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Memories - final draft

Tuesday, 6 November 2012 13:23:35

Tuesday, 6 November 2012 13:23:35

From Dublin we drove up in darkness

And I took over somewhere near Cavan

You were beginning to nod off

And the weather came down foul

 

We crossed the border at Corgreagh

Through intimidating metal walls

Overlooked by armoured look-out towers

Continued into Donegal via Pettigoe.

 

The rain lashed on the windscreen

And my head was pounding too.

Hour on hour of little roads,

Of scattered towns and pubs.

 

Another hour of moorland lanes,

Wet sheep and boulders, then

Into Ardara and the final leg

While the houses were asleep.

 

Lanes narrower and narrower

A smaller turning and a smaller

Up a rutted road and into damp Portnoo,

Paracetamol and bed...

I awoke refreshed, headache gone.

The curtains were still drawn.

I drew them back

And - in this memory at least - I gasped:

 

The rain had stopped

The clouds had cleared

The views across the bay revealed:

Islands, beaches, headland and sky – it had it all!

We'd passed through Purgatory and come out in Paradise.

 

Final draft - for the moment.



Restructuring cont.

Thursday, 1 November 2012 15:00:15

Thursday, 1 November 2012 15:00:15

So, continuing with the verse structure, we get something like this.

 

Lanes narrower and narrower

A smaller turning and a smaller

Up a rutted road and into damp Portnoo,

Paracetamol and bed...

Where had we come? What dreadful

dead end was this place?     Unncessary, I think)

 

I awoke refreshed, headache gone.

The curtains were still drawn.

I drew them back

And - in this memory at least - I gasped

 

The rain had stopped

The clouds had cleared

The views across the bay revealed

Islands, beaches, headland and sky –  it had it all!

We'd passed through Purgatory and come out in Paradise.

 

Last verse is longer. Does it matter?  Lines long too.  Not sure about 'It had it all! ' 



Restructuring

Tuesday, 30 October 2012 14:43:51

Tuesday, 30 October 2012 14:43:51

My desire for order has driven me to see what a four line verse structure might look / feel like. The first four would be:

 

I remember we drove up in darkness

And I took over somewhere near Cavan

Because you were falling asleep

And the weather came down foul

 

We crossed the border

by intimidating metal walls

And armoured look-out towers

Continued across .... and into Donegal.

 

The rain was lashing on the windscreen

And my head was pounding too

Hour on hour and little towns

Of pubs and scattered towns

 

Another hour of moorland roads

Wet sheep and boulders

Into Ardara and the final leg

All the houses were asleep

 

I like this. Now I’m interested in making further changes:

 

From Dublin we drove up in darkness

And I took over somewhere near Cavan

You were – ( tried various alternatives here and not happy with any of them yet)

And the weather came down foul

 

Some significant changes in this next verse. More geographical detail seems to fit the nature of this travel poem. Through gives a better feel of what it was like and ‘overlooked’ describes exactly how it felt – though I’m not sure if we could in fact see them at night – but we knew they were there.

 

We crossed the border at Corgreagh

Through intimidating metal walls

Overlooked by armoured look-out towers

Continued into Donegal via Pettigoe.

 

The rain lashed on the windscreen

And my head was pounding too.

Hour on hour of little roads (– why did I put ‘towns’ twice? I don’t think it benefits from repetition.)

Of scattered towns and pubs.

 

Another hour of moorland roads,

Wet sheep and boulders, then

Into Ardara and the final leg

While the houses were asleep (Tried ‘when’ and ‘where’. Prefer ‘while’.)

 



More memories from Donegal

Wednesday, 24 October 2012 11:10:27

Wednesday, 24 October 2012 11:10:27

Back from Scotland - and with some jottings from thatvtrip which will feed into some writing at some stage, no doubt. But for now, a bit more of that first drive to Donegal.

Paracetamol and bed...

Where had we come? What dreadful dead end was this place?

I awoke refreshed, headache gone.

The curtains were still drawn.

