My dear friend, an author who is in the process of having her first novel published, was invited to read a chapter of her forthcoming book to a select audience, at an intimate evening of literature and poetry. In a way I have journeyed with my friend through the entire process, from the beginning until this exciting moment. Watching, wishing, supporting and praying for her at each stage, to overcome the hurdles challenges and difficulties, which one ultimately faces in such a saturated market.
We have become so very close and supportive of each other, and have found in each other besides our intimately sharing friendship, a work-in-progress relationship, which I believe will be a life long sharing of our Love and appreciation of the arts, faith and literature. My dearest friend … (Godmother of my children) without me knowing had recommended to the host of the evening, that my poetry had qualities that would bring a missing dimension, and a stirring warm depth to the evening in contrast to the other pieces of work. I could see what she was saying but I wasn’t so sure. I knew of one of the other poets performing her work, which is very fun, provocative, naughty and hilarious. How on earth could I do mine justice along side hers. My poetry is written to be read and savoured in a lonely moment. To kiss. To hold. To be felt. To be intimate. An intimacy so lacking in this lonely life. To comfort. To complete. To make whole. To Bless. To cherish. To treasure. To own. To breathe Love.
Poetry as Prayer! ….. I thought … not to be performed. It is so personal. Serious. People will not laugh. They might die of embarrassment. I might die of embarrassment. I might stutter, or worse go blank, or worse still cry. My immediate reaction was to squirm and to try to come up with a good reason while it was definitely not a good idea. Then the note was put through my door. Then the text came. Then came the running order. Then before I knew it, I was heading out the door. My one consolation was that we could take our own fruit of the vine. I did. Having already toasted myself liberally at home.
The venue, a beautiful seedy little ole vintage furniture, art, craft and flower store was ambient. It was a darkest cold night of stars, and the beautiful shop was all lamp and candle lit. The art work adorning the walls all flickering and alive. There were three huge old wooden tables and about twenty chairs scattered around. And nibbles and wine. My legs and hands are always shaky when there is an audience, and in truth I feel ever so slightly sick in the pit of my tummy. It is hard to believe that once, I ever acted upon a London stage. The exuberance, confidence and adrenalin of youth some how never quite spilled over into adulthood. Somebody beautiful once gave me a precious tip, when I was first ever asked to read in church, and was so very nervous, “Imagine Mother Mary has taken her blue cloak off, and wrapped it around your shoulders”……. I do just that.
The host introduced the evening. My dearest, read her grippingly moving novel first, to much cheer, congratulations and applause. Alcohol break. Then naughty, provocative, fun poet performed, met with raucous black laughter and a devilish egging on cheer. Host declares another Alcohol break. Alcohol not having the desirable effect, stone cold sober, I turn the lamp so I can see what I am reading. She introduces me. I look up at everyone and make a quip about the phallic flower table decorations, and how inadequate they, and the last performance make me feel. People giggling, encourage me and settle. I take a deep breath and a longer than meant pause. The atmosphere is poignant. The silence piercing…….
I read slowly and deliberately. The pauses define my words. The whole rhythm of the evening changes. There is a deep charge in the room. People are listening with bated breath. You could cut the atmosphere with a knife. Their concentration is totally present. I relax into poem two and three, and my intonation makes the people listening inhabit and re-live the words. I am aware of hushed whispered reactions between the poems. In poem four, the silences speak for themselves. And on the final words of my last poem I lower my eyes. Everyone exhales. At the end I feel incredibly allowed, and so very warmly received. People have been touched and their response is genuine and ignitable. I smile to myself and am amazed at the conversations that follow.
Without even their knowing, I brought a little bit of God to their table. And each and every one of them was touched by Him and Blessed x
Matt 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”