Friday, 18 June 2010

A poem for paper lovers, book binders, printers, marblers...

PAPER WRESTLING by Claire Beynon

Pretend you're breaking in a horse
                                 don't be intimidated
let the paper know who's boss
                                 acknowledge its memory
encourage it to relax
                                 if necessary, walk on stockinged feet
tune into its voice
                                 don't mind its splutters and coughs
treat its fibres with respect
                                 rein it in, but not too much
                                 recognize the fact that it's breathing, too
place your wine on a bookcase
                                 kneel down in anticipation
caress its surfaces
                                 ask it what secrets it knows
                                 look at it against the light
take it to the trough
                                 have an old towel handy
make sure the water's not too cold
                                 you don't want any shocks
see that it's not too hot either
                                 lest your best intentions come undone
keep in mind green tea left too long
                                 lazily served in a wide-brimmed cup
wait for the sign that indicates it's time
                                 take the plunge and lunge
move fast or the paper will think
                                 it can get the better of you
handle it firmly, addressing it
                                 in low and patient tones
trust that with time and persistence
                                 it will succumb, may even let you in.

From: "Open book: poetry & images" by Claire Beynon
c Claire Beynon, 2007, Steele Roberts Publishers, Wellington NZ
ISBN 978-1-877448-15-7

Thanks to Claire for permission to post this poem which I found in her book of poems and paintings (details above) on my last visit to New Zealand. As an unashamed paper lover I felt an immediate connection with the poem and I hope it speaks as eloquently to my readers as it has to me.


  1. Oh! Carol! Brilliant. Thankyou for this and for the link.

  2. I LOVE it - just LOVE it....... ooooo I wonder.... I wonder..... do you think the poet would be open to a group of rather lovely booky/arty/objecty type people creating some renditions?

    this would be delicious to get into don't you think?

    well either way - it was lovely to enjoy it here.....

  3. ronnie just said what I was thinking!

  4. I love it too, so I'm really pleased you two do as well. I'll ask Claire how she feels about it and I'll put a link to Book Art Object so the others can have a look. I think there's lots of scope for booky/arty/objects here.

  5. I share your love of paper and appreciation of this wonderful poem.

  6. What a wonderful poem! And so clever. Thanks for sharing it.

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  8. Nice one!
    Thanks for sharing Carol

  9. What a fabulous poem, I enjoy following your work and would love to give you an award over at


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