GEOFF STEVENS MEMORIAL POETRY PRIZE 2018 IS NOW OPEN
Veronica Aaronson lives in a quiet haven in South Devon. She started writing poetry for her grandchildren.
Veronica is the co-founder and one of the organisers of the Teignmouth Poetry Festival, runs open mic evenings in Teignmouth and produces ‘Pzazz’, a yearly magazine showcasing the work of local poets, which features as an event at the festival.
Cover artwork by Gay Anderson
138 x 216mm
£9.99 + P&P UK
Nothing About The Birds
Is Ordinary This Morning
The Isle of Iona acts as the unifying thread for Veronica Aaronson’s collection which emphasise the importance of connecting with and appreciating nature to better understand ourselves. The opening theme, to which she returns, is the bee sting with which she arrives on the island, and implicit in her poems is both the nature of 'hive mind' and the metaphor of these endangered insects for our own times.
“Veronica Aaronson’s poems are lit with a deep luminosity – and numinosity. Striking in her delicate, passionate collection is her subtle juxtaposition of description of the natural world with human concerns, griefs and at times cruelties.
She asks us to look, and look again.
A fine collection to which you will want to return.”
“In Veronica Aaronson’s collection the human and natural world converge in accurate description, where empathy and wisdom emerge in equal measure.
There is much beauty in the detail and her use of colour imagery in the poems can be astonishing.
Her authentic observations of human character can transform a seemingly ordinary experience into something remarkable, with a quality of transcendence.
This is achieved by lines often handled deftly with a touch as light as a song bird on the wing.”
If Only …
On the coastal path where fierce gusts expose
white underbellies of bramble leaves, shake
heather and gorse, flap scarves, puff out jackets,
my eyes home in on the small frame of a kestrel
taking on the wind.
This falcon hangs over the exact same spot
as if it’s fixed in place by invisible wires.
Its concentration so alive its wings and tail feathers
find their own way to twist and turn in tune
with the turbulent air.
If I could hold my ground, face the gale
of his bluster, maybe my lips could find their way
to tell him how it is for me. The image runs,
re-runs. I no longer feel the cold, hear the sea
hurling abuse at the cliffs.
Mixed Portfolio after Death
I am the cartographer;
I map the face of the son who has lost his father –
the sinkholes, avalanches, volcanoes,
the doldrums that intervene
between endless emails.
I am part of the production team;
I help sort out venue, costumes, scenery,
resuscitate forgotten Old Testament hymns,
produce the script for the last curtain call
before the main character exits to Verdi’s Requiem.
I am the art curator;
I am dismantling a temporary collection –
Swedish bookcase, hand woven carpets,
pairs of re-soled Church’s shoes,
wife’s lace-trimmed underwear,
yards of stacked-just-in-case yoghurt pots.
I am the meteorologist;
I forecast a slow moving cold front,
months of grey skies
interspersed with sudden storms
Reflections on Narcissus
I’d like to pull this son of a river god out of the mud,
hose him down. I think he’s been maligned –
think about it, how often does pond water stay as still as glass?
There’s pitter-pattering of drizzle, pummeling of storm,
rippling as demoiselles land on waterlily leaf,
tadpoles hide from heron, water boatmen row, row, row.
Maybe it was the different qualities of light, essence of water,
chance to hear fern’s breath that held him there.
Maybe he fell in love with every face he saw – wrinkled faces,
flat faces with long chins, squashed noses, stretched mouths.
Maybe he was the first enlightened being.
Maybe Narcissus shouldn’t be associated with a disordered
personality. After all, if you look at the flower you’ll see
a yellow halo surrounds its tiny face.
Come and Go of Relationships
Yesterday Mull’s landscape was seductive,
wind’s salty smell was tinged with
zest of sea kale, horned wrack.
A small spot of sunlight shone on the sea,
like a shoal of silver fish celebrating,
or rippled mercury.
Today goose down snow is falling
as if Cailleach and her hags
are ripping into each other
with over-stuffed pillows.
dull smells, quell sounds;
Mull is veiled,
Nothing about the Birds is Ordinary this Morning
With the whole sky available
a rook trailing straw in its beak
passes so close to my face we
almost collide and the sparrows
that take flight each morning
from the willow opposite
St Oran’s Chapel stay put
and several steps further
a swarm of starlings fly low –
crown me with iridescence,
land on a nearby fence
and even though the rhythm
of my footsteps is out of tune
with their tiny heartbeats, they
don’t even twitch as I pass by,
behave as if I am one of them,
accept me without checking
whether I have wings,
or sing starlingeze, their gaze
so trusting, so generous,
I feel del-i-cious,
can taste my own sweetness,
like the early days
of a new love.
On the Edge
Together they walk.
For him, the khaki lake holds
shape-shifting shadows of New York skyline,
towers ripple-cut by squabbling helmeted ducks,
fractured limbs of alder provide hide for fleshy predators,
hanging, watching, waiting to strike
while bulrushes march unnoticed into water’s territory.
For her, walking in different shoes,
the green lake is full of life,
a breathing space, a delight.