The Poetry Place

Presents - and Future

Monday, 21 July 2008 10:34:16

Monday, 21 July 2008 10:34:16

I left that poem fallow for a while and I'm going to return to it in a few days time, though I guess most of you will be thinking of other things by then! I shall keep returning to the Open Studio blog over the summer, but less frequently. It's a way of making sure I keep writing, apart from anything else. 

In the meantime - if you're reading this, think about doing some writing of your own over the summer.



Presents 7

Monday, 7 July 2008 12:28:02

Monday, 7 July 2008 12:28:02

It's getting to the fiddly stage now. Writing in free verse has its advantages and disadvantages. Of course, you can be much freer. Yet that freedom has so many possibilities you really don't know when to stop.

In our loft there lies
along with school reports
Lego, Christmas decorations,
and a suitcase of old letters,
a china ornament:
a woman holding up a dove
received one Christmas time
while parents watched and waited;
reactions had to be controlled
and gratitude expressed accordingly.
She was a pretty creature
and it was nicely made
but somehow it was something
we really didn't want...

It reminds me of the tea set
we had bought for them
some other Christmas:
solid earthenware from
a rural pottery we'd visited.
years later they asked if we would like it back
"More your kind of thing than ours...
Silly to be wasted"
but we never used it either.
I think it's in the loft
along with lady with a bird.
Must take them both to Oxfam soon
and salve my conscience.

 



Presents 6

Friday, 4 July 2008 11:35:54

Friday, 4 July 2008 11:35:54

Alterations keep being made but a shape is forming.

In our loft there lies
Along with school reports
Dinky cars and ----
 a china ornament
a woman holding up a dove
received one Christmas time.
while parents watched and waited
 reactions had to be controlled
 and gratitude expressed accordingly.

 she was a pretty creature
 but...

It reminds me of the tea set…
 we had bought for them
 some other Christmas
solid earthenware from
a pottery we visited somewhere
years later they asked if we would like it back
"More your kind of thing than ours...
Silly to be wasted"
But we never used it either.
I think it's in the loft
along with lady with a bird
must go to Oxfam soon
and salve my conscience



Presents 5

Thursday, 3 July 2008 16:27:36

Thursday, 3 July 2008 16:27:36

This is how I'm working on it. Bold text shows lines reworked or added. I think the loft needs some more detail, for example. Is 'our' better than 'the'?

In the loft there lies an ornament
In our loft there lies
Along with school reports
Dinky cars and ----
 a china woman holding a bird
 a dove I think it's meant to be
 and we received it one Christmas time
received one Christmas time.
Parents were watching / parents watched and waited

 with parents watching, waiting
 
 reactions had to be controlled
 and gratitude expressed accordingly
.

 she was a pretty creature
 but, what?, just wasn't what we liked
(I want to express this somehow but maybe earlier)

 reminded me of the tea set
It reminds me of the tea set
 we had bought for them
 some Christmases ago....



Presents 4

Tuesday, 1 July 2008 16:04:20

Tuesday, 1 July 2008 16:04:20

So I'm going back to the drawing board, considering the many times I've given presents which, afterwards, I've realised were just not the right thing to give - or ones I've received which I didn't quite know what to do with. 

In the loft there lies an ornament / a china woman holding a bird / a dove I think it's meant to be / and we received it one Christmas time / with parents watching, waiting / reactions had to be controlled / gratitude expressed accordingly / she was a pretty creature / but, what?, just wasn't what we liked / reminded me of the tea set / we had bought for them / some Christmases ago / and some years later / they returned apologetically to us / thinking it silly to be wasted / we never used it either / I think it's in the loft / along with lady with a bird / must go to Oxfam soon / and salve my conscience

- is what I've written off the top of my head as a start. It flows in lines quite well though there's much work to be done. If you're a struggling writer you may wonder how words come to flow so readily.  It's partly to do with 'letting go' and not worrying too much. partly with hearing some rhythm in your head, like music, and partly to do with experience - reading and writing and then more of it. 



Presents 3

Friday, 27 June 2008 11:10:25

Friday, 27 June 2008 11:10:25

Where shall we put this lovely ornament?
In the bin
Where shall we hang this picture?
In the shed, facing the wall
When shall we eat these super chocs?
When we're starving
Where shall we stand this leafy plant?
Just behind the compost
When will we play that nice CD?
When we want to drive the neighbours mad
read that interesting book?                                                                                when we want to sleep...

Now this is a possible poem building up - but I'm having second thoughts. I'm feeling really mean.  And also, I'm going against one of my own basic principles, which is to make it real. If it isn't actually about my own experience, it's got to feel as if it is. And this doesn't. I'm afraid I'm going to have to go back to the drawing board!  Start again on Tuesday...

 



Presents 2

Wednesday, 25 June 2008 14:20:20

Wednesday, 25 June 2008 14:20:20

The idea of an unwanted present automatically leads to the question of what to do with it as well as what to say about it. So a series of questions started coming to mind, with the unspoken reply. 

Where shall we put this lovely ornament?
In the bin
Where shall we hang this picture?
In the shed, facing the wall
When shall we eat these super chocs?
...
Where shall we stand this... plant?
...
When will we play that nice CD?
...
read that interesting book?
...

Some kind of structure for the writing is beginning to emerge. Is the question and answer enough? It might need something else but at the moment I'm not sure what. 



Presents 1

Tuesday, 24 June 2008 14:46:45

Tuesday, 24 June 2008 14:46:45
Having looked at 'Presents from My Aunts...' with a number of groups of students, I've found it quite useful to focus on gifts which we have been given which were, if not, unwelcome, then at least problematic.  There are always the Christmas presents from aunts and grandparents - much harder to deal with if the givers are in the room - but harder still are presents from someone close, whom you really must not upset. There's quite an art to receiving as well as giving.  In thinking about this as a subject for a poem, I'm remembering things given to me by my children and things given to them by us, the parents.  It's strange how something as happy as gift-giving can be such a fraught experience.   Fruits of my mulling will be evident tomorrow, I hope.


Search:

Archived blogs

   [OPEN/CLOSE]  Parodies and homages


   [OPEN/CLOSE]  How to...


   [OPEN/CLOSE]  Sonnets


   [OPEN/CLOSE]  Topics and themes


   [OPEN/CLOSE]  Different types of poem


    Links

  • Poetry Archive
  • The Poetry Zone
  • Poetry by Heart
  • Forward Poetry
  • British Library
  • Poetryclass
  • The Poetry Society
  • Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award
  • Tower Poetry
    • We use cookies to deliver functionality and provide you with a better service. By continuing to browse our site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more.

      Don't show this message again.