Thursday, October 4, 2012

What's happening with Stopping all Stations?

Stopping all Stations is currently in recess.

A poem to enjoy in the meantime:

 Mark Tredinnick's winning poem in the 2012 Cardiff International Poetry Competition.

Margaret River Sestets
There's a continent between us now, taut
                                                    with distance. I'd rather lie in the poem of your hand,
but your hand's somewhere and I'm somewhere else, so I take the red road, instead, to Sheoak Drive.
The grasses thrum like a squadron of spitfires, a sound so palpable
I wait for it to come in a cloud across the early summer pastures,
                                                     but nothing's troubling them except a little light weather
                                                               and nothing's bothering the grey blueblood mare, either,
or the purple-hooded parrot at its post-pastoral repose, but me. The country between the road and the coast
has got busy clouding its mind these past five years with bad ideas – big ones, but no better for that –
                                                      yet still there are eucalypts that stand and bow their heads

And, in the offseason, drop seed cases fat as artillery shells
                                                      onto the recycled Cambrian geology, bombs almost big enough
to shelter in if things get rough at home. Still, the trees we don't call blackboys anymore hang out
along the fenceline, mobsters in grass skirts, black glasses (you know the routine),
weapons bulging; it's still the same old bad old days, the way they look at things.
                                        Walking west, past them, I eat around the bruises in a peach and toss
what's left of it for the hell of it to the parrot in its wired field. None of the boys turns a hair.
But when I cross the road and find a log to sit on and log this stuff
                                                                   on my phone, it takes a full ten seconds

For a troop of ants to storm my boots and find places under my jeans
                                          my jeans are meant to keep unfound. Because of the vines, I guess,
and the olives, the lavender and the limestone and the languid yellow light, they tell you it's like Provence here,
but that would ignore the jarrah and the marri, the black roos and the butcher birds,
                                                   the wattlebirds and white-faced herons, the nasal mutter
of the honeyeaters, the Australian tripthongs of the frogs in the pond, nights,
the black ducks in their black thongs, the throngs of roadside lizards.
Hell, I don't care what they call it – this is landscape that wants you for lunch.

My whole life an addiction to country, falling forever for places
                                             that were never going to be any good for me. We carry our countries
into the world with us and through it and sometimes out again. Undiscovered. Undisclosed.
Just the other day, for instance, I watched a whale
                                                     hump its country down the coast from Cape Naturaliste
to Smiths Beach, breaching and hopping the sky and waving, not drowning,
not by any means, breathing its longing out and taking my long looking back in.
Sometimes you eat the landscape back.
                                                     There's a place near here where every day

The day dies in the sea, and that night, the one
                                                      after the afternoon of the whale,
                                                                                           I turned and watched the moon rise full
from the Yallingup ridge, birth split from death by no time at all and a meagre 180 degrees. They'd told me
everything would be new this time, and this seemed a promising start.
                                                       But later on, the same stars came up, and in the soak, the same
banjo rehearsed the same songs, strings loose as a gossip's tongue. My life is a secret I'm sick of keeping.
Orion bends in the northeast to tighten his sandals. Nothing to say, nothing to show for his love-hungry hunt
through all time. Maybe the beginning begins in the morning,
                                       when the sun rolls the stone away in the garden, pulls on her shoes.
                                                                                            pulls up my socks and starts running.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Derek Mahon

Stopping all Stations is still on a break, but keep checking in for news about up and coming events later in the year.

Here is a poem by Derek Mahon I found in my travels recently. And here is an article about how Mahon based his poem on JG Farrrell's novel Trouble. Enjoy!

A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford  Derek Mahon

  Let them not forget us, the weak souls among the ­asphodels.
   -Seferis, Mythistorema

 for J. G. Farrell

Even now there are places where a thought might grow—
Peruvian mines, worked out and abandoned
To a slow clock of condensation,
An echo trapped for ever, and a flutter
Of wildflowers in the lift shaft,
Indian compounds where the wind dances
And a door bangs with diminished confidence,
Lime crevices behind rippling rainbarrels,
Dog corners for bone burials;
And in a disused shed in Co. Wexford, 

Deep in the grounds of a burnt out hotel,
Among the bathtubs and the washbasins
A thousand mushrooms crowd to a keyhole.
This is the one star in their firmament
Or frames a star within a star.
What should they do there but desire ?
So many days beyond the rhododendrons
With the world waltzing in its bowl of cloud,
They have learnt patience and silence
Listening to the rooks querulous in the high wood.

They have been waiting for us in a foetor
Of vegetable sweat since civil war days,
Since the gravel crunching, interminable departure
Of the expropriated mycologist.
He never came back, and light since then
Is a keyhole rusting gently after rain.
Spiders have spun, flies dusted to mildew
And once a day, perhaps, they have heard something—
A trickle of masonry, a shout from the blue
Or a lorry changing gear at the end of the lane.

There have been deaths, the pale flesh flaking
Into the earth that nourished it;
And nightmares, born of these and the grim
Dominion of stale air and rank moisture.
Those nearest the door grow strong—
'Elbow room! Elbow room!'
The rest, dim in a twilight of crumbling
Utensils and broken flower pots, groaning
For their deliverance, have been so long
Expectant that there is left only the posture.

A half century, without visitors, in the dark—
Poor preparation for the cracking lock
And creak of hinges. Magi, moonmen,
Powdery prisoners of the old regime,
Web throated, stalked like triffids, racked by drought
And insomnia, only the ghost of a scream
At the flash bulb firing squad we wake them with
Shows there is life yet in their feverish forms.
Grown beyond nature now, soft food for worms,
They lift frail heads in gravity and good faith.

They are begging us, you see, in their wordless way,
To do something, to speak on their behalf
Or at least not to close the door again.
Lost people of Treblinka and Pompeii!
'Save us, save us,' they seem to say,
'Let the god not abandon us
Who have come so far in darkness and in pain.
We too had our lives to live.
You with your light meter and relaxed itinerary,
Let not our naive labours have been in vain!'

Monday, January 23, 2012

Taking a break

We're taking some time out for a few months and will be back on track a little later in the year with a line-up of special events.

Check in from time to time for updates and some random poetry. Here's one to go on with.

Paul Laurence Dunbar
(June 27, 1872 – February 9, 1906 – an African American poet, novelist, and playwright)

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals—
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats his wing
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting—
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings—
I know why the caged bird sings!