Last night I went to Sticks and Stones, a poetry and spoken word evening held at Strawbs Bar in Leeds since 2004/5. Sadly the night is ending next month (you can find them on facebook).
The open mic section introduced me to an awful lot of talent we have in this city, not least this young poet, Hannah Linnekamp, who kindly allowed me to post one of her poems here, as part of N's fantastic idea for a lent filled with poetry!
If you click on the title link it takes you to Hannah's blog. I really admired her spoken word, and hope you do to.
Hopelessly I try to find
in the lines on your old, old face
that long, thin line
that runs from your mother to me, through mine.
From County Kerry to the Continent.
How did I end up here holding the end of the string?
How did Irish Catholic shame turn into
You pick up a postcard of the Nativity.
You say this is Joseph, this is Mary,
this the baby Jesus
and that baptism is easy
even at twenty-one.
I want to say I don’t believe in Heaven
and even if I did, Hell seems like more fun.
But you love God’s son more than me or your grandson.
Well you’d have Jesus himself,
as well as Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela,
Aung San Suu Kyi and Mahatma Gandhi
all running to the nearest pub for a double whiskey
after half an hour of your company.
You say you’re in pain,
you’re cold, it’s damp, you complain,
so why won’t you just let us fix your drain?
We try granny, we try,
but sometimes I think it’d be easier for you to just-
I am ashamed at the unspoken thought.
And ashamed I look down at the many lines in my hands,
which are your hands,
and suddenly I understand
how that long thin line that runs from your mother to me through mine
is your relentlessness,
your unwillingness, to bend your knees to time.
See I clenched my tiny fists tight.
I clung on to my tiny life,
while my twin sibling was expelled
I refused to be and held
onto the soft tapestries
of my mother’s womb.
Like you, I am still here.
Like you, I do not let go.
Like you, I am not going anywhere.