Poem of the Day, April 9: The role of Mr Animus in producing a poem, Cora Greenhill

Deep in Time is a strikingly beautiful book. More than a collection of powerful poetry, it is a work of art in itself. The poems are arranged to resonate with each other, often in groups around a theme and are set creatively on the page alongside original illustrations by the author Cora Greenhill, artist Pauline Rignall and other women artists.
The cover itself is a stunning photograph by the author, of a ‘face’ in a dead tree trunk, having an impact comparable to Munch’s The Scream. This image resonates with the title, Deep in Time, to convey a sense of emotion wrought by, and trapped in, the natural processes of life. We are thus already primed by the cover for the poetry, which is intense, earthy, with a strong and unashamed sense the feminine cyclical consciousness of life. Here are deeply personal, honest and sometimes raw poems about both the pain and redemptive potential of life’s archetypal dramas, including childhood, puberty, sex, marriage, miscarriage, and aging. Nothing is sentimentalized, and there is humor and life affirmation even in the most poignant events. (Adapted from the book.)

Cora Greenhill runs Thirteenth Moon workshops in dance, ritual, and creative writing mainly around the north of England, and Inscape Holidays in Crete. This is her second collection of poetry.

The role of Mr Animus in producing a poem

When it first comes out
a blurt scrawled on the page
all gangly like a new wet calf
all wobbly
I’m not intrigued at all
I turn the page
can’t be doing with it
would orphan the weakling
feel no connection
certainly no commitment
to training and feeding
–it needs so much of me
to survive

What we need then
is a good farmer to arrive
a tough rough gentle
husbandman.
He’ll use his big spade hands
to turn my disintered
heavy head
towards the trembling waif,
make me see it, sniff it.
He’ll give me a bit of encouragement
say my name
fuss me a bit.

Finally, I may lick it
taste it
and with a tingling rush in the udder
own it.

-Cora Greenhill

(c) in the name of the poet or assigns. Used for educational purposes and for the promotion of the poet and personal growth of the reader.

Journal Prompt:

  • What is the role of “Mr Animus” (the “yang,” or Masculine, or directive part of your own personality) in your own writing process?
  • Following on the poet’s metaphor of a “new wet calf” and a farmer, find your own metaphor for how your writer self is influenced both by your creative side and your editor side.
  • Write anything that bubbles up in you from reading this poem. If it’s emotionally difficult, set the timer for 10 minutes. Take a break, read what you’ve written, and decide if you want to continue. If so, set the timer for another 10 minutes. Repeat.

 

2 Responses to Poem of the Day, April 9: The role of Mr Animus in producing a poem, Cora Greenhill

  1. Dyanne Kelley April 9, 2018 at 9:59 am #

    As a person who hasn’t delved too much into poetry, I’m so enjoying this introduction.

    What comes up for me is synchronicity. I was writing about the anima/animus this very morning. I just took a break to exercise and read this poem.

    Thank you!

  2. Marci Bowman April 9, 2018 at 10:41 am #

    I love the connection between the animus and animal husbandry. I’ve always lamented not having an hetaira to draw my creative work out of me, but what a delight to see how the poem completely recasts the relation between poet and work. While my own personal hetaira would be nice, I see how craft can be that work of husbandry.

    And from a completely different perspective, this poem reminds of Anne Bradstreet’s ‘An Author to her Book’ (which might to be a good selection for poetry therapy).

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