Tag Archives: pdlyons photography

poets we know and live with ~ ROWING & THE AUTHOR OF THE JESUS PAPERS SPEAKS by Anne Sexton


 
ROWING
 
 
A story, a story!
(Let it go. Let it come.)
I was stamped out like a Plymouth fender
into this world.
First came the crib
with its glacial bars.
Then dolls
and the devotion to their plastic mouths.
Then there was school,
the little straight rows of chairs,
blotting my name over and over,
but undersea all the time,
a stranger whose elbows wouldn’t work.
Then there was life
with its cruel houses
and people who seldom touched-
though touch is all-
but I grew,
like a pig in a trench-coat I grew,
and then there were many strange apparitions,
the nagging rain, the sun turning into poison
and all of that, saws working through my heart,
but I grew, I grew,
and God was there like an island I had not rowed to,
still ignorant of Him, my arms, and my legs worked,
and I grew, I grew,
I wore rubies and bought tomatoes
and now, in my middle age,
about nineteen in the head I’d say,
I am rowing, I am rowing
though the oarlocks stick and are rusty
and the sea blinks and rolls
like a worried eyeball,
but I am rowing, I am rowing,
though the wind pushes me back
and I know that that island will not be perfect,
it will have the flaws of life,
the absurdities of the dinner table,
but there will be a door
and I will open it
and I will get rid of the rat insdie me,
the gnawing pestilential rat.
God will take it with his two hands
and embrace it.As the African says:
This is my tale which I have told,
if it be sweet, if it be not sweet,
take somewhere else and let some return to me.
This story ends with me still rowing.

 
– from The Awful Rowing Towards God 1975
 
( Her eighth collection of poetry is entitled The Awful Rowing Toward God.The title came from her meeting with a Roman Catholic priest who, unwilling to administer last rites, told her “God is in your typewriter.” This gave the poet the desire and willpower to continue living and writing. The Awful Rowing Toward God and The Death Notebooks are among her final works, and both center on the theme of dying

 
1928–1974
 
 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Sexton#Death

Within 12 years of writing her first sonnet, she was among the honored poets in the U.S.: a Pulitzer Prize winner, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the first female member of the Harvard chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.[10][11]

On October 4, 1974, Sexton had lunch with Kumin to revise galleys for Sexton’s manuscript of The Awful Rowing Toward God, scheduled for publication in March 1975 (Middlebrook 396). On returning home she put on her mother’s old fur coat, removed all her rings, poured herself a glass of vodka, locked herself in her garage, and started the engine of her car, ending her life by carbon monoxide poisoning.[12]

In an interview over a year before her death, she explained she had written the first drafts of The Awful Rowing Toward God in 20 days with “two days out for despair and three days out in a mental hospital.” She went on to say that she would not allow the poems to be published before her death. She is buried at Forest Hills Cemetery & Crematory in Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts.

Sexton is seen as the modern model of the confessional poet. Maxine Kumin described Sexton’s work: “She wrote openly about menstruation, abortion, masturbation, incest, adultery, and drug addiction at a time when the proprieties embraced none of these as proper topics for poetry.”[13]


THE AUTHOR OF THE JESUS PAPERS SPEAKS

In my dream
I milked a cow,
the terrible udder
like a great rubber lily
sweated in my fingers
and as I yanked,
waiting for the moon juice,
waiting for the white mother,
blood spurted from it
and covered me with shame.
Then God spoke to me and said:
People say only good things about Christmas.
If they want to say something bad,
they whisper.
So I went to the well and drew a baby
out of the hollow water.
Then God spoke to me and said:
Here. Take this gingerbread lady
and put her in your oven.
When the cow gives blood
and the Christ is born
we must all eat sacrifices.
We must all eat beautiful women.

Anne Sexton  from The Book of Folly 1972
 

 
the girls i knew in high school were all enamoured with Sylvia. and i must admit i was some what smitten. but there was this teacher of English. she did not debate but rather exposed the rare woman genius the all too common crucifixion the dark stronger than the bright, the strength to take control in a time in a place where all is only waiting around food feeding on food attracted like horseflies to tenderness. the time was she said now and so the time was and so she said it was therefore it would be now and never any other time but. – pd lyons

all photos C. pd lyons photography.

