Four Poems from Myra Schneider’s Latest Collection (her tenth!), “Lifting the Sky”

Myra Schneider – Poet, poetry teacher and consultant to Second Light Network of Women Poets

“I believe the role of the poet is to reflect on human experience and the world we live in and to articulate it for oneself and others. Many people who suffer a loss or go through a trauma feel a need for poetry to give voice to their grief and to support them through a difficult time. When an atrocity is committed poems are a potent way of expressing shock and anger, also of bearing witness. I think that the poet can write forcefully, using a different approach from a journalist, about subjects such as climate change, violence, abuse and mental illness and that this is meaningful to others. I very much believe too that poetry is a way of celebrating life. I think it deserves a central place in our world.”  A Life Immersed in Poetry: Myra Schneider, Celebrating Over 50 Years as Poet and Writer



What a delight today to bring you four of Myra Schneider’s poems from her tenth collection, Lifting the Sky.  I believe I’ve read nearly all of Myra’s collections. I’ve reviewed a number of them. I am never disappointed. She soothes and inspires with layers of color and texture and keen and compassionate observations of nature, people and the human condition. I’ve also read and reviewed Writing Your Self: Transforming Personal Material (written with John Killick) and Writing My Way Through Cancer. These too I would recommend without reservation. Yes!  I am an enthusiastic fan.

You can visit Myra HERE and you can purchase her books directly from her. Myra’s Amazon U.S. Page HERE.  Myra’s Amazon U.K. Page HERE. Some of Myra’s books are also available through Anne Stewart’s poetry p f, another recommendation, by the way. Lifting the Sky is available on Kindle.



THE TUBULAR BELLS

were a surprise. At first I thought

they were icicles in a frozen waterfall

but they seemed to be fluid as honey

 

dropping from a comb. Then I noticed

the kitchen table and washing machine

were edgeless, melting away

 

and I wondered if they’d been magicked

by the instrument, its gold that was so unlike

the sleekness of a Pharaoh’s death mask,

 

the solidity of Cellini’s over-elaborate

salt cellar or the jewel-studded crown

worn by Holy Roman Emperors –

 

such symbols of pomp, self-importance.

The bells summoned buttercups, lilies,

their stamens tipped with orange powder,

 

the different ochres of fallen leaves

For moments I believed they were healing

the wounded world but they disappeared.

 

Hopeless, I stood by the January window

until I saw dusk was rivering the sky

with saffron and lemon, took heart.

– Myra Schneider

I PEGASUS

lift my hooves for gallop,

rise as my white wings open.

Wind rushes into my pricked ears.

Excitement whinnies from my mouth,

ripples through my flanks, drives me

towards a place that’s always cloudless.

Below me are snow-spattered peaks,

valleys where rivers wander, where trees

are laden with oranges, small suns

which pay homage to the sphere above.

Below me are huge cities with domes,

spires and innumerable buildings,

the tallest invade the blue of sky.

I miss nothing: the glassy stare

of cars stampeding like maddened cattle,

humans fleeing from burning towns,

forests felled like mighty armies,

the sea hurling itself in fury

at the land, barren fields thirsting

for water, skeletons of starved creatures.

I choose a verdant slope when I land,

hoof its milky grass and a spring

bubbles up from earth that’s rich

with squirming worms. Then I rejoice

for I am the breath in and the breath out,

I am the quickening which comes unbidden  

to the mind, blossoms into words

that tug the heart, I am sounds which bell

the air and enthral the ear, shapes

and colours which come together

to sing. I counter hatred, destruction.

I will not be stamped out.

– Myra Schneider

OH MOON

multiple in shape and mood, I can’t resist you

as slip of an eel with tips longing to touch  

and kiss, as a silent circle of self queening

the measureless iris-blue that’s only

an optical illusion, as an orange sun hung              

low in the sky to herald cornucopia,

as Salome in swirling veils, a saviour who throws

light on dangerous passageways. Oh moon,

ferrier of calm to those enduring pain

in tousled beds, lean over the homeless

lying in sweaty tents, search out the terrified

who’ve fled to the mountains where they ward off

cold at night by huddling in crevices to sleep,

bring them your silvergold bracelets of hope.

