03 April 2012

Tuesday poem: Our bit of a long poem on the beach, and Adrienne Rich

diving into the white berries,           pushing up

This is only a fragment of a poem. It is the fragment that myself, Emma Barnes and Ya-Wen Ho came up wth to fill our assigned 100 metres of beach. I think there were 10 groups, which means our collective poem was a kilometre long. Long is appropriate - we were at Oneroa, which means long beach, and we had all been at a symposium on 'the long poem' organised by the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre.

That isn't very much text for such a long stretch of sand, but our letters were very big. And very attractive. They were expertly crafted by Emma, Ya-Wen and our rake. I made things with shells and stuff.

There was more we wanted to say. We wanted to reference Adrienne Rich, who had died the day before. 'Diving into the wreck' is the poem of hers I know the best. And being by the sea, it seemed appropriate. We also wanted to reference a phrase from Bernadette Hall: 'I weep white berries'. It's the from the first of her 'Tomahawk Sonnets', which she had read the day before. Both Emma and I had been struck by that line. I just did a google search, and see that it's (most likely) a reference to Freya, who cried white berries which brought Balder back to life in Norse mythology. For us, it was salt water, sea water, white bubbles of sea water as air leaves your lungs under water.

I've just come across this video of 'Diving into the wreck', which is rather lovely:

And, for more poetry, check out the Tuesday Poem: http://tuesdaypoem.blogspot.co.nz/ – you'll see that another collaborative poem is taking shape there to celebrate the Tuesday Poem blog's 2nd birthday.


Elizabeth Welsh said...

Oh, 'white berries' describes the white froth and bubbles of the sea so perfectly. Fragments speak volumes, I think. I would've loved to have seen the piece in situ.

Emma said...

How did I miss that we were referencing Adrienne Rich!? I have conflicted feelings about her because although she was a great poet and amazing person she was seemingly a transphobe. It's very hard to tell exactly of course, but I find it hard to let that go.

I have a couple of bad camera phone pictures that I'll try to extract from my phone. I only captured diving. There were a lot of people photographing it so there must be images somewhere!

Helen Rickerby said...

Here's a photo of the beginning of our section of the poem: http://johntranter.net/journal-temporary-20120324/pix-auck5/f-words-in-the-sand.jpg. From this you can get a bit of an idea of the zen perfection of the font Emma invented using a rake.