There is New Snow (one from the old notes) by pd lyons


So of course over the years I’ve ended up with a collection of a fair few note books. lately I’ve been combing through them for forgotten gems. So here with a light edit is this one. As for the quality of its gem-iness, well I leave that up to you the reader. cheers.

mix media by morgan lyons

mix media by morgan lyons

There is New Snow

someone has spilled oats on the walk way.

from the stairway I watch below

crows with snow in contrast floating 

when my heart is soft enough to weep

then I will call you

when angels fall without escape

then they will think of us

when all the secrets of our lives revealed

then they will be as blue as they were hidden 

when you know everything that you somehow never knew

then you will know the sound of my soft heart calling you

Until then not wanting anything

all I need fits into the pockets of this coat.

There is New Snow (one from the old notes) by pd lyons


So of course over the years I’ve ended up with a collection of a fair few note books. lately I’ve been combing through them for forgotten gems. So here with a light edit is this one. As for the quality of its gem-iness, well I leave that up to you the reader. cheers.

mix media by morgan lyons

mix media by morgan lyons

There is New Snow

 

someone has spilled oats on the walk way.

from the stairway I watch below

crows with snow in contrast floating 

 

when my heart is soft enough to weep

then I will call you

 

when angels fall without escape

then they will think of us

 

when all the secrets of our lives revealed

then they will be as blue as they were hidden 

 

when you know everything that you somehow never knew

then you will know the sound of my soft heart calling you

 

Until then not wanting anything

all I need fits into the pockets of this coat.

 

 

Slips ~ 25.1.21 #1 words & images


 

by pd lyons

scorpion night 1

 

In this dark

Night of the soul

Lasted for decades

The poisons

I ‘ve collected

Purified by the kindness

And faith of others

Which even when

I didn’t notice

Always there

Always there teaching 

So

Yeah thank you

Great to see you all

Again

!

 

 

excerpts from the poetic novel Bella & Shirley ~ a work in progress by PD Lyons


Justice without protection is oppression. ~ Bella

Currently I am working on transcribing notes from a story i started years ago. It sat around for years. always wanted to but never seemed to get it off and running. A few months back my daughter lent me one of the books she had read and loved, so I gave it a go. It was The Poet X  by Elizabeth Acevedo. It was a great read and for me a great inspiration. The Poet X is a novel done in wait for it ~ POETRY! And while my poetic novel is in no way related to the context of   Elizabeth Acevedo’s book, it does owe (for better or worse) its existence. If  i know one thing about myself it is that I am a poet not a novel writer. Remove the obstacle  and  the story returns to life. So no no longer a chore but a work of poetry separate related poems. I love writing poetry so here we go. In no particular order or reason I’ve selected these three to break the ice. A more orderly and story like posts will follow. Maybe some of you will like it? It takes more nerve than talent to be a writer …. The events take place in a modern first world civil war ~

 

It Was Tilkon From the Lady Camp

~ Bella after Shirley’s Death ~

It was Tilkon and the others from the lady camp

they were still alive

they were my women

our women

 felt the breath leave me in a heap

 felt the gag of my own aching body well up into tears like I never thought I’d weep again

 they were moving milling all around me

 I felt the ground give way, their voices farther and farther away

 

felt them holding me.

remove my weapons

 my gear

let myself be carried

 

they were alive

they were my women

our women

they were alive

 

they brought me to one of the tents

got me into one of the camp beds

and there were sheets

sun dried stiff

sheets

 so white

I had to close my eyes

so clean

I had to turn my head to better draw in their scent

~

And When I sleep now?

 

I sleep better because the screams in my dreams,

no longer those of women, girls, children,

but of perpetrators, savages, in-human pigs.

 

sometimes like when I am at the lady camp

and   can relax sure its Shirley comes to me,

lays beside me and melts that hardness from my heart.

 

But you know for all that ,

there are no ghosts  when I wake

 it’s the wet of my own tears,

the state of my own being.

Knowing.

~

So, it’s not about brutality,

 

don’t talk to me of being numb.

 don’t tell me about being heartless.

 I hunt the in-human.

I teach others to hunt

to protect themselves and all those who are all too human.

It’s not about hate,

it’s not about brutality –

it’s about protection the protection of all who are human.

Justice without protection is oppression.

