She Walks in Beauty
She walks in beauty like the night
of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
meets in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
had half impair’d the nameless grace
which waves in every raven tress,
or softly lightens o’er her face –
where thoughts serenely sweet express
how pure, how dear their dwelling – place.
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
so soft so calm, yet eloquent,
the smiles that win, the tints that glow,
but tells in days of goodness spent,
a mind at peace with all below,
a heart whose love is innocent.
George Gordon Byron, 22 January 1788 – 19 April 1824 (aged 36)
I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful –
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.
Sylvia Plath – 23 October, 1961
The girl sits with attitude
Wearing chocolate-scented fragrance
Wrapped in colourful reflections
She dreams of the ocean
Running with the wolves
Clad in skin-tight femininity
The girl sits with assertion
Hearing nothing in her path
Drowned in memoirs of iconic Marilyn
Written for ‘Lilly’ by ‘Henry – ‘salt’ by Melissa Fergusson
Last night I was fortunate enough to be a panel judge for unplugged, uncensored and (at times) awe-inspiring performance poetry by Page2Stage, produced by Printable Reality.
First up was Jess Holly Bates with ‘MULTI-TASK’ who delivered a thought-provoking platter of of multi-cultural reflections, of two white warrior women and the houses they come from. Spoken partly in Maori, a translation was provided, the audience was asked to count ‘Tahi’, ‘Rua’, ‘Toru’ etc…and there was a lot of clicking of fingers, which meant the poets liked it.
Nalini Singh executed the longest work called ‘Fucking With Sunshine’ that explored identity through the landscape, space, human beings and the new world, namely America. There was impressive multi-media of the cosmic world, choreographed dance with two others, ribbon activity and multiple voices from the romanticist and voyageur of life.
Angela King stood and recited her poetry ‘False Prophets’ about identity as an artist. Stories from the past and present inspired by Janet Frame, Katherine Mansfield and Robin Hyde. Angela discarded (numerous) paper into the audience, as she read from her book, interesting yet distracting.
Lastly, Kashka Tunstall presented ‘heart don’t fall’ which was definitely gut-wrenching, vulnerable, raw and in essence a journey of a woman experiencing rejection, from society.
My favourite line was ‘words have saved me like medicine couldn’t’ .
Kashka had an extraordinary singing voice and used minimal set, just a microphone. Brave and honest, captivating and spoken with truth.
Each artist was mentored for their work over the course of this year. The mentors were Raewyn Alexander, Grae Burton, Lynn Cardy and Rosanna Raymond. Only Raewyn was in attendance last night.
Lastly the winner received a trip to London, invited by ‘Apples and Snakes’ to perform their work in 2014.
Jess Holly Bates won. Congratulations to Jess and all of the finalists, for your truth.
It Is Here
What sound was that?
I turn away, into the shaking room.
What was that sound that came on in the dark?
What is this maze of life it leaves us in?
What is this stance we take,
to turn away, and then turn back?
What did we hear?
It was the breath we took when we first met.
It is here.
~ Harold Pinter