No tube line invasions this week as that irritatingly subtle creature called Life reared her ugly head and I, unfortunately, did not have a spare three hours together to hand out more poems. However, I did receive an email from someone who picked up one of my poems at Hampstead station and her email sparked some thoughts in me.
She was very positive about the poem she read and was kind enough to offer her own interpretation of it. It was not the meaning I had intended but I hold to the belief that the writer relinquishes the poem when they leave it in tube stations for people to find and it is on its own to make new friends in whatever way it sees fit. I could see what she meant and I liked her interpretation.
She told me how she had felt the poem reflected our innate helplessness as a species, and the fact that many of our choices are dictated for us by predetermined factors, such as genes, external influences, nurtured personality and instinctual behaviour. It was an interesting and insightful reading and I enjoyed it. I like to believe I have a certain element of control over my own destiny and the choices I am able to make, but then I am frequently thwarted, frustrated and desperate about things I am unable to control. Lack of control scares me. It makes me wonder if this lack of control is what encourages people to turn towards other means, and trust in other things, to safeguard them. The practice of reading the future, religion, the many deities that colour our cultures, things I have previously ridiculed as frivolous and unimportant are, arguable, the product of a collective and resourceful human mind attempting to justify its lack of control.
Anyway, these were my many thoughts, and they manifest themselves in the following poem, called ‘If In Doubt, Consult Origami’. I hope you like it.
If In Doubt, Consult Origami
We fold the paper
twice each, a colour
on each edge and move
the pointed corners like
a mouth. The answers
already set (we wrote them
ourselves) but we pretend
surprise. The supplementary
splints that fortify
our choices with an element
Yes, the folded (nothing)
tool is lost eventually— settles into the background
steeped in fungal dust with the obvious always. We,
under sofa beds. Unfed segments of forever
energies of fear and fury shout with long vowels,
ripen in the warm dark into the dusk
follow us, and hope our voices
carry into the soles of our shoes. will accompany the sun
we are not salmon. Our pathways to the southern hemisphere.
are defined by current. our hope is pitiful
our bodies line like dragonflies stumbling over
the shadows. Sometimes we tremble against death.
we remember the paper there is no alternative.
palm reader. Each of us feels the tide rinses her dunes of
the weight of it, hoping our paw prints,
we don’t show too soon,
our fear. We would
be safer if the little tool