Still a few more features to keep the QLD Writer’s Week celebrations going… feature #12 showcases Marilyn Roberts.
What excites you about poetry?
I crowd myself with pens, and paper and notebooks, in which and on which I
scrawl, scribble and play. Sometimes the play of words come unbidden, finding tiny cracks that I had not know were niggling at the very edge of my conscience. Sometimes I dig and find nuggets of thoughts that just lead, and lead and into intricate musings. This tiny poetic thoughts help me recognize myself and others. The give me courage to express the world as seen through MY eyes. They give me a chance to say the unsayable, think the unthinkable and and the courage to let others know THIS is where my mind takes me, on colourful rambles through the epoch and ages that make up my life.
What are the themes that interest you/ that you like to explore in your writing?
I don’t follow themes, they follow me and seem somehow to always come back to ME. If today I start to write a Halloween type poem, I am never surprised that somewhere in there I am discovering something about me or my relationships to others and the world. My experience of choosing a rather difficult life, with quite a bit of tragedy, colours all that I write. Some people become victims of their lives and take on the role survivor as an atonement, I like to think that I been given a world to explore in poetry, particularly performance poetry, other voices, the voices of of those who aren’t.
Charles Bukowski once said, ‘poetry is what happens when nothing else can’. How does a poem happen for you?
I am a messy writer, I like to reach out for a notebook and grab a pen,
usually something bright and colourful and just go for it. I have a large array
of notebooks, coloured pens and highlighters. Sometimes I write words meaning nothing, going nowhere, and sometimes I simply draw coloured lines and sometimes some of those words jump off the page and begin a poem, that leads to a place of discovery and acceptance and joy.
It’s just outside the little town.
The Land of the Not-Forgotten.
Follow out beyond the pub,
the men all drunk and rotten,
and up around the village school
where laughter skips all day
and echoes of a class of mates
be heard at play.
Then out around the banyan trees
and well beyond the pool
broken splashes through a dive,
I fancy ripples still.
And keep the mountain on your right
the canefields to your left.
And past the stacks
and steam and lights
keep heading for the west.
And there you’ll find the houses mean
they fall away
in drunk despair.
The shoulders of the road will cease
your pathway to impair.
You travel light,
it’s just as well
now through the gates and straight to hill.
You have a climb, ’tis hard to reach the top
where marble vaulted palaces
peer out to guard the lot.
Oh! On your way, though,
would you mind
there is a spot that you should find?
It’s halfway up and near the tap
and there you’ll find my little chap.
He’s resting now, but as you’re bound
you’ll find him sleeping undergound.
Tell him I’ll come,
I’ll come for him
when my time is done.
But tell him that it’s not quite yet
my race is not yet run.
And tell him that we miss him
I have so much to ask.
tell me first why you make this trip
you must have some odd task?
And tell me why you go at night?
What’s that! Accompany you?
I look an awful fright.
And I really am too tired now
just let me have some sleep.
Perhaps a nap and while I do
return my soul to keep.
I love to write – any eavesdropping from the universe will do, regardless of its source. I pop them into journals of all shapes and colours spreading across my house. But it is the magic of story, in its many forms, and its ability to bring the inside out (or is that the outside in?) and make deep connection that truly inspires me. As a librarian my life has been immersed in story; ‘selling’ story and telling story and encouraging others find and share their own stories. As a professional storyteller and workshop facilitator I have thrilled as songs, poems and stories have sung to the listener’s heart. I am still urprised when I’m writing just how much clarity and healing I get although my poetic writings as the “Nag Hag” aren’t exactly about finding peace!!!! Writing for me is profound experience of giving a story a chance to be relived.