Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Gwyneth Lewis - Bardd Ac Awdur

Gwyneth Lewis
Last week was Cultural Exchanges at DMU. Before it becomes a dim and distant memory I shall try and write up a few blog posts about events, including the CCC pamphlet launch last Friday. Wednesday was Gwyneth Lewis, a poet I didn’t know very much about other than she was the first ever Laureate of Wales. I'd read some of her poems here and there and looked forward to finding out more. She read an impressive range of work and I really enjoyed listening. Isn’t listening just as, if not more important than reading? Her poetry and prose was approachable and struck a nerve. Poetry read from A Hospital Odyssey was very moving and also chimed with my theory that hospitals are rather like the underworld, ‘and airports’ as Lewis noted. There were also poems from Sparrow Tree; full of blue tits, blackbirds, egrets, juncos, starlings, herons and hummingbirds and of course sparrows.

Gwyneth opened the evening with this poem, one which I’d come across in many publications and texts. It appeals to me for its range of imagery. There are images here which you can actually feel:

'One day, feeling hungry'

One day, feeling hungry, I swallowed the moon.

It stuck, like a wafer, to the top of my mouth,

dry as an aspirin. It slowly went down,

showing the gills of my vocal cords,

the folded wings in my abdomen,

the horrible twitch of my insect blood.

Lit from inside, I stood alone

(dark to myself) but could see from afar

the brightness of others who had swallowed stars.

Gwyneth Lewis