hot coffee and granola
your pink cover jumps into my space,
no bubble gum pencil thin barbie here
by the Grace of our Lord,
hot black talent with attitude (TWA),
grins at me, a cover full of promise
revolution in my bedroom by 07:35
my private world of black womanhood in typescript
knowingness of other
everything laid bare
I AM no LONGER inVISIBLE!
replace coffee cup on table with extreme care
in case the words disappear when I look away.’
© Suzy Rowland
So far, 2018 is turning into a mega Summer for heat and the extreme impacts of the heat, it will become one of those years that become fuzzy and pretty in your head if you let it. Save this summer, in the memory bank marked ‘good times’.
The light and heat of the sun can be harsh and dangerous, but if we treat her with respect goddess sun is life-affirming, energy and vitamin providing, endorphin-generating. Even when you’re feeling hot and uncomfortable, close your eyes and say ‘thank you’ for the heat and well-being you feel in that moment.
Happy Sun Day!
© Suzy Rowland
Relentless pursuit of one goal
One, goal. Pure focus
‘what? we can’t cross the river here
let’s build a bridge or a tunnel
there must be a way!”
An unbending line
from here to my destination
details to be written, recorded
stored on plates, words, dates
please don’t distract me
with daily life
I’ve a job to do
stories to be consumed
by everyone I never knew
I cannot stop, not no, cannot,
until the desire of my brain,
is sated, released of its many thoughts about
one thing, many things that are, the same thing
calmer then, until my eye
catches a new target:
‘Go, go go!’
there is no other way.
For a poet – love, marriage and weddings are perhaps the most inspiring, romantic and universal subjects to write about. You can stay with the personal, but stray into the spiritual, global, life-affirming, existential. So it is with this in mind, that I thought I would set up a wedding poetry service. Selecting poems for lovers to read to each other, poems for renewals of vows, poems to convey the depth of feeling and passion that another human being can evoke in you.
Love knows no colour, or boundaries, or prejudices. It finds you when you least expect it, much to the annoyance of many of us when we’ve been single for ever and a day! And love loves food and nourishment like any living organism. Feed your love with kind words, encouragement, praise, laughter, tenderness and understanding and they will stay with you until the last pulse of your heart beats feebly in your veins.
A wedding close to my heart:
Click here to find out more about the wedding poetry service…
If you like this poem and would like to buy an A5 copy as a momento, copies are on sale at the Black Cultural Archives shop OR click here to purchase online.
© Suzy Rowland-Rigg
Windrush 1948: Coming Home
“London, is the place for me
London, this lovely city
You can go to France or America,
India, Asia or Australia
But you must come back, to London city.”
(Calypso: Sung by Lord Kitchener)
A leap into the unknown,
hundreds of men, women, families
loyal subjects of the Queen of England
wait patiently for their boarding cards
passports to a new land, a new life –
sunny determination in their veins
spirit of slave rebellion dancing in their hearts
centuries of cutting cane without shade
pulls their backs tall,
enslavement courses their DNA
fires the desire for a better life:
Britain won the war
her Queen, stole Caribbean hearts.
Leaving the hot sun of home
waving goodbye to warm seas
bearing bruises of the Atlantic slave trade
borrowed names: Williams, Beckfords, Campbells,
from Trinidad, Jamaica, Bardados,
waiting on the gangplank of British warships
on request of the British government
many with a one way ticket to England
a one way ticket to cities with strange names,
Liverpool, Bristol, Manchester, a one-way ticket…
‘….tickets please’ ‘Tickets please!’
shouts the bus conductor
in a broad Bajan accent, with a broader smile,
he was ‘home’ a new land, a new life.
My grandfather, Wilfred N. Walker, came to England from Jamaica on the Reina Del Pacifico in 1955. My grandfather’s brother Lester, is the handsome man in the black and white photograph, alongside his wife, Julia, who was known in the family as ‘Cookie’. The rest of his family, his wife Maud (my grandmother) and the children Colin, Aston, Valrie and my mother Dorcas, came to England on the Reina Del Mar, docking in Liverpool in 1956.
Whenever I read this poem, it always stimulates a reaction; I have seen people cry, and many of a certain age, like to join in with the song which I try to sing acappella, but sometimes emotion gets the better of me. At my last reading, at Hampton Hill Theatre, Noel Coward Suite, one woman approached me afterwards and said that she was there to see the ship arriving. A young 87, with bright green nail varnish and dyed red hair, she said that the signs outside of houses, saying ‘No Irish, no dogs, no blacks’, were not racist, but a symptom of the desperate housing situation in bombed post-war Britain.
I read this poem to remember my grandfather, who died in 2012, after receiving a telegram from the Queen for his 100th birthday. I read this poem to assert that I’m British, born and bred in Birmingham, and this is my home country, although I am often asked where am I from. I read this poem out of pride for the many positive contributions and efforts, my ancestors, and people like them have put energy into crafting, building, railway-ing, nursing, musician-ing, and generally seasoning this country to make it one of the most amazing, dynamic and forgiving places to live – in spite of the difficulties many of us still face. I see all of this as cause for celebration.
