The Poetry Place

March poem

Monday, 28 March 2011 14:40:38

Monday, 28 March 2011 14:40:38
Income Streams

Pupil droplets: in ones and twos
down the streets and lanes,
they gather into threes and fours,
form streamlets, boys and girls
coalescing into brooks
and then into broader burns
as school gates are reached;
pour in and swirl and whirl
and, momentum eddying,
pause  and find their level
in the reservoir of class or hall.
BUT this is nothing compared to
the breaching of the dam
and the torrent which outpours
when the final bell is heard!


March of the pupils

Thursday, 24 March 2011 11:43:54

Thursday, 24 March 2011 11:43:54
I've tried out different ways of doing this and come back to 'compared' rather than 'in comparison'.  And begin with a BUT

BUT this is nothing compared to
the breaching of the dam
and the torrent which outpours
when the final bell is heard!

How do we make these choices?  To say 'it feels right' isn't much help to a pupil.  It is, though, a mixture of sense (I want it to convey what I mean!) and sound (does it flow, is it rhythmically satisfying - or is it awkward, jarring?)

Although the lines above don't rhyme, I do like the echo of 'compared' in the final word. That's luck - but the ear hears it and the conscious mind then says, nice one, that works! 

So I'll stop messing about with the poem and paste the full version here:

Pupil droplets: in ones and twos
down the streets and lanes,
they gather into threes and fours,
form streamlets
coalescing into brooks
and then into broader burns
as school gates are reached;
pour in and swirl and whirl
and, momentum eddying,
pause  and find their level
in the reservoir of class or hall.
BUT this is nothing compared to
the breaching of the dam
and the torrent which outpours
when the final bell is heard!

I'm tempted to add 'boys and girls'  to line 4, though....



Marching on

Monday, 21 March 2011 9:38:52

Monday, 21 March 2011 9:38:52
A week since I looked at this!  A busy one in which work took me from NATE office to Nunsthorpe Primary School (interviewing mythical monsters and performing poetry) and on to the delightful students at Bishop Grossteste College in Lincoln (via Brumby Secondary and a dance version of Cleopatra at Hull New Theatre).  What stimuli!  So I should be in fine fettle to finalise this poem...

Replacing 'rushing' with 'broader' removes the sense of hurry and makes me happier with the other lines. Removed 'the' from school gates and changed a bit of punctuation.

Pupil droplets: in ones and twos
down the streets and lanes,
they gather into threes and fours,
form streamlets
coalescing into brooks
and then into broader burns
as school gates are reached;
pour in and swirl and whirl
and, momentum eddying,
pause  and find their level
in the reservoir of class or hall.

The final lines still need attention.

But this river is nothing compared
to the bursting of the dam
and the torrent which outpours
when the final bell sounds.

I'll try a complete rewrite and see how I feel about it -

This is nothing
in comparison to
the breaching of the dam
and the torrent which outpours
when the final bell is heard








Monday, 14 March 2011 17:33:36

Monday, 14 March 2011 17:33:36

Pupil droplets: in ones and twos
down the streets and lanes,
they gather into threes and fours,
form streamlets
coalescing into brooks
and then into rushing burns
as the school gates are reached,
pour in and swirl and whirl
and, momentum eddying,
pause  and find their level
in the reservoir of class or hall.
But this river is nothing compared
to the bursting of the dam
and the torrent which outpours
when the final bell sounds.

I like the one long sentence carrying the words and the pupils rushing to their destination. Though many dawdle of course. And there's a tempting rhyme in my mind in the form of 'breached'.  

I wonder if there's too much sense of hurry here when pupils tend to walk pretty slow and steady into school?


March?

Wednesday, 9 March 2011 11:37:31

Wednesday, 9 March 2011 11:37:31
Do I keep it really minimal or...   Well, let's add some punctuation and link words and see how it comes out.

Pupil droplets: in ones and twos
down the streets and lanes
they gather into threes and fours,
gradually form streamlets
which coalesce into brooks
and then into rushing burns
as the school gates are reached,
pour in and swirl and whirl
and gradually pause, find their level
in the reservoir of class or hall.
But this river is nothing compared
to the bursting of the banks
and the torrent which outpours
when the final bell sounds.

The underlined words are where I feel unsure / unhappy.  Two graduallys in one short poem is one too many!  Should I use the word 'dam' at some point?  Would that be better than banks - which sounds good but is less accurate.


March on

Monday, 7 March 2011 13:54:04

Monday, 7 March 2011 13:54:04
pupil droplets gather
run down the pane

no. try again

pupil droplet ones and twos
down the streets and lanes
gather into threes and fours
gradually form streamlets
which coalesce into brooks
and then into rushing burns
as the school gates are reached
pour in and swirl and whirl
and gradually pause, find their level
in the reservoir of class or hall
but this river is nothing compared
to the bursting of the banks
and the torrent which outpours
when the final bell sounds

that's better for a first splurge

but while I was thinking, I heard these words on Jaz24:

"if you must keep talking, please try to make it rhyme"
followed by the refrain
"cos your mind is on vacation
and your mouth is working overtime"

Wonderful!  Even better is the extended metaphor earlier in the song (by Mose Allison) which many a teacher might want to commit to memory:

"if silence was golden
you couldn't raise a dime
cos your mind is on vacation
and your mouth is working overtime!"




March...

Friday, 4 March 2011 10:34:45

Friday, 4 March 2011 10:34:45
So far the result of the stimuls of the NATE Conference and the Evolving English exhibition has been a bit of a miscellany, a mixed bag or a mishmash. Lovely alliteration, Trevor, but where does it get us?  Perhaps just an admission that sometimes you have to let things settle, simmer and suffer a bit of uncertainty. 
One image that came to me quite powerfully while in London was the situation of travellers into London, whether commuters or delegates, being like the way that underground streams form from all the drops of rain gradually coalescing, sinking through the porous earth and rock...  Then one stream meets with another; the mass of water gathers and finally they burst out of Kings Cross Underground Station - or equivalent.
I wonder if that is just the material for a a verse or two - or just a haiku?  A similar image occurs to me when seeing pupils arriving in their individual droplets, gathering into twos and threes and dripping into school, finally pouring into the reservoir of school assembly.  And later in the day - the dam bursts!
- Initially inspired by Beowulf, bizarrely!



March!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011 15:30:57

Tuesday, 1 March 2011 15:30:57
Half term has been and gone and now the great NATE Conference has happened too.  It was held at the British Library and we were able to have guided tours of the Evolving English exhibition - one of the most successful they hav ever had.  David Crystal was great, too.  Together with input from workshops, I'm not short of inspiration but a bit unsure where to begin. I wanted to try some concrete poetry but discover it's quite difficult to replicate in the blog so I may save that for the Workshop.

Music is in my mind too and while I'm thinking about my next piece of writing, here's a musical start to spring that  I wrote years ago for younger readers:

Spring Orchestra

The snowdrops all play tiny tunes
With high and tinkling notes

The crocuses sing choruses
From little purple throats

The daffodils play trumpets now
A happy golden sound

And then the tulip trombones start
And echo all around…around…around… around… around


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