Dylan Thomas names the October Blood in this poem written for his 30th birthday.
It was my thirtieth
Year to heaven stood there then in the summer noon
Though the town below lay leaved with October blood.
O may my heart’s truth
Still be sung
On this high hill in a year’s turning.
I wrote my offering two years ago when asked by a local theatre to write a poem about new beginnings. It works with a sense of the aching beauty of autumn and the pain I feel at the politics of austerity which, sadly, two years on is even more part of the dominant political lexicon.
An inner journey is called for, to find our ignored wounds, individually our hidden griefs, collectively the bankruptcy our the current system, and to seek the remaking we dream of.
It is the heart’s truth that Dylan calls for, the truth mirrored in the October blood and the remembered souls of November. Those like Dylan, whose named wounds speak with an integrity that those sitting in the safe seats dare not utter because it opens up a starving edge where no one group has a monopoly on the truth. Where we have to pool our collective genius and find a new way. Where power has to be relinquished and replaced with a desire to find the way forward together.
The Starving Edge
You ask me to write of new beginnings
autumn blood flows,
when the talk is all of cuts carving
the trunk of consented life.
Such wanton speeches made sly solemnly
sitting smug in
the safest seats,
feed the juggernaut of greed, taxing
fierce sacrifices from the frail.
Can vulnerable buds be induced at
As heedless boots
cause a crunching carpet’s golden leaves
to break down to crumbling brown.
The bleeding of trees and the grieving of
month of recalled
souls, as a gusted gull croaks above
the nets my words are casting.
Time to grieve the wounds that fester unsung,
the silent rooms,
the dormant tombs
that long lain unused could prove wombs to
the remaking we ache for.
The true new beginning is to live stripped,
and wilful at
the starving edge
of brightening days, where solstice endured
yields to winter birthing spring.