White orchid

Japanese watercolour,
She towers above the cacti;
A delicate, white geisha
In the soft shadows
Of bashful buds.
Graceful and rare,
Full of life unfolding,
The mystery
Of every second,
In every frond unfurling.

Shady leaves,
Cool and broad,
Green waves paused.

Slender green stems
Climb to the light,
Proud
That tall is nothing to hold onto.

Pure white petals,
Paper-thin,
Pink with pollen powder-paint,
Sprinkled by the perfect artist.

Thirsty little dragon mouths open
Sucking sunfire.

And in her beauty
Is her death:
A whitewash of wilting petals,
Drooping like wet skirts;
See-through crispy curls
Limping out of the limelight,
Graciously bowing out to the
New small stars.

Lady-like, in flower form,
Kuan Yin,
Consort of compassion,
Sings of the beloved.

She is a slip of a kiss
By a rain-soaked window pane;
A jasmine goddess,
An elegant saint;
In fragile purity,
So certain in her choice.

Lyndi Smith, January 2012

I wrote this poem about a beautiful white orchid in Jan and Maria’s house in Copenhagen. The character of the orchid reminded me of another dear friend Verity Pabla.

Granite twilight

Written a long time ago, this is probably my favourite poem. A big thank you to Mr Dougall, my old English teacher at Bablake School, for feeding me rich, rich poetry and encouraging my writing. 

Granite Twilight

She stood by the blazing, brazen rock
And embraced the incoming heat;
Not a sound in the wind disturbed her mind,
Or rendered her thoughts incomplete,
So she stood for a while, and she fixed her own view
While the moor trembled under her feet,
And she gazed at the last dying embers,
And surrendered her soul to the peat.

For eighty score years he had lain in the flame,
With skin clutched close to the flesh,
Neither rain nor the conquering onslaught of time
Has yet even hinted his death.
For the great, grey silent ambassador
Of time and of centuries passed –
All forgotten, and essence of memory
Like the granite itself is surpassed.

(Lyndi Smith, circa 1993)

You can see a video of me reading this poem together with Polished Pebble here.

Waterwheel

(Inspired by the waterwheel at the National Wool Museum of Wales, near Newcastle Emlyn)

Water on and on and
Water on and on and
Ribbons drip drop drip splash
Ribbons on of water
              drip splash
              drip drop drip
Buzzing flies around and
Boring boring water
On and on and boring
Boring but I like it
              buzzing flies
              flying fluff
Dandelions on a
Manmade dry stone wall
Boring but important
I drive everything here

Scurries of dried blossom,
Sunlight glinting down,
Swallows swooping all around me,
Swallows sitting, red-faced, preening;
Swallows with their fork-tails tipping;
Swallows diving, diving, dipping.

Water on and on and
Water drives me round the
Boring boring water
Boring but I like it

Sunlight glinting on the
Sunlight in the water
Clouds are in the water
Sky is in the water

Water on and on and
Water on and on and
Water on and on and
Water on and on and

(Lyndi Smith, May 2011)

Listen to an mp3 of the sound of the Waterwheel

Visit the National Wool Museum

Parallel universe

In a parallel universe,
I asked you to marry me
And you said yes,
So we had a hippy wedding in the forest
With so many flowers
And moved into a country cottage
With a river running by
Where you taught me how to grow veg
And I taught you how to cook tagine.

In a parallel universe,
Our garden is so beautiful,
With ancient trees, a weeping willow by the brook
And sturdy oak
And many flowers, so many flowers…

In a parallel universe
We have dogs and cats and rescued hens,
A real log fire,
A country kitchen with an Aga,
Your pictures all around the house,
My books on every shelf,
And friends forever dropping round.
My van is full of bed and camping gear,
So when the sunshine’s ours, we disappear.

We laugh and sing and dance all of the time.

But this is
Not a parallel universe
And here we’re just good friends.
In this universe,
You’re not available,
And I’m not available.

But know this.

In this universe
I can’t promise I won’t find you attractive.
I can promise I won’t make it awkward.

And just for the record,
You are bloody good.
You set the bar.
You tick every box on my love wishlist
Bar one.

You’re not blonde.

But if,
In the future,
Time should rip itself in two
And cause a split in the fabric of space,
And you find yourself
In a parallel universe,
Come look me up.

I’ve got peroxide.

(Lyndi Smith, May 2011)