The Poetry Place

Snowdrop poem picture

Wednesday, 13 February 2008 14:31:01

Wednesday, 13 February 2008 14:31:01

I thought it would be effective to match the poem with a picture. Nothing too clever, just a picture of the snowdrops I'd picked (a pic of the pick?). The dark background makes an ideal setting for some white print.

I used the simplest program of all - Paint - to do this, first colouring the text white in Word before cutting and pasting a few linhes at a time onto the picture in Paint. I had to remember to set the foreground colour to white and the background to black and fiddle about a bit but the result was, I think, worth it.   To access it from here, I've had to insert the picture back into a Word document... there must be an easier way but I can't think what it is at the moment.  Anyway, here it is.

A Happy Valentine to everyone - especially at Teachit!



The Final Cut

Monday, 11 February 2008 14:22:22

Monday, 11 February 2008 14:22:22

Late December, given weather hard or clement
The snowdrops would begin to send
Through the first small stars of uninspiring leaves
That seemed too feeble to survive.
They were anonymous and quiet:
During new year revels, kept out of sight,
Waiting. Then buds appeared like magic doves
From a green magician’s cloak.  Our love
For these so fragile signs of spring
Sent us out with nail scissors and tea-cups
To choose and snip enough to fill 
The tiniest of vases. Some buds closed up
Like miniature long-life bulbs, others showed
Their faint green watermarks inside cupped
Petals. We knew they would be fleeting, cropped
Like this - but how much more appreciated.

If you look closely you'll see a lot of alterations - and I'm not quite satisfied yet.



Snowdrops (after Heaney's Blackberry Picking).

Friday, 8 February 2008 13:47:19

Friday, 8 February 2008 13:47:19

Late December, given weather hard or clement
The snowdrops would begin to send
Their first small stars of uninspiring leaves
Hardly strong enough to survive;
They were anonymous and quiet:
During new year revels, kept out of sight,
Waiting. Then buds appeared like magic doves
From a green magician’s cloak.  Our love
For these so fragile signs of spring
Sent us out with nail scissors and tea-cups
To harvest just enough to fill 
The tiniest of vases. Some buds closed up
Like miniature long-life bulbs. Others show
Their faint green watermark inside cupped
Petals. We know they will be fleeting cropped
Like this - but how much more appreciated.

Some punctuation to be looked at (replace stop after bulbs with comma?) But the basic form is there now, for tinkering later.  Heaney's negative reflection is opposed by this, more positive one.  One shouldn't be slavish!



Wednesday, 6 February 2008 15:21:48

Wednesday, 6 February 2008 15:21:48

I have cut just a few snowdrops today. My poem continues, then:

From a green magician's cloak. Our love
For these so fragile signs of spring
Sent us out with nail scissors and tea-cups
To harvest just enough -        to fill 
The tiniest of vases. Some buds closed up
Like miniature long-life bulbs.

Shall I look to return to Heaney's theme or not?  It's perhaps enough that his poem has set me off on my own course now.  I'll see how I feel when I look at the whole thing.
Must have this done by Friday, I think.  False deadlines?  Sometimes you need them.

 

 



or perhaps, HOMAGE

Monday, 4 February 2008 15:04:08

Monday, 4 February 2008 15:04:08

From here the lines started to diverge from Heaney...

They were anonymous and quiet:
During new year revels, kept out of sight,
Waiting.

Except 'Waiting' echoes the single word, 'Picking'.

And, again, forgetting my starting point for a while, I want to capture the wonderful suddeness of blossoming. What I am reminded of is something magic:

Then buds appeared like magic doves
From a green magician’s cloak.

How will I end that line?  And how can I bring in something else that they remind me of - those little long life light bulbs?



or is it PARODY?

Friday, 1 February 2008 10:49:51

Friday, 1 February 2008 10:49:51

I start with a fairly swift line for line equivalence, just to get the feel of it.

Late August given heavy rain and sun
Late Jan, given weather hard or clement
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
The snowdrops would be out…
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
At first just a little star of uninspiring leaves
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
Thin, not strong enough to survive

All sorts of things need changing, I know.

After a little thought, more memories of snowdrops and a visit to the clumps growing in the garden, a change of the second line to

The snowdrops would begin to blossom

More thought makes me realise that I need to get the first appearance of the snowdrops before I move on to blossoms, just as Heaney notices the first hard blackberries. So I need to go back a month.

Late December, given weather hard or clement
The snowdrops would begin to send
Their first small stars of uninspiring leaves
Hardly strong enough to survive;

I also want to mirror Heaney's gentle rhymes and almost-rhymes. So 'send' is fine. I was unsure of 'clement' to begin with. I still think it sticks out a bit - but it is what I mean so perhaps I should stay with it. 'Uninspiring' is a bit, well, uninspiring. But it's what they are at that stage.



PASTICHE continued

Thursday, 31 January 2008 16:16:55

Thursday, 31 January 2008 16:16:55

The definitions of both parody and pastiche mention the need for the writing to have sufficient similarities to the original in more than one area. In other words, you can't write a parody which merely uses the rhythm, or just uses similar words. In a parody of a song, we would expect the tune to be the same and the words to have been adapted. Often that adaptation might have travelled quite a long way from the orignal, but it must still have a recognisable connection.  Without that, the original is simply a stimulus to the secondary piece of writing. 

Let me take the example of Blackberry-picking. An adolescent parody might try a version entitled nose-picking, but we are not going down that route.  There are opportunities for quite a clever version called 'Nit-picking' I would think, if anyone would like to have a go!     No, I am going to keep the natural theme but adapt it to something we are experiencing now - the advent of snowdrops.

And before I can get further than the first line or two, I have to go out and look at them again...



PARODY and PASTICHE

Tuesday, 29 January 2008 11:20:53

Tuesday, 29 January 2008 11:20:53

What do you think of when you hear the term 'parody'?  Does it hint at mickey-taking?  A parody can certainly be used to take something down a peg or two - but it is often a homage to the original.  Chambers has 'a burlesque or satirical imitation' which sent me to look up 'burlesque' and came across this wonderful definition in Chambers. 'Ludicrous imitation: a piece of literature, of acting, or other performance that mocks its original by grotesque exaggeration or by combining the dignified with the low or the familiar: an entertainment combining often coarse jokes, strip-tease, songs and dancing (U.S.)...' 

So, it seems, at one extreme a parody can indeed be mickey-taking. But it can also serve the purpose of satire (a more dignified form of the same thing perhaps!).  Humour seems to be a key component.

Pastiche, on the other hand, can be 'sincere expressions of admiration for the original work' according to the Oxford Companion to the English Language - though Chambers downgardes it to 'a jumble, a pot-pourri'. I think the writer of that definition was getting over-excited because of the proximity of pasties, pastrami and pastries.

I'm interested in this topic because of the writing I've done in response to poems by Duffy, Heaney, Armitage and others.  None of which were written to denigrate the originals - quite the opposite, in fact.  Moreover, only 'My Owners Kept Me From Terriers Who Were Tough' could be accused of trying to get a laugh.

 



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