|Journal: ALL MY POEMS|
-------------------------------------------Mood: The Usual
I don't write much nowadays, but I have thrown nothing away and you will find all my poetry at:
http://elusivepoem.wikispaces.com/...Created 2014-05-17 10:15:59
-------------------------------------------Mood: BoredAs I am now over seventy I am forced to consider myself as old. I am told I look at least ten years younger than my actual age, which is flattering. I don't have much energy which is a physical sign of age, but my own mental feeling of this stage in life is that life has become rather boring. Most Tv programmes have very little appeal. The books I want to read I already have read. A person needs challenge and stimulus. Work, however unpleasant it might have been, provided a lot of that. Maybe I should write poetry again, but for that you need to be under quite a bit of stress. Poetry is not born from relaxation....Created 2014-04-09 01:23:08
|Journal: OLD MAN ON THE |
-------------------------------------------Mood: Thinking...Young Mr. Van Crown accuses me of being a grumpy old man on the hill. Ah well, we are what we are. I was simply trying to give avuncular advice about poetry, but it is true. I am grumpy. I have just had my cervical spondylosis confirmed by xray (degenerative discs between my neck vertebrae that give me a lot of pain). Old man, well yes, almost, certanly extremely late middle age. It is a sobering thought when you look at your own skeleton - skulls and vertebrae and the like belong to fossils. It is also sobering when the fact sinks in that these degenerative conditions can not be cured, just as I can never regain the sight in my damaged eye or my lost hearing. I can imagine that even Beethoven became just another grumpy old man. The on the hill bit is true as well. I do live on a hill with panoramic views (and panoramic winds). Things are looking a bit stressed on my hil at the moment because we are at the start of what is threatening to be a very long, hot, dry summer. In some years all the hills turn brown in about February, but this year the grass has all browned off in December. Gardening has become simply trying to save the lives of trees and shrubs by giving them each a little of our precious water. It is time for us to move down off our hill and we have just bought a Californian bungalow in Hastings, on the flat, in town and near the bridge club. We shall probably take at least a year to prepare, sell and leave our country paradise on the hill, but the writing is now on the wall....Created 2012-12-20 01:45:00
-------------------------------------------Mood: The UsualYesterday after I am sure more than a year I decided to look at the Elite Sklls website again and to comment on a poem. Things haven't changed much. Most of the poetry is in my opinion so much drivel. But that is as you say your opinion, I hear people say, and we beg to differ. We think our poetry is good, so there! Why, some people might ask, do you think your opinion matters more than that of others? Well, I'm certainly older than most, you will grant me that, and perhaps with age does come wisdom. I do have a degree in English Language and Literature and a diploma in Linguistics, but we don't write that old stuff, I hear you say. We are young and we make the rules. Nevertheless, please allow me to explain why I think so much of the poetry on this website is drivel.
Firstly, there have always been the reasons why people write poetry, sometimes to express love and sometimes to express grief. Hormonally driven poetry however temporarily blinds the poet. Of course it is a nice feeling to be in love and of course it is an agonizing feeling to be jilted, but there is nothing unique about those experiences. They are if you like the common human condition. If you feel inspired to turn those emotions into words, sure this will act as akind of catharsis for you, but it doesn't make poetry. What it does make is an emotional diary, a record of your feelings which should be kept ina bottom drawer and never offered up for publication. Those emotions and those words are for you, not for an audience. If our audience is not sharing the same emotions, your efforts will be construed as teenage angst, platitudes, clichés, unoriginal and boring. So what can a writer do to turn this sort of stuff into acceptale poetry? What he or she has to do is realize that the major component of any poem is not the emotion that inspired it, but the language that it is written in. Here there are many traps for the unwary. Many think that they have to use an elevated form of English to make their mundane ideas more poetic. These tend to be the longer, multi-syllabled words of Latin origin, adoration instead of love, tempestuous instead of stormy, pulchritude instead of beauty etc. ad infinitum. A preponderance of such words tends to give a piece of writing the tone of a sermon rather than the tone of a poem. My first pice of advice to a budding poet would be to deliberately choose the shortest alternatives whenever you are faced with a word choice. Secondly, the aspiring poet will have come across poetic techniques such as rhyme or alliteration and thinks to improve his or her poetry by using such devices. My advice is, not to be afraid of any such technique, but to use each and every one of them with caution. Rhyme is good, alliteration is good, similes are good, metaphors are good, but only when their use is secondary to the meaning of the poem. In other words, never use rhyme for rhyme's sake nor alliteration for alliteration's sake. If a rhyme or alliteration happily pops up, then by all means use it, but never ever strive to find a word that has to rhyme with a previous one because of your chosen rhyme scheme. The best piece of advice I was ever given was that every single word in a poem must earn its right to be there. The word must mean exactly what you want it to mean and the word must sound exactly right in the context of the surrounding words. This sounding right could be because it alliterates, assonates or rhymes or more probably because it is fitting in with the rhythm of the line.