– Myra Schneider

LIFTING THE SKY

Plant yourself in the quiet on a familiar floor
or on an uncut summer lawn

and, thinking of seabirds, stretch out your arms,
let them ascend through the unresisting air.

With palms facing upwards, travel your hands
till your fingertips almost meet,

then release your breath, begin to separate yourself
from the weight of all that lies on you.

Allow your mind to open to this moment and your arms
to rise as they lift the palpable blue

high above the crown of your head.
Your wings will fold away

but raise them slowly to the blue again, maybe
a lightness like liquid amber will flow through you.

– Myra Schneider

Lifting the Sky: an exercise in qigong the Chinese practice of breathing, movement and meditation.


ABOUT

“Lifting the Sky” … a poem from the latest collection of London’s Myra Schneider

English Poet Myra Schneider at her 80th Birthday celebration and the launch of her 12th collection

“I think that the poet can write forcefully, using a different approach from a journalist, about subjects such as climate change, violence, abuse and mental illness and that this is meaningful to others. I very much believe too that poetry is a way of celebrating life. I think it deserves a central place in our world.” Myra Schneider



Plant yourself in the quiet on a familiar floor
or on an uncut summer lawn

and, thinking of seabirds, stretch out your arms,
let them ascend through the unresisting air.

With palms facing upwards, travel your hands
till your fingertips almost meet,

then release your breath, begin to separate yourself
from the weight of all that lies on you.

Allow your mind to open to this moment and your arms
to rise as they lift the palpable blue

high above the crown of your head.
Your wings will fold away

but raise them slowly to the blue again, maybe
a lightness like liquid amber will flow through you.

excerpt with permission from Lifting the Sky (Ward Wood Publishing, 2018)

© 2018, Myra Schneider

Note: Lifting the Sky is an exercise in the Chinese meditation and breathing practice of Qigong



The poetry collection, Lifting the Sky, may be purchased directly from Myra or from Ward Wood Publishing.  Myra’s Amazon Page U.S. is HERE. Her Amazon Page U.K. is HERE. Some of Myra’s collections are available through Anne Stewart’s pf poetry.



Myra is a poet and writer, a poetry coach, a teacher at the Poetry School (London), and consultant to Second Light Network of Women Poets (SLN). Myra also teaches a remote (distance learning) class through SLN. Details HERE.

Myra’s poetry collection, Lifting The Sky “explores the theme of survival in many contexts: from the perils facing refugees and survivors of war to the detailed and tender mating ritual of endangered seahorses.

Threats to the environment are balanced by the preservation of delicate objects in ancient burial sites such as Sutton Hoo, which is also a meditation about death.

The narrative sequence Edge is a tour de force, presenting a diary of artistic and emotional breakdown due to depression followed by healing and restored creativity.” Ward Wood Publishing

Award Winning British Poet, Myra Schneider (b. 1936), Writer, Writing Coach, Consultant to Second Light Nework of Women Poets

Myra Schneider said in an interview HERE, that “I believe the role of the poet is to reflect on human experience and the world we live in and to articulate it for oneself and others. Many people who suffer a loss or go through a trauma feel a need for poetry to give voice to their grief and to support them through a difficult time. When an atrocity is committed poems are a potent way of expressing shock and anger, also of bearing witness. I think that the poet can write forcefully, using a different approach from a journalist, about subjects such as climate change, violence, abuse and mental illness and that this is meaningful to others. I very much believe too that poetry is a way of celebrating life. I think it deserves a central place in our world.”

RELATED:

My (Jamie’s) SLN member page is HERE.

ABOUT

PERCEPTIONS OF TIME: a distance-learning poetry workshop delivered by the stellar English poet, Myra Schneider

English Poet Myra Schneider at her 80th Birthday celebration and the launch of her 12th collection


A full-day workshop (5 hours plus). Price: £8.  Details HERE.

“Time plays a central role in every aspect of our lives. The workshop explores ways in which we perceive time and how we represent these perceptions in writing.

