Sunday, 30 December 2012

Free Poetry E-books

Nothing to post from my pen from over the holidays but I have come across a site, Poem Hunter.com which publishes collections of poems by some very well known poets, not sure of how they work exactly but it is free to download thousands of poems in collections by author/poet.

It is an educational site and has the following nnote about copyright:
PoemHunter.Com is a non-profit site. Poems are published on this site purely for educational reasons, for the purpose of information and with good intentions. If the legal representatives ask us to remove a poem from the site, this will be done immediately. We guarantee to fulfill such demands within 48 hours. (PoemHunter.Com reserves the right to investigate whether the person submitting that demand is authorized to do so or not.)

I know that I read lots of poetry both classical and new, I think this will be a wonderful resource to make a note of. They do seem to make it difficult to copy poems from the e-books (I am not very tech savvy) so I cannot post a few snippets/samples of the poetry as I had intended. I can see how by printing and re-scanning/etc it would be possible but the effort would probably not be worthwhile. You will have to visit the site yourself and  download your own e-books.

I shall certainly enjoy reading some of the poems and adding to my own poor skill set by the examples set by the poets whose work is being made available.

The works available as downloads run from Shakespeare to Wordsworth to Frost to Spike Milligan; you can see that there is a very exhaustive data base.




Monday, 24 December 2012

More fragments, still struggling with new poems

It has been a while, I was hoping to have been able to justify a new post with a new poem but it is not to be. As before in my last few posts therefore I am simply going to leave you with a couple of other snippets or fragments which I have been working on. I am also intending to include one or two images so that when I come back to these I will perhaps be able to carry on where I left off.






Summer is over, now Autumn rules
and the wind blows cold
time to wrap-up, dig out warmer clothes.

Blue skies darken, grey clouds scudding by
bringing rain and bringing floods.
Like a spoilt child the wind will rage
showing ever changing moods.




Each day I think of you
I think of how to please you
I think I do not know you
Because I always fail

You turn my thoughts away
You turn the tide each day
I can never find an appropriate way
To turn my thoughts to action

There's always some complaint
That seems a cause to rant
And rave, that boils my blood
And buries sweeter thoughts of love

I am thinking that the fragments are becoming poorer in content and as poetry. I am fast losing confidence in my ability, was it just a flash in the pan; those couple of dozen poems which I created before the turn of the summer. I just wish that I could find the creative spark which I thought I had triggered. I am not claiming that those poems were classics but I was proud of them and believed that I could get better. Unfortunately in trying harder to improve I seem to have lost my way. And I am getting to be a bore on the subject.

I have been reading books, magazines and blogs and can't help wondering if I am trying too hard. Am I being put off by what I am reading? This is why I would like to give a link to a blog which includes a short poem written to a prompt. Maybe this has something to teach me? I know lots of sources of prompts for writing and for  poetry, maybe I should try this and simply open my mind and let go, not worrying about the length of the poem but just creating a fragment for its own sake. If I can start to believe in myself again maybe the longer and "better" poems will start to flow again.

The blog is by Peggy Goetz and is called ON A DAY LIKE TODAY. Two poems I liked particularly from the latest posts were December Afternoon and Words Matter. I shall be reading a few more poems by Peggy and hoping for some inspiration. Wish me luck.

By the way, one of the best sites for poetry prompts must be the site Poets United, give it a try.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Poem: A Feather

I am going to try a different tack as far as writing goes. I have been saying lately that I have no difficulty with ideas for poems however I am just worried that the subjects are not "big" enough for a poem.

I have been writing one or two stanzas and then getting stuck. Is it writers block or the wrong subject? So I have decided to post just the one "beginning" and then come back to complete it - if I can. What will this achieve? Well I hope it will focus my mind on completing something before moving on leaving it unfinished which is too easy.

So here goes. I was sitting at a bus stop on my way to work and of course being autumn and windy the streets were awash with leaves. There was however one, well two actually, feathers which I noticed blowing about in the wind. Bingo, another poem was started. As has been the case recently, I got as far as verse two and simply left it because it became difficult to move on. Wish me luck to complete it before next week's post or sooner.

The Feather

A single feather on the ground,
Wind blown and tossed
Amidst the leaves that gathered there,
Alone and lost.

Who knows where or why it dropped,
And at what cost.
But up above a pigeon flew
Home to its roost;
Perhaps a feather from its tail,
Some mishap, I trust.

Of course this is pretty well how it came out and will require editing before it can be said to be complete, but first what is the rest of the story. The "So What?" which I will have to answer. I am hoping that I can move forward on this and break away from writing so many fragments without completing anything.


Fingers and toes crossed, I will be working on this tomorrow. However, as a last thought, am I spending too much time on other things - writing blogs or painting for instance? These are a few paintings from the past couple of weeks. Posted on my Blog, Painting With John. I need to make sure that I spend a little private time when I can work on the poetry properly perhaps. Some scheduling may be necessary, LOL.



Thursday, 8 November 2012

More poetic fragments

I am still not finding the more weighty themes which I need to get my teeth into. I am finding it difficult to find time to write poetry and am looking for inspiration as I walk to the local shops or on my way to work, about the only free time I can use for poetry at the time.

I need to schedule some quiet time to see if I can get over this lack of progress. Six months ago I was finding themes which did provide me with enough material for a poem - at least one per day when I started the project. I must decide wether this is important to me and if the answer is "yes", then I must find the time.

Some of the fragments are given here:

Walking home from work in the dark:-
I walk a long and lonely road,
I carry a weight, a heavy load.
I walk towards the dream.

