Poem of the North 3.1

It occurred to me that my problem of what to call my poems instead of ‘responses’ might have been dealt with way back in 1.8, which Charley Reay titled ‘Ekphrasis’, but it seems to be used to refer to poems responding to visual art rather than other poems

Anyway, my whatever-it-is to Mike Farren‘s commended poem, Second Avenue, Heaton, 1992 feels in part like a kind of ekphrasis of the image from Bede’s Ecclesiatical History that Mike alludes to towards the end of his poem. I love his use of that image of his wife as the lighted mead hall (in other words, I think, this whole life) to his sparrow, and in my poem I linked it to the biblical image of God remembering the sparrows as he numbers the hairs on our head. And then spoiled it by, for some reason, imagining Bede in a Newcastle Wetherspoons encountering a trapped pigeon rather than a fleeting sparrow. That third stanza needs more work. Or culling.

Mike implies that he met his wife in 1992. In 1992, I married mine.

I see that sparrow dim
as it dips, but know
its hidden flight.

Which number is on that brown bird’s back?
Which hair of my head
would it choose to pluck?

I see Bede watch a pigeon in The Five Swans
panicking against the skylight,
shitting in fear in his mead.

Still, I look back at 1992
not as a flicker against the night
but as the light clicked on by you.

(Amid the fluttering, and flapping, there is a constant…

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