“Past experience crucially influences how we view the present and future. Earth’s distant past, cosmological time are difficult to imagine … Clock time is fixed but our impressions of time are subjective – an hour’s enjoyable exercise session will seem to be over quickly, but the minutes drag during a boring lecture…” © Myra Schneider via Second Light Network of Women Poets, publisher of ARTEMISpoetry

To order, contact Administrator, Anne Stewart, +44 (0)1689 811394 / +44 (0)7850 537489 or editor@poetrypf.co.uk


Second Light Workshops

“We aim to fulfil our promise of ‘inclusivity’ for poets who are unable to travel to Second Light workshop events, however, our Remote Workshops are pitched at anyone wanting to enjoy a ‘work-out’ and/or kick-start a new selection of work. We also aim to keep our prices low enough for all to access.

“The workshops involve many varied exercises to stimulate new writing, some involving experimenting with formal forms and other approaches you may not have tried. They include notes and discussion points, simulating thoughts and comments of the sort that might be exchanged between participants in a ‘live’ workshop.

“Poems by women participants are eligible for consideration for ARTEMISpoetry, over and above any submission made under the general submission guidelines.” Second Light Network of Women Poets, further details on workshops HERE.


MYRA SCHNEIDER‘s latest and recent books are Persephone in Finsbury Park (SLP), The Door to Colour (Enitharmon); What Women Want(SLP). More at Myra Schneider website where you can also order Myra’s books.

HERE is a wonderful interview with Myra on the occasion of her 80th birthday earlier this year. Who wouldn’t want to gather and savor the voice of so much experience: thirteen collections of poetry, children’s books, author of Writing My Way Through Cancer and, with John Killick, Writing Yourself: Transforming Personal Material. Myra has collaborated on more anthologies than I can count, is a poetry coach and champion of women poets, a consultant to Second Light Network of Women Poets and a poetry editor.  Myra’s professional life seems like it is and always has been full and busy. Yet along the way – even when coping with catastrophic illness – Myra is able to take a breath, pick up her pen and inspire.

  • Myra’s Amazon page U.S. is HERE.
  • Myra’s Amazon page U.K. is HERE.

RELATED


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

SECOND LIGHT NETWORK OF WOMEN POETS: News and Information

In the Medieval Period, Sappho had a reputation as an educated woman and talented poet. In this woodcut, illustrating an early incunable of Giovanni Boccaccio’s De mulieribus claris (Concerning Famous Women), Sappho is portrayed surrounded by books and musical instruments. Boccaccio (1313-1375) was an Italian writer, poet and Renaissance humanist.

Dilys Wood, SLN founder and poet, editor and publisher


SECOND LIGHT NETWORK OF WOMEN POETS (SLN), founded by poet, editor and publisher, Dilys Wood, was created to encourage and promote women poets – forty-plus.  SLN lives in London but membership is open to women poets over forty-years old living anywhere in the world.


NEWS & INFORMATION

SLN’s ARTEMISpoetry, Issue 18, themed “Risks in Poetry” is just out and can be purchased from Second Light via Anne Stewart’s poetry pf. 

Anne Stewart, poet, poetry tutor, founder of poetry pf and administrator to SLN

Each issue of ARTEMISpoetry is chock full of information, inspiration, poetry and introductions to good poets who might be new to you. There’s always a sprinkling of black-and-white art and often a clever cartoon by Kate Foley. A “note board” provides news and updates on publications by member poets and on events, conferences, classes and poetry readings. These latter are in and around London and so mostly benefit local poets.  

ARTEMISpoetry, Call for Submissions – Opportunity Knocks

Issue 19, November 2017  

Editors for Issue 19 are: General & Artwork – Dilys Wood and Katherine Gallagher; Poetry – Anne Stewart.

New: Readers’ Letters are invited. Comments on the journal’s content or anything you would like to see discussed in relation to women’s writing. (max 100 words).

All submissions: submit paper copy initially to Dilys Wood, 3 Springfield Close, East Preston, West Sussex, BN16 2SZ. Please write “ARTEMISpoetry” on your envelope. (Enquiries only: e-mail Administrator editor@poetrypf.co.ukPoems: Issue 19 deadline – August 31, 2017

Poems by women of any age. Poems should be typed, or if written, then very neatly. Each poem should commence on a new page, headed “Submission for ARTEMISpoetry”. Please SEND TWO COPIES.  Include your name with each poem and include your name and full contact details in your submission. Long poems are considered. Submit up to four poems to a maximum of 200 lines in all.