The same again:-
Night dark
Shadows stark
trees surround me
like some unseen enemy

Walking TO work in the rain:-
Rainfalls
with dragging feet he trawls
puddles on the ground

Walking along a beach at Shaldon:-
Don't swim here!
Exclaimed the warning signs.
Dangerous tides,
Was the reason to fear
Who would not heed
that advice for their safety.
But it happens you know,
as we all to often read.

Walking to the local shops:-
I walk along a tree-lined road
with head raised to the sky
there a bird atop a tree
watched with critical eye

Once more on the way to work:-
The autumn trees in colours bright
orange, red and yellow
such a sight, to his delight
an artists' dream 
to see them row on row

Walking on a sunny November morning:-
The day had just begun
I walked head bowed, by the morning sun
accepting shade from each tree I pass
relief from that blinding ball of gas

There is a definite lack of variety in the situations I am finding that first stanza for. As before, I have more for each start but do not think that they are worked up far enough to post them for the world to see.

I will be trying to write in a specific time and place to see if I can do something about this "writers block" if that is what it is. I also have found a good book which offers advice on how to go about overcoming this issue. If it works I will write about it and let you know the book next time. But for now - I am going into battle.

If that is the right attitude?

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Links to poetry sites and useful resources

I am having a very barren few weeks with no new poems, as I mentioned in the last post I am recording snippets in my note book but nothing is really gelling and I am not finishing anything. So today I am going to list a few sites which I have been looking at for inspiration and new skills/etc.

Poets United - a community for poets who blog

Can U Write, naming a poem

GypsyWhim - a new artists community

Poetic parfait - poetry (what else?)

Haiku Heights - weekly prompts for Haiku

Poetry Foundation - poetry, articles resources

Poetry express - imagine, create, connect

Creative Writing Now - prompts for poetry

Just a contest - poetry competitions in the UK

Well that seems to be a good start and of course many of these will suggest other links for poets.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Why Is Writing Poetry So Difficult At the Moment?

I am having trouble with writing poetry at the moment, I want to know why. A few months ago I was able to get some down, two or three at a time. But at the moment, I can start off with a couple of lines and then dry up. One thing is that I am writing about things which happen to me and unlike those first few weeks I am not doing much, I guess. And a reservoir of ideas and creativity seems to have dried up.

Too many starts and not enough finishes / completions. I mean what can you write about a leaf falling:-
A leaf falls
A cloud crawls
Across a darkening sky
The year turns 
My heart yearns
For a summer lost, I sigh

 Or a bird which gets itself stuck, in a chain link fence:- Not even to enough to bother with yet.

 What about a sunny morning in October:-

Languid lazy water
Reflects the morning sun
A chill hovers before that disc
Waiting soon to run

A house for sale sign:-

Down our road houses marked
Signs proclaiming house for sale
Appearing like new flowers at dawn
On fertile hill and dale

Too many promising starts, most of the above actually run to three or four verses but at the end, I am thinking, "SO WHAT?" I saw this in one of the how to poetry writing books I have been reaading and it has bothered me ever since.  So the point of a poem has become more important to me, and most of mine are simply descriptive of events which happen to or around me. How can I make them more relevant. To what I ask? and the answer is I don't know. I must try and read that book again.

The other thing is bothering about small words and making poems more noun orientated. However, I am getting over that - if it works then so be it whichever it may be; but I do still prefer my lines to scan properly.

A bit of a rant and just wanted to show I have been thinking about poetry, just not getting very far.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Writing Poetry Is Easy

Something a little different this time. I have been a little busy and poetry has not been uppermost in my mind - in fact I have nnot written anything poetic. I have however been writing daily. I have found a web site which acts like a private journal and encourages the writing of 750 words everyday. This could be your next novel, a poem, your next blog post or simply a mass of complete gobbledygook if you are finding that you have a bad case of writers block. Even pressing a single key on the keyboard a few dozen times could get you back on track!
I have tried it for eight days so far and although there is nothing concrete coming back to me, I am finding that already I am writing more in comments and even tags on my posts, etc. I actually wrote about plans for my internet projects, the weather, how I felt about all sorts of things. The point is that it is not going to be seen by anybody else so you don't necessarily need to bother about typos or spelling, the things which often get in the way of a train of thoughts (although I find that it is good practice to edit as I write) it is about creating a piece of writing for practice or even as a draft for what ever you are into at the moment, one of the reasons referred to above.

I have also been busy adding to my Zazzle store (for UK Zazzle store use this link), as I said above the descriptions and even the tags / keywords have benefitted from the practice from 750words.com

Right, now down to a little bit about poetry. I have selected the following five web pages from Squidoo as being very easy to follow and inspirational for writers new to poetry. There are many other much more detailed and complete sites around the web which I will try to list soon, I am taking stock of how helpful they can be to poets. As sources of help, community and inspiration to poets.

