The Poetry Place

Jottings IV

Monday, 24 March 2008 9:28:50

Monday, 24 March 2008 9:28:50

Sometimes the arrangement on the page seems more important. This is one of the times when I want to centre the words and gradually reduce the line length. It might have something to do with wanting to reflect the shape of a tree - but I'm not sure. Still not sure about the adjectives describing the kingfisher but, for the time being, this is how it is:

Beech trees lean artistically
towards sound of water
where the river’s running fast:
it doesn’t know how far it’s got to go…
Ducks convening for an evening out
nose around the stones and weeds.
Canoeists stroke haphazardly downstream
or drift like slices of ripe fruit.
Now, if you’re patient
and very lucky
you will see
the lightning orange
and the electric blue,
the zipping flight
and great stillness
of the kingfisher.
Just it
and
you.



Jottings III

Tuesday, 18 March 2008 16:00:38

Tuesday, 18 March 2008 16:00:38

Removed ' towards their goal'. My recollection is that they did proceed somewhat erratically. I've added some more to the kingfisher part.

Beech trees lean artistically
towards sound of water
Where the river’s running fast:
It doesn’t know how far it’s got to go…
Ducks convening for an evening out
nose around the stones and weeds
Canoeists stroke haphazardly downstream
Or drift like slices of ripe fruit.
Now, if you’re patient
and very lucky
you will see
the lightning orange
and the electric blue
the zipping flight
and great stillness
of the kingfisher.



Jottings II

Tuesday, 18 March 2008 12:36:31

Tuesday, 18 March 2008 12:36:31

All I've done here, really, is move the lines about. I think they work much better like this. It's as if we see the trees first and they lead our eyes down to the river. Once focusing on the river, we notice the ducks. Then our glance catches the canoeists as they pass by. Finally, if we sit long enough, we might catch a glimpse of the kingfisher.

Beech trees lean artistically towards sound of water
Where the river’s running fast:
It doesn’t know how far it’s got to go…
Ducks convening for an evening out
nose around the stones and weeds
Canoeists stroke haphazardly towards their goal
Or drift like slices of ripe fruit.
And if you’re patient
and very lucky
You will see the orange
and the electric blue
of the kingfisher

Not sure about 'towards their goal'...



Jottings

Monday, 17 March 2008 12:53:23

Monday, 17 March 2008 12:53:23

I feel I've been away from my blog for ages. I miss it.  The trip to Bath was pleasant and the Teachit folk are very hospitable. But back to work.

These are the notes I made while I was on holiday. Materials for a poem I thought. Now I have to see what can be made of them.

The river’s running fast here
doesn’t know how far it’s got to go
Ducks convening for an evening out
nose around the stones and weeds
Canoeists haphazard strokes towards their
Or drift like slices of ripe fruit
And if you’re patient and very lucky
You will see the orange and blue of the kingfisher
Sunlight on the water by the bridge so bright
And beech trees lean artistically towards sound of water



Words from holiday jottings

Monday, 10 March 2008 10:29:01

Monday, 10 March 2008 10:29:01

I shall be travelling a lot this week - including a visit to the lovely people at Teachit office in Bath.  This means I won't have as much access to the site as usual and the blogride may be a bit bumpy. 

This week, then, is probably a good time to finish this series of poems for myself.  I discovered some notes I made while on holiday in France last summer and I'm going to see if they can be turned into a poem - something which will serve no other purpose than to please me (and hopefully a few readers) and remind me, like a diary or a photo or a sketch, of a happy time.



Short-line sonnet: Sunderland Transporter

Friday, 7 March 2008 12:49:19

Friday, 7 March 2008 12:49:19

So here's my short-line sonnet:

Sunderland Transporter

Someone gave a giant a toy:
A mammoth sized meccano set...
Without ado, Colossos let
His imagination go! What boy
Would not try something so
Powerful and grand? Girders high
Above stretch to the misty sky:
Struts, bars, diagonals, row
On row across the icy Tees,
Befogged but best North-Eastern iron...
And from this odd contraption
Hangs down a 'gondola', with fees
To allow cars, lorries, to pass -
But none for horse and cart, alas.

Just Google the title to see pictures of it.



Wednesday, 5 March 2008 11:14:49

Wednesday, 5 March 2008 11:14:49

Looking for giant words.

The synonym function in word just gave me adjectives which weren't useful. The Thesaurus provided leviathan, Goliath and monster. Not much choice. However, my Crossword Solver's Companion provides a huge list of words, most of which I don't know. Like Hrungnir, Blunderbore and Lestrigon. Wow - don't they sound great! But a writer has to consider the reader; what's the point of using a word no one will understand?  You want it to be interesting but not so far removed from common knowledge that people have to reach for a dictionary. So I'm looking at Titan, Colossos, Mammoth...

