Sobriety And The Female Poet

I will not smile because that is not what attracts you to me. Instead it is fire. Instead it is sitting in the school benches once upon a time, breathing lessons, celestial navigation, driftwood, and a forest of winter trees, the force of the night swimmers, the beach and making each one in its exclusivity sound poetic. Sound the most exquisitely poetic. Sound like the most high, most pure and chaste vision that you can visualise and see all-knowingly and make you want to believe that it is to be standing right in front of you. What is the first memory, the first desire, the primitive attraction and separation anxiety of the magnificence of creativity in the origins of the organisation of feminine intelligence in contemporary poetry? Is the proper voice not the voice of the lover, the voice of the child full of jubilant innocence?

The voices of mother and father in unison giving their child their first standing ovation, grandparents in attendance looking on priggishly mere caretakers of the illumined situation? How quickly pasts are mended, futures are healed and mended? Here is the beginning stages of the organisation of the origins of feminine intelligence. She is schooled in thoughts of culture, a masculine wisdom, vision, and educated by an otherness in luminous stream of consciousness thinking, writing. We need to be drenched in both perspective and identity. Our winning power (that which will never cease) lies in trying not to destroy everything that is above us, and that we believe in. Even our failures must inspire us. For the woman who can’t have children her infertility must inspire her to greater heights.

Whatever was taken was the brightness from the air that made up the shine of artistic genius and it was given to me like the besotted Milky Way, the smitten tangled fabric of the stars from the universe at night, the moon and stars inseparable intuits from the beginning of time. Both pulling down the shine of artistic genius a veil as thick as a tapestry. Is the sanity of a female poet as graceful as a shipwreck left to the gracious mercy of being the bride and bridegroom of nature as we think it is? Aren’t we all, aren’t you, yes, you aren’t we all just a little bit at the mercy of the creativity’s elusive artistry. Its ravishing blues, the breakdown to end all breakdowns, the be all and end all of the nervous breakdowns? Is it just chemical?

Is the sexual impulse, and that drive just the glamourous rub of love, as glamourous as lipstick? Does the female poet promise that it, her words can never be more than that?  Sometimes I catch myself saying those words without really meaning to say it, to say them. I try and detach myself from the glowing artful truth of them. Composing stillness, a courageous stillness, the stillness of intelligence, which is a feminine intelligence is poorer for having known the poverty of the world, and spiritual poverty. With all of the perversions that we discover in this world. With the intimacies, braveries, warriors we learn to let go, surrender if you will. We must or how can we live? We are all waiting for gifts. As a reward for futility or to take upon as just another responsibility.

There was a journal full of darkness in this most primitive of landscapes. Where winter promises snow, the harvesting of into the black, of one bleak and desolate landscape after the other the female poet projects herself into the canvas of her work. Her life becomes the poetry. Art mirrors life. Life mirrors art. The reflection of the female poet is a studious, effortless and conscientious project. The female poet wants to repent so go on then let her. The female poet only has to be wild and knowledgeable. She only has to be a thief of words and a healer. She only has to understand that the ocean-sea carries its burden as she carries hers, that of thief and cognisant healer. She is an animal with a gull’s wings and fortitude. She instructs, she corrects, she astonishes, she admonishes and she knows that to live in this world she has to be the swan. She has to swim.

But she must also have the insight of the ugly duckling, the Cinderella phenomenon, the Plath effect. A female poet knows when to sing, when to be mischievous, when to be the swimmer, the bride, give in to the environment, nature and when to love until she can feel it humming in her bones, giving into it through the fabric of her skin. The female poet in love knows when to surrender. The female poet when casting spells knows when to surrender. The words are there for us to go back to like a complicated film of us in a breath-taking way. A female poet does not need the eye of the public to watch her every move to know that she has made a difference in the world. She only needs a child’s all-knowing eyes.

From memory and desire the female poet in war knows when to surrender and that in the letting go comes a slight reprieve and the assembly of a tender scattered multiplicity of things that grow in the wild nature if you will. When it comes to rain it always dances like the gestures of imagination, and like the chilled earth in your hand that roses grow from, that fields of grass wrestle with themselves in, trees are not the interlopers but merely angels in another dimension with their branches acting like wings. You can tell yourself that here’s the breakthrough I’ve been looking for. Here’s the book of secrets my heart’s been longing for. And then you will realise that these are all gifts within the hours of your quiet desperation.

And that the vision of the female poet is in full bloom when she stands at the mouth of a river or not. When she’s hungry, whatever the origins of her beauty is, and most especially when she’s gone underground like some animal seeking shelter from the elements. There she stands. Blooming beautifully with her gift. Her poetry is fresh. It is her pound of flesh. It is her Renaissance. Isn’t the ancient dust under her bare feet delectable, hard won although it is a romance that is as good as dead, and she wants evidence of the cities, of life there because she doesn’t think she’ll make it if she’s plain? If she’s ordinary, if her madness is staggeringly ordinary and most of all if her poetry is not useful, pure enough.

Reflections on Quotes regarding Poetry Written by Females

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”

― Mary Oliver (Award winning American Poet)

“Sleeping. Turning in turn like planets rotating in their midnight meadow: a touch is enough to let us know we’re not alone in the universe, even in sleep.”

― Adrienne Rich, The Fact of a Doorframe: Poems Selected and New, 1950-1984

“She stood upon a continent of ice, which sparkled between sea and sky, endless and dazzling, as though the world kept all its treasure there; a scale which balanced poetry and prayer.”

― Carol Ann Duffy, Another Night Before Christmas

“Someday there will be girls and women whose name will no longer mean the mere opposite of the male, but something in itself, something that makes one think not of any complement and limit, but only life and reality: the female human being.”

― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

“You know, all poetry may be a cry of generalised love, for this, or that, or the universe – which must be loved in its particularity, not its generality, but for its universal life in every minute particular. I have always supposed it to be a cry of; unsatisfied love; – and so it may be indeed – for satisfaction may surfeit it and so it may die. I know many poets who write only when in an exalted state of mind which they compare to; being in love;, when they do not simply state, that they are in love, that they seek love – for this fresh damsel – or that lively young woman – in order to find a fresh metaphor, or a new bright vision of things in themselves. And to tell you the truth, I have always believed I could diagnose this state of; being in love; which they regard as; most particular, as inspired by item, one pair of black eyes or indifferent blue, item, one graceful attitude of body or mind, item, one female history of some twenty-two years from, shall we say 1821-1844 – I have always believed this; in love; to be of something of the most abstract masking itself under the particular forms of both lover and beloved. And Poet who assumes and informs both.”

― A.S. Byatt, Possession

“As an oracle to the goddess, the female outcast speaks as prophetess of times to come, interpreter of dreams of an unrevealed future. Outcasts are at home in the world of magic and infinite change. Their individual personalities merge with that of legend. Becoming vehicles of immortality, they self-create their own myths, weave a spell over poets and artists and spread a belief in transcendence that heralds the future.”

― Florence Farr

Abigail George
Abigail George
Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominated shortlisted and longlisted poet Abigail George is a recipient of four writing grants from the National Arts Council, the Centre for Book and ECPACC. She briefly studied film, writes for The Poet, is an editor at MMAP and Contributing Writer at African Writer. She is a blogger, essayist, writer of several short stories, novellas and has ventured out to write for film with two projects in development . She was recently interviewed for Sentinel, and the BBC.