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Hannah Kate

Biography

Hannah Kate is a North Manchester-based poet, who writes verse on the usual subjects of relationships, social observation, owls and trams. Her work has appeared in Transparency (a Crocus Books anthology), Orbis, The Ugly Tree, Dandelion Arts Magazine, Raindog and Pipeline.

Hannah is the co-editor of Pipeline magazine and co-host of their quarterly launch parties, held at Cafe Muse on Oxford Road. She has also performed at many other nights in Manchester.

Hannah runs creative writing workshops - if you ask! - and has taught primary school kids to pensioners and all levels in between. Her workshops, like her poetry, are inspired by the sounds and games that words can play. A great fan of medieval poetry, she loves alliteration, repetiton, wordplay and half rhymes.

Samples

Delaunay’s Dye

We went halves on a 99p palette,
pocket money colours,
purples, blues and greys.
Giggling mirrorless to St. Peter’s
where, with one sponge brush,
we painted each other’s eyes
amongst brambles and gravestones,
graffiti and angels.
When our curfew was passed
and it was too dark to see
our newly grown-up faces,
we watched the stars switch on,
writing the dyeworks into the sky.
Wandered home slowly,
mauve eyes on Turkey Red streets
where, once, colours were made.

***

table

this tree wants to be a table
but then
a tree that isn’t a table is no tree at all
being a table is natural for a tree
to be planed and smoothed and
varnished and oiled and
french polished all with loving care
this is what a tree is grown for
this is what a tree desires
there is nothing sadder than a tree
hardened and twisted through years
of neglect and lack of attention
diseased limbs and wasted wood
for a tree that isn’t a table is no tree at all

this tree demands to be a table
but then
a tree that isn’t a table is no tree at all
this tree has chosen its carpenter
the tools that will work on its surface
which axe which saw which chisel blade
which hands which oils which sandpaper
this tree knows what shape
of table it wants to be and how
and when and why it will be used
and if the carpenter does a shoddy job
this tree will send him away and
find another then another then another
cos a tree that isn’t a table is no tree at all

all trees should become tables
but then
a tree that isn’t a table is no tree at all
everyone knows that trees
are crying out to be tables and crying
out for tools to turn them into tables
and there are books and films to show
a carpenter how to use tools and make
trees into tables and make
trees happy to be tables because really
ask any table
they say they like the varnish
but tables tell saplings all the time
that a tree that isn’t a table is no tree at all

this tree will be a table
but then
a tree that isn’t a table is no tree at all
a tree cannot really refuse
to be a table though some of them try
a tree that wants to be with other trees
a tree that wants to seal up its knots
from tools that should file its bark
but what use is a tree that isn’t a table
what’s the point in letting it grow
what’s the point in giving it space
and if a carpenter makes it into a table
he’s only behaving as a carpenter should
cos tools that don’t make tables are no tools at all

All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.

 

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Comments

Tomás Ó Cárthaigh

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Wed 10th Sep 2008 13:22

I love the Pallette poem, a well deserved featured poem...

Janet Ramsden

Mon 14th Jul 2008 15:33

Although i like the poem about the tree,
who really wants to be a table.
I think of my tree of life.

Although i like the sounds of a carpenter,
i wouldn't want to be his wife.
He might make me into a table.

So i thankyou for entertaining me,
but now i really must leave as i'm
in danger of becoming a table.

Or is it just a fable?

julian

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Tue 26th Feb 2008 09:59

Hey Hannah, I love this poem. It is very atmospheric: the joy of colour against the drab, harsh, inhospitable background of this urban churchyard. Your eyes were painted, almost like rose-tinted specs giving you a brighter perspective on an otherwise sombre place with a sombre name, though you don't menton it: Blackley: the old ICI dyeworks.
favourite lines: we watched the stars switch on, writing the dyeworks into the sky.
Julian

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