Some of my old poems turned up…

by Marie Marshall

product_thumbnail… in May Prism 2014, a collection of contemporary international poetry, a quarterly (or thereabouts) paperback edited and self-published by Australian poet Ron Wiseman. [Find it here, and my poems from p.157 onwards.] This was half-a-surprise to me, as I hadn’t visited the poets’ virtual hideaway that Ron and I frequent(ed) for a while until recently, so I was out-of-the-loop and didn’t even know he was engaged in this little publishing venture. As a result, the poems he selected (knowing that I would have given him permission anyway if I had been around) are all fairly old. Some of them have been published before, in Tower Journal for example, and many of them are formal, or show me tinkering with Celtic-mystic-medieval themes. The feature even quotes me as saying “I am best known as a neo-formalist poet…” Good grief! It’s a long while since I said that, and it is no longer strictly accurate, but never mind. I did cut my teeth on formal poetry, figuring that it was a good discipline to learn in order to give my writing in general some technical power.

May Prism is full of poetry by a whole range of poets from around the world, so I can thoroughly recommend it. Here is one of my poems from the selection of seven that Ron published. I have spared you the iambic pentameter – this one is written free.

Someone said you loved me

There are no ties to life; rather it’s like a hangnail
when it catches in my sweater – one tug and it’s free,
free to fall, free to take its end.

Few things make me catch my step, slow me,
have me gripping at the burning minutes as they are consumed,
very few things save, perhaps, you.

Gossip I can let tumble and roll among the leaves and papers –
except when someone said your eyes followed me
as I wandered through the room.

Now I will test the truth of this by walking slowly, as though on a wire,
savouring each second, seeing if my bare neck flames
in your gaze