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The Poetry Place

Holiday Memories

Thursday, 15 October 2009 14:55:53

Thursday, 15 October 2009 14:55:53
Some small tweaks to the first three verses. I've cut the fourth one out. I think it needs a final verse but not that one.

The sand
beneath your sandalled feet
still wet from the retreating tide
streaked with lines of seaweed
had a colour like no other:
like Marmite with a greenish-yellow tinge.

Along the sand
amongst the racks of weed
we'd find the harvest of the sea:
washed wood, plastic pieces, corks, feathers
- all the flotsam and the jetsam
a boy and dad could want,
from which we'd fashion rough model boats
battleships with gun turrets
with barrels made of rusty nails.

The sand
beneath bare feet tickled and soothed
but stones and shells did not;
paddling in the slop and flow of waves was fun
but walking back on sharp shingle hurt
like the sandpapering of toes
as anxious mother towelled legs and feet.


Poetry Day!

Thursday, 8 October 2009 16:43:53

Thursday, 8 October 2009 16:43:53
Distracted from creating my Holiday memories by various other commitments including today, of course, being Poetry Day.  Although every day is poetry day here.

I spent it at a primary school in Crowle where we worked on memories. By 2pm we had poems ready to present to parents - so a bit of pressure in the writing process!  I like the focus this gives - and the children love it - but I wouldn't want this to be the way they generally set about writing.  Hopefully the day has added to a good positive view of poetry and they'll be in an upbeat frame of mind next time a poem (or invitation to write one) comes around.

Back to Hol Mems next week.


Tuesday, 6 October 2009 08:14:50

Tuesday, 6 October 2009 08:14:50
It's amazing what you've got accumulated. Perhaps too much already.  But worked upon like this:

The sand
beneath your sandalled feet
still wet from the retreating tide
streaked with lines of seaweed
had a colour like no other:
Marmite with a greeny-yellow tinge?

Along the sand
amongst the racks of weed
we'd find the harvest of the sea:
washed wood, plastic pieces, corks, feathers
- all the flotsam and the jetsam
a boy and dad could want,
from which back at the caravan or bungalow
we'd fashion rough model boats
battleships with gun turrets
the barrels made of rusty nails.

The sand
beneath your bare feet was fun
but stones and shells were not;
Paddling in slop and flow of waves was great
But walking back on sharp shingle hurt
As did the sandpapering between the toes
As anxious mother towelled legs and feet.

I’d not yet learnt to swim,
Kept well within my depth
Under mum and dads watchful eyes
Loved the lift and swirl of salty waves
But hated the moment you had to commit
To the cold unwelcoming water
It’s lovely once you’re in
Yeah – right! We would have said
Had we coined that ironic reply.


Holiday memories

Thursday, 1 October 2009 10:11:18

Thursday, 1 October 2009 10:11:18
Thinking and remembering the sand...

The sand beneath sandalled feet
still wet from the retreating tide
streaked with lines of seaweed
a colour like no other
can you picture Marmite with a greeny-yellow tinge?
amongst the racks of weed
we'd find the harvest of the sea
washed wood, plastic pieces, corks, feathers,
all the flotsam and the jetsam
a boy could want
from which back at the caravan or bungalow
we'd fashion model boats
not delicate with sails and rigging
but rough hewn battleships

That's straight from memory to paper - so needs a lot of work but there are parts that I think sound quite good.


Holiday memories

Wednesday, 30 September 2009 08:19:41

Wednesday, 30 September 2009 08:19:41
I Haven't given up.  Just thinking...
In fact, there are too many memories - so some sifting has to go on.
Sometimes things work out when you leave them alone and come back to them. Other times, you have to work at it.  I think this might be the latter...


Holiday memories

Thursday, 24 September 2009 16:34:12

Thursday, 24 September 2009 16:34:12

The sand beneath your feet was fun

The stones were not

And paddling by the waves / breakers / waters edge was great

But walking back on sharp shingle hurt

As did the sandpaper wiping dry between the toes

I’d not learnt to swim yet

Kept well within my depth

Under mum and dads watchful eyes

Loved the lift and swirl of salty waves

Hated the moment you had to commit

To the cold unwelcoming water

It’s lovely once you’re in

Yeah – right! We would have said

Had we coined that ironic reply.


Some ideas beginning to take shape. I'm happy for this to take some time to work itself out.





Holiday Memories

Tuesday, 22 September 2009 11:45:02

Tuesday, 22 September 2009 11:45:02
I now notice that as my jottings went on, they got longer and less 'poetic'. I wonder if that's common. I would have thought it might be the other way around. 

Looking for the hook that will catch my attention - never mind the reader's - I'm thinking about the tansion between positives and negatives, though that may be putting it too strongly.  But finding the right kind of sand vs the wrong kind / stones is crucial; good weather / bad weather; the sandy paddling patch / the sharp stony part etc.

I need to see if that kind of balance will work or not.

The sand beneath your feet was fun
tempted to write - 'it meant the holiday had begun'
but it makes too obvious a rhyme and then I'll be stuck with clunky rhyming couplets.

But drying off between the toes was like rubbing sandpaper
- that's the memory! - but it needs working on. Later.






Holiday memories

Friday, 18 September 2009 12:50:57

Friday, 18 September 2009 12:50:57
Continued...

And items, jetsam, floating onto the shoreline
returning for breakfast laden with supplies of wood and plastic
feathers
Each year we would bring more equipment - hammer, nails, saw
a proper spade for digging and piling sand

and return home with boats complet with gun turrets, masts, bridge
if we'd had the right shaped stuff we'd have made sailing ships

boats were best. Cars, trains - anything with wheels was hard, didn't look right. Aircraft might be easier but required long flat bits for wings. 
No, a flat piece of wood sharpened at one end plus someupright posts (a 6 inch nail would do) and some blocks of wood or corks soon made a believable oat. as long as you didn't try to make it float...



Holiday memories

Thursday, 17 September 2009 15:37:43

Thursday, 17 September 2009 15:37:43
Reading a short story about someone else's summer and their recollections of holidays prompted memories of my own.  It's also something which most people, including children, can recall and if they can recall, can write about.

So, on with the jottings...

sand between toes - bands of stones - between the sea and me -
sometimes on my father's feet (had to think about father or dad - dad is more accurate to my experience but father has a nicer rhythm - does truth suffer as a result?) balancing - walking in our fathers' footsteps -

patches of sand and sharp shingle - on the water's edge, the paddling patch - sand suitable for building or too fine, too stony - a good place to sit - away from others - or too cose

the breakwaters, the sea defences - wartime tank traps, blockhouses, pill-boxes - my dad knew their names and purpose.

driftwood, seaweed, shells - but mostly driftwood.  Seaweed like Heaney's blackberries, promised much but always disappointed.


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