Artwork: Black and white photographs or line art. Submit up to four pieces to Dilys as above.


EVENTS

Bookings open for AUTUMN FESTIVAL in mid-to-late August. This Festival is scheduled for November 17 & 18 this year.

Bookings open for SPRING FESTIVAL in mid-to-late February 2018. This Festival is scheduled for May. Exact dates to be announced.

Details HERE.


COMPETITION

Poet, poetry tutor and consultant to SNL

Second Light Poetry Competition for Long and Short Poems by Women 2017 – Deadline Tuesday, August 15th

JUDGE MYRA SCHNEIDER will read all entries. Myra Schneider’s latest and recent books are Persephone in Finsbury Park (SLP), The Door to Colour (Enitharmon); What Women Want (SLP); and the writing resource, Writing Your Self (with John Killick). Myra is a Poetry School and Second Light regular tutor. More at Myra Schneider website where you can also order Myra’s books

Awards:

  • £300 First Prize for each of Long (no upper limit) and Short (max 50 lines) poems
  • £150 Second Prize (1 poem from either category)
  • £75 Third Prize (1 poem from either category)

Winning & Commended Poets published (in full or extract) in ARTEMISpoetry. Winners offered a London reading.

Entry fees are:

  • £6 each per long poem.
  • Short poems: £4 each or £9 for 3, £14 for 8. Enter by post (2 copies) or online.

Members are entitled to one free entry into the competition. Join now to be eligible.** (see About Second Light/Joining)

Rules & Entry direct link to payment at poetry p f online shop.

The competition results will be posted on the website by September 30th. Once winning poems (or extracts) are published in ARTEMISpoetry, they will be available to read there.


REMOTE (DISTANCE LEARNING) WORKSHOPS

REMOTE WORKSHOPS, a service you can access from anywhere in the world, are offered. There are two courses from which to choose with eight sections each. The workbooks are two of the many poetry anthologies published by SLN, Her Wings of Glass and Fanfare, both can be purchased from poetry pfWorkshop details HERE

PERCEPTIONS OF TIME, a full-day remote/distance workshop (5 hours plus) designed by Myra Sneider. Price: £8.

“Time plays a central role in every aspect of our lives. The workshop explores ways in which we perceive time and how we represent these perceptions in writing.

“Past experience crucially influences how we view the present and future. Earth’s distant past, cosmological time are difficult to imagine … Clock time is fixed but our impressions of time are subjective – an hour’s enjoyable exercise session will seem to be over quickly, but the minutes drag during a boring lecture…”

Further details on Myra Schneider (workshop designer and tutor) are HERE.

To order, contact Administrator, Anne Stewart, +44 (0)1689 811394 / +44 (0)7850 537489 or e-mail

Poems written in these workshops are invited for consideration for ARTEMISpoetry.


REMEMBERING MARY MacRAE

Poet Mary MacRae

THE MARY MacRAE ACCESS TO POETRY MEMORIAL FUND: “many will remember the outstanding poet and Second Light member, Mary MacRae (her books As Birds Do and Inside the Brightness of Red are available from Second Light).

“The Fund has been created in her memory, begun with a substantial donation from Mary’s family, with the intention of providing modest grants to enable local members on low income, along with a travel companion if they are unable to travel alone, to come to Second Light events.

“If anyone would like to make a contribution to the fund in Mary’s memory, all donations, however small, will be most welcome. Donate to the Fund

Making an Application

“Members on low income, who may not otherwise be able to attend Second Light events, may apply for assistance with local travel, for themselves only or for themselves and a travelling companion, if they are unable to travel alone. Recipients will be asked to make receipts for expenditure available whenever possible. Applicants should be aware that Donors of substantial amounts to the Fund may be given access to Fund records on a confidential basis.”

Download Application Form


CONNECT

Photo credits: header is courtesy of cladcat under CC-BY 2.0 license; © photo portraits of poets Dilys, Myra and Anne belong to them and Mary’s to her estate; Sappho Eresia (below) is in the public domain


Hermaic pillar with a female portrait, so-called “Sappho”; inscription “Sappho Eresia” ie. Sappho from Eresos. Roman copy of a Greek Classical original.

RELATED:

My SLN member page is HERE.


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