 

poets we know and live with ~ ROWING & THE AUTHOR OF THE JESUS PAPERS SPEAKS by Anne Sexton


 
ROWING
 
 
A story, a story!
(Let it go. Let it come.)
I was stamped out like a Plymouth fender
into this world.
First came the crib
with its glacial bars.
Then dolls
and the devotion to their plastic mouths.
Then there was school,
the little straight rows of chairs,
blotting my name over and over,
but undersea all the time,
a stranger whose elbows wouldn’t work.
Then there was life
with its cruel houses
and people who seldom touched-
though touch is all-
but I grew,
like a pig in a trench-coat I grew,
and then there were many strange apparitions,
the nagging rain, the sun turning into poison
and all of that, saws working through my heart,
but I grew, I grew,
and God was there like an island I had not rowed to,
still ignorant of Him, my arms, and my legs worked,
and I grew, I grew,
I wore rubies and bought tomatoes
and now, in my middle age,
about nineteen in the head I’d say,
I am rowing, I am rowing
though the oarlocks stick and are rusty
and the sea blinks and rolls
like a worried eyeball,
but I am rowing, I am rowing,
though the wind pushes me back
and I know that that island will not be perfect,
it will have the flaws of life,
the absurdities of the dinner table,
but there will be a door
and I will open it
and I will get rid of the rat insdie me,
the gnawing pestilential rat.
God will take it with his two hands
and embrace it.As the African says:
This is my tale which I have told,
if it be sweet, if it be not sweet,
take somewhere else and let some return to me.
This story ends with me still rowing.

 

 
– from The Awful Rowing Towards God 1975
 
( Her eighth collection of poetry is entitled The Awful Rowing Toward God.The title came from her meeting with a Roman Catholic priest who, unwilling to administer last rites, told her “God is in your typewriter.” This gave the poet the desire and willpower to continue living and writing. The Awful Rowing Toward God and The Death Notebooks are among her final works, and both center on the theme of dying

 
1928–1974
 
Anne Sexton

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Sexton#Death

Within 12 years of writing her first sonnet, she was among the honored poets in the U.S.: a Pulitzer Prize winner, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the first female member of the Harvard chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.[10][11]

On October 4, 1974, Sexton had lunch with Kumin to revise galleys for Sexton’s manuscript of The Awful Rowing Toward God, scheduled for publication in March 1975 (Middlebrook 396). On returning home she put on her mother’s old fur coat, removed all her rings, poured herself a glass of vodka, locked herself in her garage, and started the engine of her car, ending her life by carbon monoxide poisoning.[12]

In an interview over a year before her death, she explained she had written the first drafts of The Awful Rowing Toward God in 20 days with “two days out for despair and three days out in a mental hospital.” She went on to say that she would not allow the poems to be published before her death. She is buried at Forest Hills Cemetery & Crematory in Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts.

Sexton is seen as the modern model of the confessional poet. Maxine Kumin described Sexton’s work: “She wrote openly about menstruation, abortion, masturbation, incest, adultery, and drug addiction at a time when the proprieties embraced none of these as proper topics for poetry.”[13]


THE AUTHOR OF THE JESUS PAPERS SPEAKS

In my dream
I milked a cow,
the terrible udder
like a great rubber lily
sweated in my fingers
and as I yanked,
waiting for the moon juice,
waiting for the white mother,
blood spurted from it
and covered me with shame.
Then God spoke to me and said:
People say only good things about Christmas.
If they want to say something bad,
they whisper.
So I went to the well and drew a baby
out of the hollow water.
Then God spoke to me and said:
Here. Take this gingerbread lady
and put her in your oven.
When the cow gives blood
and the Christ is born
we must all eat sacrifices.
We must all eat beautiful women.

Anne Sexton  from The Book of Folly 1972
 

 
the girls i knew in high school were all enamored with Sylvia. and i must admit i was some what smitten. but there was this teacher of English. she did not debate but rather exposed the rare woman genius the all too common crucifixion the dark stronger than the bright, the strength to take control in a time in a place where all is only waiting around food feeding on food attracted like horseflies to tenderness. the time was she said now and so the time was and so she said it was therefore it would be now and never any other time but. – pd lyons

all photos C. pd lyons photography.

