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From Notes to Poems 7

Wednesday, 21 May 2008 10:31:54

Wednesday, 21 May 2008 10:31:54

What lily-lamps are these, bowing as we
Pass and making watery obeisance?
What hypnotic music leading us a dance
Amid the willow, oak and acer trees?
Who'll wear this geisha's metal wig, and who
made this swimmer, all right angles, curve so
Sumtuously? Carve this solid stone
So sensuously it was not made but grew?
By brook, weir, waterfall, pool, rivulet,
A winding woody way, a bridge, another path,
A cottage from a fairy tale, a poem from Plath,
This garden has such verve, high spirits, wit
These sculptures can't be precious, grim or smart;
The trees speak for themselves: so must your art.

I've made a few small changes and will now let it sit for a while. I'm away for a few days. The blog will resume some time next week by which time I shall be thinking of writing something which is NOT a sonnet!



From Notes to Poem 6

Tuesday, 20 May 2008 10:30:54

Tuesday, 20 May 2008 10:30:54

A winding woody way, a bridge, another path,
A cottage from a fairy tale, a poem from Plath,
This garden has such energy, high spirits, wit

I think I can begin the list with items that describe the water features. That will then link on to the 'winding woody way...' etc.

So we will have Brook, weir, waterfall, pool, rivulet, which together will make another ABBA quartet:

brook, weir, waterfall, pool, rivulet,
A winding woody way, a bridge, another path,
A cottage from a fairy tale, a poem from Plath,
This garden has such energy, high spirits, wit

and I have to work on the final couplet. The last line I think will be 'The trees speak for themselves, so must the art.'

Having found myself writing a sonnet again, I'll look at the scansion. There are a few places where I'm not quite happy with it.



From Notes to Poem 5

Monday, 19 May 2008 12:15:46

Monday, 19 May 2008 12:15:46

I've resolved (in my mind anyway) line three so now I can start to think about the final lines. It's become a sonnet of course. I really will have to break this habit.

Which of all the words and phrases I jotted down am I going to select? 

a winding woody way (too many 'w's?) a bridge a path
a fairy tale cottage
a poem of Plath

Ah...  this is gong to be a couplet

A winding woody way, a bridge, another path,
A cottage from a fairy tale, a poem from Plath

Lists are useful things because they both create the picture and allow you mess around with the order of the items.

I want to say something about all the water in the garden and about it's atmosphere, which to me has something very different to what youu experience in a gallery. It has energy and wit.



From Notes to Poems 4

Friday, 16 May 2008 12:03:58

Friday, 16 May 2008 12:03:58

Time to get to grips with these lily-lamp-plant-sculpture-fountain things.

What lily-lamps are these, bowing as we pass and making watery obeisance?
What hypnotic music something something something
Amid the willow, oak and acer trees?

It has the rhythm I want and if I want the rhyme ABBA I could force 'these' to the end of a line somehow. But I think I'll be satisfied with 'we' as the rhyme for trees which luckily fits the line length too. I like run on lines which almost hide the rhyme so I'm happy with:

What lily-lamps are these, bowing as we
Pass and making watery obeisance?
What hypnotic music something something something
Amid the willow, oak and acer trees?

It's important to me that these were the trees we saw. It may not matter to the reader - but I think that a sense of actuality, of real recording and observation adds something to writing, whether it's poetry or prose, fiction or non-fiction.



From Notes to Poems 3

Thursday, 15 May 2008 16:04:35

Thursday, 15 May 2008 16:04:35

So...

Who'll wear this geisha's metal wig and who made this swimmer, all right angles, curve so sumptuously, carve this solid stone so sensuously?

Getting a bit carried away there - so I'll pause and think about the feeling I had that the materials in some instances were so smooth that they looked as if they would be soft to the touch. 

Who'll wear this geisha's metal wig, and who
made this swimmer, all right angles, curve so
lithely/sumptuously/lissomly? Carve this solid stone
So sensuously it seems it was not made but grew?

This has the feel of a four-line set which might actually be lines 5 to 8. Back to the lily lamps and the lake to see if we can get the first four lines sorted out.

 

 



From Notes to Poem 2

Tuesday, 13 May 2008 13:58:04

Tuesday, 13 May 2008 13:58:04

How to begin?  With, I think, the image I remember best: a pond sculpture which comprised lily-like fountains which swayed when one walked past. They also looked like up-lighting lamps. They seem to bow, to make obeisance - is that too flowery? 

What lily-lamps are these, bowing as we pass?

And the other pond, from which music - oddly hypnotic eastern music, like the gamelan orchestras of Indonesia and Malaysia - seemed to issue:

What hypnotic Malay music draws us on?

I seem to be asking questions. It might be a way to give the poem shape.



From Notes to Poem

Monday, 12 May 2008 10:57:05

Monday, 12 May 2008 10:57:05

How does a poem start?  Sometimes a line or two come almost out of nowhere and start the process off. Sometimes as we've seen there's a particular stimulus: a challenge, a homage to another poem and so on.  More often, a poem will start with rough notes, jottings, thoughts, bits and pieces - quite like other kinds of writing in fact.
I thought I would try to see how the process worked in a bit more detail because, for once, I'd kept notes I'd jotted down while visiting a sculpture garden a few weeks ago. It was an amazing experience and I wanted to capture it in words somehow.
So these are the jottings - a bit neater than my notebook but otherwise just as they occurred:
story tree  /  lichen on boulders /  metal toupee for a geisha / lily lamp bowing / gamelan music from oriental pool / bridges,stone, moss-steps / water still water flowing / weir pond lake brook rivulet / willow acer whimsy and wit / worth all the indoor galleries / surf the air in stainless steel / hard corners making flowing body shapes / galss wood aluminium stone / so sensuous it seems soft to the touch / a fairytale cottage / a poem by Plath / I want my words to be more transparent / and green / sculptured green from hellibores to willow / oak to   / stippled in with thalia(?) / bluebells, anemone, periwinkle / it's a gallery, a shop / must be hard to say goodbye to some of these pieces / are the lilies laughing? / sculpture outdoors - can't be named and tamed like it can indoors / trees speak for themselves / wild tamed? 
You can see there's a mixture of observation (both simple lists and some little images) and reflection. Jot it all down is my advice. This is your sand, your cement, your ballast. Pile it up.



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