Someone gave a giant a toy:
A mammoth sized meccano set...
Without ado, Colossos let
His imagination go! What boy
Would not try something so
powerful and grand? Girders high
above stretch to the misty sky:
Struts, bars, diagonals, row
On row across the icy Tees,
Befogged but best <something> iron...
And from this odd contraption
Hangs down a 'gondola', with fees
To allow cars, lorries, to pass -
But none for horse and cart, alas.

I've also worked on the last couplet. Alas came to me as a natural ending. And 'pass' seems a good rhyme and fits the meaning nicely. A bit of a rewrite to make the rest of that line fit and I feel it works OK.



Saturday, 1 March 2008 16:32:58

Saturday, 1 March 2008 16:32:58

I've now got the overall shape, I think. I've used a sonnet based rhyme scheme but reduced the line lengths. So it's kind of iambic quatrameter rather than the traditional pentameter, if you're interested. I think it suits the subject but I'd be hard pressed to exlain why.

Someone gave a giant a toy:
A <something> sized meccano set...
Without ado, <some giant's name> let
His imagination go! What boy
Would not try something so
<something> and grand? Girders high
above stretch to the misty sky:
Struts, bars, diagonals, row
On row across the icy Tees,
Befogged but best <something> iron...
And from this odd contraption
Hangs down a 'gondola', with fees
Listed for cars, lorries and .....
But none for horse and cart .....

Lots still to do - and the final couplet may not work at all. Now looking for synonyms for giant. I may have to use a reference book or two.



Wednesday, 27 February 2008 18:42:43

Wednesday, 27 February 2008 18:42:43

Someone gave a giant a toy:
A <something> sized meccano set...
Without ado, <some giant's name> let
His imagination go! What boy
Would not try something so
<something> and grand? Girders high
above stretch to the misty sky:

I want more detail on these girders. They are so important when you gaze up at it...

Struts, bars, diagonals, row
On row across the icy Tees,
Befogged but best <something> iron...



Tuesday, 26 February 2008 21:30:46

Tuesday, 26 February 2008 21:30:46

Try again...

                              Girders high
above us stretch to the other side
of icy Tees and ....

oh dear. How about:

And then, across the icy Tees
disappearing in the fog, the iron
stanchions...

I'm bogged down for some reason. And the fact that icy Tees sounds like ICTs doesn't help. never mind, I'll have to keep plugging away.



Monday, 25 February 2008 17:16:16

Monday, 25 February 2008 17:16:16

I haven't necessarily finished with that one but I need to leave it for a while.

Continuing the pursuit of poems purely for me, rather than the curriculum, I decided to write a little description of a strange sight I discovered last week while on a trip to friends in Middlesbrough. The Famous Transporter Bridge.
I had a false start:

This is the famous transporter bridge
A meccano kit...

I stopped and thought about the image of the meccano kit a bit more. For those who don't know, Meccano was a popular toy for boys (mainly) in the fifties and sixties. A construction kit with metal pieces and little nuts and bolts. Plastic versions followed but were never quite the same.  Anyway, the toy aspect made me think of how big those playing with it would have to be. Hence the giants in the next version.

Someone gave a giant a toy:
A <something> sized meccano set...
Without ado, <some giant's name> let
His imagination go! What boy
Would not try something so
<something> and grand? Girders high
in the sky....

First flush of enthusiasm over, I need to draw breath. I know that when I start writing 'high in the sky' I'm running out of steam.          



Thursday, 21 February 2008 15:05:35

Thursday, 21 February 2008 15:05:35

Changes, changes...

The hastening train
heads South
unfastening the tracks
like a zip
country falling away
on each side
like a green dress
revealing the cold land
stippled like gooseflesh
beneath

'Hastening' and 'unfastening', though fun in a way, is clumsy. I can streamline the poem like this:

the train
hastening South
unfastens the tracks
like a zip,
country falling away
on each side
like a green dress
revealing the cold land
stippled like gooseflesh
beneath

I'm not unhappy with that. It needs a picture, doesn't it?



Wednesday, 20 February 2008 15:13:59

Wednesday, 20 February 2008 15:13:59


It would make more sense if the train was going South and unzipping, so I'll change that.
And decide on a tense - present?  Line order - ? Do I play more with the word fast?
 
The unfastening train
heads South
unzipping along the tracks
so the land falls away
on each side
like a green dress
from the torso
revealing the cold land
stippled like gooseflesh

I don't think torso is necessary and I don't like the sound of it. That line can go.



Going with the flow

Friday, 15 February 2008 15:24:53

Friday, 15 February 2008 15:24:53

As a change from emulating the greats or paying homage to those anthologised, I've decided to write something completely my own - and based on nothing more than the thoughts that came to me while travelling back home from London.  I jotted them down

the fast train north
the train tracks
like a zip fastener

Once the imge of the zip fastener had occurred to me, I had to ask - what, then is being unzipped?  Well, clothes, obviously -

and on each side
the land fell away
like a green dress           

It's a starting point. At the moment I don't know where it will lead or even if it will lead anywhere in particular.



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