THE GOLDEN THREAD OF POETRY
poetry that connects and transforms
poetry on a different level
Tessa Ransford and friends: seventeen poets from various parts of Scotland took part in a series of readings at St John’s Church at the west end of Princes Street in Edinburgh, as part of its Festival of Spirituality, during the Festival of 2010.
On these two posts you will find poems written by the performers at the Golden Thread.
The other pages will give information about the poets, feedback about the performances, and related photographs and artwork.
‘AN ANGEL DISTURBS THE WATERS’*
The Angel dipped his feet in the pool.
Heavy-limbed, eyes red and bleary,
Heartsick and weary.
The woman looked up at the stained glass head.
‘An Angel disturbs the waters’ she read.
What is the point? So much good to do here
So much evil to undo, which is worse,
And all this in the service of others.
He found it hard not to curse.
What is the point? What message is here?
Why is he doing that? It really isn’t clear.
The Angel sighed; yet still he trusted.
He leaned his head upon his hand.
‘I am just part of some great design
I have no need to understand.’
Then following the wave of pale blue pieces
Created by the Angel’s sigh,
She saw the little ship caught for so long in the Doldrums
Fill out its sails, and heard the grateful sailor cry.
*title taken from a stained glass panel in Trinity Church, Boston, Mass.
Sheep and kirk,
croft and lighthouse,
wreck on treacherous reef;
green, gold, grey,
crumbling stone, lichen-
covered – every inch
could have been touched
by hand, hoof or gull’s
stick leg. Dig and dig,
find new meaning in
layers of soil, of
this subtle, parallel
place, that makes north
true, possible, outlined,
like a ghost’s drawn breath
Roaming the dawn garden to gather flowers,
I heard the cry of a nightingale.
Forlorn like me he loved the rose,
And in that mournful trill surged all his grief.
I wandered in the garden’s timeless moment,
Balancing the plight of rose and bird.
For the rose is the heart of beauty,
And the nightingale, beauty’s slave;
The first may show no favour,
The second seeks no change.
So stirring was his passionate song
That I was moved beyond endurance;
For endless roses flower each day,
Yet no man plucks a single bloom
Without the risk of thorn.
O Hafez, seek no gain from the orbit of this wheel,
It has a thousand pitfalls and no concern for you.
a crazy alchemy
of blood and bone
a mangrove root
with something -
a dash of spirit
and I am drawn
lines from my arms
too early arrived
tubed and fed
- bang -
- there is
soil in those
the gospel ship
there is stillness
the sea a mirror
for the reflection
of cold shores
only the boat
the oar dipped
the men lean
into the stroke
the women hold
bibles in their
hands and stare
out to the vessel
moored in the sound
they are a people
their church split
on erratic tides
a gospel ship
and their voices
rise out across
out over the
backs of beasts
the people are
upon the waters