How to write a poem - it's easy
How to write a poem Like me
How to write a really great poem
So you want to be a poet, how to write a poem
Learning to write when you dont want to

I hope that these will be useful to even those readers who count themselves as experienced. I always feel that we can learn from most things written about a subject we think we know if we look with an open mind.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

A wake-up Call, A New Poem


A wake-up call

Leaves tap tapping on my window
Each leaf played by soft breezes
Waking me at morning light
In a gentle way that pleases

Waves lap lapping on the shoreline
Just as consciousness returns
Wakefulness from deep within
Though for sleep my mind still yearns

Wings flap flapping ‘round my bedroom
A window’s opened on the morn
In frenzied haste these wings are chased
By light as the day is born

Who’s rap rapping on my door now
I’m not ready for the day
I know what I said last evening
But please just go away

It can’t be time, it’s early yet
It hurts to raise my head
I’ll be there soon, yes – before noon
But for now I need my bed

Stop that bang, bang, banging
That’s enough, I’m giving in
Just stop that noise, give me some peace
I’ll be there, alright, you win


We stopped in a guest house / hotel for a week and there were mature trees and a large palm tree right outside the window, see image. Gave me the idea and inspiration for this poem.
 

The Ness Tunnel at Shaldon; A poem

The Ness Tunnel, Shaldon

 
Walk straight ahead.
Take the first turn on the right;
You can’t miss it,
It’s the only turn
Of course you’ll be alright.

Once around the corner
You will see just where to go.
Watch the steps
They can be slippy.
Just head straight for the light.

At the tunnels end
Find a secluded beach;
But the cliffs
May not be stable,
So take care, enjoy the sights.


This tunnel known locally as the smugglers tunnel was built to service a lime kiln built into a rocky cliff which separates the beach from the area beyond. Lime was landed on the beach and transported through the tunnel along with other goods. During WW2, the tunnel was blocked by causing a roof fall. This is still the case but another exit to the beach was built a little distance away for use by holiday-makers and the local populous to enable this secluded and private beach to be used.

Not sure if I am happy with this at all. Lack of rhyme and structure leaves me very unhappy buut I shall persevere and see how far I can get before needing to revisit objectives.

PS just changed the last lines of the second and third verse, is it an improvement?

Once around the corner
You will see just where to go.
Watch the steps
They can be slippy.
Just straight ahead, you'll know.

At the tunnels end
Find a secluded beach;
But the cliffs
May not be stable,
So take care, stay out of reach.

I think I find it an improvement but it does not give the punchy modern style which I think I am aiming for. But then again, neither did the original, LOL. Oh well c'est la vie.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

My Poetry Takes A New Direction

In answer to the questions I posed to myself in a recent post, the Difference between amateur and professional poetry, I have been trying out a new way of writing poetry.

I am not sure if this makes my poetry any better, if it is any good at all, or indeed if I like it. However I am determined to "improve" my writing and this is very much an experiment to see how things work out. Thus far I have approached poetry as a means of entertainment. Coming from writing songs, my poetry was simply an extension of my lyrics. However the more I read about poetry, it seems that poetry should be more than this. I am not sure that I agree and this seems to be very much an academic view but to get anywhere in the various poetry writing contests and potentially getting published, one needs to join in with the fashions as set by those academics.

I intend to write a post about my feelings on this very soon. But for now, here is my newest poem:-

AUTUMN


Summer recedes,
days lengthen,
nights draw in.
Warm clothing erupts from hiding
deep in wardrobe recesses.
The year creeps on.

Shadowed trees
Proudly silhouetted
Against a darkening evening sky.
Leaves whisper,
“We are still here”.
Soon colours yellow, gold red and ochre
will carpet the ground
beneath those ancient giants,
boughs reaching
to the sky above.
The year grinds on.

Autumn extravaganza
Harvested and stored,
Larders bulging.
Winter arrives
The year slides around.

Almost a bout of free writing but there was a lot of editing involved. However, there is still not much use of metaphors and word pictures. Maybe I still need to work on it, leave it a couple of weeks and come back again; see where I can take it?

The project continues ....................

Saturday, 1 September 2012

The Wind and I, a poem for September

The Wind And I


I battled the wind to work today,
A friendly little bout.
No doubt I won and won quite fair,
His fingers ruffled my well-combed hair
But I won without a doubt.

He called upon his friend the rain,
To help out with the match
Far too late to change his fate,
The result never was under debate
This was, and is my patch.

After rain the heavy brigade
And now here comes the hail.
Solid chunks of ice came sparring,
Joined the fray; set teeth a jarring
But it was all to no avail.

At this he became so angry
He blew up quite a storm.
Thunder, lightening, nothing spared
For damage done he little cared.
I watched eyes full of scorn.

Such a frightening temper tantrum
The like you never saw.
But I kept calm, and would not flinch
I would not budge, no not an inch
His attitude? Shock and awe.

After this he calmed right down
Embarrassed by my scorn.
The damage done, no going back,
No way to take a different tack,
His locks had now been shorn.

His strength abated, the sun returned
The spoiled child was done.
Gentle breezes plied the air
He almost wished he wasn’t there,
A new day had begun.


This is probably the first time I have written a poem with a five lined verse or stanza (aka quintain). Not sure how it came about but I had the first two lines in the first stanza and also the 4th and 5th lines. I couldn't figure out to to put them together, until I decided to complete the stanza with a line rhyming with the second line. It's good to try something different, yes?

In fact, I had just updated a Squidoo lens that I wrote explaining how a poem entitled the wind had been written. I completed the lens with pictures and information on the New Orleans disaster. The update was to add the issues with hurricane Isaac, this year (almost to the day) causing new fears for the residents of New Orleans. Luckily this year the flooding was far less severe.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

The difference between amateur and professional poetry?

Recently one of my poems from this blog was given a professional criticsm. Since then, I have struggled with the idea of "weight" in a poem. Which I was told is the difference between amateur and professional poetry. The idea being that the words (nouns and verbs) in a poem should have a density compared with prepositions and adverbs.

I find that the rythm of a line is the foremost criteria of a poem for me. (I love Dr Seuss for example). I have been reading a number of poetry magazines from our local library and the thing that keeps preventing me from enjoying that poetry is that I have to work to: 1) read them and 2) understand them. Some examples are:-



To some extent this resonated with an article in a local, recorded music society newsletter I read only last night. The argument in this article, was that "pop music" was bad because it was enjoyable; and that "classical music" was good because it had limited appeal.

I enjoy some classical music but I have enjoyed a heck of a lot of pop music over the last 50 or so years.

My point, I think, is that heavy is not always good. In fact it can be downright boring. So am I wrong in enjoying poetry because of its rythm rather than a clever use of words and metaphors?
I write songs and poetry in much the same way that I would speak. I do not change my use of words or language in an effort to be clever; is this wrong? Does it make my poetry bad?


This is something which I will have to ponder upon, probably for a long time to come.

One possible outcome of this is that the one-a-day challenge which I set myself is unfortunately becoming a struggle. There may be other reasons, I started with a burst of enthusiasm and this may be waning. I have been busy and may have too many things on. However, I am still detremined to try and keep up with it, if only at a reduced success. As long as I don't feel that I am writing for the sake of numbers I will keep at it.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

My Latest Poem - That Little Black Dress

 
THAT LITTLE BLACK DRESS


That little black dress
On the shop window dummy
Attracting the crowds
Out shopping today.

That little black dress
Was so neat and appealing,
It sparkled and shone
In a very fine way.

That little black dress
Donated in charity;
Helping the needy
In so many ways.

That little black dress
A sign of a conscience;
Means so very much
That little black dress, OK
 
.
Thanks to saraicat on Flickr for the use of this photo, licenced under creative commons


Not getting on very well with the challenge, not sure why? Very busy and lots of other things going on but I am a little disappointed.
I saw this LBD (not the one in the photo!) in a charity shop whilst waiting for a bus; and it, and what it represented simply begged to be recognised in verse. Gave me my first poem for several days.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

New Haiku for my poem-a-day project

The average for this week is falling short of target. I fell back on this format, as it seems to work for me.
I was having trouble creating poems in longer formats. Lots of ideas, but no real progress towards new poems. very disappointing!






Rain lashed ears of corn
Heads bowed, swaying in the wind
The cold earth waiting.



Dark flowing water
Mirroring  pain in my heart;
Silence hides the hurt.



Old age saps spirit;
Old age consumes memories;
Memories do fade.



Again unsure if these are traditional; subjects, but at least this keeps the average up. Hopefully be back soon with more poems.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Poems written after a visit to The National Space Centre Rocket Tower

Another poem written after visiting the National Space Centre at Leicester.

Blast Off

Standing alongside
That silver rocket,
Power and Grace
Displayed with a spirit.

Man-made, massive,
Four stories high.
Imagine ignition.
Imagine it fly.

Black streak, Blue Streak;
Their names speak to me.
Excitement embodied,
My mind wandered free

Count down commenced
Imagine the tension.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1;
Blast off. Action.

Just watch it go.


In the Rocket Tower at the National Space Centre stands a massive Black Streak Rocket; one of the last designed and built by the UK. It seems to be built out of aluminium and gleams with a silvery colour. It actually stands next to a Thor Able rocket from the USA which is painted, I know which stood out for me. You can stand at the foot of the rockets and look up to see the topmost sections. A lift takes you up four floors so that you can appreciate the whole length of the rockets. They truly are an amazing sight.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Poems written after a visit to The National Space Centre

In fact only one poem so far but I am hoping that a little editing will provide at least two more from this visit. This first poem was inspired by the Drake Equation, created by Dr. Frank Drake to stimulate intellectual curiosity about the universe around us. In effect it sets out to calculate the number of planets with life which may be capable of contacting us.

The equation is usually written:
N = R* • fp • ne • fl • fi • fc • L

It looks fearsome but is really quite a simple concept buut does need some enthusiastic guessing to find an answer. I wonder will we ever contact life if it exists "out there". Here is my poem.

Inspired By The Drake Equation

Our Earth alone
Of nine sister planets
Gave birth to life
Or so we think

Stellar cousins
In uncounted numbers
Exist in the void
As we all know

Each of these suns
Planetary potential
Harbouring new life
Or some do think

Distances vast
Need lifetimes of travel
Holding their secrets
Unknown to us

Never to know
Always destined to wonder
Such a difficult call
Or so I think


As I said above there may be one or two more to come from this visit. I was cetainly flooded with ideas but too many conflicting false starts at the moment. Give me a little time and we shall see.

There is one thing which stands out for me from this, it does not have any rhymes! This is something new for me; either the reading of modern poetry is affecting me or the experience with Haiku has left me feeling a little freer with my poetry. Time will tell if I lapse to my roots and start rhyming again, although I am sure that I will.




 

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

My First Haiku - and more

I wrote this post a while ago, but it never got published,, staying in draft. I have now published it as written so it is somewhat out of sequence.

I have been toying with new formal poetry forms and this is such a popular form that I though I ought to try it out.

Poems arise from words
And words will live forever
Forget me not

The Haiku is of course a japanese form, which has three lines with 5 / 7 / 5 syllables to give a total count of 17 syllables. Otherwise there are no rules. I believe that the original subject of this form of poetry was nature or natures effects.

Red flowers abound
In a battle field of old
Blood colours the earth

I find this such a "deep" form, in that the words must take on such a lot of meaning. I really think that this could have a major influence on my poetry. Up until now my style has been almost conversational withou much though for these deeper meanings. I have tried one or two abstract poems (or something along those lines ) but this I think will have ultimately more effect on my thinking about poetry and hence on the poems I write.

Inspiration grows
Poetry brings new thinking
I improve my skills

I am not sure that these are any good but I am creating them in real time as I write this post - it was originally only supposed to be about my first Haiku.

Light fades with sunset
Hail the coming of the night
Now wild creatures rest

Now this is getting silly, I think it is time that I stopped and took stock of exactly what it means to write Haiku. But I have one question, "Does Haiku have a title?"

The Clerihew - another poetry form

 Well if I have to say so myself, writing poetry to a different format seems to have released a torrent of new ideas.

I decided to try another form and see if the change did me some good creatively. Which one I wondered. The answer was presented in a new Squidoo Lens on the subject of The Clerihew, I came across whilst browsing. It is a humerous or whimsical format a format invented by a Edmund Clerihew bently. Basically it is a four line poem, with a rhyming sceme of AABB but no metre or syllable count restrictions, the lines often having irregular length.

It is often biographical; written about a person, and the first line should contain, or consist solely of that persons name.

So, my first two examples are from the world of pop music:-

You'll be aware that Mick Jagger
Despite his wrinkles has a swagger
But looks are deceiving
Just look at the attention he is receiving

and the second uses the cockney rhyming slang, Hank Marvin = Starvin'

Starvin' Hank Marvin
Gets my feet tappin'
He's my guitar Hero
All others rate zero

And this one in honour of the olympics

Consider Sir Roger Bannister
Raised to knighthood from just a mister
In championship style
He ran a four minute mile

I will be looking hard at other forms to widen the scope of the poetry I am writing. The discipline seems to work for me.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Haiku Poetry - A New Challenge


Although I was finding a poem-a-day was a drifting, it was not the lack of ideas. The number of Haiku, written in one day, below shows this I bellieve. Maybe the challenge was just running out of steam after a few weeks. Miss one day and it is easier to miss another. As the missed days mount up it becomes easier to miss yet more. A form of procrastination perhaps?

Or perhaps it was finding the time? I was creating Haiku in very short breaks or whilst walking along. I found it easy to remember the three lines and write them down in my notebook in seconds. Whereas, longer poems need to be recorded and edited more fully; sometimes several times before considering an initial posting.

Maybe it is a compounding of both reasons.

Or maybe I am analysing things too much?

What ever the cause, I need to find the time each day to write. I have been writing poems in my notebook as I go – on the fly as it were. Maybe I should be capturing ideas and use them later at a time set aside for the poem. At least this way there is no excuse for procrastination. If the notes don’t work, then use some of the many prompts I have been collecting in the last post.

Whatever, here are eleven Haiku which I wrote yesterday. I have been toying with this poetry form for three days and they do seem to come particularly easily. Of course whilst enjoying writing I am unsure about wether I am staying true to the themes and "rules" of Haiku, see Haiku Heights  a blog giving weekly prompts for Haiku (what else?) and gives a definition and rules for various Haiku (?) forms.

One question; Should Haiku be titled?

Warm sun, bright blue sky;
Holiday season arrives.
Sad; my work begins.


Happy tree gives shade,
Relief from the burning sun
Rest awhile; give thanks


Silver trunk grows straight
Whispering leaves, wind blown
Silver birch grows tall


Relax time passes
Your turn will come, learn, enjoy
Anticipation.


Harsh words cause real pain.
Take care speak gently my friend,
For pain brings harsh words


A gate stands open
Will you enter discover
Its destination


Mysteries abound
Dark forces intent on harm
Meditate; stay calm


Original art
Born within the artist’s mind
Creativity.


Existence is now
What came before is unknown
Accept and believe.


Faster, faster still
Rushing getting nowhere fast
Slowdown, relax, live


Modernity rules
Excuses many faux pas
Give me the old days

Hope that you enjoyed reading these and if so please come back as I intend to carry on creating these little poems. You can also read more about my challenge ( a poem-a-day) on my Squidoo website, A Poem-a-day. Thanks for getting this far.

Oh yes, I have just added a networked blogs widget, why not follow this blog, ans show it a little love?

Monday, 30 July 2012

How To Write A Poem when you are stuck for ideas.

I have stalled a little in my quest to write a poem-a-day. So as I was browsing the internet I tried to find if there were other poets out there doing the same kind of thing. Several sites had challenges to write a poem-a-day for poetry month (April), and these usually supplied prompts for each of the days of the challenge. Unsure wether ti force myself to get started again by using some of these prompts. So far I have let a subject arise as inspiration strikes, I think it may well be more difficult to write to someone else's prompt but may give it a try just  to see how it works.

examples are:-

30 day challenge to write a poem a day, with prompts

Poetic Asides, on Writer's Digest has a similar project

Creative Writing Now has hundreds of prompts

I will let you know how I get on.

A site I have found which is aimed at blogging poets is Poets  United which has a directory of many sites with weekly or daily prompts for poetry. I should always have enough ideas with this collection. There are also many other good sections to this site and I will be taking some time to  make sure I become familiar with them all.

There is a list of 12 steps on WikiHow to help with writing poetry, including how to spark ideas.

Hopefully more new poems for the next post.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

New poems, The Thursday Bus and A Water Fountain

I am posting new poems here (of course) and also on Squidoo, A poem every day explains the project and why I started it but also has a few new poems which are not to be found on this blog. THis is because of the need to minimise the same text on different sites which Google does not like.

There are two new poems in this post, the first is another which came about because of a dearth of ideas -however I think it has actually come out very well. This was one where I wrote out the structure (the main ideas) without considering the poetry. The editing later brought the poetry into existence. This is not my usual way of working and happened because I wrote it walking from the bus stp to my home, a walk of about 20 minutes. I would never have remembered the ideas if I had not noted them down in my handy notebook. It has been through several edits so far and may under go more, but here it is as it exists at the moment.


THE THURSDAY BUS

Every Thursday without fail
I catch a bus at eight;
Unless the bus is not on time
And then I have to wait

When I board the Thursday Bus
I always see this man;
Born in the Caribbean,
He’s far older than I am.

We nod and greet each other
Because we share the bus,
And for a few short minutes
Are friends, the two of us.

The differences are obvious
Nationality and years,
But one more differential,
A belief in god he wears.

I’ve never understood the need
Although sometimes I’ve tried
To believe in something greater,
 A supernatural guide.

He sees his Lord in everything
So should I envy him?
For old and poor, or so it seems,
He wears such pride within.

In the little time I see him
He seems to be fulfilled.
A wonderful achievement
To be so strongly-willed.

The Thursday Bus soon stops for me
I leave him on his own.
His journey takes him far away
On the Thursday Bus alone.
As the poem says, Returning home from work on a Thursday, I have to catch a bus and I always meet this old, West Indian gentleman. We make small talk to pass the time and he often brings Jesus into the conversation. I only travel a few stops before alighting and leaving him to travel on.


The second poem  was inspired by a photograph I took whilst on a weekend trip to Yeovil, Somerset. Seen at Lytes – Cary Manor. Somehow the poem doesn’t seem to be finished, I may yet come back to it complete the piece.

On Seeing A Water Fountain
Water bubbling from an urn
Falling in an arc returns
To the pool from whence it came.

Splashing on it’s joyful way
Wets the statue in it’s way
Singing as it finds its home.

Such a peaceful, calming sound
Glad am I to be around
That fountain calling to me.

Water pumped from holding pool
Sprays the air and makes it cool
Offering tranquillity.

The days at peace, so am I
Watching water from so high
Cascade tinkling down again.

From that urn held up so tight
Stony grip maintains the height
Water falls like silv’ry rain
Playful in it’s merry game.

Addendum: I have decided that the third line in the three line verses, should be two syllables longer. Just found that this helped to make the whole poem flow better. I will be editing and reposting in my next post. Simply shows my writing procedure, if it doesn't work then alter it.




Friday, 20 July 2012

New Poems; A Poem and Nearly Roused To Action


Well the project is faltering but I have had a very busy and difficult time at home.

But here is my answer:-


A Poem

To write a poem about a poem
Almost seems incestuous
But right now I need a subject,
It’s really quite innocuous.

I gave myself a challenge
Write a poem every day.
At first it seemed quite easy
But today, who knows, OK.

Where to start? I need a theme
That I can write about
And then consider what to say
Make it novel so it stands out.

The first line is the hardest
And then others follow on,
The rhymes provide ideas
Until the game is won.

So please excuse this subject
I‘ve struggled for so long;
I’ll write a poem about a poem
It’s really not so wrong.

Well the poem says it all. I have gone a few days without writing anything (or at least anything poetical) and needed to end the dry run. Why not write about the difficulty I have been having. This was the result. It certainly seemed to work since the next poem came in the afternoon. There were quite a few changes as I wrote it and again when I typed it up, but that is to be expected. Hopefully the continual editing is beneficial.


The second piece today:-

Nearly Roused To Action

Nocturnal cries
Eternal sighs,
Dark nightly sobbing.

Unknown sad song
Who knows what wrong
Has been committed?

In the distance,
Some disturbance
Rends the quiet calm.

Should I worry?
What can I do?
Just raise an alarm?

Another witness
To this sign of distress
Will surely make that call.

Safely in bed
Hey, sleepy head;
Pull the covers up!


Not sure where this one came from. I had been reading some “abstract” poems on the internet and thinking about pairs of words which sounded good together. The first lines came together very quickly but I did not plan anything. In fact after the third verse, I completely changed the direction of the poem. Not sure if I like it but it certainly makes me think, “What would I do?”

Monday, 16 July 2012

A Poem Written At The End Of the Day

I am writing poems for my poem-a-day project faster than I am posting them to this blog, I am not sure if this is a bad thing. The blog is really to give me a place to record my progress on the project rather than publish the poetry. For instance, I am posting on Squidoo and on that site I would be penalised for posting elsewhere. So at least some of the poems will be kept for that site. I have just written a lens (=a web article) which outlines this project and gives snippets of some of the poems posted here but it will also contain some of my "better" poems, my personal favourites. So if you would like to see what I consider my best work please pay a visit to that site. It is originally posted with one new poem but I will be adding more as time passes.

For this post, I am including a poem which I wrote whilst sitting in my garden during a lull in the rain which we have been seeing this awfully wet summer. The sun was going down, everything was quite peaceful (no mowers or other garden sounds) just the sound of birds at the end of the day.

Evening Promise

A sound of flapping wings
As birds are settling down
Dusk is fast approaching
And the world is calm

Light fades and birds call
Evening comes for nature’s rest    
I sit and I listen
And the world is at peace

Clouds are floating by
No rain tonight it seems
I will take my nightly rest
And resting offers dreams

Dreams of times long since gone
Confusion creates awe
But with the coming, morning light
Like birds my hopes will soar
 
 
 The image was taken quite a time ago and is only used here to illustrate the poem.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

A poem-a-day project update.

