Maureen Cullen poetry on Amaryllis Poetry blog

 

My dear friend, poet and short story writer, Maureen Cullen has another of her poems – Strawberry Tarts and Swan Vestas – published today, this time on the Amaryllis Poetry website.

Maureen is a Scot, so there’s a smattering of Scots dialect words. If you’re a sassenach like me, you may not understand all of the words but you’ll get the gist. And truly, her voice is one of the many joys of her work.

Just sit back, read and let her imagery take you away to Clydeside to smell the pipe smoke and taste those strawberries.

 

 

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Maureen Cullen : Poetry publication

Image result for dumbarton

https://www.airbnb.co.uk/s/Dumbarton–United-Kingdom


 

It’s lovely to share my own successes with you but just as lovely to share the successes of writer friends.

I’ve posted Maureen Cullen’s work on here before and for those of you who read any of these posts (Home Sweet Home, The Children’s Panel, Leaving Annalise, Primers Volume One) it will come as no surprise that Maureen has been published again, this time on the Ink, Sweat & Tears site.

Maureen’s poetry often takes the everyday, the grit and grist of life and pulls beautiful threads from it, spinning something that reflects and accentuates reality, making the mundane special. She’s a truly talented person.

Do pop along and read her wonderful work  – Alcluith – on the site or visit Ink, Sweat & Tears’ Facebook page.

 

 

Beads beaming with her blood: the Ballad of Charlotte Dymond by Charles Causley

 

Image: Pixabay  Image: Pixabay

 

‘The Ballad of Charlotte Dymond’ by Charles Causley

It was a Sunday evening

And in the April rain

That Charlotte went from our house

And never came home again.

*

Her shawl of diamond redcloth,

She wore a yellow gown,

She carried the green gauze handkerchief

She bought in Bodmin town.

*

About her throat her necklace

And in her purse her pay:

The four silver shillings

She had at Lady Day.

*

In her purse four shillings

And in her purse her pride

As she walked out one evening

Her lover at her side.

*

Out beyond the marshes

Where the cattle stand,

With her crippled lover

Limping at her hand.

*

Charlotte walked with Matthew

Through the Sunday mist,

Never saw the razor

Waiting at his wrist.

*

Charlotte she was gentle

But they found her in the flood

Her Sunday beads among the reeds

Beaming with her blood.

*

Matthew, where is Charlotte,

And wherefore has she flown?

For you walked out together

And now are come alone.

*

Why do you not answer,

Stand silent as a tree,

Your Sunday worsted stockings

All muddied to the knee?

*

Why do you mend your breast-pleat

With a rusty needle’s thread

And fall with fears and silent tears

Upon your single bed?

*

Why do you sit so sadly

Your face the colour of clay

And with a green gauze handkerchief

Wipe the sour sweat away?

*

Has she gone to Blisland

To seek an easier place,

And is that why your eye won’t dry

And blinds your bleaching face?

*

Take me home! cried Charlotte,

‘I lie here in the pit!

A red rock rests upon my breasts

And my naked neck is split!’

*

Her skin was soft as sable,

Her eyes were wide as day,

Her hair was blacker than the bog

That licked her life away;

*

Her cheeks were made out of honey,

Her throat was made of flame

Where all around the razor

Had written its red name.

*

As Matthew turned at Plymouth

About the tilting Hoe,

The cold and cunning constable

Up to him did go:

*

‘I’ve come to take you, Matthew,

Unto the magistrate’s door.

Come quiet now, you pretty poor boy,

And you must know what for.’

*

‘She is as pure,’ cried Matthew,

‘As is the early dew,

Her only stain it is the pain

That round her neck I drew!

*

‘She is as guiltless as the day

She sprang forth from her mother.

The only sin upon her skin

Is that she loved another.’

*

They took him off to Bodmin,

They pulled the prison bell,

They sent him smartly up to heaven

And dropped him down to hell.

*

All through the granite kingdom

And on its travelling airs

Ask which of these two lovers

The most deserves your prayers.

*

And your steel heart search, Stranger,

That you may pause and pray

For lovers who come not to bed

Upon their wedding day,

*

But lie upon the moorland

Where stands the sacred snow

Above the breathing river,

And the salt sea-winds go.


Originally posted here last year.

Read more about the poet here. If you’re ever in Bodmin in Cornwall, there is a memorial to Charlotte near the spot where her body was found and a courtroom re-enactment of Matthew’s trial at Bodmin’s Shire Hall

Poetry Tuesdays: The Children’s Panel

Little girl in a garden

Image : Pixabay

 

Greetings and welcome to Poetry Tuesdays. Don’t worry, I won’t impose my own deformed haikus or mangled iambic pentameter on you. I’m going to hand you over to a guest who’s much more experienced and eloquent than myself.

Her name is Maureen Cullen, she’s a fine poet and an old writing group pal of mine. Last week and this, I’ve featured Maureen’s poetry on the run up to a reading taking place soon – details below.

One small note: Maureen’s beautiful words are written in Scots dialect and there may be some you’re unfamiliar with. My advice is go with it – it’s gorgeous, lyrical stuff and you’ll get the gist, never fear.

Now, here’s Maureen.

