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The Poetry Place

After the break 10

Tuesday, 23 September 2008 14:55:16

Tuesday, 23 September 2008 14:55:16

There are more notes from that trip but I think I'll put them to one side for the moment and leaf through my jottings and see what there is from a separate trip to France. Journeys are great for material, whether they're holidays or travelling you have to do.  Repetitive journeys aren't so productive of course, and you really have to look, listen (touch and smell?) hard to retrieve sensatons or unlock thoughts/feelings that are fresh.

Carry a notebook. Or, if you want to look cool, jot down what you find on your phone and keep it in drafts. No one will know you're collecting material for a poem, they'll think youre texting your friends.



After the Break 9

Monday, 22 September 2008 17:08:06

Monday, 22 September 2008 17:08:06

I think 'admired' is better than 'looked at': the sense is more accurate and the rhythm of the line is better.

beyond the lifebelts on crucifix posts
beyond the red bollards
and the pink marker bouys
a boat rides easily on the swell
like a streamlined nike trainer
fast, expensive - and made to be admired

'Expensive' is my choice for the missing word in the last line. I'm not entirely sure about it. I'd like a word that means 'over-priced' without being quite so unsubtle. And do I keep the 'nike' (uncapitalised)? I don't want to advertise the brand but without it the trainer might seem a bit ordinary.



After the break 8

Friday, 19 September 2008 15:14:08

Friday, 19 September 2008 15:14:08

No sooner the thought than the deed!  Playing with concrete poetry is a lot easier in Word - and, no doubt in other programs.  Pen or coloured pencils, felt tip pens - all these would be good too.  Each has its advantages. The ICT means I can try things out and make mistakes, move things about and change colour and size very easily - and for visual effects, as here, that's important.    What you can't do so easily is curve your words, decorate them and generally swirl them about.  Anyway, take a look here if you haven't seen the link already.

I haven't put the birds in yet, I now remember. But for the moment I'm more interested in looking over some of the other images I've got. Very visual, I note, and lacking a feel of the fresh wind - though the sound of the wire is there.

beyond the lifebelts on crucifix posts
beyond the red bollards
and the pink marker bouys
a boat rides easily on the swell
like a streamlined nike trainer
fast, ----  and made to be looked at.

I've selected a few of the images and developed the one I think is most interesting. A word missing still and then...?



After the break 7

Thursday, 18 September 2008 12:48:58

Thursday, 18 September 2008 12:48:58

beach beach rocks beach sea sea sea sea sea sea sea
beach sea sea sea sea sea sea sea sea sea sea sea sea
beach two figures seaweed sea birds beach beach beach
sand sea wavelets wavelets sea sand sand sand seaweed
sand sand sand seaweed sand sand sand sand sand sand
sand pushchair dad boy sand sand sand sand sand sand
sand sand sand seaweed sand mum sandcastle sand sand
dip rise dip sand stones seaweed flotsam dip rise sand
sand sand sand footprints sand sand sand sand sand
sand sand old shoe plastic bottle wood seaweed sand

and now I need to put some birds in - some are on the beach  one or two in the sky.

Perhaps I should combine the two in a Word document to give a better idea!

 



After the break 6

Tuesday, 16 September 2008 20:34:39

Tuesday, 16 September 2008 20:34:39

What now?  What am I going to make out of the material? It's like someone who works with cloth having a wonderful piece of fabric and having to decide - what am I going to make?

Perhaps, given that I'm already a little along the way, I could create a kind of concrete poem from these observations.

sky sky tower sky white grey white blue sky sky sky sky sky
sky sky tower sky white grey white blue sky sky sky sky sky
sky sky tower sky white grey white blue sky sky sky sky sky
sky sky tower sky white grey white blue sky sky sky sky sky
green hills green hills green hills green hills sky sky sky sky sky
green hills green hills green hills green hills hils sky sky sky sky
wall wall wall green hills green hills green hills green sky sky
field field field wall wall wall wall green hills green hills sky sky
field field field field field field field wall wall wall hills hills sky
dark green cliff top cliff top dark green bramble cliff top top sky
rocks cliff rocks cliff rocks rocks rocks cliff rocks cliff horizon horizon horizon

This is, oddly, harder work than it might seem. But fun. And thanks to the computer and can do quite a lot of copy and paste...  However, the constraints of this web-page (and my ability to edit it) means that the horizon may not stretch as far across the page as I would like. Never mind. Try it using a word processor and justify the text.