These Words by PD Lyons from As if the Rain Fell in Ordinary Time,erbacce-press 2019


 

These Words

 

from the tiredness of my bones
not syllables of warm water mouths
rather emanate rich with marrow silent sensations
hot cold
soft foetal
crescents of your ears
depth deeper than you know of your eyes
the vast rift of tears
your endless heart

alone sometimes in the dark
I have been a labour for you
silently aloud
likewise you should read
these words so unlike other words
each window through which invisible creatures
of what cannot be said climb

The Ways of Sitting, by pd lyons


acrylic on paper pdlyons

The Ways of Sitting

A mans hands ~

on a woman’s thighs

One on each rolls them out

A better view of what he’s dreamt for so long.

Muscular even in yielding

She allows her deep breath body freely.

Outside women ~

talk how the year slips

School days into holidays beginning school again.

A woman in love writes her name ~

Moon soft ivory

Pale sky

By the Buddha

By the open window

Major piano chords

A simple charm

Like where in dreams we can’t be hurt.

A man begrudging poetry ~

Leaves out such things as joy

Hopes a mirage of his own making

Hides in clothes made from mistaken identities

Secrets like superman behind caped crusades

Although blurred some character always lurks

Despite the roles he thinks he should,

He thinks they want, he thinks he must.

A series of figures exchanged through out his life

Even the god he picks a model of dysfunction.

Wordless Wednesday ~12/8/20 ~ pd lyons


 

 

WANTING TO BE IN THE OLD TONGUE by PD LYONS as read by the poet ~



from the book When You Worship Swans no Longer by PD Lyons.

Poetry inspired by the village of Fore, County Westmeath and surrounding areas of Ireland, by an Irish American poet.

“PD Lyons work stands at the threshold so loved in Ireland. That almost magical, almost mythical, almost otherworldly parallel that the Irish dip in and out of. Where we chose to believe in luck and superstition and destiny and embrace these as tangible factors in our daily lives.” – from the forward by Una O’Neill D’Arcy, ~Journalist/Freelance Writer

Thank you in advance for supporting this project!

Special First Edition Limited to 150: each numbered and signed by the poet. Price includes worldwide shipping by regular post in padded envelope. 20.00 dollars US/15 euros Ireland/20 euros rest of Europe/15. sterling Items shipped upon receipt of order (purchase through Paypal) Contact: pdlyonspoet@yahoo.co.uk With your shipping information and any queries. Additional inscription on request. (Numbered books selected randomly)

Generously  by the Westmeath County Council Arts.

 

 

 

WANTING TO BE IN THE OLD TONGUE

 

Words

Someday

Someone

Might say to you.

Unimportant memories

Aroused to beauty non-the-less

Like cobwebs beaded up with dew,

Brass fittings on a cedar door,

Day’s debris randomly swept into a banked-up fire

Before to your own black iron bed you’d slowly go.

 

 

With all our coming and our going

Will we ever meet again?

Fragile as the moth is the flame

One slight breath

And darkness has us all.

W/that in mind, I mind no dancer

Let us join whatever way we can

Before the waiting darkness

Makes us all fall down.

 

Clumsy fingers

Holds her own heavy breast skyward

As if the moon, areole hungry

Wouldn’t have found communion

Without guidance.

 

Gentle at the end of the world

Even rocks all soft

And buds of lilac silver slanting sun.

And when gems of green roll down

Meet the slate blue sea

Gently rippled by disappearing pearls?

 

Somewhere we still know women who paint the things we see in dreams

 

Wanting to be in the old tongue

January crows gather.

From the eviction house

Another row of slate slips.

Sun orange fingers

Poke dark shy pillows,

Disturbing bread crumb dreams,

Little red breast birds.

 

Shouldn’t you be left alone?

Cradled in the earth for another thousand years or so?

Discovered as some tantalising source

Of artefactual speculation:

Those marks –

True cause of death,

Or left by some post mortem carnivore?

Perhaps sacrificial ritual,

Signs still legible,

Though fading as if

Some water colour in reverse

Until only bare bleached paper

Slightly stained.

 

Ghost steps.

My warm eastern mouth nourishes,

My amniotic fingers curl,

Personal history noted,

As if by some distant observer

Swirled into tight sips

Almost impossible to savour.

 

Between the posts at midnight

A long wire of electricity

Calls little bits of rusting iron

To lantern the siesta heart away.

 

%d bloggers like this: