POETRY: 'Bernard and Cerinthe' by Linda France – winner of the National Poetry Competition 2013

Today our One Garden group read one of Linda France’s poems alongside a couple of poems by Seamus Heaney. It made a big impact on everyone.

Linda was winner of the National Poetry Competition 2013 for her poem ‘Bernard and Cerinthe’;

NPC 2013 1st Prize – Bernard and Cerinthe from Filmpoem on Vimeo.

Bernard and Cerinthe
by Linda France

If a flower is always a velvet curtain
onto some peepshow he never opens,

it’s a shock to find himself sheltering
from the storm in a greenhouse,

seduced by a leaf blushing blue
at the tips, begging to be stroked.

He’s caught in the unfamiliar ruffle
of knickerbockers or petticoat, a scent

of terror, vanilla musk. If he were
not himself, he’d let his trembling lips

articulate the malleability of wax;
the bruise of bracts, petals, purple

shrimps; seeds plump as buttocks,
tucked out of harm’s way, cocos-de-mer

washed up off Curieuse or Silhouette.
But being Bernard, he’s dumbstruck,

a buffoon in front of a saloon honey
high-kicking the can-can. Can’t-can’t.

He attempts to cool himself, thinking
about sea horses, Hippocampus erectus,

listening to the rain refusing to stop,
soft against the steamed-up glass.

-0-

From the Poetry Society website we learn;

First published in 2013.

Winner of the National Poetry Competition 2013.

Filmpoem by Alastair Cook, commissioned in collaboration with Alastair Cook and Filmpoem.

From the judge: ‘This strange narrative of a man being seduced by a plant charmed the judges with its vivid imagery and linguistic wit. Its precisely honed couplets move from elegant description (‘the bruise of bracts, petals, purple // shrimps’) to a tragicomic climax, in which our hero finds himself ‘a buffoon in front of a saloon honey / high-kicking the can-can. Can’t-can’t’. Truly imaginative and richly musical, ‘Bernard and Cerinthe’ is as much a pleasure to read on the page as it is on the tongue, and as such was the unanimous choice of the judges for first place in this year’s National Poetry Competition.’ Jane Yeh

Linda France on what inspired the poem: ‘I remember very particularly the day I wrote this poem, actually. I went to visit a friend of mine who has the most beautiful garden. It was the end of August and there was a plant I’d never seen before: Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’, and I was just astonished by it. It’s a very intense blue and the leaves are a silvery green… they’re quite thick, almost waxy, fleshy. That’s one of the things I’m drawn to about plants, they express this tremendous “Otherness”, but they just stay there and let you respond to them, unlike a bird or animal that disappears….’

You can listen to a podcast of Linda talking about winning the National Poetry Competition – HERE http://poetrysociety.org.uk/competitions/national-poetry-competition/resources/

-0-

Linda France, winner of the National Poetry Competition 2013, is based close to Hadrian’s Wall, near Hexham in Northumberland. Since 1992 she has published seven poetry collections with Bloodaxe, Smokestack and Arc, including The Gentleness of the Very Tall, The Toast of the Kit-Cat Club, book of days and You are Her. She has worked on numerous collaborations with visual artists and musicians, as well as public art projects. Linda also edited the ground-breaking anthology Sixty Women Poets (Bloodaxe 1993).

-0-

Reviews here – https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=reviews+’Bernard+and+Cerinthe’+by+Linda+France+-+of+the+National+Poetry+Competition+2013

As desire abates generosity is born When we…

As desire abates, generosity is born. When we are connected and present, what else is there to do but give?

~Jack Kornfield

‘Love Ego & Presence’ Kabir Helminski The Knowing…

‘Love, Ego & Presence’ – Kabir Helminski The Knowing Heart: A Sufi Path of Transformation pp49-50

“We do not reach love completely on our own. If we are loveless in and of ourselves, it is because we are living with our center of gravity in the false self. The false self is created from the desires and compulsions of our own separateness. This false self believes strongly in its own existence as separate from the rest of life, and it recruits the intellect to help defend this illusion at the expense of the whole of the mind.

Please like our One Garden page – https://www.facebook.com/PerennialPhilosophyQuestions

The state of compulsive living is so painful…

The state of compulsive living is so painful, and its loneliness is so great that we that we do everything we can to escape it through dreams of it being otherwise – through entertainments, through self-gratification, through seeking in spiritual circles the love that we do not feel for ourselves. If we could just be, we would be able to relax from the anxiety of becoming something that we are not, getting something we don’t have, and trying to shape reality according to our own desires.

Too often we do not want to change, but instead want the pain to go away and allow us to remain the same with all our desires and with our image of ourselves being intact. We will not be successful running to anything, because we cannot run away from ourselves. And yet what we most need is what we already are; our essential Self. There is no escape; there is only coming home.
-Kabir Helminski, The Living Presence.

Mulla Nasrudin as everyone knows comes from a…

Mulla Nasrudin, as everyone knows, comes from a country where fruit is fruit and meat is meat, and curry is never eaten. One week he was plodding along a dusty Indian road, having newly descended from the high mountains of Kafiristan, when a great thirst overtook him. “Soon,” he said to himself, “I must come across somewhere that good fruit is to be had.” No sooner were the words formed in his brain than he rounded a corner and saw sitting in the shade of a tree a benevolent-looking man with a basket of fruit in front of him. Piled high in the basket were huge, shiny red fruits. “This is what I need,” said Nasrudin. Taking two tiny coppers from the knot at the end of his turban, he handed them to the fruit-seller. Without a word, the man handed him the whole basket, for this kind of fruit is cheap in India, and people usually buy it in smaller amounts. Nasrudin sat down in the place vacated by the fruiterer and started to much the fruits. Within a few seconds, his mouth was burning. Tears streamed down his cheeks; fire was in his throat. The Mulla went on eating. An hour or two passed, and then an Afghan hillman came past. Nasrudin hailed him, “Brother, these infidel fruits must come from the very mouth of Sheitan!” “Fool!” said the hillman. “Hast thou never heard of the chillis of Hindustan? Stop eating them at once, or death will surely claim a victim before the sun is down.” “I cannot move from here,” gasped the Mulla, “until I have finished the whole basketful.” “Madman! those fruits belong in curry! Throw them away at once.” “I am not eating fruit any more,” croaked Nasrudin, “I am eating my money.”

–Idries Shah’s “The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mulla Nasrudin

Wisdom, insatiable,