Today, in Romania we celebrate Palm Sunday, which is called Florii. Probably linked with the old pagan traditions, it means the flowers (Sunday). I myself was baptised on this day, the year I was born. And as we celebrate Easter today in the UK, with my first Easter catholic mass yesterday evening, my thoughts go back to my roots.
I wrote this poem for my first entry into the Chairman’s challenge at the Wrekin Writers group. The challenge consisted in writing a piece, within a certain number of words, inspired by a photograph. I got carried away and completely ignored the number of words limitation. However, I loved what I came up with.
Read this poem which goes back to my roots, to the grandmother I grew up with, her passion for music, my accordion, the good and the harsh times intertwined.
See the photo which inspired my poem.
“never waste even the crusts of the bread loaf”
didn’t your grandma use to say the same?
my grandmother has always liked burnt toast
plum marmalade and silliness
when she was 18 she could play the guitar
which she couldn’t afford
her black and white photograph
with curls showing up under a chic beret
with a dash of colour painted over her scarf
with a burrowed guitar in her arms
wafts the jollity of a smile over the almost
in her eyes
she loved music she loved dance
and she made the best marmalades and quick treats
you could ever ask for
when I was 9 or 10
living with grandma and grandad
I used to play the accordion
it was something to do for a child
with an everlasting cargo of unspent energy
forced by the circumstances of their health to
leave the openness of the countryside
for a city flat
my tutor taught me twice a week
how to keep the rhythm tapping my foot
how to curve the bellows
like the back of a deeply breathing animal
grandma used to take me to old thrift shops or markets
we bought old music books
from the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
(the communists could not deport Radetzky March
Blue Danube and the Hungarian czardas)
one long afternoon
rehearsing the Russian kazaciok
the notes kept breaking the song
I started over
and over and over
until grandma shouted at me from the door frame
“would you stop playing that horrible song?!”
she told me later how
the darkness of war crept back in with the broken notes
on my accordion
she never had to remind me too much of
not wasting the ends of the bread loaf
I liked sinking my teeth
through layers of puffiness and crunchy crust
what memories can do
in half asleep eyes
the swirl of apricot jam lights up the night
from my grandma’s pantry
long lost in an old communist block
in a time between always and forever
A richness of Black Country poetry, revealed in events
I decided to publish poetry today as fellow writers I recently met encouraged me to do so. They wanted to see more examples of my work, and I am not yet a published poet in the UK.
Since last month, I started to actively engage with poetry events around the Black Country. When you look around at all the open mic and poetry performance happenings in the area you will find one every week. From the Southcart Books & Comics open mic on the last Saturday of every month, to the open mic evens at Caffe del Nino in Cannock, literature lovers can easily find a venue supporting local literature.
Black Country Broadsheet project takes performers one step further
Poetry promoters such as the Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists group go one step further besides the open mic evenings. They organise a number of events to promote local poets across the region, and have recently launched their Black Country Broadsheet project, with videos from 10 performance poets and the printed broadsheet. The poets in the project will also be present at different locations within the Black Country to meet their audience and talk about their art.
Having just dived into the world of local poetry/literature and discovering its richness, I will publish more about the events, poets, promoters in the future. Meanwhile, I invite you to watch the videos of some open mic performances I recorded and published on the Landinside Facebook page.