For those whose bones
lie only an inch under the grass
I have only words.
Below the skin of moss or turf
they lie where they were felled
where the trees are greenest…
The above is an extract from the poem I have posted on this week’s Tuesday Poem Hub Page, where Kathleen Jones is my guest this week.
Kathleen’s home is in Cumbria and she has just spent several weeks in Canada working on a new collection of poetry based on the mythology and history of the First Nation Haida people of British Columbia.
This collection was originally based on the mythology of the Haida peoples but when Kathy arrived in Haida Gwaii, and especially after her visit to the abandoned village of Skedans she became engrossed in a much wider issue triggered by The Great Dying of 1862 and the cultural and physical genocide which happened there. It’s the stories that led up to the poem which I find so special.
The story behind The Great Dying itself and the story behind Kathy’s visit to Haida Gwaii. To begin writing poems about a mythology with roots on the other side of the world is one thing but to have the get up and go to arrange funding and get oneself to visit such a place and to do it within a short time space is the stuff of inspiration. Haida Gwaii is an important place to the First Nations people of British Columbia and their peacable approach to the restitution of their culture is one which is important to us all. I hope you will find time to have a look at the poem and catch a glimpse of what Kathy is working on.
Kathleen Jones writes biography and fiction (available as both print and ebooks) as well as poetry. Her first full collection, Not Saying Goodbye at Gate 21, (Templar Poetry 2011) was joint winner of the Straid Collection Award. She has been described by Carol Ann Duffy as ‘a powerful female voice’.
Kathleen’s other work includes A Passionate Sisterhood [Virago], a group biography of the sisters, wives and daughters of Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey, and an acclaimed biography of Katherine Mansfield ‘The Storyteller’. Her most recent biography, Norman Nicholson: The Whispering Poet, was published by The Book Mill in 2013. She has taught creative writing in a number of universities and is currently a Royal Literary Fund Fellow.
You can read Kathleen’s story and the rest of her very moving poem on the Tuesday Poem Hub.