Friday, 9 December 2016

2016 in poems - my top ten!

I wanted to say thank you to all you lovely people who have read my blog over this last year. Since I've made it focus on the poetry my readership has really grown, so I thought I'd take a virtual leaf out of the blogging book of Carol at Virtually All Sorts and do a top ten of my poems from the year (according to my blog stats, because you've got to use something, right?). I'll link to all the poems, in case you missed one, and repost my favourite here. Hopefully your favourite is here too, let me know in the comments.

At number 10 is Mirror Games, a sonnet about looking into the mirror with my daughter, written at a time when it seemed I thought in iambic pentameter!

At 9 is May Sun in Scotland, a poem about that wonderful, tenuous moment when the warmth comes back, and how incredibly precious it feels.

Pig headed, my post Brexit whingeing poem is at number 8. I've gone right off this since then. There's still a (big) part of me hoping Brexit never actually manages to happen, but I guess there are a lot of desperate people looking for change, and no doubt a shakeup will be interesting. 

At number 7 is Painting Past Peppa. Another one I've gone right off since I wrote it. This uses imaginary Peppa Pig wallpaper as an allegory for passing time. Ugh. Still, it's popular, no doubt because of Peppa Pig. She's great, don't get me wrong, but we've moved on. We're all about Legends of Korra now (and there's no wallpaper).

Next up, at number 6, is Children Came a short Spenserian Stanza poem about the huge impact having children has on your life, turning it upside down in a way you probably wouldn't sign up for, but which makes it marvellous anyway. I love the Spenserian Stanza, it's just complicated enough and beautifully flexible, but I'm not sure I could write a whole book in it (should I try? I'm kinda tempted - Edward Spenser wrote his book, The Faerie Queene in it).

At number 5 is the poem I wrote in memory of my friend Rose, who sadly was one of those who joined the great rock n roll party in the sky this year. Your Thread considered the roles of the Fates or Moirai in spinning the thread of our lives and in cutting it, hopefully after squeezing every last stitch out. I love this poem. Rose inspired and encouraged my poetry and I owe her success.

Incredibly excitingly, I'm able to announce that the poem in at number 4, has been shortlisted for this year's Great British Write Off! The winners will be announced in January. It's Clematis Dance, another Spenserian Stanza poem, which is now also coming out in the Great British Write Off book, Whispering Words, but you read it here first.

In at number 3 is the tale of what Macbeth's witches did on their day off, a simple little poem called Trick or Treat.

My poem, Return, is about birth, breastfeeding, and the rest of the physicality of mothering, and it's about my youngest, who pushes me the hardest, and hasn't broken me yet.

Finally, at Number 1 this year is my Villanelle written in memory of David Bowie, Gone. This is also coming out in a Forward Poetry anthology at some point (in the new year I think). Again, you saw it here first. Loads of you read that one, and it's great that you stop by.

Anyway, I said that I was going to share my favourite of this top ten with you, so here it is (for Rose):

Your thread

Long and longer still has Clotho spun your yarn of life. 
Lachesis chose the rich colours for your brilliant tapestry, 
embroidered with tales, and interwoven with others'. 
You were well loved. Your life has been well crafted.

But now Atropos stands with shears in hand. 
The yarn is diminishing in quality.
It will run out.

So Clotho spins her thread with careful fingers, 
making it fine, finer still, 
and Lachesis treats it with gentle delicacy.
Looping lace on the layers of your life.

Atropos sets down the shears and takes the delicate thread
of your life left in her fingers, aching like yours.
'Fine work' she says, and she pulls the thread taut, testing it.
Her sisters pause in their labour, their breath bated.

The thread holds.
Atropos smiles.
Her sisters sigh, 
resume their work.

They do not know that Atropos tugs again,
not until the tapestry falls.

The thread lies broken.

© Cara L McKee 8/4/16

Thank you folks, for a fun year of poetry, even if other stuff has been a little off. Do feel free to buy my pamphlet on Etsy, or make a donation for me to get a coffee (I'm a massive fan of a honeycomb latte), and do keep coming back and spread the word. I'm planning to keep doing this stuff, if you'll keep coming back.

Prose for Thought