Why write? Mere promise of immeasurably massive skies.

The urge to write - the wings within

The urge to write – the wings within

Writing is one of the most beautiful expressions of who we are. Writing is pure self-expression, an ordering of the mind, the making of patterns and rhythms that seem to breathe with us and create something that is of us and yet becomes its own without us, living in the world in a different sphere that is no longer our brain but a connective dart weaving into other minds, influencing other lives. Writing as a craft makes those darts with subtle precision and powerful energy.

Jennifer Lean is a Cape Town poet and writer who is internet shy in this crazy, noisy world – and so she has these quiet moments of brilliance that catch in the mind like tiny stitches in the tapestry of a busy life. She doesn’t know how to share her work with the world – so I have decided to do it for her. And here and there, now and then, I will bring you a Jennifer Lean poem that will prove that the human mind is infinitely astonishing and, for some, set in rarefied airs we can only admire.

~ Why write ~

The written word is a
reaching out.
It is competitively squawking, bulge-blue-veined,
brittle-boned, fluff-bare baby birds
within the nest, stretching scrawny necks,
reaching always upward,
enthralled by the thrill of self-sound,
indignantly demanding
substance for the throat,
something solid in a
nebulous, insubstantial world
of unfathomed, as yet
unfathomable needs.
It is the right to be
angrily hungry
for acknowledgement of fears in the face of
daunting, dizzying expectations of
flight

for it is a huge leap,
a potentially painful fall.
It is mere promise of
immeasurably massive skies
of movement.

It is an inchoate compulsion,
the written word,
a reaching out
from the infinite reach
of irresistibly untested
wings within.

~ Jennifer Lean ~

Most perfect description of the human voice – ever.

Sometimes there are people in this world who understand language, words, form and creation better than others. I have many favourite writers and poets that fit into this description. But no one more so than Jennifer Lean, a Cape Town poet whose words will leave you breathless. Somehow, in the fewest words possible she manages to cut you to the bone, strip away all pretenses and defenses, and lay bare the human condition. Her point, sharp as a fencer’s blade, is always made with perfect weight and delivery in the last line. She reaches a core in a reader’s heart, soul and spirit in a way that is indescribable to us mortals. But you will know it when you read it. I will simply leave you to digest.

What must stay

I live dutifully in my sunlight liquid spaces.
Daily I rinse traces of myself away.
Wash imbibed memories down drains.
Sometimes I baulk. Watch for days
as a feather brought in on a breeze
whispers its way along stretches
of my carpet. Watch spillages of books
heap where they hope not to be
in the way. Am seduced by
the singular perfection of a fossilised gecko
on a windowsill.

I watch the sooty stain above my fireplace
grow year by year.
Some signs of what one cannot see
must not be wiped away.

~~~~

And then this extraordinary comment on Salli Terri’s voice:

From this to those

(Salli Terri, Bachianas Brasileiras No 5 – Aria, Heitor Villa-Lobos)

Salli Terri’s voice is unearthly.
It gathers up the scorch
of these fireside coals,
this sky, indigo
beyond the colour,
this inscrutable substance
of moon.
It gathers up all yearning,
this sound within wings, and flies.
It stretches itself infinitely
upward, infinitely outward,
becomes thin, ever thinner,
senses-shattering,
eventually evaporating
into those unknowable silences
where the human voice
implodes.

~~~~

And here is that music that inspired these beautiful words: Salli Terri

Listen – and read. It will blow you away!