Just had to make this quick post, to keep up the new impetus. I have been away for a short break and although I anticipated several new poems, things did not work out as I hoped.

The weather in the UK has been WET for the past few weeks and the past few days have been no excepetion. I think we were luckier than many parts of the UKand did see some sun but one road between our hotel and the nearest large town was closed down because of flooding, when the local river burst its banks.

Anyway, I added another short snippet to a poem which I posted on this blog a few posts ago. Let me remind you of it.

21st June

Rain

It’s raining again, oh goody!
They told us we were short of water
And to use a hose was out of order.
In case of use a fine would follow
But now that’s sounding rather hollow.
It’s raining again, oh goody!
Well I just had to make a response to this, ahem, little gem. And here it is:-

6th July

Enough Already!
It's wet enough,
It's not as if we need yet more.
But there is one thing
That I have to say,
Beware of what you're wishing for.


OK, back to reality next time. The project is on again after the holiday. And yes despite the rain we did enjoy ourselves. Expect a poem about Glastonbury, The Tor and/or The Chalice Well. Glastonbury has a very long history associated with Authurian legends and I am sure there will be much to write about this lovely and magical town.

There, I have listed a few subjects. No excuses not to write the poems. Be back soon.

Monday, 2 July 2012

New Poems: The Artist's Role & Buddist Chant

Back in quickly to post two more of my daily poems. Not sure that I would rate any of these as world beaters but it is beginning to be easier to start writing on different subjects. Today, I focus on artists and buddhists. Also I am developing a process or/and a routine which I am sure will benefit me in the days (months ?) to come. I would love to know what you think of them, and look forward to any criticsm in your comments.

The images are often of the subject of the poem but the monk was selected rather than the cover of the CD I was listening to at the time.


26th June

 The Artist’s RĂ´le 
 
Abstract abstraction
Collage perfection,
From imperfect parts
To a meaningful whole.

Textures contrasting
Directional casting,
Calm and contentment
The artists true goal.

A skilful creation
By well practiced action.
A bold affirmation
Of the artist’s proud ole

A colourful flourish
But never too garish.
Artistic appraisal?
It’s food for the soul.

 This is one of two pictures hanging on a hotel wall by the same artist. I enjoy creating collages and rather liked these works. What better way of celebrating them than to write my next poem on the subject of art.

 I found this more difficult to write because I had actually chosen a subject this time. Lots of editing and rewriting but eventually arriving at something I can live with.

In trying to find a rhyme with “whole” in the first verse, I actually found lots of possibilities and decided to make this a feature of the poem. I used a rhyme on the last line of each verse. A different rhyming form for me but one I think works quite well.



27th June

A Better Life

Shining sounds
Of people singing
Clashing gongs
And bells a-ringing.
Imagining
Some far off temple
Mystic views
A world of fable.

Holy monks
Will chant and raise 
Voices aloud
In simple praise,
To their God
Whose all forgiving
Goodness
Will reward them all.


Alternative last line for this poem:-

“Their reward will bring”

The song came to mind whilst driving back from a short break; my wife had put on a CD of Buddhist Chants and this set off a few thoughts which I completed after the journey.

I will be saying more about my process in the very near future, although I may well be writing a Squidoo lens (=article). I will be posting  the  link on here though.



Thursday, 28 June 2012

More daily poems

This has been more fun than I imagined. Not really making the one a day, but the average is good. Seems like I have to have the opportunity in order to write. Note to myself: need to create this opportunity and provide thte time.

Well I have another three and I am very happy with these so lets get right down to the nitty gritty:


25th June

A Healing Circle

 Round and round and round we go
Follow the path, all we need to know.
Find the centre that’s the plan,
Return again a better man.

Round and round and round we’re yet
Upon a path ordained, it’s set
From here to there and then return.
A healing circle, look and learn.

Round and round and round we walk.
The path is clear, no need to talk.
It spirals in, then out again.
A healing prayer to ease the pain.


My wife and I visited a “Garden of Well-Being” inGloucestershire, called Matara. The gardens have been designed to create a sense of calmness, and contain elements of Japanese (Zen garden) and Celtic traditions (mazes or labrynths). The double spiral is a common form of the single route labrynth and is called here a healing circle. The idea being that you walk forward to get to the centre and by keeping going in the same direction you reach the exit, a different exit of course.

I started to write this lying in bed in the hotel we stayed in for two days visiting two wonderful gardens. It was very early and most of it came to me without too much conscious thought but I had to write it down before I forgot it. At 5.00 a.m. this would have been a distinct possibility.

The first verse came out in one go. The second verse was a little more difficult to find and in fact it nearly did not get written. I wrote the third verse after the first and thought that the poem was complete but after a little break decided to add another verse. The second line of the last verse originally read:

" It spirals in, it spirals out."

However, rhyming with “out” was difficult and so came up with the alternative seen above.

The last verse eventually appeared, still using the same repetition as the other verses for the first line. The rhyming couplet gave me a little trouble, which is why the second line is a little stilted The word order being a little unnatural although not unforgivingly so.

The third line also took two attempts, firstly:
“From here to there and back again”

The lack of a suitable rhyme again led me to change to a slightly different tack.

When a lyric or poem “falls” out on to the paper quickly, without needing too much concentration on my part, I often find that it is one of my favourites. Although it is only days since this was written, I believe this will be the case with this poem. I must admit to being quite pleased with it.