In order to find the precise words you need, you have to be prepared to revise, revise and then further revise your poem. Change words, change word order and be prepared to remove whole lines. Generally the shorter the better. A poem could have a particular metre, but it must have at the very least a pleasantly flowing rhythm. A line should not sound awkward. Just read it out aloud to yourself and let your instincts guide you. As a very rough guide each line should have approximately the same number of syllables. If you are really keen on becominga better poet, just remember that it is a skill that can be learnt and that can be practised. Read lots of poetry by well-recognized poets. Then try imitating certain styles. Forget for a moment that you feel divinely inspired by God or your sex drive to write poems about how wonderful or awful it is to be you and try something more objective. Write about other people, write about nature, write about landscapes, write about anything where you can be objective and where your poetry is driven by the desire to write good poetry and not the desire to express your emotions....Created 2012-10-21 20:43:40
-------------------------------------------Mood: Guess what!?Taking an interest in Genealogy as we older folks are inclined to do, I discovered that one of my many family lines petered out with a certain Thomazine Browne in the late 17th century. All my other family lines had petered out in Irish bogs or with little Devon villages of incestuous peasants or illiterate coal miners in Yorkshire. As soon as you reach the illiteracy barrier, tat's the end of your research. Thomazine Browne proved different. I found an article on her family which linked her to her great great grandfather, the 2nd Earl of Arundel, Sir John Fitzalan. I had struck a mother lode. As soon as you hit just one noble ancestor, an absolute labyrinth of ancient ancestors opens up, for the aristocracy of course were literate, or at least their monks and scribes were. That fact coupled with the internet where all the old written information is accessible means that I can zoom back in time through ancestors that were hanged for treason, fought at Crecy, were barons of castles, lords mayor of London, Constable of Ireland. One Ancestor married a lady with a long Welsh name whose lineage (and hence mine as well) went back to the King of Gywnedd in North Wales. Another Ancestor took his line across the Channel back to Normandy before the Norman Conquest and a few generations further back until the names stopped sounding French and were the Scandinavian of their Viking forbears. It was like suddenly driving a time machine. But of course Thomazine Browne and all the genes she contributed was but one of about a thousand other ancestors on the same level and no more important in the big scheme of things than the Halfyards who lived in the little village of Whimple in Devon and married their neighbours the Shepherds for generations. First cousin marriages produce interesting diagrams on the family flow charts....Created 2011-07-04 09:43:53
|Journal: WHEN IS OLD|
-------------------------------------------Mood: DepressedThank you to those who have asked after me. I have been absent from this website, possibly because I am not writing poetry. There are a lot of clichés about you are as old as you feel. I come from a family of people who age well as far as looks go. My son for example is 40 and looks 25 and I at the age of 67 do not have grey hair. Up to recently my mental age has always been about 18. When my friend Quentin died this year and later when I fell off a ladder and finished up in hospital, all of a sudden I felt my age. Being old is when you suddenly realize you have nothing to look forward to, only things to look back on. I have just posted a poem on this topic. I wasn't inspired to write this poem, but it is the annual chocolate fish night of the Hawkes Bay Live Poets' Society coming up where we are challenged to incorporate a given line into an original poem. Here are the challenge lines:
These lines are from the six New Zealand Poets Laureate -
Bill Manhire (1998-99) From Children â€¦ like clouds unable to make repairs
Hone Tuwhare (2000-01) From No Ordinary Sun â€¦ wreathed with the delightful flight
Elizabeth Smither (2002-03) From The Sea Question â€¦ It is never the same on any two visits
Brian Turner (2004-05) From Wilson Boys' Boat â€¦My imaginary possession more real than real
Jenny Bornholdt (2006-07) From Instructions for How to Get Ahead of Yourself while the Light Still Shines
â€¦This is you creeping up on your self
Michelle Leggott ((2008-09) From Blue Irises 1 â€¦ Now it begins, another voyage after nemesis
Cilla McQueen (2010-11) From Vegetable Garden Poem I â€¦being hauled upwards by the sun
In previous years I wrote one poem for each line, but this year I have incorporated all the lines into one poem. Writing poetry like this becomes a sort of litmus test as the poem betrays what is occupying your thoughts. My litmus paper is blue.
See my posting OLD MEN SEE VISIONS...Created 2011-03-23 19:52:00
-------------------------------------------Mood: Guess what!?Publish and be damned they say, although many people on this site afflicted by the recessive gene for religiosity, probably consider me already damned. I am publishing my own book of poems complete with commentaries and an explanation of the poetics. You can take the teacher out of the classroom etc. It will be 208 pages along and includes in fact some of the nice critiques that some of you posted on some of my efforts. You are all acknowledged in the book.
