Photos by Dora Kazmierak https://www.instagram.com/dorakazmierak/
Photos by Dora Kazmierak https://www.instagram.com/dorakazmierak/
photos by Dora Kazmierak http://www.instagram.com/dorakazmierak/
Tennis-ball dropped quite near feet,
then hidden behind tree he waits,
tick-tock tail-wag, smile so sweet
Paw-worn path around tree base,
forays remind, needed assistance,
– ball throw triggers manic race
speed pursued, terrier persistence.
Orb ballistic, racquet propelled
down the long garden at speed,
bounce area athletically smelled,
lock-jaw clenched ball retrieved.
Hard-chased any object thrown,
helter-skelter, pursuit crazy,
hotly pursued, Jack never lazy.
Slightly stiff this pup-at-heart,
dog-centric much domestic dialogue,
sparse canine time spent apart
I had been trying for many years to write a poem about the boarding school girlfriend, who started me off writing, in 1972. One day in 1980 she turned up, out of the blue….for just a few hours. I never heard from or saw her ever again…until someone kind found her online for me in recent years.
Lips long un-kissed, once-curtained by hair,
long-rued troubled muse, late my care;
unassuaged guilt, how far can a sinner fall?
Predestined, I caught your phone call?
Old school friends, we readily agree to meet:
your mini skirt admired on that city street;
many mementos devoured in a dimly lit cafe,
time significant spent – much to ask and say.
Amsterdam to Dublin, an anguish-event:
your father’s life edited, too-soon spent;
squeezing extra time, parted at midnight,
bit back tears, our hugs lingered tight.
Decades later rediscovered: online, smiling,
my naieve card hoped repeat reconciling;
long your silence, I still yearn second chance –
vain the patient wait for second happenstance?
Females seduced, babies took blame,
infant girls lacked needed surname,
at della Pieta discreetly deposited,
orphaned offspring, convent-closeted.
Music mentored, once-undesired,
Vivaldi’s brain melodically inspired:
quick-inscribed score, passion poured out:
hard hearts bow, joyful angels shout.
Venetian audiences deeply moved,
salacious souls briefly soothed
by lively lutes, violin strings bowed,
balconied singers blessing bestowed.
*Figlie di coro, lattice-protected
very eligible girls, half-inspected:
pinafore-plain, hair bundled in bun;
sacred songs about life-giving Son.
Wondrous such words, echo-flung
in Latin language, sweetly sung;
happy the heart that well resonates
In excelsis deo: transferred all weights.
The Ospedale della Pietà was a convent, orphanage, and music school in Venice. Much of Vivaldi’s sacred vocal and instrumental music was written for performance at the Pietà, where there was an orchestra of at least thirty to forty elements, all females.
Some express shock when they hear,
that old bookshop once held dear
soon will close;
at quiet cash-till I smile, then ask:
“When and what book bought last?”
– facial apology shows.
Why local bookshop long ignored?
online purchase easy to afford
– free shipping included;
digitally paid, despatched, air-mailed,
sadly shuttered, local shops failed,
– your choices colluded.
Who can live on mere sentiment?
Kind words, quite sincerely meant
but a little late-spoken;
so many books, so little time,
– secondhand heart: broken…
New spoke sparkle this child idolised,
two wheelers seen on winter streets,
slightly envious, my Clark-shod feet
didn’t push shop-clean pedals prized.
Hand-me-down bike, sibling pre-owned,
chrome carrier rusty, paintwork scratched,
absent twist-grip with numbers attached,
no dynamo, frame paint not two-toned.
Metallic gold unisex bike came next,
my “grease-monkey” brother restyled,
custom-made chopper brought smile:
cow-bars, back-rest, banana seat spec.
Acoustic Harley had no starter key,
trend setter now, not cyclist outsider,
three speed throttle, rapid easy-rider,
street-long wheelies achieved with ease.
Small queues formed to take turns,
round the block races counted down,
born-to-be-wild, Steppenwolf sound:
rebel engine grumble, sweet octane burn…
His father’s face showed fright;
child-curious, Louis fatefully
played with sharp workshop awl,
accidentally scratched cornea;
infant internship fully blinded.
