For my fourth Sunday poem, I asked one of my good friends Manon Ceridwen to send me a couple of her poems which are personal favourites of mine.
Manon and I met at Ty Newydd (www.tynewydd.org) – the Welsh equivalent of Arvon on a poetry course with Nigel Jenkins and Sarah Kennedy. I noticed that Nigel is back at Ty Newydd this year, and I would recommend checking out the courses on offer – Nigel was an excellent tutor, as was Sarah, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that the residential course completely changed my life!
I was dabbling in poetry up till this point – I’d been going to a monthly writers group. Signing up for the course was a massive, scary thing for me, but the encouragement I got from the tutors helped me to realise that I could be quite good at the whole writing thing. Nigel gave me possibly the most valuable piece of advice that I’ve ever been given, which was to write every day, and read every day. He said it was just like practicing a musical instrument, which I could, of course, relate to, being a trumpet teacher. To this day, I may not write every day, but I do read every day. Nigel said if I followed his advice, I would have my first poem published within a year, and spookily, a year later, I had my first three poems accepted in Obsessed With Pipework – (www.flarestack.co.uk) which is a fantastic magazine which publishes new writers and more experienced poets.
Anyway, I met my lovely friend Manon on this life changing course. This must have been five years ago now, but we have been friends ever since. I’m very jealous of Manon’s ability to write funny poems, which is hard to do well, but she also writes beautiful, moving poetry as well. Manon is a vicar, and in her poetry can be found spirituality, humour, politics, feminism and a fierce intelligence. Anyway, I thought I would post two Sunday poems, because Manon’s poems are normally short.
Manon has had poems published in Poetry Wales, Envoi and Obsessed With Pipework. Unfortunately for the poetry world, as well as working as a vicar and bringing up her daughters, she is also completing a PhD on the influence of religion on women’s identity in Wales, which means less of her lovely poetry, so please feel free to comment and encourage her to write more!
PMT Riddle – by Manon Parry
What surprises me
is not that I get so shouty
and black hearted
but how I manage
to keep so calm
about the things that
really piss me off
for three full weeks
(previously published in Obsessed With Pipework)
A Priest at a Funeral – Manon Parry
I need all the rage I can muster
to keep this calm; to sculpt space
to hold shifting, fragile colours.
I marvel at how midwives day by day
caress women into their own artistry,
weaving love like expectant shawls.
I am the last to stroke the wood
that bears this ending; gathering
enough fragments of courage
to let it fall through my fingers,
chanting hope, forgiveness, dust.
(previously published in Envoi)