Poetry Out Loud

Last night I took part in a virtual open mic night hosted by performance poet, blogger and generally creative mother, Stephanie Arsoska. The thought behind it was that as Poets with Children we don’t really get much of an opportunity to go out to actual open mic nights to perform our work – but in this time of virtual everything, why should that mean we have to miss out? So there were five of us: Stephanie in Scotland against a professional-looking white wall, sipping a glass of something exciting; Ellie in a bathroom in Poland among her mother’s washing; Helen, surrounded by coves and candles, also in Scotland and also with wine (Scotland is the place to be, clearly); Annie in a comfortable looking chair, who almost didn’t make it due to technical hitches and me, with unwashed hair, eating curry. And so we read poetry, not sure if anyone was watching, but having a lovely time listening to each other and discussing whether poetry needs to be spoken, or read, or both.

I read my poem about my daughter’s first word and one about a sweltering night with wakeful baby. I also read a previously unseen poem, written at a time when it looked like I might never be a Poet with Children. Here it is:

Yahweh

I set a bush on fire
I spoke to it at length
but there was no staff
No quest or commission

Just my lame
stumbling tongue.

I built a ladder to the sky
and lay down at the bottom rung
but there were no angels
travelling serenely up and down

Just a cold, hard stone
for a pillow.

I stood in a river, hip deep,
but you would not wrestle.
I locked myself in prison cells
I tore curtains, released doves.

I left the door ajar
just wide enough for an angel

but there was no child.

Just a voice that told me
that You Are
Always, forever, everywhere,
burning, flaming, shining.

You stripped me bare
till there was nothing but glory.
So here I stand – unique
and highly favoured,
beautiful and loved.

Speak
Yahweh
I will listen.

(c) Judith Kingston, 2009

 

PS For anyone who was watching last night, the poem “Easter Wings” that I referred to is by George Herbert.

7 responses

  1. I am so glad you decided to post this! I loved it last night so am glad to have the chance to revisit it. I love the lines about the ladder up to the sky and lines you stripped me bare until there was nothing but glory are just stunning.

    Thank you (and your curry!) again for taking part last night!

  2. Beautiful, beautiful poem, J. And how wonderful to know you wrote it before you had children, and now look where you are! Loved all of it, but particularly the second last para. I didn’t know about the Poets with Children webcast. If I had i would’ve tried to listen (although i was actually out looking at our local secondary school Open Evening…so unlikely! BTW my daughter’s only in Year 5, not year 6, but Sec school is fast approaching….very scary prospect). Sx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s