As Mid Term Break begins and snow has caused my son’s basketball game to be cancelled, I’m availing of the opportunity to read and redd my way through the mountain of things I have put by my writing space at the dining table since Christmas. These include receipts, schoolwork, notebooks, to do lists, shells and sea glass lifted from Rathmullan walks with Summer, my kindle, novels, things cut out of the newspaper and poetry books. These are hastily bundled to make way if we need the table, as when Garden Room Writers met here last week. It’s amazing how the pile accumulates and appears to the untrained eye (my mother’s) as a mess. Still, I know exactly what is where and that none of it is for dumping.
For years my morning ritual includes time spent with a poem, a pause before the working day commences. The first coffee of the day tastes of poetry. Last thing most evenings when the lights are going out and the kitchen is stilling I dip in again. The pick-up-ability of a poetry book means there is always one in my handbag to pass the moments I must while away over the course of the day. Bed-time reading is always a novel (The Witchfinder’s Sister these nights), but these are like TV: entertainment, downtime, relaxation and relatively forgettable. Poetry reading is something else, maybe closer to prayer in my life, certainly in that it insinuates its way into most of my waking time. It’s soulful, meditative, for sure but also like the best conversations it is provocative and inspiring. I am the better for it.
Among the books I bundle today are Annemarie Ni Churreainn’s BLOODROOT, and Amanda Bell’s First the Feathers from Doire Press and the beautiful gift of Emma McKervey’s collection, The Rag Tree Speaks, that Lisa sent along with my order. Also in there, the most wonderful Dead End from Joan Newmann from Summer Palace Press and brand-new purchase, Angel Hill from Michael Longley, published by Cape Poetry. I feel blessed among these books, this rich seam to mine as the snow falls outside. I am reminded with each dip into these collections of Imelda Maguire’s beautiful ‘Why I Love Poetry’ from her collection Serendipidy from Revival Press.
“I love the friendliness of poetry –
the way the poet expects me to see
what they mean. Like a friend would.
I love the trust in that. I love that
every poem is another hand, reaching,