Since you have gone, my heart, now struck in two,
Has left me with one image in my mind;
A faltering vision, a half of you,
Which I will lose, since time cannot rewind
And bring your essence back to me complete;
The warmth of skin, the sweep of raven hair;
The sum of you will hasten my defeat,
And I am left to wonder if you care.
I didn’t mean to place you in a dream.
For sure, the fault is mine, it’s my mistake,
For consciously, I am to blame it seems:
Once out of sleep, I see you when I wake.
My day-long dreams deny reality.
I know, love’s cost is lover, love is not free.
These poems were written by the Heartlines writers group to commemorate the old Headingley Primary School (1882-2006). After a 5 year project in 2011 the school building became the Heart Centre, the Headingley Enterprise and Arts Centre, a community enterprise hub run by the community for the community. This has been the home since then of the Heartlines writers group. The poems will be displayed in the entrance foyer of the centre for the next few weeks.
Today, October the 6th, is National Poetry Day. To support it the Heartlines Writers group wrote a number of poems on the Poetry Day’s 2022 theme, the environment, and distributed them free around various locations in Leeds. We have also put them as a collection on the Heartlines web site. Feel free to browse!
In Ulster, once ruled by sword and might,
the legacy of history burns less bright.
Here, where bigotry long held sway
and human hopes were mangled in the fray,
a tiny spark of reason has ignited
and kindled hope in those whose lives are blighted
by associations stretching back through time;
where living has become a hideous joke.
Time now to change, to cast aside the yoke
of hatred and grow stronger,
and let the legacy of history burn no longer.
For days the ocean has unleashed its ire,
a frenzy born of elemental spite –
winds have raged that will not cease or tire
till all's consumed in endless, blackest night.
The waves break fiercely on the rocks, and spray
flings lacy droplets in the screaming air,
while boats at anchor feel the lash and flay
of water whips – a scene of grim despair.
But in the depths where silence still prevails,
the shark yet glides and seeks the silver ghosts
of fish and other prey, their weaving tails
now teasing. While Poseidon drinks his toasts
to calmness down below, chaos reigns on top,
where banshee winds still wail – and never stop.
Headingley Lit Fest invited the Alison Taft creative writing class I was part of, to write for the festival on the theme of surviving. I thought the ideas I had were going nowhere until I realised I had the song in my head. I recorded it on Garageband and made the video on iMovie – it was screened at the end of our performance at the festival. Jackie Parsons
If you don’t want to listen, we’ll have to show you how
Can’t leave it till tomorrow, tomorrow’s here right now
And the world keeps turning, no matter how the cold winds blow
A hard rain’s falling, but you don’t want to know
Your streets have turned to rivers, while the deserts eat the land
We’re sending you a message, but you don’t understand
The world can keep on changing, but life is not that strong
You need to pay attention, or we won’t be here for long
And the world keeps turning, no matter how the cold wind blows
A hard rain’s falling, but you don’t want to know,
You don’t want to know, you don’t want to know.
It greets you in the morning when you wake,
at night it kills your hopes and mutilates ideas.
You’re too afraid to make your mark so, sick at heart,
you face the empty page, then turn aside.
Doubt is a thunder crack, a mighty howl,
it butchers trust and self-belief, swamping
your unborn words beneath its cavernous wail –
whatever else you do, don’t let it in.
Seek hope – it’s smoke and mirrors, snake oil,
gossamer upon the wind. It whispers yes, you can
and, yes, you are, but only if you listen for it well.
So, clear your mind, don’t let that shrieking void of disapproval win,
there’s not a poet here who doesn’t feel
the seeping scourge of self-denial in their soul.
I never met you, Seamus,
And now I never will, because
as another poet said,
“In the forest of poetry the great oak has fallen.”
Seamus, you lit the darkened corners
of my mind with your lamp of language;
left a legacy of truth and life behind you,
and stirred the broth of imagination
with your words. The world weeps today.
From the squelch of farmyard mud, the leather
creak of harness and iron feel of plough,
to the Olympian heights of Homer’s Greece
and the alliterative Anglo-Saxon of Beowulf,
you plumbed the depths of diverse life.
Nobel prize winner, maker of magic, Irish giant,
you gave the world so much, and I’m sure
that large heart of yours would have given
the waiting world much more. It was not to be –
too early, you found your destiny.
The quotation is from the poem “The fallen oak” by Tony Curtis.