I just had the spookiest of things happen. A couple of your German backpackers were staying with us and an ad for the movie Changeling appeared on the tele. I asked them what the German for "changeling" was and they didn't know. I wandered over to my bookshelf and picked up my German English dictionary, but it didn't offer any help. Then I felt my eye being drawn to a dusty book on the top shelf and I pulled it down. It was a copy of the poems of Annette von Droste Huelshoff which I had either never read or perhaps had delved in some forty years ago. The book fell open at a certain page and I read before me these words:
Findlinge nenntman sie, weil sie von der Brust der muetterlichen gerissen sind, in fremde Wiede, schlummernd, unbewusst, die fremde Hand sie legt's wie's Findelkind = o welch ein Waisenhaus ist diese Heide.
A rough translation would be:
They call them foundlings, because they are ripped from the maternal bosom. The stranger's hand lays them as orphans slumbering and unaware in a strange cradle. Oh what an orphanage is this heath.
Now is that, or is that not utterly spooky?? Who guided my eye, who guided my hand, who chose the page? Was it the ghost of the long dead poetess telling me something. I must check if she was an orphan.
I can almost feel a poem coming on called Findelkind. What a lovely German word even if it does sound slike a Jewish pianist. Perhaps I am a changeling! Perhaps I am a transsexual re8incarnation of the dead Annette!
What a delicious idea for a poem. Watch this space.
...Created 2011-01-25 19:16:06
-------------------------------------------Mood: The Usual...Created 2011-01-25 18:59:39
-------------------------------------------Mood: DepressedThe men's surgical ward at Hastings hospital is full of idiots - men, mostly young, mostly tattooed, many but by no means all Maori. They are idiots because invariably the wounds are self-inflicted: rolled a quad bike, punched a window, argued with a nail gun, tried a new stunt while skateboarding. In my case I fell off a high ladder. Yes, with my reputed IQ and certainly with the years under my belt, I should have known better. There is a certain camaraderie in the Men's Surgical Ward. We are the walking wounded. We all feel we should get some sort of medal. For me it is actually award enough to have some pretty young nurse take my temporarily elevated pulse and blood pressure. It is now almost 6 weeks since I fell off my ladder and I have extended my vocabulary to include contusion, haemotoma, cellulitis, debride, necrotic tissue and vacuum dressing. I had my skin-graft yesterday and hopefully in about a week's time when they remove the dressing, I will have an entire integument again. I ask myself whether my recent experiences could possibly be the subject of poetry, probably not, but then who knows....Created 2010-12-08 00:16:46
-------------------------------------------Mood: DepressedThe men's surgical ward at Hastings hospital is full of idiots - men, mostly young, mostly tattooed, many but by no means all Maori. They are idiots because invariably the wounds are self-inflicted: rolled a quad bike, punched a window, argued with a nail gun, tried a new stunt while skateboarding. In my case I fell off a high ladder. Yes, with my reputed IQ and certainly with the years under my belt, I should have known better. There is a certain camaraderie in the Men's Surgical Ward. We are the walking wounded. We all feel we should get some sort of medal. For me it is actually award enough to have some pretty young nurse take my temporarily elevated pulse and blood pressure. It is now almost 6 weeks since I fell off my ladder and I have extended my vocabulary to include contusion, haemotoma, cellulitis, debride, necrotic tissue and vacuum dressing. I had my skin-graft yesterday and hopefully in about a week's time when they remove the dressing, I will have an entire integument again. I ask myself whether my recent experiences could possibly be the subject of poetry, probably not, but then who knows....Created 2010-12-08 00:15:50
Be kind, take a few minutes to review the hard work of others <3
Pressure written by hybridsongwrite
It means a lot to them, as it does to you.
Summer Nights written by ollie_wicked
Unfortunate Reality written by TeslaKoyal
Skin of Fables written by ShadowParadox
Love Can Be... written by HAVENSMITH92
In My Head written by faideddarkness
102.3 written by rev.jpfadeproof
cleverly shunned written by CrypticBard
Break Up written by WriteSomething
What happens written by Wolfwatching
Devils in the Details written by endlessgame23
Red Barn written by rev.jpfadeproof
Treasure Chest written by PieceOfCake
To the King written by HisNameIsNoMore
I will call out your name written by RisingSon
Munyonyo written by expiring_touch
Deaf Dumb and Blind is no excuse written by poetotoe
It's Night Now written by RisingSon
Wasps written by Wolfwatching
Be Free written by hybridsongwrite
Giving written by jjd
One Thing written by Wolfwatching
Incubus written by monad
A Sonnet for Nina written by SavedDragon
new moon written by CrypticBard
In the Mouth of Elysium written by HisNameIsNoMore
Wavelength written by saartha
4th Season of Vivaldi written by HisNameIsNoMore
The Promise written by annie0888
Our Cinder Crisis written by SavedDragon