A broken conversation

27 Nov

Earlier this year I organised a blogging experiment, brining together fourteen poetry bloggers.  Everyone was given a theme to respond to, and each linked to all the others – making, in essence, a digital magazine.  Today, the experiment continues.  This time with six English language and six Spanish language poetry bloggers.  Any dialect of either language is permitted and no one has been obliged to accompany their blog with a translation.  This could not have been possible without the hard work of Marta, who has organised the Spanish side for me, and of course, all my bloggers.  The theme for this experiment is Broken Conversation.  I hope you enjoy reading their work, I will.

Broken Conversation

When I still lived in dreams

I glimpsed it, like the tail

of the salmon as it re-enters

the falls.


Sitting in Calvanist pews

I sang psalms with

those for whom English

was a second tongue.

Old men who spent their

dreaming days in black houses,

who knew the meaning of

the names of mountains.


By the blackboard and off curriculum

we were told stories of Cuchulain,

Finn McCool, the history of the Gael.


They showed me photos of French beaches

smudged with uniforms.

Told how Norwegian sailors showed

them how to stand, feet firm, in a storm.

And looking down, with soft voices,

how Agnes lost her arm falling

asleep in a field at harvest.


In the same country

with this cities clangorous sound

I can not find if their lullaby tones,

and kindness born from weary life,

still exists.


The other lovely bloggers taking part

Roger Santiváñez Cisco Bellavista Jesús Ge Ana Pérez Cañamares Felipe Zapico Martaerre (Marta R. Sobrecueva) JoAnne McKay Rachel Fox Russell Jones Alastair Cook Scottish Poetry Library

6 Responses to “A broken conversation”

  1. Titus November 27, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    Just testing the links! It works…

  2. Russell November 27, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    Babel-esque! Good post Mairi.

  3. Titus November 27, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

    Very beautiful poem, Mairi.
    The pace is lovely, and the choice of exploring what we hear, and what we remember, is probably just about perfect for a bilingual experiment. I’m particularly taken with the fourth verse.

  4. Rachel Fox November 27, 2010 at 5:36 pm #

    And ‘lullaby’ – one of my very favourite words.

    • Campbell November 30, 2010 at 5:08 pm #

      You have captured beautifully what I remember happening. It raises pictures in my mind of Hector telling you stories of Cuchulin and Alec speaking of Lewis.


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