monday

today is Monday, and I have given myself the gift
of a longer than usual lunch
after three weeks battling an ear infection
I can hear well enough to spend an hour
listening to a poet read her work, and describe it as
ordinary and complicated
simple and detailed
instinctive and conscious
and when asked
“what makes a poem a poem?”
she talked of rhythm
and sound
and space
“its all about the line endings”
and I sat there thinking
she is speaking my language

leaving the room, I felt strangely calm and quiet
I was walking carefully, touching the ground lightly
as if I was carrying a bowl of water
that I did not want to spill

as soon as I walked outside, and all the way to the car
I was immersed in sounds
a pushchair rattling over uneven ground
teenage boys with their big voices
a truck changing gear
and in the distance, the music of bagpipes
that came
and went
and came again
as I walked past the gaps between buildings
and construction works
cars passing
crossing signals
and a dog’s lead clinking, black coat shining in the sun

all enter the sensitive water
subtle ripples spreading to the edge
and all the way, holding this bowl before me
not a drop is spilt

getting into the car I turned off the radio
and drove twenty minutes to a meeting
and still, I was enveloped in sound
wind noise, the “click/clack” of the indicator
and tyres rumbling over cat’s eyes
as I changed lanes on the motorway
I turn and stop
opening the door
a seagull shrieks
announcing my arrival

I enter the room and sit at the end of the table
I am not the person they were expecting
I am halfway through the day
and half present in the room
holding a bowl crowded and heavy with words
and I am sitting, silent
listening
to the sound of my own voice

 

© Claire Griffin 2016

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