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

the listener

Version 2
she listens
reassures
sitting quietly
feet floored
being present
giving space
giving time
waiting for the words to circle
find their place
tell their story

she listens
she waits
sees through the confusion
and the pain
asks questions
offers thoughts
that draw me forward
and bring me home

she listens
and I am heard
every word she allows
to float around her
gives me strength
every word she hears
rebuilds me

by being heard
these words
are given weight and value
and as they settle
they are reformed
and rearranged

a story told
a new understanding

she listens
and I hear myself
in her silence

© Claire Griffin 2016