The launch in March went very well and several people asked to see the poem ‘Signalling’ by Amy Anderson and A C Clarke posted on our blog, so here it is. The poem, conceived as a dialogue between a younger and an older woman, is a joint production by Amy Anderson (who poses the questions) and A C Clarke, who offers the answers.
Knowing when the clouds will greet their soft welcome
Knowing is for the young. I know only
that rain, lashing rain, with an ice in its heart
storms out of the blue, that I cannot tell
where sunlight will strike.
How to make the sun a compass
Getting lost, an art I’ve never mastered,
goes beyond pointers: sun, moon, stars.
Getting lost means having the nerve
to walk in circles, backwards,
over the edge. Trusting.
How to tell vision from illusion
Don’t try. Who knows
if the mad prophet’s beard
streams in the wind of his babble
or blown by the breath of the spirit?
Put out your hand to the dark.
How to read what is behind the mist
Behind-the-mist looms larger
than the patch of light we move in,
assumes the shape of dragon
or insurmountable cliff. There is no
looking ahead, only a path
you happen to take, finding later
the words to make it fit.
Knowing when to let the river carry away cherished things
Rinse your hands and watch the water
swirl your old skin away.
You do not step in the same hour twice
and all those things you carry at your heart
change with your blood.
Knowing when I should be still
I’d take lessons from a cat
which gives itself to sleep
with its whole being
lets itself fall
like a cushion,
at the last moment
brakes on its claws.
To know myself like childhood landscape
Childhood was orangejuice thick and sweet
as medicine, Vick’s vapour rub
stroked on in the light of a coalfire
coupons and everlasting
corned beef: a landscape
that doesn’t change.
I hope I never know my contours
so well I’m never taken by surprise.
To let my dark see the light
My dark sees the light
in the white ghost-shapes of words
poems which are
the other side of the self
To let words fly away like egrets
would be a grace.
I strain too hard
to cage them.
When the fire in the grate will not flame
Strike matches until a stray spark kindles.
Go for a walk or a sleep and let the fire
light in its own time.
When I am an island on a cold continent
I remember every man (woman too)
is an island. We signal each other
across acres of dark water,
guessing co-ordinates, unaware
how close the pattern of our flashes.
When I am finally alone
The world will have ended.
While the world lives
no final, no alone.
Even if I were barricaded
behind decades of waste
in a single room
part of me would be handed
to the future.