Then I'll get on to the sea and the shoreline.



After the break 5

Sunday, 14 September 2008 14:03:37

Sunday, 14 September 2008 14:03:37

Here are the rest of my notes as far as I can decipher them. First, sitting by the harbour in Portnoo, on the Donegal coast:

swooping b/w bird
gusty wind  sharp shadows on my pencil / paper
boat out beyond harbour
boat behind the wall, tingling wires on mast
distance wind farm waves
boat like a streamlined nike trainer
red bollards pink marker buoys
lifebelts on crucifix posts
sand rocks rockpools harbout boats
sea island what more cld anyone want?

And then from another spot further up the coast:
little trotty wagtail on the sand
legs a blur
swallow swoops
wasp irritates

Then I tried to 'write a picture' from top left to bottom right:
sky tower sky white grey white blue
greens 
wall
dark green
cliff cliff
rocks  cliff rocks cliff rocks sea rocks horizon
beach sea  island birds birds
beach two figures seaweed sea birds
sand sea wavelets wavelets sea
sand sand sand seaweed sand sea
sand pushchair  dad boy sand
mum sandcastle
dip rise dip sand stones seaweed flotsam
footprints
old show plastic bottle wood seaweed sand

I could go and look at a photograph, but it's interesting to 'see' what I can recall or reconstruct from these minimal jottings.



After the break 4

Thursday, 11 September 2008 13:49:21

Thursday, 11 September 2008 13:49:21

A horse crops the grass
on the steep hillside above the bay;
under its hooves the labrador barks,
wants to play. Gives up, lies down.
On the beach, a toddler tumbles
in sand. Gets up. Falls down.

A tidied up version to which I've added punctuation.



After the Break 3

Wednesday, 10 September 2008 09:51:44

Wednesday, 10 September 2008 09:51:44

Now that I've found my notes I can recall some images in more detail:

horse gently / efficiently ? crops the grass
on the steep hillside above the bay
under its feet / hooves ? the labrador barks
wants to play. Gives up, lies down.
It should be on the beach, with the
toddler falling in the sand
Gets up. Falls down.

Sometimes the purpose of a poem is just to make a record of a moment, nothing more. It's personal like a snapshot. No one else apart from family or a few friends will ever see it. Later it will go into a cupboard or a drawer, be looked at once or twice, perhaps discarded. Perhaps brought out with a 'Ah, I remember...'
A poem can be like that: just a heightened diary entry.

Will I do anything more with the words about the horse and the dog?  I don't know. The difference between a 'poem' and a snapshot is that I can take it out of the drawer and re-work if I feel like it. (Far more radically than I am likely to manipulate a digital image; and a picture, once it's printed, stays like that. Perhaps that's good: something needs to stay the same.)



After the Break 2

Tuesday, 9 September 2008 11:46:14

Tuesday, 9 September 2008 11:46:14

Rather than rework those lines I decided to start afresh.

a sandcastle
with four bucket-turrets
stands out against
the grey-white waves
the only vertical
apart from three
small figures
along the bare white beach

I'm trying to think minimally, so I suppose the first 2 lines could stand on their own:

sandcastle: four bucket turrets alone
against the grey-white waves
or
four bucket turrets
stand out against
the grey-white waves:
Donegal sandcastle

And now I see that it could be a haiku:

four bucket turrets
stand out against grey-white waves
Donegal sandcastle

if you don't mind an extra syllable - and I don't.



After the Break... 1

Sunday, 7 September 2008 14:44:44

Sunday, 7 September 2008 14:44:44

I hope you found some time to do some summer reading. I read The Accidental, Ghost by Robert Harris and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. And Mark Haddon's latest had me gripped.  I did read some poetry. A lovely book inspired by the River Tweed and comprising poetry, prose, photos and artwork. I re-read some Edward Thomas which prompted me to start a new section in the Workshop.  Some of his poems made me want to try my hand at shorter pieces. Not the complete landscape, but some of the details within it.

We spent some time in one of my favourite places: N W Ireland. The scenery is wonderful.

lines across the sand
separating sea from land
wrinkled pooled rivuletted
solitary walker silhouetted

This is from memory. I made some notes / jottings / reminders but lost them for a while and had to rely on memory and a photo.  The horizontal lines were what struck me most. The rhymes were unplanned. I wrote rivuletted not intending a rhyme, believe it or not. Now it's there I can't forget it.



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