Monday, 9 January 2017

Nearly a year?

I find it hard to believe that I wrote no poetry at all in 2016 and hope to do better this year. I make an effort to write something that can be called poetry, though I'm not sure what that is! You will find a few poems in this blog, or you can go HERE

Sunday, 6 March 2016

What a long absence....

.....From this blog! I've been writing novels entirely for my own pleasure. Some people knit.
I have promised myself to finish the current book by the end of the month and then concentrate on poetry.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Xmas has been and gone again...

...and left me with a cold,
It often does. The runup to the event is fraught with short nights, long days, fruitless shopping trips, bafflement over presents and who's to get one, and in the end I always spend money on buying just the right things, but getting it all wrong in retrospect. It's the same every year.
Ahead of me is the cold I am nursing into full flight.
I'm going to write poetry next year. My latest novel is up and running, though in need of even more corrections than it has already endured. I am working mentally on a new one, but not ready to start writing.
Happy 2016 to anyone who reads this.

Monday, 5 October 2015

A long break

I have finally finished writing my summer novel and plan to write some verse this month.
Do call again if you are interested!


Monday, 18 May 2015

Do I have poetry block? Poem 'Re-creation'

I'm really not sure. I finished my April novel on time (and got a prize icon from nanowrimo for my effort) and immediately started another one, but actually took up a story I had already started but put on the back burner. I'm taking my time over the new one, but posting slowly at this location.
The problem is that I can't do everything at once, and I'm painting at the moment, so a lot of mental energy also goes into that. 
I got a reminder from allpoetry.com that I had not contributed there for ages, so I'll include one of the poems I did publish there and hope the poetry muse kisses me again soon:


Re-creation

Out of the sandy mists,
Out of the hazy sky,
Out of the void of death
We arise each new day.
Our bones are the frame,
Our tears are the energy
Of tomorrow.

The sand is broken shells and bones.
The sky is the air we breathe.
The void of death wraps itself
Around the joy of rebirth
In our children, in our words,
In our selves.

All the tears we weep return to the ocean
And are born again as mists of time.
We all breathe the same air,
And die the same death,
And grieve the same grief.

But those we grieve for live on
As long as we grieve,
So the grieving must never stop,
Must transcend our breath and tears,
Must join the clouds and the birds on the wing,
Must live on in us.

I commented on that poem thus:
[...]This poem was inspired by a painting, but as  yet I've had no reply from the artist to sanction my using it, so the candle is just keeping the space warm, though I am now inspired by the poem to paint something![...]
I never did get feedback from the artist to whose painting I had referred.
However, since painting inspires me as I work on anything, I'll add one here:


Dogwood - 60x40cm sketch for a larger painting that never happened!

The hyphen in the title of the poem is deliberate, of course. Recreation without a hyphen means something else.

Monday, 27 April 2015

'Eruption'

I finished my novel today and I'm going to write some poems and paint some pictures before getting on with the next one.

I found a lovely new word today, DEUTERAGONIST - in ancient Greek theatre a player of secondary parts, and altogether someone in a secondary position. That definitely gives food for thought!

And how about a poem? An oldie perhaps?

Over the weekend there have been dramatic scenes in Nepal as a massive earthquake and tremors shook the country and killed thousands of people. I wrote this poem ages ago, but I think it's appropriate.

Eruption

It was a cold night.
Silence was draped over the landscape like a blanket.
One by one the lights in the houses on the hillside dimmed.
Sleep fell upon those who were not watchful.

Then there was a rumble and a murmur
And the earth began to tremble.
The sky was set alight by the orange glow
Of fire escaping from the depths of the earth.

The hillside came alive.
Vast showers of molten rock were spat from its peak and
The lava hurried down the slope in a cascade.
The orange splash was hot enough to melt the trees and grasses.
The energy of destruction tore gaps in the ground.

A bell tolled and the sleepers hurried from their beds.
They fought bare-footed through clouds of scorching dust and gas,
Engulfed by tongues of fire rising into the midnight air
And lava tumbling downwards to the city.