This poem is available to purchase as a commemorate A5 card, please click here to continue
© Suzy Rowland Rigg
“Thanks so much for making the journey over to the New Inn. I’m sorry you had to wait so long to get on, and perhaps felt because time was short you’d keep it to one poem. But I thought your performance of your Windrush poem had a tremendous impact, especially the song. Thank you very much for it.” Greg Freeman Write Out Loud.
“My father passed away 9 weeks ago so some of the songs were so relevant and helped me through my grief.” Annita B. teacher.
“I found this to be a really lovely read, both in content and in spirit, I particularly enjoyed ‘Tightrope’ Suzy is clearly a very talented writer,” Hay House Publishing
“Suzy’s poems breathe spiritual eloquence but are bound to this earth: she helps us understand that love is our greatest quality and privilege. Her words celebrate the sweet melancholy in our choices to give ad accept love” Rob Dyson – Charity Comms & poetry fan.
“Songs of My Soul is a warm and diverse collection, drawing on a range of poetic influences, from Angelou to Shakespeare. Full of feelings and reflections on love, passion and life, it’s also full of sharp observations of things we all know and share. Vivid and effecting. Impossible to read just once!’ C. Rowland
“How wonderful your poems are, hidden meaning and depth beneath every one of them, they reflect the very essence of who you are!” R. Dignam
It’s very good, and my favourite is the Commute – transported me back to experiencing my commute! L. Turner
“My favourite poems? I love all of them really, as they portray the multi-faceted profound humanity underneath, written by an extraordinary person, who is also my friend.” Anon.
‘Had a super evening with talented poet Suzy Rigg’ Heather Moulson, Poetry Performance
Got it today! Already read some of it. The poems are powerful – you need quiet time to really digest them. Well done. You definitely have a rare talent. I’m proud of you. Too often, all that’s available are the 2-line rhymes. Valrie Walker Sanders, USA.
I wish you all the best with your book. Deserves to be a sellout, Teri Scoble, Portrait Artist, Choreographer
“When reading your poem Divorce some of its sea images reminded me of some lines in Thomas Hardy’s poem: The Convergence of the Twain…though your lines and poem ends of a note of hope. It really is a very beautiful poem, and I hope you will read it at one of our sessions.” Anne Warrington, Poetry Performance
“From allusions to Red Riding Hood in ‘Footprints’ (p.6) to Rapunzel in ‘Things not forgotten’, these poems are often suffused with the primordial archetypes of fairy-tale; an eerie play of life and death.” Rowan Fortune, Editor
©”I give you words like I give you gold”. Suzy Rowland
I took this photo in 2014 when this modern theatre building in Hampton Hill was called the ‘Playhouse’. Little did I know when I took the photo that I would be treading the boards there in the future, sharing spoken word poetry. Having a theatre so close to home is a huge asset. As an avid theatre goer, it’s an honour to excellent quality theatre without going into the West End. But to tread the boards there myself – in the Noel Coward studio – how thrilling!
The Poetry Cafe is the first event for the newly established Arts Richmond Poetry Hub, a collaboration with Arts Richmond, an organisation I’m involved with. It’s great to have a spotlight on poetry in the borough arts scene, within the wider arts context. I’m excited about the future of the Poetry Hub and the opportunities it will provide for poets in and around Richmond.
I’ve written before about the leap between writing poetry for the reader via the page (or ipad?) and writing to deliver directly to the audience. No filter. No interpretation time; it either works instantly or it doesn’t. I think anyone who is paying money to be entertained, should get their money’s worth. This is why I’m investing in a public speaking course, as well as rehearsing with the other poets, very hard. I’m thinking about every detail to ensure I touch every single person through my delivery. It will be a challenge but one that I feel as a poet, I must rise to!
What are your tips for poetry (or any) performance? How do you deal with nerves? I’d love you to get in touch and let me know!
Until then, I will break a leg…
© I give you words, like I give you gold – Suzy Rowland
It’s always lovely to be featured on another platform. I will be treading a different stage next month, performing at Khembe’s Return to Your Roots event in Birmingham. Khembe is a hardworking, inspirational and hugely talented lady. The tenacity and passion with which she’s built the Return to Your Roots brand is a masterclass in entrepreneurship.
Blogger Melanin Mind & Soul has penned this piece about my poetry book and my forthcoming performance at Khembe’s Return to Your Roots Festival in Birmingham. http://www.melaninmindsoul.com/songs-of-my-soul-suzy-rigg/
My usual ‘stage’ is upstairs once a month in a pub in SW London. Every week is different – the performers, the energy levels, the audience. Some weeks are emotional, such as last week, when one of the poets read a piece dedicated to the brother he’d lost four years ago to a brain tumour. We got lost in his words, until he began to laugh. A nervous giggle, accompanied by vigorous face-scratching. He was overcome with emotion and unable to carry on reading. Collectively we all wanted to rush up and carry on reading for him, but were rooted to our seats as strong feelings of grief seemed to take over all of us. That’s the power of poetry.
It would be great to meet some poetry fans in Birmingham, do try and get to Return to Your Roots, not just ‘cos I’m gonna be there but because you will leave feeling nourished, inspired, connected and at peace with yourself and who you are – whoever you are!
Looking for poetic and spiritual calm and guidance?