The End of Poetry after Ada Limón

Ahead of White Ribbon Day 2023, we held ‘Writing into Recovery’ poetry workshops as part of our Wellbeing Service with women. The classes focused on writing poetry as a path towards ownership, discovery and transformation led by poet Penny Hughes, using this year’s White Ribbon Day theme, #ChangeTheStory. The poems featured in a trail around Stapleford to mark White Ribbon Day.

This poem was written by class leader, Penny.

The End of Poetry after Ada Limón

Tell me it’s not, and anyway you can’t
be serious. Blasphemy is ordinary as any hour,
but still. Calling for it not to call for it is a kind
of logic. Knee deep in river I have fallen out of faith
with god, panning days for gold, I’m done with words
I keep in jars. Cardamon, cinnamon, star anise,
vanilla pod. Talking of stars — dead for epochs
by the time they scattergun the sky — yes, I
too am done with the lapse between a living thing
and its perception, done with day as an acquaintance,
life as metaphor. Tell me poetry is a living
thing. Give me a better metaphor for life
than living. I’m through with the ache of armchairs,
sharp light and tired clouds, over the assault
of feet, blood and all the names for colour,
over an attachment to the smell of books, how in hands
they come alive but won’t return touch. Alone on a bus
I long to gently use my arms only there’s a sign:
Do not distract the driver. To carry on
or not to carry on, to ball this body tight
before I go to sleep, distanced from it in the morning
by the call of birds, the empty street, I’m over it all.
Yet isn’t poetry action more than act,
a verb, a text that ripples through the spinal cord?

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