poetry space workshop twelve


If you are in the UK you will have been experiencing a heatwave over recent days. For this latest workshop I would like you to explore the theme of heat. How has it made you feel, energetic or totally wiped out? Do you argue more with your partner or friends when it is hot? What happens to your garden or the landscape around you when it’s hot? How does it affect pets or wildlife.

Try writing a poem that captures the very essence of heat; its heaviness, its oppressiveness.

If you need some help take a look at this poem by Hilda Doolittle:


O wind, rend open the heat,

cut apart the heat,

rend it to tatters.

Fruit cannot drop

through this thick air–

fruit cannot fall into heat

that presses up and blunts

the points of pears

and rounds the grapes.

Cut the heat–

plough through it,

turning it on either side

of your path.

Hilda Doolittle (1886- 1961)

Or consider other types of heat. Have you ever stood watching a glass blower at work or a blacksmith?  Or have you worked in a hot kitchen?
This closed on July 9th. Sorry for the delay in posting the poems submitted.


Heat of the Moment               


The water beckons in the heat of the day,

as four thirty comes we exclaim,

is that really the time?

But it’s so warm.

It was never like this in the old days


at midday or two or maybe three,

but never this searing heat

to drive us to the crisp sea water pool

or edge our way into the Atlantic,

elbows rising with the swell.


We thank our lucky stars

that relief is on our doorstep,

and the cooling breeze

off the sea is here to lessen

the heat of the moment.


Angie Butler

I love the first two stanzas, Angie. These capture the heat and the relief of water to cool off. The third stanza is a bit cliched.


The perfect state


In the summer heat ,

my veins pulsate,

cells collide,

Skin explodes, pores weep

salty tears on aching brows.

I thirst, I wilt, I fade,

I claim the shade.


In winter cold

my vessels freeze,

Limbs turn blue, joints creek,

I wrap up warm, head to toe,

In a foetal pose, I fall asleep.

I rise, I move, I eat,

I claim the heat.


In cold or heat,

monks search inside,

Find the secret deep down there,

Ignite the fire,switch the fan,

Keep warm or cool ,no matter where.

They sit alone and meditate,

In silence , claim the perfect state.


Leela Gautam

This poem has a beautiful rhythm to it Leela. I love the contrast too, between how most of us handle temperature change and how the monks are able to ‘claim the perfect state’ regardless of change. 


Light Become Sound


No sound by Genesee’s wide river.

Hawks pause.

Woodchucks sleep at noon.

Not even water moves, but greenly halts.

Earth & river stretch unconscious

Under the sun’s raised arm.

No, not a sound by Genesee.


Sun calls the rhythm silently.

It lights the chlorophyll in leaves

And they, without a word, vibrate.

Each speck of sand & point of broken glass

Minutely throbs with light.

Beams bounce & Genesee reverberates.

Heat hums in stones & beats invisible in waves of white—


Sun strikes the tight drum: boom.


Lizzie Ballagher

This is lovely, Lizzie. Beautiful imagery captures the heat in this scene.