These are two poems from work in progress about my protagonist, Maisie, who is a child in foster care who is subsequently adopted and then, as a young adult becomes interested in her roots. The poems follow her as she grows. 16 other poems from the collection have recently been published as part of Primers, Volume One, a collaboration between The Poetry School and Nine Arches Press, featuring myself and three other poets, Geraldine Clarkson, Katie Griffiths and Lucy Ingrams. We will be reading from the book at The Albion Beatnik Bookstore in Oxford on 11th July . If you are in the area we would love to see you.

The book can be purchased at:http://ninearchespress.com/shop.html#!/Poetry-Books/c/8486213/offset=0&sort=addedTimeDesc


 

 

The

            Children’s

                                    Panel

 

hunker ower

ma papers,

two baldy heids an wan

 

wi loops

like her curlers ur still in.

 

The mockit auld men

whisper tae Her,

the Lady Chair

 

whose pointy pink ears

twitch

tae the scratch

o her claws on the table.

 

Ah count tae ten,

an back again,

get tae three, afore the

phud

 

o Chair Lady’s

full stop.

Poetry Tuesday: Leaving Annalise

Little girl in a garden

Image : Pixabay

Greetings and welcome to Poetry Tuesdays. Don’t worry, I won’t impose my own deformed haikus or mangled iambic pentameter on you. I’m going to hand you over to a guest who’s much more experienced and eloquent than myself.

Her name is Maureen Cullen, she’s a fine poet and an old writing group pal of mine. This week and next, I’ll be featuring Maureen’s poetry on the run up to a reading taking place soon – details below.

One small note: Maureen’s beautiful words are written in Scots dialect and there may be some you’re unfamiliar with. My advice is go with it – it’s gorgeous, lyrical stuff and you’ll get the gist, never fear.

Now, here’s Maureen.

These are two poems from work in progress about my protagonist, Maisie, who is a child in foster care who is subsequently adopted and then, as a young adult becomes interested in her roots. The poems follow her as she grows. 16 other poems from the collection have recently been published as part of Primers, Volume One, a collaboration between The Poetry School and Nine Arches Press, featuring myself and three other poets, Geraldine Clarkson, Katie Griffiths and Lucy Ingrams. We will be reading from the book at The Albion Beatnik Bookstore in Oxford on 11th July . If you are in the area we would love to see you.

The book can be purchased at:http://ninearchespress.com/shop.html#!/Poetry-Books/c/8486213/offset=0&sort=addedTimeDesc


 

Leaving Annalise

The day ah’ve no tae greet or stomp

or squeal or huff

or pull at Sammy’s tail.

Mammy Annalise says we must be mice,

so we whisper, point, tiptoe an zip-it.

Ah hope firever’s jist a wee short while

cause ah’ll miss ma pals

an Missus Gordon

an even Sammy. Who’ll braid ma plaits,

make ma tum a bowl o cream,

tuck ma mittens in ma pocket?

Who’ll smell like wine gums aw day long,

an sing ma sums fir me tae learn? Whit aboot

ma snuggle place on Mammy’s knee?

Who’ll change ma sheet when it gets soaked?

Who’ll sprinkle talc on ma sore bum?

FFftPP:Close the Circle

ocean

https://pixabay.com/en/ocean-sky-sea-horizon-outdoor-316752/

She heard voices beneath the crash of the waves, whispers in the hiss of popping foam and spray. She’d make me listen, hoping to see the spark of recognition in my eyes, and turn away disappointed when they stayed dark.

Nervous of the answer, I’d ask what she heard.

‘Close the circle,’ was all she said, face aglow as if a ball of buttercups were pressed to her chin.

My instinct was to smother her words – hasten the oncoming silence – but my hands were cowards, cradled in the nest of my lap.

When they found her, she was all circles – a halo of bladderwrack wreathed around her throat: full moon eyes fixed on the sky.

Spine curled like an ammonite, she’d returned to the sea.

*********

Written for Roger Shipp’s FFftPP. See the pic, include or allude to the quote and all in 200 words or less. Good fun – do join in.

Poetry: Primers Volume One

printing blocks

Image: Pixabay

Now, I’m not one for blowing my own trumpet – I’m not even sure I have a trumpet to blow, to be honest – but I can recognise a fine musical instrument in others, if you know what I mean.

A few years ago, I enrolled in a creative writing course, chiefly as after completing a first draft of a novel, I realised I wasn’t actually very good at writing and if I was to suceed in becoming an author I needed to get a damn sight better at it – quickly.

As it was a distance learning course (thank you, Open University!) there were several online forums associated with it and through one of these I was introduced to a fantastically talented and enthusiastic group of fiction writers and poets. Together we decided to to write a charity anthology and with a lot of hard work and not a little chutzpah (especially on behalf of the member who managed to get a forward written by Downton Abbey creator, Julian Fellowes) Still Me was picked up by an indie publisher and has since gone on to raise a nice chunk of cash for the Alzheimers Society.

Why do I mention this?

Well, among the fantastic group of writers was the very talented poet and author

Maureen Cullen. 

I’m absolutely delighted to anounce that after a nationwide search for new talent, Maureen’s work will be published on the 14th April by Nine Arches Press in Primers Volume One.

Lightly comic, tragic, beautiful, and with a strong Scots lilt, Maureen’s poetry never ceases to dazzle me, and as she doesn’t have a social media platform of her own, I thought I’d stand on my WordPress rooftop and blow her trumpet for her.

And if you’re anywhere near Much Wenlock on 24th April, Maureen and the other talents featured in Primers Volume One will be reading at the Wenlock Poetry Festival.

Any support you can give to a very gifted poet and lovely person, will be amazing.