Today is the fourth annual
Brigid in the Blogosphere Poetry Slam, to celebrate the Feast of Brigid. Welcome! For your reading delight, I'm posting a poem by the Welsh writer Sheenagh Pugh, who perhaps has the best name ever, although that's not why I've chosen her.
One thing I've noticed about British poets is that they seem to use form -- rhyme, meter, and so forth -- much more readily than US poets do. Yes, I can think of some American poets who are comfortable using form to address the contemporary world (Kim Addonizio leaps to mind), but it seems much more prevalent in British poetry. Sheenagh Pugh has written a series of four "webcam sonnets," one of which I'm posting below (with the poet's permission). Who doesn't love a good webcam? (I'm hooked on this one, showing the pyramids at Gaza. How cool is that?) And using the sonnet structure, which is such a strict, traditional structure, to write about something so quintessentially modern really proves that structure is not hide-bound in and of itself -- it's what you do with it.
I would love to post all four webcam sonnets, but you'll just have to pick up a copy of Pugh's book
Long-Haul Travellers (I bought mine directly from her Welsh publisher, but I see it's about to be released in the US in April). Her poems are great, and well worth reading.
And without further ado:
When the cam refreshes, a warehouse window
has turned into a point of white light;
by the next thirty-second update
it's a blinding disc. You think explosion
and what can I do and nothing. Watch it happen.
The seconds count down; your gut tenses.
You breathe in at the change, see radiance
welling out over half the screen. Beautiful.
Not beautiful. There might be people:
if you keep looking, you might see them die.
But you keep looking. And when, blessedly,
the update shows, after all, sun dazzling
off glass, no worse, it doesn't leave you feeling
much better. You know what you would do.