops and as our boat gently moved
across the silken sea like a lullaby,
a sudden sound pierced the silence and
rising, like steam, the muezzin called the faithful to prayer from the
needle-thin minaret, again and again as the
boatman’s eyes momentarily closed, his own
devotion whispered on the wind and I knew that
that this was it, this was life
and that I would bottle this
memory like a fine wine, unscrewing the cap now and again
for a single, sacred sip.
Thank you for reading this blog post. Compliment it with reading my winning poem for the 2020 Trip Fiction Poetry award, Tripoli Dreaming (which undoubtedly has parallels with my Lamu poem) & a poem entitled The Public Library Love Letter in which I wax lyrical about that greatest of institutions.
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