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Sonnet complete - for the time being

Wednesday, 21 November 2007 14:36:08

Wednesday, 21 November 2007 14:36:08

Just a few 'final' alterations. I've changed 'our' to 'my'.  I can't really speak for the others.  'Gave voice to' is better than 'relived' because I didn't have those fears as a child so how could I relive them?  'Brandished'  instead of 'carried' is an improvement - and there's a double meaning there of flaming brand.  This is my November 5th Sonnet, then, a bit late:

 It wasn't Fawkes's grisly funeral pyre,
nor rockets whizzing up from bottles, nor
spuds roasted black in embers. For sure,
what made my evening was a torch of fire…
The wonder is, my mother let my dad
create these torches made of poles and tin-
cans stuffed with rags and soaked in paraffin,
which he then lit and gave into our hands.
Ten year olds with fire in their hands!
The wonder is no one was hurt in all the years
we blazed about.  Later, I gave voice to fears:
did not give my children flaming brands...
But... 
it wasn't fireworks made our faces bright;
it was the flames we brandished through the night

 



Sonnet first draft

Friday, 16 November 2007 12:50:50

Friday, 16 November 2007 12:50:50

A few more edits and this is the shape of the thing.

It wasn't Fawkes's grisly funeral pyre,
nor rockets whizzing up from bottles, nor
spuds roasted black in embers. For sure,
what made our evening was a torch of fire…
The wonder is, my mother let my dad
create these torches made of poles and tin-
cans stuffed with rags and soaked in paraffin,
which he then lit and gave into our hands.
Ten year olds with fire in their hands!
The wonder is no one was hurt in all the years
we blazed about.  Later, I relived the fears:
did not give my children flaming brands...
But... 
        it wasn't fireworks made our faces bright;
It was the flames we carried through the night

Still some words I am not happy about.


 



Sonnet taking shape...

Wednesday, 14 November 2007 12:42:56

Wednesday, 14 November 2007 12:42:56

So, back to the beginning.  I need to set the scene and lead into the main focus of the poem:

It wasn't Fawkes's grisly funeral pyre
Nor rockets whizzing up from bottles, nor
spuds roasting black in embers. For sure,
what made our evening was a torch of fire.

A lot of false starts here. I wanted to end the 4 lines with the mention of the torch - but what came before had to be less important. I'd almost forgotten the penny for the guy ritual and the burning of the straw filled effigy. We didn't think it horrible. It was just what we did. It was just a pile of rubbish in an old jumper, after all.

Some uncertainties around 'For sure'. But this gives enough to go on and I can see a final shape now. I hope.



Sonnet continued...

Monday, 12 November 2007 9:34:16

Monday, 12 November 2007 9:34:16

Can you imagine kids with flaming torches
The wonder is no one was hurt in all the years
we blazed about.  later I relived the fears
and did not make the same for children of my own

Pause again. this needs a lot more work but not only that, I feel it's moving towards a conclusion too soon. The link my mind made to my own kids seems to bring it near an ending.

I wonder if I can move the whole lot so that I've got lines 5 to 12 in place. Then finish with a couplet and add four lines at the beginning? It's a plan...

Ten year olds with fire in their hands
The wonder is no one was hurt in all the years
we blazed about.  later I relived the fears.
did not give my children flaming brands...
But... it wasn't fireworks made our faces bright
It was the flames we carried through the night

Getting there. But lots to improve.
'relived' is wrong. repetition of flaming and flames? 'carried' is weak.



Inspiration...towards a sonnet

Thursday, 8 November 2007 10:41:44

Thursday, 8 November 2007 10:41:44

Having gathered some bits of memory rather like the off-cuts of wood and old branches we heap up for the bonfire, I begin with the most well remembered part.
  The wonder is, my mother let my dad
  Set fire to paraffin soaked rags in tins
  and watched  him hand these health and safety hazards out
  to kids who waved them in the sparkling air

Stop stop!

If it's a sonnet it ought to rhyme. There are various patterns to choose from. I like the ABBA one. So I need to consider how i might start getting it into shape. 'tin' and 'paraffin' suggest themselves as unforced rhymes, so how can I bring both to the end of lines?
   The wonder is, my mother let my dad
  Create these torches made of sticks and tins
  Tins stuffed with rags and soaked in paraffin

(I'll alter 'tins' so that there's a run on line: tin / cans)
which he then lit and gave into our hands

Hmmm.  It's a start.



Inspiration

Wednesday, 7 November 2007 10:03:56

Wednesday, 7 November 2007 10:03:56

A new half term, new words - or at least a new direction. I have been working on some sonnets recently, trying out the form to see what it is that has attracted so many writers. It's become a way of keeping a journal - especially on holiday when there's time for such things.

Inspiration
But in order to begin a new sonnet, or a poem of any kind, I need a subject and I need an angle on the subject. Waiting for inspiration is the posh name for it. Inspiration. Which means breathing in, I guess. Perhaps it's that moment when you think, with a sharp intake of breath, ‘Ah, that's it - that's the idea!’


Well, it does happen. However - sometimes you cannot just wait for it, you have to chase it. I'm chasing it now, wondering whether laying a cement floor in an outbuilding has enough in it to warrant a sonnet. (I'm always going on about being concrete rather than abstract so maybe this is my ideal subject matter!)  And some things aren’t right for so public a place as this. If only someone would just give me a topic and an approach!

OK. The past is always a good subject - we all have memories, as I've shown with the poems I've written about my parents. If in doubt, take a childhood memory.
The day before yesterday was November 5th...

First I gather the bits of memory - my dad again, sparklers, squibs, rockets, blue touch paper, catherine wheels which stuck, roman candles, bangers... and bitter cold, gloves, cold breath in the air, and the bonfire. My dad loved fires - so much so that he made flaming torches for us: paraffin soaked rags in tin cans wired to broomsticks! we loved that of course. sometimes there were potatoes roasted in the embers of the fire. no aluminium foil, the skin was black, the inside gorgeous.



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