I drew them back

And - in this memory at least -

I gasped

The rain had stopped

The clouds had cleared

The views across the bay revealed

islands, beaches, headland and sky - it had it all!

We'd passed through Purgatory and come out in Paradise.



Memories cont.

Thursday, 11 October 2012 12:37:42

Thursday, 11 October 2012 12:37:42

I'm leaving this version for the time being... let it stew for a week.

In the meantime, a memory of a similar time but more of a narrative.

I remember we drove up in darkness

And I took over somewhere near Cavan

Because you were falling asleep

And the weather came down foul

We crossed the border by intimidating metal walls

And armoured look-out towers

Continued across .... and into Donegal.

The rain was lashing on the windscreen

And my head was pounding too

Hour on hour and little towns

Of pubs and scattered towns

Another hour of moorland roads

Wet sheep and boulders

Into Ardara and the final leg

All the houses were asleep

Narrower and narrower

A smaller turning and a smaller

Up a rutted road and into damp Portnoo.

... more to come - but a break next week. Off to seek inspiration!



Memories of Donegal

Tuesday, 9 October 2012 15:03:33

Tuesday, 9 October 2012 15:03:33

Lots of changes, from line endings (lines 3/4) to additional lines. Specific places seemed more effective than generalities in line 6 and beans and picalilli better than general 'ordinary supplies'.

I can't quite get the description of the harbour how I want it. The rhythm doesn't please me.

I remember, I remember

I remember, I remember

The lane up to the house

The lane up to the house

where the hedges and the walls

where the hedges and the walls close in

close in and branches overhang

and branches overhang

and the view out on the seaward side

and the view out on the seaward side

is of hills and sea and islands

Shows Iniskeel and Crowey Head

or perhaps a screen of mist

And hills and sea beyond

 

Or when the weather alters

 

A misty curtain falls.

I remember, I remember

 

The shop down by the shore...

 

Selling peat briquettes and seaweed bread

 

As well as ordinary supplies

Beans and piccalilli

And piles of Sunday newspapers

 

Next to the spuds and ham.

 

From there another steep step down

 

Past cottages and fields

 

 

And horses nosing over gates

to the small harbour: Just one long wall,

to the little harbour with just its one long wall,

one protecting solid arm

One long protecting solid arm.

To shelter boats from changing seas.

It shelters boats from changing seas.

Within its embrace a sandy beach

And within its strong embrace, a sandy beach

quite big enough for kids to play

big enough for kids to play and adults to sprawl

Though dwarfed by Narin sands across the bay

Though dwarfed by Narin sands across the bay



In Donegal

Friday, 5 October 2012 15:52:32

Friday, 5 October 2012 15:52:32

There's a bit of thinking to be done now.

Do I want to work on this, hone it, prune it? Or extend it with further memories?

I'm going to print it out so that I can look at it at my leisure...

 I remember, I remember
The lane up to the house
where the hedges and the walls
close in and branches overhang
and the view out on the seaward side
is of hills and sea and islands
or perhaps a screen of mist
I remember, I remember
The shop down by the shore...
Selling peat briquettes and seaweed bread
As well as ordinary supplies
And piles of Sunday newspapers
Next to the spuds and ham.
From there another steep step down
Past cottages and fields
to the small harbour: Just one long wall,
one protecting solid arm
To shelter boats from changing seas.
Within its embrace a sandy beach
quite big enough for kids to play
Though dwarfed by Narin sands across the bay



Memories of Donegal

Tuesday, 2 October 2012 12:19:06

Tuesday, 2 October 2012 12:19:06

 

I realise the rhythm of the lines has changed. I find getting the rhythm of lines is what I need to do early on. It’s like putting up the scaffolding for the building – more than that, because you take scaffolding down – more like the wooden or steel frameworks you see before the rest is filled in.  Not sure how far this metaphor will go!  

So I’ve worked on those last lines and the edited ones are on the right. Most of the lines are shorter and I thought I’d reduced the overall length but I see the new version is only 3 words shorter than the original.  Never mind, I prefer it.

