These are linked poems created week by week for a year, inspired by the book No Choice But To Follow, and the poets therein who did it first.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

June #4

Round and Round and Round and Round …

And round we go again,
spinning again on this pretty planet

as if the intricate dance 
were forever, its patterns important.

The moment seems to matter.
My cats are old and sick, my man is dead.

Tell me that’s not important.
Important to me — but not to some stranger

across the world, not to
animals in zoos or jungles, not at all

to insects living their little lives
and not to the stars in space, nor the space.

My friend is sad for her old mother
finally dead in her nineties: wondering, “Did I do 

enough?” (She did. I was witness.)
All these small human dramas we all repeat,

caught in the cycle. As if brand new
as we each meet each one as if for the first time.

Yet when we sink to restful emptiness,
how well we know that music, that old refrain.

It wells up to remind us, nothing 
is new, nothing is really unknown, nothing 

is individual. We spin our lives
again and again on our spinning planet.

Round and round and round and round 
we go again — caught in the spin, dreaming 

our little dramas as if they were real, 
as if we were here, as if we were now, as if….

(Lately I dream that I dream.
Does this mean I’m ready to wake?)

— Rosemary Nissen-Wade

("Round and round and round and round we go again" — I'm not plagiarising, just alluding!)

Sunday, 22 June 2014

June #3

Feedback Loop

The greatest mystery
is mysterious
and great.
In fact not just great
it is the GREATEST
and all the not-so-great mysteries
weep into cushions
while chowing down on an entire tub of
the most fattening ice cream
to quell their sense of inadequacy.

And the most fattening ice cream
which is creamy and icy
and fattening
is not just fattening
it is the MOST fattening
and for some reason also
the MOST delicious and moreish
and the MOST bad for you
which is often the way for food.
Why when we know this do we still…?

It is the greatest mystery.
It is mysterious
and great.
In fact not just great
it is the GREATEST

and round we go again…

— Michele Brenton

Sunday, 15 June 2014

June #2

Falling Headlong: Autism

the years of curious reading
for pleasure and titillation;
to thank the gods it's nothing
to do with me,
this withdrawing from the world,
this other place within a person
that translates into rocking and spinning,
alien shrieks in the night – 
they were comforting
because I was safe.

the one word spoken
by Someone Who Knew
confirmed my every secret fear
and we were tossed down
a specific measured rabbithole
to the desolate dune landscape
of broken grey quarries
and old entombed cities.
the one-way gate
to the greatest mystery.

— Helen Patrice

Saturday, 7 June 2014

June #1

Muscle and Bone Subside

Here. Let me help you.
I struggle to lift the chair.
We move side table too.
Now you can swing
where once you would swivel.
Now it’s only your eyes turning
to watch the birds, the seasons
the garden tossing or still
its feet unmoving. You miss
the dancing.

You sink and settle. The chair
cuddles you; its many cushions
enclose muscle and bone.

Desire, too, subsides.
And faith in a better future.
There are many you scorn
who sink to a lower level –
The men. The budget makers.
The wealthy liars and cheats.
Whilst you might have become
less active, I wouldn’t call
your disgust with the TV news
less violent, your heart quiet.

In fact, despite the chair’s
security, I see you believe
we are all cast down, falling
headlong.

— Jennie Fraine