Many were swallowed by the cavernous furnace
Or eaten alive by burning orange tongues.


A few survived.


Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Just a note - new life

I have been writing a novel - still am - so the poetry is getting a back seat. To compensate, I was awarded a grandson - a beautiful peach of a baby born on the first day of spring and coincidentally, the International Day of Happiness! Baby Simon was not expected until at least April 1st, so the surprise and delight was even more immense and my photo of Simon at 2 days old on the crick of my son's arm now graces by laptop, so I can recapture that pride and delight Simon's parents are enjoying. I'm really not sure if a poem of mine could recapture any of this!


Sunday, 8 March 2015

Clerihew poem form

I recently came across a verse-form I'd never heard of: CLERIHEW.
The definition says its a 'humorous, pseudo-biographical verse of four lines of uneven length, with the rhyming scheme AABB, and the first line containing the name of the subject'.

It sounds like a useful form - have I been using it? Probably not, though I've often been able to cast my poems into a form with a name long after writing them. The reason for that is probably because reading poetry involves being conscious of form and rhythm, as well as rhyme, the latter of which is, however, often sacrificed - but is that a sacrifice? Omittance can be, but does not have to be sacrifice. Worth discussing, but not here and now.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Turn of the Millennium

I have lost another friend. February was filled with sadness, and, to be honest, sadness is not something I commit to poetry. I know it's a way of comforting oneself, but reading such lines later brings it all back and I want to escape.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Now and again.....

...I write stories and this seems like a good time to post one here. It probably comes in the category "and worse", but you might enjoy it. The girl in this story never existed except in my mind, as far as I know!

Mary-Jane

 She was not very tall, or clever, nor had she the charm to counter her physical ordinariness. In fact, she was someone you would definitely overlook in a crowd.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The Pathway

Sometimes there are no words left to speak in prose form. That may be one of the reasons for writing and reading poetry. Poetry is verbal music. Music is more abstract, of course. In poetry, it is words speaking rather than harmonies or tunes. But there is a companionship about poetry that is unique. Writing poetry takes away the embarrassment of sharing feelings (or even feeling emotion at all). We are all human, with human traits and foibles. How many of us can express them adequately? The words are there, however. Let's use them as the instrument of thought, because that's what they are.

Some humans have drifted so far from the humanist idea that they kill and maim for what has replaced it in their minds - whether that be religious or bogus religious ideas, or simply the kick they get from being evil and terrible. I'm glad I live in a country where mothers do not rear sons so that they be killed or kill, or rear daughters so that they can be abused.

A longtime friend of mine died at the weekend.. She has left many behind to grieve, not least because years of pain and suffering in a heroic way preceded a merciful death. She bore it all with dignity and a sad smile on her face.  Now she has gone I'd like to dedicate a new poem to her, but I have no energy to write one at the moment, so I'll include an earlier work, but in her memory. Thanks for reading.

The Pathway (a symbol of life's journey)

Midst the silence of the forest
I can hear my footsteps
As I go.
Somewhere above a bird is calling.
Walking along the pathway is like a treasure hunt.
Around each corner is a pot of gold.
Out of the light into the shadows and back again.
Measured footsteps matching the rhythm of the soul.
The trees are playful.
Their leaf-laden branches sway in the breeze,
Making geometric patterns with the sunlight.
But summer is retreating.
Soon the leaves that fall in twos and threes today
Will be jostling for a space below.
I must hurry.
I want to arrive before darkness spreads its shroud
And the light at the end of the pathway is quenched.
The end is the beginning.
I shall return.