From there another steep step down to the harbour

From there another steep step down

Past fields, not motor boat marinas, rusting hulls

Past cottages and fields

And chains. Just one long wall, one protecting arm

to the small harbour: Just one long wall,

To shelter small boats from the changing clouds.

one protecting solid arm

Between this arm and the rocky land

To shelter boats from changing seas.

A beach of sand quite big enough for kids to play

Within its embrace a sandy beach

 

quite big enough for kids to play

Though tiny by the side of Narin sands across the bay

Though dwarfed by Narin sands across the bay



Memories

Thursday, 27 September 2012 14:31:01

Thursday, 27 September 2012 14:31:01

Just writing without too much thought....

 

From there another steep step down to the harbour

Past fields, not motor boat marinas, rusting hulls

And chains. Just one long wall, one protecting arm

To shelter small boats from the changing clouds.

Between this ar and the rocky land

A beach of sand quite big enough for kids to play

Though tiny by the side of Narin sands across the bay



Memories

Wednesday, 26 September 2012 9:14:25

Wednesday, 26 September 2012 9:14:25

...Selling peat briquettes and seaweed bread

As well as ordinary supplies

And piles of Sunday newspapers

Next to the spuds and ham

Is it obvious the seaward side would have the sea in view? Not necessarily, I suppose.   I want to say more about the walk down towards the shore.  The blackberries in season, the odd strands of barbed wire, the fallen wall over the stream and the crocosmia growing there…



Memory

Monday, 24 September 2012 10:11:07

Monday, 24 September 2012 10:11:07

And what in all this provides material for a poem?   Writing here I have to bear in mind that I'm writing 'in public' and that will constrain some themes, some thoughts and feelings which are perhaps too personal to be shared with an anonymous audience, though I'm sure some writers wouldn't care.

So, back to Donegal, back to memories and back to that old crutch of mine, the borrowed line as starting point.

I remember, I remember / the house where I was born...

(By the way - I don't. We moved twice before we got to the house I remember so my memories are very different from those of my sisters.)

I remember, I remember

The lane up to the house

where the hedges and the walls

close in and branches overhang

and the view out on the seaward side

is of hills and sea and islands

or perhaps a screen of mist

I remember, I remember

The shop down by the shore...

That's the first run out, with thoughts pretty much unsorted, though you can tell my brain has given some attention to rhythm and a bit of organization.



Abroad thoughts from home

Friday, 21 September 2012 15:55:32

Friday, 21 September 2012 15:55:32
Memory's a mystery and its unreliability makes us nervous. We like to think that things are fixed but once they are gone we only have our unreliable brains to bring them back - unless of course there are photographs, letters, other memorabilia.  (And what a lovely word that is - memorabilia. I'd like to make something of that word.)  And how shocking when the photo or other evidence contradicts what we thought we knew, what we thought we remembered.  I remember, I remember, the house where I was born... 


Abroad thoughts from home

Tuesday, 18 September 2012 14:51:33

Tuesday, 18 September 2012 14:51:33

Memory - that's where so much writing comes from. Where else? But memory's a mystery, we all know that.

What triggers pictures from the past?

What things fade and what things last?

Did I do that? Was I really there?  Do we share the same recollection or something slightly different? While I was in Ireland, up in a familiar place in Donegal, I noticed the new sitting area half way down the garden - a kind of patio I suppose.  Having returned, I looked at some photos from last time I visited, four years ago.  There was the same patio - and I had forgotten it was there. It wasn't so new after all.  Memory is a strange thing...



Home thoughts from abroad

Thursday, 13 September 2012 12:05:01

Thursday, 13 September 2012 12:05:01

Movement, change... they generally give rise to thoughts and feelings slightly different from those in more familiar places.  But when you return to places you haven't visited for some time but which are, in a different way, kind of familiar, that creates another range of reactions.   Thgis time, it was returning to Ireland and in particular to Dun Laoghaire and to Donegal.

So I shall be - almost literally - collecting those thoughts and seeing if there is anything there that might form the seed of a poem.



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