Poem 155 – Four Candles

Sunday we’ll light four candles,
Our perennial joke,
Anticipated for weeks.
Someone will shout ‘nah, fork ‘andles’*
And we’ll laugh. Again.
It’s strangely fitting. Back then
No one saw it coming.
Now we hold our breath and
Open doors until Christ’s
Born; God’s Son, the perfect
Joke who laughs with us
Divine anticipation.

In the church calendar, this Sunday is Two Ronnies Day, or at least it is in my head (*If you don’t get the joke, you’d better watch this: https://youtu.be/CNTM9iM1eVw). The following Sunday is Christmas Day, the day when God caught everyone by surprise.

© Ben Quant 2022

Poem 154 – A Literary Diet

I’m told we’re what we eat,
If so, I’m made of words.
My mum discovered this
On catching me red-handed,
The soggy contents page
Of the Oxford Dictionary
Left mushed between my jowls.
It seems I am comprised
Of definitions and vowels.

My limbs are formed of nouns
Like leg and arm and elbow.
Elbow is one of my favourites.
Say it slow. El-bow.
How satisfying it is
To wrap your tongue around
It’s form, enunciate
It carefully and full,
Admire its letter form.

Then there are the others,
Obscure and strangely named,
Like supercillium,
And islets of Langerhans.
I learnt of them at school,
But haven’t mentioned them,
Again until the present.
Turns out such beautiful words,
Can never be unlearnt.

But nouns are not the whole
Of me, I’m also made
Of verbs like dream and think,
And leap and hesitate,
Gesticulate and frown,
Digest, impress, caress,
And rest, oh yes, let’s rest
Our tired nouns a while
And let the verbs address.

Or better still send out
Our adverbs, illumination
Their one and only role.
They slyly, kindly find
A motivation for me.
Swiftly, powerfully, patiently,
Reveal me. Show what lies
Hid deep within me. Yes,
It’s true. I’m made from words.

True story, I was discovered as a little one, eating a dictionary! Reminiscing got me thinking about language, and how our understanding of the world and ourselves is framed by it.

© Ben Quant 2022

Poem 153 – Blank Canvas

This is a liminal place,
Where sky and earth do meet,
And merge in bright harmony.
Autumn’s colours spent,
Erased, left brilliant white,
Perhaps, a new beginning?
A chance to make our mark,
Afresh. Along with spiders,
Who have already traced,
The outline of each edge
In brittle silk, picked out
And sparkling, crystalline.

Yesterday we woke to find Lea Valley submerged in snow. Beautiful and mysterious. On our afternoon walk, at each turn I expected to find Mr Tumnus, but alas he never showed, only the muntjac deer and robins. We did not return, however, disappointed.

© Ben Quant 2022

Poem 152 – Sharp December

The paper air is sharp
Airways are invaded
Eyes begin to water
Cold smears across my face
Malicious needles prick
In bitter unison
My feet go numb and die
A death by a thousand cuts

This morning’s North wind brought a bitter bite alongside Jack Frost’s winter beauty.

© Ben Quant 2022

Psalm 151 – The Reckoning

It’s the strangest feeling,
When someone else is pouring,
Over words that you,
And you alone, have known.
Your baby, your secret, yours
But now no longer so.
It’s out there, in the wild.
It’s prone, susceptible.
Exposed to public whim.
How will they handle it?
With care or carelessness?
Indifference or joy?
Now the time of reckoning.

My thesis is rewritten and has just returned from my proofreader. Soon it will be submitted, and this labour of love and anger will be handed over to others to judge…

© Ben Quant 2022

Poem 150 – Merry Christmas

Some thirty years ago. The first text.
A simple ‘Merry Christmas’ changed the world.
One SMS and now we’re glued to both,
Our screens in digital isolation and,
Each other in a myriad of ways.
In Bethlehem, the birth of a different sort
Of revolution, was in a manger laid.
Two thousand years ago it needed angels,
And shepherds with their sheep to share the news.

Today is the 30th anniversary of the first text message, a simple Merry Christmas https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-63825894.

© Ben Quant 2022

Poem 149 – Fine Margins

Did it cross the line they ask?
Some say yes and others no.
The difference? Joy or sorrow.
The wings of feeble butterflies,
Can change the world one flap at a time,
And sliding doors the path of love.
Our lives are precariously balanced,
On the precipice of decision.
One step is all it takes to start,
An avalanche of consequences,
With cascading implications.
The right of this depends upon,
The angle of our vision, so,
Be kind my friends and act with grace.
The weight of this weighs down upon,
Their shoulders too, the ones that you,
Are quick to comment on. Be slow,
In case the camera turns on you.

I found myself drawn into last nights dramatic and controversial events in the World Cup. Was Japan’s goal a goal? Did the curvature of the ball cross the line or not? I don’t know! Got me thinking of the film Sliding Doors, Doctor Who’s ‘Turn Left’, Ray Bradbury’s ‘A Sound of Thunder’ and the Butterfly Effect.

© Ben Quant 2022

Poem 148 – New Glasses

A new morning
A new month
A new razor
Feeling smooth
New glasses
A new look
I put them on
Everything’s moved
A little sharp
A little close
A little blurred
All’s confused

Picked up new glasses today having become aware that my prescription was slightly off. A little readjustment’s required!

© Ben Quant 2022