by BPS co-founder and long time member, Theresa Donnelly
With just days to go, our guest readies himself to depart. I usher him to the front hall with feelings of gratitude for the open-fire rooms that filled us with ourselves; the fragrance of a ginger and cardamom infused kitchen; pristine larger-than-life snowflakes; the lunar eclipse of the Blood Wolf Moon and yes, even the cracks and peels of February’s feet.
I welcome this month of March: the bridge between two seasons; changeable as it may be, for a variety of reasons. The main one being it was the birth month, many years ago, of our eldest son John. That was the month in which my understanding of what it was like to love unconditionally began; it was the springboard that catapulted me on a journey of exquisite encounters with the power of love, selflessness and awareness.
For many of us March signifies the return of the light: resurgence of curved radiance over skeletal trees and withered vines.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote ‘Life is March weather, savage and serene in one hour.’
We can thank March’s windy reputation throughout the years for blowing some much-loved poets into our lives: those born during this blustery month include some of my favourites:
Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Mar.6th 1806 ‘Light tomorrow with today.’
Jack Kerouac: Mar.12th 1922 ‘Write in recollection and amazement for yourself.’
Lady Augusta Gregory: Mar.15th 1852 ‘The way most people fail is in not keeping up the heart.’
Robert Frost: Mar. 26th 1874 ‘A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.
Tennessee Williams: Mar. 26th 1911 ‘The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.’
This month usually finds me returning home, visiting with much loved and greatly missed family members and frequenting favourite places of my youth. One such place is an old bookshop, in an even older part of the city that, much to my delight, continues to remain open in this ‘Digital Age’ where all too often; too many small bookshops have closed their doors forever.
Crossing the threshold is like entering Narnia. I glide past latest editions placed high on centre tables. I swerve around deeply engrossed customers; wave a quick hello to the Brendan-Behan-lookalike cashier and find my way between aisles to the very back of the shop to the creaky elevator that will take me to the second, often third-hand, poetry section. It’s windowless, usually stuffy with the scent of moth balls and old lace. The shelves bend under the weight of books vying for my attention. My eyes and fingertips compete as they run over still vibrant, multicoloured spines. With an abundance of titles written by well and lesser-known authors; I always say the book chooses me, not I, it.
Armed with my collection, I head to one of the worn-leather armchairs and ready myself to enter the poet’s world, where the poem can be a simple storybook or a reflective journey to the deepest caverns of the poet’s mind. Always an expression of emotion engaging the heart; it can help me see the world from an entirely new perspective. It can stretch the imagination. It can send me on a delirious dance; beckon me to a dimly lit attic; have me walk through a dubious fire; deprive me of a justifiable ending; have me spin myself into a black hole; make a saint or sinner of me; allow me feel compassion for human anguish: grow intoxicated on the scent of an overly-ripe mango or a misty Monday afternoon.
To me, poetry is bread. Bread is life; each mouthful nourishment for the naked soul. ��y