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Ali’s Story: Poetry In Motion Monday, 8 February 2010

Posted by edincityoflit in Stories.
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My bike also says ‘Dream. Explore. Discover.’ on the handle bars, which is a Mark Twain quote and very apt, but that’s not a poem, so for February, I’m carrying a hedgehog gag to make me smile as I cycle. Bring on the spikey helmets.

If hedgehogs could ride bikes, wouldn’t it be fun,

Sitting up straight with their helmets on.

Pascale’s Story: ‘The War God’s Horse Song’ Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Posted by edincityoflit in Stories.

‘The War God’s Horse Song’ is always pinned to my noticeboard just behind my Macbook, and whenever I travel it goes with me in my hand luggage. Although this is the war god’s horse song, it’s peaceful and uplifting, in fact it carries me. There’s the canter of it, the macrocosm of it, with the universe held in the blue sky-horse and it stands for everything good, even wealth! And if I’m poor in spirit, body or purse, this chant helps, reminding me of the miracle of the moment. It was written to be a cure, by the Navajo, as part of their Blessingway ceremonies.

The War God’s Horse Song

I am the Turquoise Woman’s son
On top of Belted Mountain beautiful horses
slim like a weasel

My horse has a hoof like a striped agate
his fetlock is like fine eagle plume
his legs are like quick lightning

My horse’s body is like an eagle-feathered arrow

My horse has a tail like a trailing black cloud

The Holy Wind blows through his mane
his mane is made of rainbows

My horse’s ears are made of round corn

My horse’s eyes are made of stars

My horse’s head is made of mixed waters
(from the holy waters)
(he never knows thirst)

My horse’s teeth are made of white shell

The long rainbow is in his mouth for a bridle
and with it I guide him

When my horse neighs
different-coloured horses follow

When my horse neighs
different-coloured sheep follow

I am wealthy because of him

Before me peaceful
Behind me peaceful
Under me peaceful
Over me peaceful
Peaceful voice when he neighs
I am everlasting and peaceful
I stand for my horse

Pascale Petit is a French/Welsh poet living in the UK. She teaches creative writing in the galleries at Tate Modern.

Jenny’s story: ‘Tell me a story’… Friday, 8 January 2010

Posted by carryapoem in Stories.
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There is one simple little poem I have carried for ages. Cut out of a magazine, stuck into a scrapbook. Then I chucked the whole scrapbook but saved the page where it was pasted…that made its way into another scrapbook.

Occasionally I find it in its bookshelf by chance or attempted clear out and I re-read it. Sometimes it even falls helpfully out of its scrapbook and lies on the carpet right side up as if it wants to be read.

Its not particularly great or profound literature but it makes me happy every time I read it over a period of over 20 years. And that’s worth carrying for me.

Here it is. I hope you enjoy it too.

‘Tell me a story,’
Says Witch’s child,
‘About the Beast
So fierce and wild.
About a Ghost
That shrieks and groans,
A Skeleton
That rattles bones,
About a Monster
Something nice
To make me sleepy.’

PS If anyone knows who wrote this, that would be nice to know.

Robyn’s story: anon Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Posted by carryapoem in Stories.
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For many years I carried round in my wallet a little card with a short poem in slightly blurred ink, given to me by a dear friend. There was no author’s name, but I suspect it is from a Chinese anthology and probably quite ancient – I’ve never checked to see whether the translation was by Pound or Waley, for example, which it may be.

When ice on the pond is four feet thick
And white snow stretches a thousand miles
My heart will still be like the pine and the cypress
But your heart, what will it be?

In some ways it seems quite plaintive – “but your heart, what will it be?” But carrying it reminded me that some hearts are indeed sturdy and true – like the pine and the cypress – and that friendships endure, even though wintry periods.

Robyn was born and grew up in New Zealand, attended university there and then gained her doctorate from Oxford University, where she also did some teaching before joining Carcanet Press. Having been a freelance publishers’ editor, reviewer and translator since moving to Scotland in 1987, she became Director of the SPL in 2000.