Kaaren Whitney

Kaaren Whitney p.1

Balance

And They Made Tools

I Wear Lipstick So People Can Hear My Poems

Balance
He sashays up the ladder, angle-braced
between moat and thatch, as if
he is an acrobat or perhaps
a dancer, balances the bundle of reed
which earlier graced a Suffolk church.
He bends across to butt the once green stalks,
matching them to the adjacent curve,
then shores up the ends with his hands
finishing the tilt with the leggett's thump-thump
advancing each layer of the coat.
Begun at the base and worked upwards
nine hundred bundles, dried and tied, shape
the circular undulating roof,
its central smoke vent above,
fire pit, dirt-pounded floor below.
The thatcher sets up a steady rhythm
between land and sky. Reed, once soil bound
now hoisted, protects the small Crannog,
a snug retreat for meditation
on fire, water, earth, air and spirit.

Copyright © 2011 Kaaren Whitney
Balance read by Kaaren Whitney
And They Made Tools

simple at first, a stick, a sharpened bone,
extensions of coarse fingers, rough ragged
from grubbing soil to get at starch tubers,
roots for the blood clan's sustenance, once mashed,
stone pounding fibre into flat pulp,
sweeter, easier to eat.
Walking the land, they learned by feel its skin,
discovered food from the earth-speak terrain.
They found river pebbles, half cracked, thonged them
stick fashion, granting more accurate aim.
Flaked flints, 'slicers', scraped clean small mammal hides,
destined to become medicine bags, clan
clothing for these nomadic gatherers
who captured prey in nettle woven nets,
traps sprung from tree limbs, from stick covered holes.
Survival their goal, uniformity
a surety, but new ways of doing,
living, becoming tool makers took hold.
They walked the land upright.
They lived in community.
They made tools.
And they survived.

Copyright © 2009 Kaaren Whitney
They Became Tool Makers - JTuckett
They Became Toolmakers: original cyanotype by John Tuckett
And They Made Tools read by Karen Whitney
I Wear Lipstick So People Can Hear My Poems

define the outline in deep red with vain hope
of enunciating each syllabic phrase
with a flawless precision that will enhance
its aural reception in the listenerʼs ear.

It is my last ditch stand to stem comments
like ‛couldnʼt quite make out what you said, dearʼ
‛loved your poem but I didnʼt catch all the wordsʼ
‛you dropped your voice at the end, just couldnʼt hear.ʼ

I much prefer to bask in supporterʼs views
of my voice being deep, rich and throaty,
a voice that conveys emotion, elusive
at times,  forthright when needed, soothing at best.

RADA-trained teacher slightly improves output,
not her fault my voice box resonates in low,
or soft, while I do my utmost to project;
to me it seems like shouting, all feeling lost.

She says 'vary the rhythm, quicken the pace, 
let go here, put emphasis on the last word'.
Although I always give of my all, when I heard
about lipstick, I thought, thatʼs something I can do!

Copyright © 2010 Kaaren Whitney
I Wear Lipstick So People Can Hear My Poems read by Kaaren Whitney

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