Pictures and Poems

At the beginning of April I discovered this blog called threlkelded: Celebrating National Poetry Month, which is a selection of poems paired with pictures, chosen and assembled by a poet named Emily who runs the blog. I’ve loved a lot of the poems she’s chosen, many of which I’d never read before. I’m not sure what the title “threlkelded” means. My only guess was that it’s related to the town called Threlkeld in England’s Lake District, but some haphazard web searches turned up Elizabeth Threlkeld, aunt of the writers Wordsworth, with whom Dorothy Wordsworth (without her more famous brother, William) was sent to live after the death of her father (her mother had also passed away, years before). Of course I could be entirely off base with this, and the name might mean something else entirely, or nothing at all (which is often the way I feel when I try figure out the meaning of certain lines of poetry: maybe I’ve got it right, but then again, maybe I’ve got it completely wrong).

There are some well-known poets here (Whitman, Bukowski, Pound) and names I’d never heard before (Nurkse, deRachewiltz, Bradfield), and the combinations of images and poems are lovely.  My favorite might be this page, with the poem “The Warning,” by Robert Creeley, or Bukowski’s “To The Whore Who Took My Poems,” but it could also be this one, Lynn Pederson’s “Why We Speak English,” or Meg Kearney’s “Creed,” which I’ve posted below. You should take a look around Threlkelded and decide for yourself! I’d love to hear which one(s) you liked the most.

Creed

I believe the chicken before the egg
though I believe in the egg. I believe
eating is a form of touch
carried to the bitter end. I believe
chocolate is good for you. I believe
I’m a lefty in a right-handed world,
which does not make me gauche,
or abnormal, or sinister. I believe
“normal” is just a cycle on the washing
machine. I believe the touch of hands
has the power to heal, though nothing
will ever fill this immeasurable hole
in the center of my chest. I believe in
kissing, I believe in mail, I believe
in salt over the shoulder, a watched pot
never boils, and if I sit by my mailbox
waiting for the letter I want, it will never
arrive. Not because of superstition, but
because that’s not how life works.
I believe in work: phone calls, typing,
multiplying—black coffee, write write
write, dig dig dig, sweep, sweep.
I believe in a slow, torturous sweep
of tongue down the lover’s belly;
I believe I’ve been swept off my feet
more than once, and it’s a good idea
not to name names. Digging for names
is part of my work, but that’s a different
poem. I believe there’s a difference
between men and women, and I thank God
for it. I believe in God, and if you hold
the door and carry my books, I’ll be sure
to ask for your name. What is your name?
Do you believe in ghosts? I believe
the morning my father died I heard him
whistling “Danny Boy” in the bathroom
and a week later, saw him standing
in the living room with a suit case
in his hand. We never got to say goodbye,
he said, and I said, I don’t believe in
goodbyes. I believe that’s why I have
this hole in my chest: sometimes it’s
rabid, sometimes it’s incoherent.
I believe I’ll survive. I believe early
to bed and early to rise is a boring
way to live. I believe good poets borrow,
great poets steal, and if only we’d stop
trying to be happy, we could have a pretty
good time. I believe time doesn’t heal
all wounds; I believe in getting flowers
for no reason; I believe Give a Hoot,
Don’t Pollute, Reading is Fundamental,
Yankee Stadium belongs in the Bronx,
and the best bagels in New York
are boiled and baked on the corner
of first and 21st. I believe in Santa Claus,
Jimmy Stewart—Zuzu’s petals—Arbor
Day, and that ugly baby I keep dreaming
about. She lives inside me, opening
and closing her wide mouth. I believe
she will never taste her mother’s milk,
she will never be beautiful, she will always
wonder what it’s like to be born, and if
you hold your hand right here—touch me,
right, here, as if this is all that matters,
this is all you ever wanted, I believe
something might move inside me,
and it would be more than I could stand.

~ Meg Kearney

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2 thoughts on “Pictures and Poems

  1. Thank you for the write up! You are close: it does have to do with Threlkeld village, kind of.

    Threlkeld is my last name and “ed” are my first and last initials. “Threlkelded” was my assigned e-mail address at college and I thought it was hilarious that my name became a past-tense verb, so I’ve kind of hung onto it. That’s so cool about Elizabeth Threlkeld, though. I had no idea! :]

    I’m glad someone else is enjoying the poems. I’ve read a lot more poetry this month than I usually do, all in a quest to find good poems to blog. I’ve also seen hundreds of amazing photos on Flickr. There’s so much to be inspired by in the world!

  2. Ah! Of course, it’s your last name, that makes so much more sense than my far-fetched literary explanations (there’s almost always a simpler truth than I expect, and Google is usually not the way to find it).

    I’ve been reading much more poetry than usual this April too, so thank you, for posting all the poems! Beyond really big names, I feel pretty lost in the world of contemporary poetry, even though I’m reading poetry all the time. It’s lovely to have some new poets to track down.

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