3 new poems by Maxine Rose Munro : Dear Mr HJW Gilman, Containing Eden, Sjusamillabakka

Dear Mr HJW Gilman
(After Mrs Mounter at the Breakfast Table)

I have been handed the task 
of turning my response to your painting 
Mrs Mounter at the Breakfast Table 
into poetry. 

And, you see, this is not easy. 
I have always been one to interact with the thing 
not the story, and while this seems to be 
like looking at the glass instead of out the window, 
it is the gift I was given and I employ it as best I can. 

So first I want to ask you - 
how does this make you feel? 
Pleased, I would suspect. After all, artists crave 
validation via an audience - an addictive feedback loop, 
as any whacked-out junkie will tell you, right before 
they lift your wallet for the next hit. 

Next, I fear I must say your clever technique 
of 'sound and solid pigment' reeks of Photoshop 
Superpunch, something you won't understand. 
Yet it inserts itself between myself and the painting 

And that I viewed it online (again, you won't 
understand) thus rendering mute much of your work. 
You should be horrified. The strokes, the size, 
the light that strikes just right - ting! These are all 
important parts of the thing I was denied. 
How do you feel? 

And Mr HJW Gilman, I think I must 
let you know, I don't care much about Mrs Mounter. 
But then, neither did you. She's a tool, 
a bridge, a springboard that you used 
to move your vision into ours. 

(Do you like all those image-heavy words? 
It's how we poets do what you do with paint) 

Just like I am using you. 

As for my response 
to Mrs Mounter at the Breakfast Table, 
it makes me.... sad?

Containing Eden

A drystone dyke holds the garden taut 
lest the winds blow it out to sea. Little grows 
easy here – daffodils, lupins, roses.

Things that do are worked over and over 
into flowerbeds, rock gardens, tyre planters
painted white. A crub is kept for kale. 

Weeds are removed to bare brown earth, 
treasured in this land of bogs, ditches, peat. 
And sand, for always the sea threatens. 

It is a simple colour palette, bound
to a patch of order. All gardens here 
are a variation on this, with no wonder 

for lifetimes rived hand-over-fist from nature 
that fights back leaves its mark. Each garden 
says here I am, I’m still here. By the door 

a sheepdog is cürious and 

                                            in ditches and bogs 

                        weeds grow and 
                                                            a onkerry 
                                                                        o halliget colour 

Dyke – wall
Crub – circular drystone enclosure for growing cabbages (kale)
Rived – torn
Cürious – anxious (not as in English curious)
Onkerry – a disturbance, a riot (lit: a carry on)
Halliget – wild, unrestrained 


This voice is between the shore
and the ebb, though the body that houses it 
paces streets hedged by trees and parked cars, 
and the lips that cast it forth pay their dues 
to polite society.
Sjusamillabakka, where liquid words shoal, 
swell, crest edges; ending, beginning,
ending, beginning.
This voice sounds like any other 
round about here, unless some
residual ripples carry through.
Perhaps you can't hear it.
Or feel the storm surge
as the mother wave
builds up behind
this voice.

Sjusamillabakka – between the shore and the ebb 
(Shetland Tabu, language of fishermen)

Mother wave – wave that seeks land, bringing fishermen safely home. 
(Known as the Moder-dy in Shetland)

Maxine Rose Munro is a Shetlander adrift on the outskirts of Glasgow. After spending the first eighteen years of her life exclusively on the islands, without even a small break for the holidays, the culture shock experienced on eventually seeing the wider world rocked her to the core, and is still rocking now. However, as the end result appears to be poetry, she’s fairly ok with this. Her poetry has been widely published both in print and online, exhibited at Stanza Poetry Festival, shortlisted for the SMHAFF Awards, and nominated for both the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. She runs First Steps in Poetry feedback programme, which offers beginner poets free feedback and support. www.maxinerosemunro.com

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1

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