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.
Pearls in the garden
gleaming through the bawdy weeds
singing of the spring
Though there’s no blue sky
You can always find the sun
If you care to look
A bird in my hand
It sings its beguiling song
Then flutters away
A laden table
heavy with spring’s sweet nectar
is a gift to share
English summer time
and oh how the marble sky
hangs heavy tonight
In the world of dreams
we can pursue our rabbits
for there are no rules
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
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.