25th June

As in a dream!

I am so glad that I did get up and write the last poem down. When I got back in bed I was obviously on overdrive and another poem came very quickly to mind. Again it did not need much work from me, the lines coming very easily. This time I did not write the poem down straightaway, I allowed myself to drop off to sleep – and of course later on upon reawakening, I had completely forgotten it. I remembered that I had completed it but could not even remember the theme or subject of the poem except that it was something to do with the visit of the day before. Just like a dream it had evaporated completely.

A warning to get ideas down on paper as soon as possible and whatever you are doing.


26th June

The Black Tower

A calming scene of luscious green
A tangled woody bower,
A colourful riot before one’s eyes
And then afar a tower.

The tower is in black stone built,
The local stone is sand,
I cannot help but wonder why
The builder made this stand.

The crenellations ‘round the top
Add to the mystery
Like a castle on a hill top proud.
The man a dreamer, he.

Was it a show of daring-do
Or was there a special reason?
But either way, to travellers’ eyes
It stands out all year, each season.



A photo of a distant tower seen at Old Sodbury, Gloucestershire. I was struck by the colour of it as we drove by. Virtually all other buildings were in the oolitic limestone common to the Cotswold area. In fact the councils will not allow any other materials to be used for new buildings in an effort to maintain the scenic beauty of this wonderful location.

I have very little to say about this poem, it being another one that came out very easily. Again, the last verse was written before the final verse but not an uncommon issue, I would guess. In the third verse above the third and fourth lines have been changed, the originals being:

“Looking to all who pass it by
Like a castle, there to see”

I am very glad that I took a few seconds to change it.

 Oh yes, crenellations are the shapes of the rectangular, protective devices seen around the battlements and towers of a castle. A note on the tower from Wikipedia:-
There is a crenellated tower on the escarpment immediately above and to the East of the village, resembling a rook chesspiece, visible from the main road, that performs the function of a ventilation shaft (the first of six) for the Chipping Sodbury Tunnel, on the main railway line from South Wales, via Bristol Parkway to London Paddington). These shafts were designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel for the Great Western Railway, which runs through the village and under the hill above it.


Actually I am going to call it a day for this post there, I will post the third poem in my next posting.


Saturday, 23 June 2012

Poetry, Beginning To Write Again Many Years

If you have read some of my previous posts here or my poetry-basedSquidoo lenses, you will be aware that the poetry I have been posting on the internet was almost all writtten many years ago in my youth. I have mentioned that my interest in writing has been reawakened by the postings. However, I have not been active in this endeavour.

In order to kick-start myself into action I am going to try and write a poem everyday. I am not sure if I can carry this off but if I do it will lead to a number of short, probably poorly written and an eclectic range of subjects. All to the good perhaps, especially the latter. Also, looking on the bright side, I should be able to edit the better ones into something to be proud of. The hope is that the action of writing will have three major affects:-
  • Writing more will encourage more writing
  • Writing more will encourage creativivty in my writing
  • Writing more will improve my consistency and skills in writing
If I seem to be repeating myself it is because I have great expectations of writing more. So everyday I will be making notes and putting a couple of stanzas down on paper. I will be editing as I go of course which is of course a standard part of the writing process. However I hope that by frequently posting  some of the "best" on this blog, more editing of course, I will get back into the business of writing poetry again.

Here are three which I have writen on the first two days of this project. Nothing came on the third day but I do feel good about them.


 
20th June (My thanks and apologies to William Shakespeare for the inspiration.)

Rush Hour


Hustle, bustle, toil and ruffle
Clothes protecting from the weather.
Rushing through the snow and rain
To their place of work ordained, 
Commuting colleagues all together.
Every morning it’s the same.

In the evening, repeat procedure
But carry out in reverse order.
Buses, trains and cars a-honking
Stressful signs of people waiting
To get home a little quicker;
Lord, O Lord, please heed their praying.


Played around with many rhyming schemes but settled on this one. Not usual for me - but after reading lots of free and non-rhyming poetry I wanted to be different. The first stanza came together and I worked on it for sometime using ABCCBC.

The original second line was, “Clothes worn keeping out the weather”. I may still keep it yet. Actually on second thoughts, to go back to the rhyming scheme, I am stayin with the original. Leaving, “Clothes worn to keep us warm” as second reserve.

The last two lines in stanza 2, after failing originally to maintain the rhyme scheme were,
“For the next stage of their journey
To get home, Lord heed their praying.”

NB. I moved the word “procedure” from line to line three times during the writing of this poem.


Shopping

Spending money, joining queues;
Oh boy, what joy
I can think of better things
To occupy my mind.
And if it should come to it,
I rather spend my time
Doing almost anything else,
Than shopping

I get no satisfaction
From brash new fashion.
I don’t need or get along
With must-have toys for boys.
Why are they so needed?
It really is a mystery,
A waste of world resources.
That’s shopping!


Wow, I thought I had finished this but have made several minor and a couple of major revisions to it whilst typing.  These were mostly to improve the metre and rhythm of the lines in the poem.
Apologies to Messers Jagger and Richards, but I declined their original line to improve the metre here.


21st June

Rain


It’s raining again, oh goody!
They told us we were short of water
And to use a hose was out of order.
In case of use a fine would follow
But now that’s sounding rather hollow.
It’s raining again, oh goody!


The shortest yet! Written during a few minutes waiting for a colleague at work.

I will of course keep you up to date with this project, hopefylly more posts (and poems) will follow rapidly.