And here's a painting I once gave her:


Daisy Daisy
It's one of two because I painted it twice. She had expressed pleasure at the first one, but it was in oils and not dry, so I painted it again in acrylics (it's not identical, but the idea is the same). I think one reason she liked the painting was that it reminded her of her mother, who had sacrificed so much and worked so hard so that her daughter could have a college education and a good career in teaching. She herself had no children, but my son was like a son to her and is grieving for her as intensely as if he had been her son. I'm glad about that, too.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Procrastination (100 Lines)

The word in the title reflects what's been happening to this blog - nothing much. Today I'll post a short satirical poem based on a memory of school. I was always anxious to be good (whatever that is). My father was seriously ill, my mother run off her feet, my brother a trial for any parents, so I was going to try not to be any kind of a nuisance to anyone. That also meant behaving perfectly at school, but that's boring, so I decided to be a bit less good and find out what the punishment for disruption actually did to the soul of a teenager. The  answer is nothing, and the little poem explains why!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

The Secret

Before you read the poem, I'd like you to know that this doll did exist! It lived on for the whole of my mother's life long after I had forgotten all about it. It was tucked into the guestroom bed alongside a teddy-bear she called 'Teddy Oliver'. I don't know why he had that name. I never asked her and she died in 1990. There are so many unanswered questions in my mind. Did my mother have no dolls as a little girl? I never had a teddy. Teddies were for boys, I was told. I never understood why I had a doll in the first place, seeing that dolls are a surrogate for the Bellinda type babies as in the poem, which look very much like real babies at birth, except that you don't go to dolls' hospitals with real babies. I also only had one, as was customary in the old days. My mother did not think I would have children so on reflection letting me have a doll was like putting ideas into my head. She disliked having children and had told everyone she did not want any, but then it came to pass... She must have been disappointed that I did not do exactly what she wanted: no marriage, no family, no nothing(?) I supposed the nothingness is inevitable of you live long enough. I always thought three score years and ten were plenty of life to have, but in fact I'm grateful for still being here, despite the arthritis etc. 

Thursday, 8 January 2015

In the beginning...(A cat for all seasons)

...My early poems have been lost, either in the mists of time, or, and that is more likely, have been chucked out alongside all my memories of school, by my mother, who probably needed the space!

My first Russian Doll  is one of my earlier poems, though I wasn't thinking of the Russian Doll phenomenon in poetry (see also first blog post). Sometimes rhythm and repetition take over, as they did here. Russian dolls are playful, of course. As for cats: I can assure you that McIntosh took over the family until he decided to move on. Form is a natural part of poetry-writing and there are hundreds of styles, some of which I would like to discuss as time goes by, not least because I'm very much a learner poet! There is something rather trite about the 5 line form used here, but it is meant to make reciting it more musical. A light-hearted poem that does not like being read out loud lacks musicality. There are plenty of poems you cannot endure because reading them aloud is like walking over cobblestones. Other poems you can only endure when they are recited. A good example (for me) is Longfellow. I used to read Longfellow aloud sitting up in bed soon after I had discovered that reading was amusing. Coming back to Longfellow after many years, I was surprised how much the poem had influenced me musically, but also, how arduously constructed much of it is, especially in the matter of finding rhymes. There are, of course, a lot of poems you would never dream of reading aloud unless alone, since it can be quite embarrassing to be smothered in other peoples's emotional outpourings! Nevertheless, poetry can come from and reach the depths of the human soul. Shakespeare knew, as did many who went before him and innumerable who came after.

Russian Dolls

Wrapped one inside the other like onions.
Which one came first?
Which Russian doll spawned the next.
Did they start small and end big?
Or did they start big and end small?

That is the baffling part of poetry.

In the beginning was the word.
That is the first claim in Genesis, 
the first book of the Bible.

How accurate is that claim?
Is it possible that in the beginning it was 
THOUGHT that took priority?
Would that also mean:
In the beginning was the idea?

Poetry is based on words.
Words are the instrument of poetry.
A poem is thus a play on words.

You have to love words in order 
to give them poetic life.
That is what I hope to do here.

I want you to know that I am struggling 
to find words for my thoughts.
The words are there, like keys on a piano,
but I must unite them 
in order to make poetic music.