Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Red: a poetry post



I have just been for a long weekend at Ilkley Literature Festival. I went to loads of things, wrote loads of poetry, and even performed! I entered an open mic competition and didn't even get placed, but that was probably because I couldn't remember the poem and was shaking like a leaf! The judges were Andrew McMillan, Mark Pajak and Helen Mort, so I was totally star struck!

Anyhow, one of the things I did was a poetry workshop with Daljit Nagra, and there we were challenged to write narrative poems, generalising poems and list poems, amongst other things - things that I would never have thought of before. So I've been writing lots of these, and also pantoums (which I came across for the first time over the weekend, and which have been a revelation), as well as lots of iambic pentameter poems. I spent the morning yesterday typing up and printing out - it's amazing how productive you can be with more time on your hands! Now to turn quantity into quality, maybe, or just leave it to ferment for a little while during NaNoWriMo (I've added a badge on the right to say I'm taking part again this year - writing 50,000 words of first draft of novel in one month, bring it on!).

Anyway, The Prompt over at Mum Turned Mom is RED this week, so I'm using that as inspiration for a list poem. I've recorded it for you, although I can't seem to stop tripping over the word 'pheomelanin', which should be pronounced like melanin, but I keep wanting to pronounce like Mannannin!

Red

For it is the first, and is primary.
For it is the longer wavelengths, 
but is not quite infra-.
For it is burning and toasty warm
and be-gloved fingers on snowy days.
For it is everything from baby's blush 
to wicked queen's wine.
For it is left wing and Labour 
and is under the bed.
For it is the rose of Lancashire and the cross of St George, 
and places we do not belong.
For it is both a cross and a crescent 
and the tent of medical aid.
For it is sacrifice and courage.
For it is a mist of furious anger.
For it is the passion (and the lust).
For in rocks and blood it is rendered by iron.
For it lies upon the battle field and grows into the poppies.
For it is in the blood of labour! The blood of the fallen! The blood on the cross!
And, thanks to Rayleigh scattering, it is the sunrise and sunset.
Thanks to authocyanins after chlorophyll, it is the Autumn leaves.
Thanks to pheomelanin it is the rarest hair.
And it can be joy, happiness, good fortune.
And it can be danger and hazard, and stop.

© Cara L McKee 19/10/16 

Personally, I've avoided red for years, probably because I had an overdose of it in my mother's house, as her husband is obsessed with the colour. But I'm having a red moment now. I just bought a red dress in the Navabi sale, and I'm toying with the idea of red hair... We shall see.



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