11th November

Buried Treasures

Hearing Voices vol. 4

Buried Treasures, the title of this blog, is also the title of a poem I’ve just had published (oh yes oh yes oh yes) in Hearing Voices Volume 4, a magazine put together by Crystal Clear Creators based in Leicestershire.  To say I am overjoyed is an understatement, especially as a lot of the other contributors are published poets, which makes me feel kinda proud to be rubbing shoulders with them, and especially as it’s the first time I’ve had a poem published anywhere like this.

I’ve written poetry for years, although, over the last couple of years it has had to shape itself around writing the Ruby and Grub books, not to mention all the unpublished picture books I have scrawled.  And now the Buttercup Magic books are taking up a lot of my time, which is fantastic, as, apart from anything else, they are great fun to write.  I’ve also started a YA novel and a second novel (my first attempt is pretty rubbish and is hiding, quivering, in a dark cupboard!), but poetry has always been my first love as a writer and I keep coming back to it – it’s like a comfort blanket, or a snuggly pair of pyjamas – it’s something I know I can always come back to and feel completely at home with.

One of the most wonderful thing about poems, for me, is that they blur the lines between fiction and reality.  The reader is never quite sure whether what they are reading is autobiographical or not and can never be sure of the full meaning.  I like this.  Poetry is about uncertainty.  It breaks down barriers and says that nothing is as it seems.  A poem can be straightforward, but doesn’t have to be.  I like that the reader has to work at it, to ask questions, to unearth the meaning – or at the very least, to try.  And every word, every comma, every break at a certain point, should be there for a reason.  So I shall tell you no more about Buried Treasures – the answers are in the poem.

Buried Treasures

I look into her room and
it is empty, still,
though the mobile swings
and memories sing inside my head,

the lemon icing cover smooth and flat.
Only longing pinches and clutches
the places hands should be,
as the teddy in the corner
gathers up the light.

At Christmas,
I buy bunches and bundles
of presents, stuff them deep in drawers
beneath my bed,
to rest,

then a rush,
fingering the casing, the crust
in search of a beat or a pulse
to chase away the slack.

In secret silence I lay them out
touch each and every one with a solitary word,
clothe and cloak in glossy wrap
with a twist of silver swirl.

Then, I have a cup of tea
and look at what I’ve done.

Softly, gently, each gift slumbering
in boxes tucked in tight,
each waiting for the ebb
before I carry them out to the garden
to die.

Do you have a preferred writing choice – a genre you feel most at home with? Or, do you enjoy the challeng of writing different genres?

About Abi Burlingham

I write children's books and paint pictures inspired by nature, animals, trees etc, mostly in acrylics. I am a crisp addict.
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13 Responses to 11th November

  1. Jo Carroll says:

    Great poem, Abi.

    And I know what you mean about the dialogue between prose and poetry; Women Writers Women’s Books have asked me to write a blogpost for them on the very subject! (Ideas still swimming at the moment … )

    • Hi Jo, so glad you enjoyed the poem. Re. Women Writers, yes, me too. I’ve just written one for them as a writer of both poetry and prose, about how one influences the other – my goodness, did I enjoy writing that! Good luck with yours – can’t wait to read it!

  2. I love the way you view the beauty of poems “… that they blur the lines between fiction and reality…Poetry is about uncertainty. It breaks down barriers and says that nothing is as it seems.” I’m not a (very good) poetry writer, but that makes me want to try my hand at it. Such a wonderful way to see it. As for your poem — so beautiful but makes me very sad! Thank you for a lovely and educational post.

  3. Thank you Julia. I hope you do have a go at writing some poems – there’s so much you can do with them and they are so satisfying. This one is sad, you are right – hope it hasn’t made you too sad. With its theme of loss, I think it’s an appropriate one for Remembrance Day.

  4. Gosh, that’s a beautiful and very poignant poem. Your words flow meticulously, and draw the reader in to a very emotional time of year.

    I’ve never tried my hand at poetry of this class, though I have done a few rhymes over the years, one of which I wrote and read out in front of 400 people at my dad’s funeral. That was incredibly emotional, naturally, but it was also personal to me and my immediate family.

    CJ xx

    • Thanks CJ! So pleased you like it and could relate to it. Yes, it’s a timely post isn’t it? Writing for your dad, and reading it for him, must have been special. Poems are very magical things and can convey emotions so well, and loss is something universal that we can all tune into. Thanks again for your lovely comments x

  5. Emma Pass says:

    First of all – WOW. I LOVE Buried Treasures. It’s so poignant; so beautiful. I was in tears reading it, and the images it paints have lingered in my mind all day.

    Second of all – congratulations on having it published in Hearing Voices! That is wonderful. And as for you rubbing shoulders with published poets – well, now YOU’RE a published poet too, so they should be pleased about rubbing shoulders with you!

    Thirdly – the genre I feel most at home with… I’m afraid I’m going to be totally predictable here and say YA! I just love everything about it, especially getting to be a teenager again (through my characters) without *actually* having to be a teenager again (if that makes sense?!).

  6. Hi Emma, Aw, so glad you enjoyed it. Sorry it made you cry – clearly, you understood the message, so I’m glad about that. I agree with what you said about writing YA and how it allows you to be a teenager again. I think it’s the same with picture books and mid-grade too – you put yourself in the mind of the age-group you’re writing for don’t you, which is a lot of fun. Thanks again for the lovely comments.

  7. Martin Shone says:

    Hi Abi, congratulations. The first stanza and the last are so very sad, particularly the last. It touches raw nerves, thanks for sharing.

  8. Lovely poem and congratulations on the publication!

  9. Emma Pass says:

    A second comment from me… 🙂

    My blog was presented with the Liebster Blog Award yesterday, and I’d like to award it to you too! 🙂 If you go to my blog I’ve posted a bit about it and you can collect it by dowloading a copy of the picture at the bottom of the sidebar. Hope that’s ok!

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