On Writing Long Lines

As you may know, I’m currently getting to grips with a Masters in Creative Writing with the Open University.  As an exercise we were asked to look at lines in poetry and experiment with using different lengths.  This is the lyric essay that I wrote as a result:

On Writing Long Lines

Well, I’ve never written a line this long

before, I’ve always gone the short route, yes

shorter even than this which seems to me to be

rather overlong, rather, you know, unnecessarily

wordy. It’s true, I’m not saying much, not capturing

your interest. See, I’m not fluent in this kind of thing, not

experienced in these long poetic pieces that successfully play

with language. Those lines that are musical, that live on in the ear

like a snapshot of a really good memory from years ago when you went

to the beach and laid prostrate for eight hours reading your favourite novel

of all time. Or that time when you danced until three under a full tropical moon

and, after the hangover wore off, you hummed the tunes for days on end never wanting

to lose that feeling of abandonment. But as you know, we all have to knuckle down and when

we’re asked to write in different lines, being creatures that need approval, we do as we are

told, even though its alien, it makes us feel weird inside, it makes our voices shake

and tremble towards the end as our breaths run out and our brains just can’t

take anymore. And so I’ve done it. I’ve written lines that maybe are not

poetry. Maybe they are. Who is to say?  All I know is that in future

I’ll stick to my own little way and I’ll speak loud and clear

and in tiny lines of just three feet, no more than that,

and I doubt I’ll ever pen a poem using long lines

such as these, ever, no never, again.

 

 

 

 

The Craftswoman – for Peggy

I wrote this poem after the death of my mother-in-law on 16th October 2018.  I was really pleased that the family liked it enough for my brother-in-law to read it out at her funeral this week.

In her youth she learned to make things,
Oh yes, her boys were testament to that.
Her needles clicked to keep us warm,
and her machine trundled stitches,
turning tailored suits for working life
and childhood clothes for grandchildren.

With painted nails and silk threads she wove
bright flowers, embroidering colour
into all the corners of her home,
where friends and family shared the yarns,
those times that knit a life
worth wearing.

And all the while her garden grew.
Every plant, she knew, by name,
their differing hues and habits,
like children sown with confidence and skill
the clematis, fuchsias and scented stock
all flourished in her daily care.

Her nimble fingers now lie still,
the crafts she loved abandoned,
and in that belovéd garden
the last roses sadly droop their heads.
Yet her flowers will still bloom in spring
and fond memories will forever warm us.