Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Not My Tuesday Poem

I have called this 'Not My Tuesday Poem' because sadly I have had to sacrifice my part in the Tuesday Poem enterprise. Mainly it's for the sake of my writing - especially in the interests of the collection I am cobbling together at the moment. Like all the enterprising couples who convert old barns to beautiful homes in that TV programme 'Grand Designs', this collection is taking 'much longer than first predicted' ... and so I need to give it some serious focus and divest myself of beautiful distractions.

I have enjoyed my stint at Tuesday Poem (it has indeed been a beautiful distraction) and I wish everyone involved in taking it even farther forward, all the very best.

The photo above is at least seven years old. It is of me outside the Katherine Mansfield House on a very wet Wellington day in May. There is a better photo of the house (plus info.) in this Wikipedia entry about KM.
After my visit to Katherine Mansfield's home, I wrote a poem about it. I have decided to air the poem again after word of Kathleen Jones' book about Katherine Mansfield jolted my memory of my own visit to the Mansfield house, and the poem I wrote about it.
Katherine Mansfield is an early twentieth century writer who was brought up in New Zealand, before moving permanently to England and living there for the rest of her life. She is one of my favourite writers.

Katherine Mansfield’s house

I imagine Katherine nowhere
to be seen.
Her childhood home
is full now of stilted reverence,

dark skirting boards,
stairs and of course, 
in the wash-house
on the window-sill,
the dried-out, blue-bag.

It has hush, china, writing stuff.
It has the strain of time.
Outside a small garden
leaps and bounds bright

inside its borders
despite the hiss of rain.

Kay McKenzie Cooke


Lydia said...

A perfect poem in my estimation. I love old houses and the stories they tell, and the story this one told through you is breathtaking.

Now I must discover KM's writing in the future....

Much peace to you as you work on completing your project (and I do hope you will write occasional posts in your blog during the process).

Elisabeth said...

I love the notion of 'stilted reverence' as it applies to a house where an author once lived if only briefly.

It's striking how much we try to make more of what is there in fact because the author is now long gone.

Thanks for a beautiful and compelling poem.

Mary McCallum said...

A wonderful poem! I love the 'hush, china, writing stuff'. Bravo. But oh so so sad you are leaving us Kay. How can this be? Why not go on sabbatical? Very happy for you to do this...

Catherine said...

I'm still trying to decide whether to join Tuesday Poem, because I hesitate to commit myself to once a week on a particular day - so I understand why you are leaving. I hope you will still be posting on your blog from time to time.

Tim Jones said...

Another great poem! I too am sad to hear you're planning to gafiate* from the Tuesday Poem, and hope you'll come back once your collection is complete.

*A useful word from science fiction fandom - a verb formed from the acronym for "getting away from it all". Many a fan has made the long journey to the glades of gafia as other commitments demand their attention.

Kay Cooke said...

Lydia - Thanks so much. I will probably keep blogging - it's a little addictive.

Elisabeth - Thanks so much. Yes we are funny when it comes to the famous and revered ...

Mary - You are sweet. I will see how I feel after I have resurfaced from the writing. Thanks for understanding.

Catherine - Will keep blogging I hope. It's all about balance in the end.

richardg said...

Oh Kay, this is another lovely evocative poem. I have loved discovering you and am sad there will be no poems for a while.However I do look forward to that next book of poems,especially if it contains such gems as" Sometime" and "Shorty Lee".
Good luck and best wishes.

Kay Cooke said...

Richard G - Thanks. I intend to keep posting poems on this blog ... Thanks for comments re 'Shorty ' and 'Some Time' - 'Some Time' is actually from my first book so is already published - I should've mentioned that. But I hope 'Shorty' will make it into the third collection (altho' it might have to be the 4th tho', as I am running out of room in 3rd!)

AJ Ponder said...

I will miss your Tuesday poetry, Kay, it's always a pleasure to read - but wish you all the best with your collection.

Sometimes in the hurry to do everything - nothing gets done.

Clocking Out

 I have been neglecting this blog for some months. I think perhaps I should face facts and accept that it is indeed time to retire this blog...