NaPoWriMo Begs For a Cluster of Poems

poetry quote Ai weiei.jpg

Yesterday, I spent a wonderful day with my daughters visiting the National Art Gallery in Melbourne and immersing myself in the art of Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei.

happy a and mj with balloons

I’m sure in quiet moments I’ll think over the nuances of the day and be able to write several poems such was the richness of the experience. Being allowed to take photographs and download information will definitely trigger memories and boost any forgetful senior moments! Thank you exhibition curators.

entrance rulesjpg.jpg

However, another NaPoWriMo (optional) prompt/ challenge swirled in my head and although I’ve given up publishing a poem a day I’m still motivated to write and share  work I feel ready to share. The editor in me can’t publish stream of consciousness, preferring to use that as a tool rather than an end result.

I’m a plotter not a pantser when it comes to writing. Plus, even when work is polished and published, the perfectionist in me wants to rewrite and change it. What is it they say – those who can, do and those who can’t, teach! Or, maybe I’m just a normal writer – we’re often called a weird bunch.

Indecisive thoughts play in a loop and my confidence believes the ‘Wednesday’s Child is full of woe’ prophesy –  woe translated as dejection and trouble.

Never thinking my work is good enough, I might as well add more ‘P’ words: plodder, procrastinator and pessimist. And being a contrary writer, let’s throw in rejection!

writing and feelings Ai weiWei.jpg

Reading about Ai Weiwei yesterday, his motivation for an amazingly varied number of installations and projects, his unapologetic declaration that art must be political and that his social activism can’t be separated from his art, was food for my soul.

When I have a purpose for my writing, especially poetry, I feel more fulfilled. He’s inspired me, as I often am by paintings, film and sculpture – we creative types linked by our interpretation of the everyday. And some of Warhol’s paintings and photographs triggered memories of the 70s – especially my trip to China in 1979. But that is writing for another time (or poem).
andy warhol quote about writers.jpg

The Waste Land,” by T.S. Eliot  declared that “April is the cruelest month.” But NaPoWriMo 2016 asks is it?

Poets are  challenged to think of a month they personally perceive as ‘cruel’ or perhaps joyous, and write about why the month’s been labelled so!

For inspiration they featured Vietnam’s Nguyen Do.

Known for the musicality of his work, Nguyen considers his poems “somber,” but not necessarily “sad.” Cerise Press has made available dual-language versions of several of his poems – see here, here, here, and here. Nguyen is also heavily involved in translating other Vietnamese poets’ work into English, working with Paul Hoover to produce an English-language version of the selected poems of Nguyen Trai, and an anthology of contemporary Vietnamese poetry, Black Dog, Black Night.

I’ve written before about why September is the cruellest month for me because that was the month John died. The love of my life and father of the girls desperately fought to stay alive, but unfortunately asbestosis, emphysema and cancer meant his lungs, in his own words were ‘ well and truly stuffed.’

‘Cruel’ is an apt word as I remember watching John fight so hard to stay with us despite the ravages of illness, but there is joy too in a lifetime of memories – albeit a life cut short  .

September Sometimes Sighs
Mairi Neil

In Melbourne, September serves
Spring sunshine, spreading delight.
School holidays sauced with laughter,
Generous helpings at the Melbourne Show.

Happiness like Mum’s delicious
Homemade buttered scones.

But September also bittersweet
When Spring wears a mask –
Nature and nurture full of surprises
The joy of new life stifled.

Buds ‘neath unseasonal heat
Shrivelled by a searing sun.

My September a cruel month
Grief and lost dreams haunt
A month where the world wilted,
A tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.

Day and night unbalanced in 2002
The vernal equinox hidden.

Instead the blackest of days revealed
Time shuddered and stopped –
Childhood beliefs challenged
A once vibrant spirit shrunk.

The centre of my celestial sphere
Sought his place in the Cosmos.

The world tilted and crashed
Upon the inevitability of death.
The family ship floundered,
Survivors flailed, clung to Hope.

Love struggles to stay afloat
In waves of sorrow

September’s perennial Spring song
Promises renewal and abundant life
But in my heart a cold wind stirs
Memories of the blackest of days.

Days tasting of salt.

8 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo Begs For a Cluster of Poems

  1. Really interesting post, Mairi and beautiful poem – made me think of my dad who died a few years ago. Nostalgic for Melbourne too as I lived there for six months in 2000. Thanks for the thoughts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading the post and commenting, Mary Ruth. I read your posts as they come in and you’re going great keeping up with all the different competitions and deadlines and producing some fabulous posts. I still don’t know whether I’m waving or drowning! Now the holidays are finished and I’ve got several different classes to fire up who knows what, if anything, will happen to my creativity. C’est la vie!
      If you’re ever back in Melbourne I’d love to have a cuppa. I know I’m biased but it is my favourite Aussie city – especially now, in Autumn – just glorious!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d love to meet you, Mairi. I had a great time in Melbourne – I have some relatives there too.. Thanks for reading my posts – I’m trying to keep the momentum going re writing – really need to get back to my novel too.. I find it very hard to organise myself!

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        1. Mary Ruth, I’m sitting amidst a pile of paper – make that piles of paper:) I have two novels I need to finish plus a collection of short stories that should have been sent somewhere but life has a habit of getting in the way. If I’m spared I’ll have a very creative retirement:) Although, our government keeps changing the goalposts so no ability to organise that either. I’ll keep scribbling and tapping as long as I get some sort of perverse enjoyment out of it and still beat myself around the head at unfinished work! You have a great momentum going – very productive and talented with words – you’ll get there if it’s meant to be written because you’re a writer!

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