National Poetry Day

To celebrate National Poetry Day – a poem from Frank O’Hara, written in 1950:

 

TODAY

   Oh! kangaroos, sequins, chocolate sodas!
   You really are beautiful! Pearls,
   harmonicas, jujubes, aspirins! all
   the stuff they've always talked about

   still makes a poem a surprise!
   These things are with us every day
   even on beachheads and biers. They
   do have meaning. They're strong as rocks.

Love poem

For Eleanor and Ale

Love doesn’t blind us,
it binds us –
it seeks our soul;
entwines us.
When we love
our vision is clear:
full of light and colour –
no fear.

Real love is safe
and close
and warm
and lasts forever
and claims all our senses;
we taste sweet lust
and smell burning passion
and hear romance in music
and dance to the beat of
LOVE
Tap our feet to the sound of
LOVE
Warm our hands on the heat of
LOVE
Find our hearts through the beauty of
LOVE.

by Annie Ridout

Saturdays

Rays beam through the
broken blind, waking us
slowly, gently, from
a long, deep sleep.

I slide out –
you spread out –
stretch your limbs
to my side,
eyes closed, your lips curl
into a blissful-sleep-smile.

Tea.
Berries.
Toast.
Papers.
Books.
Talking.
Laughter.
Radio.

Slow.
Lazy.
Calm.
Hazy.
Warm.
Light.
Settled.
Zen.

But today, you’re gone –
slipped away, before dawn.
I’m alone, with the rays,
in my own sleepy daze.

I spread out –
stretch my limbs,
to your side;
search for you.
Empty space, cold with absence –
you’re gone. I get up.

Tea.
Berries.
Toast.
Papers.
Book.
Silence.
(No laughter)
Radio.

Slow.
Lazy.
Calm.
Hazy.
Warm.
Light.
But empty.
Without you.

by Annie Ridout

Tall Women

Recently I’ve heard a lot of tall women boasting about their height and putting down smaller women for being small. I think it’s a facade, because often tall women are self-conscious about their height. I consider myself to be a tall woman and sometimes feel less feminine because of it. So do my other ‘tall’ friends.

Women shouldn’t be putting down their sisters so I wrote a poem to expose the tall women who put down small women.

The Truth about Tall Women

Tall women tower over
small women,
conscious like
all women:
silhouettes, not
full-bodied beings.

Tall women cower down
with hunched backs
to minimise the
space they take up
you see, that air is owned by men.

But some put on heels to
accentuate their height
to feign a
confidence and smugness:
“I’m a vertical delight”

Though inside they’re deeply
anguished
would rather be small and neat
like the small women gathered by their
tall woman’s feet.

by Annie Ridout

Ode to Mango

Mango, my fruit,
you’re summer on my tongue.
I can’t dispute
I’ve eaten you young:
when raw on a Vietnamese green mango salad
but also when ripe –
a (mature) mango frisson.
In India, when 19, I experienced malade
when I was told
I’d missed mango season.

by Annie Ridout

Emma (for Jane)

She traces her finger over
dark polished narrowboats:
maroon, forest green, mustard yellow, deep red.
“My life,” she explains,
(bright red lips, bright red nails)
“is lived out on my boat,
making art; making food.”
Then she leads us through
to her Garden of Dreams –
chairs are comically small;
empty frames; engraved wood
and positioned around a
rickety table
on the riverbank, set back,
framed with foliage and flowers and
surrounded by low-hanging
branches and lanterns,
and laid with glass goblets and
feathers in a vase.

Wine flows like honey,
talk’s peppered with laughter,
as the summer sun dips,
and we move into her home.
Emma’s treasures are trinkets:
Russian dolls, faded cards,
also poems of love, rusty boxes, bright quilts.
Under candlelight we huddle
round the lulling boat’s table
(red and white striped cloth –
c’est Français – ooh la la!)
We’re served mackerel, roast chicken
sweet potato and leaves,
beetroot, brown quinoa, smoked salt, sour cream.
Then meringues, Chantilly cream,
strawberries, lemon tart,
chocolate cake with a candle
(to blow out)
“Make a wish”

On this night, stars shine bright,
moonlight dances on the ripples
of the tranquil canal
upon which we float, in this boat.
Emma Freemantle, hostess,
‘maker of cloaks’
lives her life, shares her love
in this wondrous realm
of magic and beauty and art and
delight:
a real-life Wonderland
on Regent’s Canal.

by Annie Ridout

Awakening

I became visible
and you remained you.

Wild flower garlands bound our hearts and locked
each of our souls in a
time-stopping moment.

Bubbles popped in
firelight so
bright it burnt our
fingertips and sent
shivers down our
tingling spines.

Like vines we were tangled –
not mangled – but mentally
merged and committed and
willing to venture so
deep in to the
ravine of the unseen.

by Annie Ridout

Dancing Fingertips

Sticky apple fingertips
awkwardly caress the
soft-lining of your taut
skin. Faltering and making jagged
traces while you
patiently await the
transcending tactual pleasure
gleaned from
skin on skin.
Akin to
nothing.
The sensation derived from
simple touch.
Fingers locked in cages
or four legs crossed
instead of two.
With you
it’s effortless –
it’s the unpretentious
simplicity of
generating
that
magical electric flow
through a fingertip fondle;
a delicate dandle.

by Annie Ridout

Forgiveness

I’ve been dreaming of forgiveness and your
prominent face emerges
I decide to face the urges to
regain a sense of calm. But whilst we
stand and smile sweetly it seems to
me it’s just pretence because we’ll
never be able to forget the
two sides of the fence that we were
standing on each side of looking
over not around –
constantly floating in the air our
feet not on the ground
we found a
mutual key to escape the claustrophobic lives we lead
but our
timing was bad,
we didn’t wait –
we made huge mistakes instead.
I dread to
think of all the people who were
caught up in our web of tangled
lies and misconceptions all the
hungry mouths we fed with juicy
gossip they were thirsty and the
juice began to flow but whilst they
animatedly discussed us,
little did they know that we were
burning up inside whilst looking
pale in our faces –
constantly running and hiding in all
kinds of stupid places there were
people involved who shouldn’t have been and
others who should – but weren’t.
You won’t forgive –
I won’t forget but
I think we’ve both learnt.
Maybe it’s ‘better to forgive and to forget –
than but remember and regret’.

by Annie Ridout