AngelaTopping loves words and making things out of them, mostly poetry. Giving poetry to others, no matter what age or walk of life, is her passion.
Angela offers readings, workshops for any age group and poets-in-schools work. She is based in Cheshire and was poet in residence at St Luke's hospice.
She has twenty years classroom experience as an English and Drama teacher. She is the author of three solo collections of poetry, has edited two books and written two critical books (for Greenwich Exchange) with a third in progress. A book of children's poems is forthcoming from Salt. Her poems have been published widely and her children's work has been included in over 45 anthologies.
How to Capture a Poem
Look for one at midnight
on the dark side of a backlit angel
or in the space between a sigh
and a word. Winter trees, those
elegant ladies dressed in diamonds
and white fur, may hide another.
Look for the rhythm in the feet
of a waltzing couple one, two, three-ing
in an empty hall, or in the sound
of any heartbeat, the breath of a sleeper,
the bossy rattle of keyboards in offices,
the skittering of paper blown along.
You could find a whole line
incised into stone or scrawled on sky.
Words float on air in buses, are bandied
on street corners, overheard in pubs,
caught in the pages of books, sealed
behind tight lips, marshalled as weapons.
Supposing you can catch a poem,
it won’t tell you all it knows. Its voice
is a whisper through a wall, a streak of silk
going by, the scratch of a ghost, the creaks
of a house at night, the sound of the earth
vibrating in spring, with all its secret life.
You have to listen: the poem chooses itself,
takes shape and begins to declare what it is.
Honour the given, else it will become petulant.
When you have done your best,
you have to let it go. Season it with salt
from your body, grease it with oil from your skin.
Release it. It has nothing more to do
with you. You’re no more its owner
than you hold the wind. Never expect gratitude.
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