INDIGO DREAMS PUBLISHING LTD

 

 

 

Poetry

 

138 x 216mm

 

34 pages

 

£6.00+ P&P UK

 

ISBN 978-1-912876-38-9

 

PUB: 17/08/2020

 

 

ORDER HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Start The Year From Its Quiet Centre

 

Victoria Bennett

 

 

 

 

 

These poems are an intimate meditation on love and loss, told by a daughter as she cares for her mother through terminal mesothelioma. The poet invites the reader to be witness to the private moments of dying, from the physical reality of caregiving through to the alchemy of death, telling the story of a relationship between women that is transformed through grief.

Honest, unsentimental, and quietly uplifting.

 

***

“Exquisite poems, tough and tender in turns.

These are moving meditations on loss and loving-kindness by a daughter to her mother: a gift to anyone who is alongside a loved one in their dying time.”

Tanya Shadrick 

Editor of ‘Wild Woman Swimming’

 

“Bennett’s poetry is controlled, spare and with the particular magic of inviting the reader in right-up-close. An agonisingly beautiful, closely observed and compassionate love letter and leave-taking for a much loved mother.”

Deborah Alma

Poet, Editor and Founder of The Poetry Pharmacy  

 

“This collection is a journey into loss: not the big crashing ideas of death, but the gentle; quiet hours of waiting and the delicate structuring and un-structuring of routine around the inevitable. Skilful, moving and careful with no head first fall into sentimentality, these are poems that translate the language of humanity into art and in doing so benefit all.”

Wendy Pratt

Poet, Editor

To Start The Year From Its Quiet Centre

 

It is enough

to feel

the pebble roll

in my hand,

 

to curl, cat-like,

warm in the sun,

into an hour

of not doing,

 

to stand, long enough

to hear the curlew call;

to remember our lives

opening to it all.

 

 

Calendar

 

Through my mother’s window, days slip by,

moments so small we almost miss them

in our busy lives of dying:

 

the way the stocks begin to bend,

the first ash to fall, the lowering light.

Soon, the year will turn.

 

In the darkest days, she cries out

What time is it?

as if knowing can stop the clock.

 

She sleeps, wakes confused,

not sure if it has been minutes

or days that she’s been gone.

 

In the morning, we greet the sun

with morphine and birdsong.

It’s another beautiful dawn, I say

 

but they get harder.

Another one, she says,

eyes turning away.

 

The last one

and it is just me.

The rain begins.

 

 

After The War, The Battle Comes

 

Those who walk away

travel as time-travellers do,

slightly out of synch, somewhere

between the living and the dead.

Wounds heal but the shadows

are stitched in. It takes time

to learn to move in this strange skin.

The Suede Shoes

after Thich Nhat Hanh

 

No good news from now

the doctor told us.

The nurse cried.

You did not.

 

I spend my days on the telephone,

searching for certainties:

names, dates, results,

chasing facts like dandelion wisps,

running out of time.

 

Sometimes, we talk about death.

Mostly, we talk about hospitals.

Bit by bit, their language claims us.

 

Meanwhile, the hen scratches

around the tree and the bees

collect nectar from a creeping vine.

The sun finally shines.

 

This is our in-between

living-and-dying time.

 

Why bother planting that seed?

Why turn the beds

for a summer that will never come?

Why bother buying the pretty suede shoes?

 

We choose the shoes because

we can still find joy in a step.

We plant the seed because

we still love the way

it insists itself into life.

 

We turn the beds because

there will always be a summer,

even after you are gone.

 

Soon, we shall have only echoes

but for now, we drink tea

and watch the clouds move,

watch the light pass

between the storm

 

and there is still good news.

 

 

Tell Me Lies

 

Please, do not tell me of your perfect deaths.

Do not speak of surrounding light,

slipping serenely out of sight.

 

Please, do not tell me of your perfect goodbyes.

Tell me nothing or tell me lies.

In turn, I will tell you mine:

 

that the drugs do work,

that the pain is short,

that once the oxygen stops,

 

the heart will start to give.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victoria Bennett was born in 1971. She is the founder of the grassroots arts collective, Wild Women Press and has spent the last twenty years curating platforms for women to share ideas, stories, inspirations, and actions for positive change.

 

She holds an MA in Creative Writing and has three decades experience working as a freelance writer and artist.  Her writing has won the Andrew Waterhouse Poetry Award, the Mother's Milk Writing Prize, and a Northern Debut Award. Her poetry has appeared in several anthologies and she has published four other poetry pamphlets. Her work-in-progress memoir, 'All My Wild Mothers', was long-listed for the Nan Shepherd Nature Writing Prize 2019 and the Penguin #WriteNow2020 programme.

 

Victoria is currently undertaking her MRes in Creative Practice at the University of Highlands and Islands (Shetland), exploring narratives of absence within landscapes of personal and ecological loss. She is a director of The Wizard and The Wyld Ltd, creating immersive playable poetry within video-game platforms. A frequent digital collaborator, she interested in how poetry and new technologies can be used to create meaningful and authentic narratives.

 

Victoria lives and works in rural Cumbria with her husband and son. Diagnosed with a collision of rare genetic diseases, she juggles a rebellious body with writing and full-time care. When not juggling, she can be found where the wild things are.

author amend 978-1-912876-38-9