“Why this deep dark, daddy?”
his plaintive query stung pride…
did ever-mindful mother berate
that fallible self-accusing father?
cane now guided this blind boy
on country lanes and village paths;
free-spirited his sense of adventure.
Boarding-school then mentored
the imaginative adolescent, inventor;
adopted the cryptic night writing
patterned print adapted, improved.
Morse-code freed the sightless
with a simple six dot sequence,
thick paper awl-pummelled,
embossed by abstract alphabet,
brains baptised, Braille bolstered:
finally all books opened, unsealed.
Blinded in both eyes as a result of an early childhood accident, Braille mastered his disability while still a boy. He excelled in his education and received scholarship to France’s Royal Institute for Blind Youth. While still a student, at the age of fifteen, he began developing a system of tactile code, inspired by the military cryptography of Charles Barbier. “Braille” allowed blind people to read and write quickly and efficiently.
Hunting holy words with glee,
indexing them systematically,
feather quill scrawled hurriedly,
almost autistic, evangelical energy
passionate, prophetic, lexicon pursuit.
By early morning candle light,
proofreading pre-print newspapers,
slept exhausted until dawn,
birdsong summoned to pious prayers.
Wondrous words need compiling,
digging through biblical dramas;
verbal quarry a one-time Sabbath game,
“every man a scriptural scholar”.
Abjectly neglected, your bookshop’s
sparsely stocked shelves unattractive;
your bloodshot eyes frightened off many,
your mad muttering many dismayed.
Asylum imprisoned, until night escape
over wall, hobbling home wearing one shoe.
What surreal contrast from an earlier
introductory audience with Queen Caroline!
Never pre-destined, “Albion’s Corrector”
your manifesto meaninglessly declaimed,
elected only for one gallows rope rescue.
Thrice-spurned by mocking amours
– unloved but for platonic prostitute
whom you rescued from sexual slavery;
she discovered you dead with blessed Book;
What an epitaph for an earnest autodidact!
Pious people still mine meaning from
your elephantine small-print treasure,
magisterial, your gargantuan concordance.
Cruden (1701 – 1770) compiled his Concordance, first ever index of key words in the Bible. He was proofreader and publisher, and also self-styled Corrector of the nation’s morals.
Monteriggioni Medieval Festival @GemmitiMoreno
Delightful long-skirted women dance,
bare feet beat, ballet-like movement,
sincere smiles, inclusive eyes glance,
leaping lithe bodies decline coolant.
Feminine hands held, fingers entwined,
rhythmic the songs, melodies medieval,
romance recalled, love-dance designed,
warm bodies blessed, sensual – not evil.
Dancing maidens in unbroken ring,
blood rush blush, fine boned cheeks,
swishing in circles, dressy colours sing:
cerebral silenced, warm hearts speak.
My petite mother and I heaved
the heavy trunk, patterned with studs,
thick leather handles almost cleaved
soft-skinned palms but drew no blood.
Goods carriage, down platform tiled,
left the labelled, elephantine case –
no parting kiss, window waves, smiled
farewells shone on boy boarder’s face.
Rowdy rail carriage, specially booked,
male-female friendships quickly made;
this loner quite content, if overlooked:
individualist and not in the least afraid.
Dark outlined fields, lamp-lit towns
outside train window quickly passed,
(old Scout Cub friend in carriage found)
Impatiently the school-bus boarded,
I remember chanted school songs;
snap-shots, mental camera recorded,
first impressions still quite strong.
Estate gates entered, the bus trundled
up the drive, past pitches (soon hated)
– but where was my dorm block located?
Friendly gang engaged me, enquired,
then accompanied to ‘Farm Block’ dorm
bed-time now for these travellers tired,
(some became friends in first form).
At lights-out some discreetly wept –
(but not this boy!) a boarder by choice;
many memories revered, treasure-kept:
this old scholar’s song sung in quavery voice.
Between Autumn term 1969 and Summer term 1972, I happily attended Newtown School in Waterford. Regardless of having been beaten up by a teacher, I still have deep and fond memories of that boarding school. It provided me with an “ark”, in the midst of a chaotic and crumbling family…