To think or not to think?

Ah well, I’ve just started the new year of my course, and I’ve seen the course materials and the assessment requirements, so anxiety is setting in big time.  I decided to change my primary genre this year from fiction to poetry, ‘cos basically I like writing poetry more. Besides, it takes me ages to think of plots for stories but I can write a poem on practically anything you throw at me (it might not be a good poem, but it’ll be a poem – I give you ‘ode to my knickers‘…)

I do have the odd existential crisis around poetry though. I wonder what its for. Am I just writing it to show how jolly clever I am?  To share a mood, an emotion? How my brain works in weird ways? (Certainly that last one is apparent in much of my work!)

I am thrown by some of the comments at my writers group too. I am one of only a few poets there, and some of the aspiring writers just don’t get poetry – ‘if it doesn’t rhyme it’s not a poem and you are not a poet’ was one memorable comment.  And yes, I know, much as I love ’em all, they are heathens…. 😉

Of course, I can’t agree with that at all, I know it’s not correct. I read a lot of poetry both modern and classic and enjoy the free-verse and rhymes equally, as long as they connect with me in some way –  make me think, bring a tear, make me laugh. And I love layers to unpeel, deeper meanings to uncover, thought provoking ideas, and beautiful use of language.

However, I have to agree, that for many people a quick ditty that doesn’t require analysis is the only poetry they understand and therefore, enjoy.  For instance, who doesn’t like Pam Ayres and her ‘I wish I’d looked after me teeth!’, a poem many of us can identify with I’m sure.

On any creative writing course I doubt very much that this would be described as ‘good’ poetry, and I imagine I wouldn’t get a particularly high mark if I chose to submit something along those lines as part of an assessment. But hey, it makes us laugh, we understand it and empathise, and with it’s tumpty-tumbness, it’s memorable.  Shouldn’t we appreciate that just as much?

But as I said, this was a brief crisis which has now been sat on.  I work hard to write poems that require some reading between the lines.  I like to find rhythm where there was none, and to play with words, spending hours finding the one that’s just right in that particular line making it delicious and dripping with meaning. I don’t often get that right of course, and some might say it’s not worth the effort, but I enjoy the process.  And yes, I’m quietly pleased with myself when the whole thing comes together.

Last week I read an allegoric poem at the writers group which I was really pleased with, and the best they could say was ‘it’s good’ and ‘to the point’. I really wished they had had the time to check it out a bit further, given it just a little more thought. But in this world of rush and instant gratification perhaps allegory and metaphor are too time consuming and are a bit too much like hard work, so I’ll take the approval, albeit for what I consider to be, the wrong reasons. Of course, it might just be that the allegory is all in my head. At what point does it become clear to everyone I wonder? Its ok to have a blanket of layers but I guess it doesn’t need a whole bloomin’ duvet!

Oh dear, I fear all this studying is turning me into a bit of a thinker! I’ll keep on doing what I’m doing and work towards improving and expanding my writing and my thoughtiness… (and perhaps, my vocabulary!)  🙂

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Getting Sticky

Well, in my pursuit of creating something arty, I have taken to sticking things.  Yes, collage.  I make an horrendous mess, with bits of paper, tissue and glue covering every surface, including myself, but I have to say I am quite pleased with the results.

The first one, ‘The New Forests’ was inspired by an item on the news that made me so angry and upset that I didn’t know what to do with the emotion.  They’d used a drone to film the extent of the camps in Bangladesh that hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugee people have been reduced to living in.  They showed the camps sprawling across an area bigger than Manchester or Glasgow.  The people, men, women and children, in those camps have little clean water, food, health care, in fact, none of the things we take for granted on an every day basis. It made me consider (not for the first time, I hasten to add) the quite appalling inequalities suffered by people around the world, and creating the collage became quite cathartic for me.  In fact, I got so much out of it (never mind the result!) when finished, I immediately started on the second, ‘Elusive Eden’.

This piece was inspired by poetry, and as with the first one, I decided to use relevant text within it – in this case excerpts from ‘I know why the cage bird sings’ by Maya Angelou, ‘Mending Wall’ by Robert Frost, and ‘The Road not Taken’ also by Frost. The result was somewhat cheerier than I imagined, and the poems have all but disappeared, but nonetheless, I quite like it, and whilst I doubt anyone looking at it would immediately grasp its representational meaning as I intended, at least it’s colourful!

The third piece, is frankly, just a flight of fancy.  Using tissue paper, which proved much trickier, and generally messier than I could ever have imagined.  Lots of fun though!

The New Forests

The New Forests

Elusive Eden 1

Elusive Eden

By the River

By the River

 

25th April 2017

For goodness sake, it’s April
And yet the wind is wickedly shaking
The blossom from the cherry
So that it blankets the ground
In pink petal snow 

It’s April and on Sunday
We sat in the garden in the sun
Drinking chilled wine, yet
Just two days later
My cheeks are pinched red
From the cold 

All hail, its April
Ice crystals hit the window panes
The dog growls at them
Indignant at their intrusion
But then a flashy rainbow
Signals spring

 

The One

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I see it hanging from the tree
it’s virgin skin
red and ripe
amongst the late summer leaves 

I long to bite into it
taste it’s sweetness
on my tongue,
feel it’s juices dribbling
childishly down my chin  

It’s high.
I have to climb
the rough
crumbling bark,
grazing palms and shins
in my pursuit

Until aloft
I stretch and reach,
but my fingertips
fail to grasp,
and it falls 

I jump to the grass below
to find my prize,
but every shiny fruit
hid
es a savage scar 

and though I search
I cannot find perfection

In Peace?

In a darkened room the angels hover
while a woman sleeps

And thunderous rain sends morse messages
to the heavens

while down the stairs a raging fire burns
warming cold souls

Twelve bells as the old clock marks the hour
not recognising day or night

Blossoms in the gardens fold their petals
fearing the dark

And all the while, gentle clouds of breath
escape those red lips

Oblivious, cocooned in starched sheets
on a bed of down

The woman rests before her last descent
Weeping angels watch

As the fire rages on

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Sorry, it just came out that way…

Oh dear, I am sorry about this. I don’t really know where this came from today.  I was in the mood for writing a bit of verse and just came up with the first couple of lines and, well, it kinda gathered pace from there.

Sorry, no accompanying picture to cheer things up either. I did have some beautiful dark velvety tulips last year, but the bulbs were severely trampled on by the man-fence men when they installed the man-fence a month or two ago, so I think I might be tulip-less this year…

Anyhoo…sorry again for this bit of quite depressing verse!!

Why?

They asked why
I chose black tulips for his grave
The petals
Unforgiving to the touch
with fragile strength
cloak a secret centre
Their elusive lustre
glimpsed for but a moment
then quelled in this perfidious place
How earnestly they droop their sombre heads
As lifeless they lie limp on burnished wood
And they asked why
I chose black tulips for his grave