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> > > Nicole Fordham-Hodges

Nicole Fordham Hodges is a poet, and thrilled to be one of DAO's New Voices. In her blog, she would like to untangle her artistic process as if it were knotted string. She'd like to nudge her poetry out into the open, if it will come. She'd like to test the truth of her own and other people's work, by tapping them against each-other. She'd love to know who you are, and hear your comments on what she's written.

Ode to a free moment

15 May 2014


oil painting of a series of vertical buildings against a blue sky

Since I started the day job, life has been all horizontals, moving between tasks and roles, drawing thin lines with my self. It's hard to remember the times of deep illness when my life's direction was mostly vertical. Appreciate what you have whilst you have it, that's the trick, someone told me: simple words that stuck. I took a fragment of  my  life to reconnect with the vertical space that is DAO, and to post this poem. I hope that you like it. Ode to a free moment...

Comments: 2

The Trouble with Verbs

30 May 2012


Waterfall Mist

I am prejudiced against verbs. I use nondescript ones like 'do' or 'have' or 'make', which shrug their shoulders and lean their backs against trees. They stand immobile in a foliage of nouns. I use passive tenses, putting my verbs in tight skirts and holding them in awkward positions. I leave my sentences like soggy mattresses, sagging round their weak verbs.  What do verbs do anyway, that's so very bad? Nuzzle and kick? Rustle amongst dead leaves? Overturn soil? Grind their teeth in bed?...

Comments: 4

On Being Prepared

20 April 2012


Queens Wood cafe

Perhaps it's the time of day, or something about the weather. In any case the cafe is empty. The man – is he the proprietor or just the waiter? - wipes the tables clean, watches over the quietness. It's like Hemingway's 'clean well-lighted place.' Even better if this cafe has a terrace or veranda, even better if the veranda is up amongst the trees. The rain washes the boundary between outside and in. An unpredictable season is best. A sudden shower brings a blessing of inwardness, then...

Comments: 4

On Openness and Mystery

27 March 2012


Black and White Photograph of tribesman, Papua New Guinea

It's an age of self revelation. On Facebook pages, a mess of cats, cousins and icecream-covered children form public portraits of our lives. There's a link to a poet's blog, where the truth trips over itself on its way to somewhere else. A moment of brilliance lights up a forest of platitudes, then all goes dark. If I try too hard to show myself, my trying clouds my openness. Can the 'real self' be revealed on purpose? Caught by surprise – or by love – I might show my face openly....

Comments: 5

On Trees and Language

6 March 2012


The Yew Walk, Huntington Castle, Conegal, Co.Carlow

It was a place of wild orchids and underground rivers: a dry valley on the North Downs. It was the perfect spot to be talking to a friend about quietness. He said there was more than one type: a quietness which is an absence of life, and a quietness which buzzes with life. His words stayed with me. I have since thought that there are two types of speaking: one which comes from wanting power (essentially from fear) and one which comes from connection or love. No communication is perfect. Even a...

Comments: 2

Disability Spy

29 February 2012


Rilke's Angel. Brush and Ink (with wash) on paper, 2000

I live in a border world. My disability is invisible. It fluctuates. Sometimes it disappears. Then I hear it snuffling about. Its a sort of magic trick. I am an undercover agent, a disability spy. I  live with M.E. / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ illness-with-many-nonspecific-names. I live amongst M.E. deniers. I can see nearly invisible things, and catch them before they manifest. Well, sometimes. I have learnt to go within and feel for the whereabouts of my energy. I try not to override my...

Comments: 5

Time without pressure

19 January 2012


photo of poet nicole hodges wearing a brown coat, sitting outside an old building

I'd like to start my blog slowly. This is difficult for me. I have always tended to drive myself forward. But my poetry was first incubated in a time of illness. I was forced within. I learned and relearned the discipline of slowness. I believe that poetry needs time without pressure. I need to notice extra times and hidden places. These are where my poetry grows. I listen to nature: a sunbathing ladybird on a January wall. I listen to my body and its messages. I wait with quiet intention...

Comments: 3