A poem a day for Lent (day one)

I hope you’ve had your fill of pancakes – Lent has begun! For many of us, it’s a time of contemplation leading up to the joy of Easter – but it’s also, of course, a time for giving up or taking up things. My brother has gone vegetarian for Lent (taking up vegetarianism or giving up meat, depending on how you look at it) – this excites me greatly, mostly because he has teased me for being vegetarian ever since I started, in 2001.

I’ve been watching a couple of arty programmes lately – The Big Painting Challenge and Portrait Artist of the Year – and it got me wanting to take up something creative in Lent. One artist said he had a New Year’s Resolution to paint a self portrait every day. Any sort of artwork every day seemed impossibly time-consuming, but I decided I could manage a poem a day. There’s always the option of a single rhyming couplet on hectic days. (And the project would require – yay – stationery!)

Lent poetry book

Perhaps I should emphasise this isn’t because I think I’m a great poet – rather it’s that I want to practise it more, and I like the idea of a record of Lent to look back on. I’ll be trying lots of styles, tones, and forms (though my go-to form is always something which takes a rigid structure and shakes it up a bit), and I will probably share some of them here, if people are interested. In fact, here’s day one – I thought ‘beginning’ was a suitable theme, and it was my jumping-off point for writing this one, as well as the title.

Beginning

She is there in a house on a cliff,
Facing out to sea and out to land,
The place both meet; the place where both begin,
A refuge for escapers, holidaymakers,
From all that’s past that’s not permitted in.

In a room in a house on a cliff,
Cold with age and waiting to awake,
The day begins; the dying back of night,
A light-switch makes a lighthouse of a cave;
A wary hand declares ‘let there be light’.

In a room on the edge of a cliff,
She finds that she has walked to every wall,
To use each sense; to know that they are there,
The witnesses to something wholly new,
But witnesses which must stay unaware.

In a bed in a house on a cliff,
Blankets form a powerless defence.
The warmth may come; perhaps she has to wait,
For now no walls can stop the creeping cold;
The world outside will always infiltrate.

In a house on the edge of a cliff,
Caught between the country and the coast,
The last escape; the first place to defend,
Sometimes an end is the beginning;
Sometimes a beginning is the end.

 

16 thoughts on “A poem a day for Lent (day one)

  • March 1, 2017 at 10:59 pm
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    Well done you, would love to see your poems and stationery.
    I’ve never quite been able to stick with such initiatives, although I do write a poem most days. There’s something of the rebel in me if it’s imposed, I suppose…

    • March 7, 2017 at 1:34 pm
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      Yes, I will wait and see how much that rebel in me comes out!

  • March 1, 2017 at 11:08 pm
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    Wow, Simon. That was great! And, good for you for taking on such a formidable challenge. I look forward to reading more poems!

    • March 7, 2017 at 1:33 pm
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      Thank you Linda! I am wondering how formidable it will seem later in Lent :/

  • March 2, 2017 at 1:07 am
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    Very well done – say I, who cannot write poetry. I like to read poetry as straight text and it read beautifully. Thanks!

    • March 7, 2017 at 1:33 pm
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      Thank you Nancy! That’s how I tend to read poetry too, so is pretty much the only way I know how to write it.

  • March 2, 2017 at 4:04 am
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    Poetry can be so much fun and a great brain exercise. You must try a Sestina one day. If you aren’t familiar google will show you how. Our writing group had great fun with it.

    • March 7, 2017 at 1:32 pm
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      I’m not familiar, so I will google – thanks for the tip, Pam!

  • March 2, 2017 at 3:24 pm
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    Fabulous Simon! What a great initiative and I do like your poem. And as you say, anything involving stationery has to be good…. :)

    • March 7, 2017 at 1:32 pm
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      Thanks Karen! And yes, any excuse for a new notebook…

  • March 2, 2017 at 7:59 pm
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    Hearing you were writing poems for Lent got me thinking. What is the difference between the Old Testament and writing poetry today? Answer: there are more “prophets” (profits) in the OT.

    • March 7, 2017 at 1:31 pm
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      Bah-dum-tish!

  • March 4, 2017 at 9:50 am
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    This is a great idea and a fabulous way to give the creative muscles a daily work out. I love the poem too. Look forward to reading more

    • March 7, 2017 at 1:23 pm
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      Thank you Angela! It’s been fun so far – ask me again in a few weeks!

  • March 5, 2017 at 1:28 am
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    What a great poem. Is it in a particular form? It seems to be related to one of those old Italian forms. Or did you invent the form on your own? I really like it.

    • March 7, 2017 at 1:16 pm
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      Thank you so much, Natalie! I suppose I made up the form – though it’s more of a patchwork of other ones.

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