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Offa's Land - completed

Monday, 3 April 2017 12:47:28

Monday, 3 April 2017 12:47:28

Signed off...ready now for the next challenge. Something completely different, I think.

 

Offa’s land, the country of the Marches

Is rich in hillside, field and tree,

The landscape stitched together quietly

By lines of hedgerows and the odd stretch

Of wooden fence, and hemmed by ditch and track.

Over the next rise, this garment’s torn:

The fabric’s lost its sheen, is all worn

Out - punctured by agricultural sheds and shacks.

But beyond, there on the hillside just above,

A stand of leafless trees rescues the scene:

Leafless but by no means lifeless. Though green

Shoots are some way off, there’s love

Of life regrouping here, ready to show

Itself as soon as Spring says, ‘OK, Green for Go!’



Offa's Land

Monday, 20 March 2017 12:20:52

Monday, 20 March 2017 12:20:52

In the end I’m going for something less active but which gets across the feeling that the natural forces have to get themselves together for the push of spring.

 

Of life regrouping here, ready to show

Itself as soon as Spring says, ‘Green for Go!’

 

Offa’s land, the country of the Marches

Is rich in hillside, field and tree,

The landscape stitched together quietly

By lines of hedgerows and the odd stretch

Of wooden fence, and hemmed by ditch and track.

Over the next rise, this garment’s torn:

The fabric’s lost its sheen, is all worn

Out - punctured by agricultural sheds and shacks.

But beyond, there on the hillside just above,

A stand of leafless trees rescues the scene:

Leafless but by no means lifeless. Though green

Shoots are some way off, there’s love

Of life regrouping here, ready to show

Itself as soon as Spring says, ‘Green for Go!’

 

I’m tempted to add extra syllables in the last line: Itself as soon as Spring says, ‘OK! Green for Go!’

and to leave line 2 a little shorter than the rest. 



Offa's Land

Tuesday, 14 March 2017 13:56:47

Tuesday, 14 March 2017 13:56:47

The next six lines, the sestet, will counter the negativity of the farm buildings by making the spectator notice the line of trees on the hillside just beyond. 

But beyond, there on the hillside just above,

A stand of leafless trees (makes good) rescues the scene.

Leafless but by no means lifeless. Though green

Shoots are some way off, there’s love

Of life……

 

I’m taking a risk with lines 2-3. I think it works but I wonder if others will.

I’m working through a number of verbs to follow ‘life’.  Pulsing, waiting, growing….



Offa's Land

Friday, 10 March 2017 9:31:24

Friday, 10 March 2017 9:31:24

So what does the octet look like now?

 

Offa’s land, the landscape of the Marches

Is rich in hillside, field and tree,

The panorama stitched together hurriedly

By lines of hedgerows and the odd stretch

Of wooden fence and hemmed by ditch and track.

Over the next rise, this garment’s torn:

The fabric’s lost its sheen, is all worn

Out - punctured by agricultural sheds and shacks.

 

I want ‘landscape’ in place of ‘panorama’ so the first line has to change. ‘Country’ works just as well or better.  ‘Hurriedly’ is definitely wrong.  ‘Quietly’ is OK but may not be the final choice.

 

Offa’s land, the country of the Marches

Is rich in hillside, field and tree,

The landscape stitched together quietly

By lines of hedgerows and the odd stretch

Of wooden fence, and hemmed by ditch and track.

Over the next rise, this garment’s torn:

The fabric’s lost its sheen, is all worn

Out - punctured by agricultural sheds and shacks.



Offa's Land

Thursday, 2 March 2017 14:05:45

Thursday, 2 March 2017 14:05:45

I’d like to get the first eight lines, the octet, in a semi-finished state before moving on. 

Patch of what?  That doesn’t work.  What else hems in the land is fencing – and I have a light bulb moment where exactly the right word comes to mind.  A stretch of fencing – and stretch will near-rhyme with Marches.

By lines of hedgerows and the odd stretch

Of wooden fence and hemmed (in) by ditch and track (lane)

Here and there this garment’s torn

…. Line needed here…

Punctured by prefabricated sheds and shacks.

 

Track is just as good as lane, and shacks suits my meaning nicely.  The missing line will almost certainly end with ‘worn’ and the line before is too short.  Here and there is too vague anyway.

Over the next hill / rise, this garment’s torn

The fabric’s lost its sheen, is all worn

Out: punctured by prefabricated sheds and shacks.

 

Prefabricated sounds clumsy. I’ll take the more obvious agricultural.



Offa's Land

Friday, 24 February 2017 17:12:16

Friday, 24 February 2017 17:12:16

The idea of the cloth prompts me to think of where it’s torn – as in where there are intrusive buildings. Farm buildings used to sit comfortably in their surroundings, built from local stone or brick. Metal barns don’t fit in quite the same way!  Not the farmer’s fault – who could afford to build a stone barn? But they are still an eyesore.

Here and there this garment’s torn

Punctured by prefabricated sheds and barn

…or something like that.

 



Offa's Land

Tuesday, 21 February 2017 11:39:39

Tuesday, 21 February 2017 11:39:39

Developing the metaphor...

I want to use hedgerow in line 3 to make the idea of stitched seams clearer so I will delete it from line 2 and substitute ‘hillside’ which works better anyway.

Offa’s land, the landscape of the Marches

Is rich in hillside, field and tree

The panorama stitched together hurriedly

By lines of hedgerows and the odd patch

Of …………… and hemmed in by ditch and lane

 

(Line 2 is two beats short; ‘panorama’ and ‘hurriedly’ are place-savers for the moment.) 



Offa's Land

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 10:39:59

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 10:39:59

Having added the possessive to King Offa, I can move on.

I want to use hedgerow in line 3 to make the idea of stitched seams clearer so I will delete it from line 2 and substitute ‘hillside’ which works better anyway:

Offa’s land, the landscape of the Marches

Is rich in hillside, field and tree

The panorama stitched together hurriedly

By lines of hedgerows and the odd patch

Of …………… and hemmed in by ditch and lane

(Line 2 is two beats short; ‘panorama’ and ‘hurriedly’ are place-savers for the moment.) 



Offa' Land

Thursday, 9 February 2017 12:13:39

Thursday, 9 February 2017 12:13:39

This is a bit of a cheat as I have already completed the poem - but I kept notes as I was going along to try and give an idea of the process.  It's based on driving through the countryside of Shropshire and Hereford.  Starting:

Offa’s land, the landscape of the Marches

Is rich in field, hedgerow and tree

The panorama stitched together hurriedly

By……………

…….. lines of ……………………and the odd patch

And hemmed in by ditch and lane

I like the image of stitching the countryside together with hedges. Though it’s probably not original, I haven’t knowingly taken it from some other poem – or prose, for that matter.

Hemmed continues the idea.   



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