The Poetry Place

Autumn 9

Friday, 31 October 2008 10:01:39

Friday, 31 October 2008 10:01:39

half-cooked: brown one side
still green the other
lone tree in autumn

You won't believe how many little fiddling changes I made to arrive at this:

half-cooked - brown one side;
on the other, still green leaves:
lone tree in autumn

including faffing about with dashes and commas and colons. Honestly! And I'm still not sure that the form really suits it.  Hey ho.  I'll leave it to stand and try to remember to look at it again in a week or two. It could really do with a nice photo. It may not be too late to get one but every day sees fewer leaves.

 



Autumn 8

Thursday, 30 October 2008 15:54:40

Thursday, 30 October 2008 15:54:40

So here goes:

brown on one side
green on the other
tree in autumn

doesn't quite do it, does it?  I need the notion of cooking, or suntanning.

half-cooked: brown one side
still green the other
lone tree in autumn

is better.  Is cooked the best word?  Grilled?  Tanned?
And perhaps I can extend the middle line to the expected seven. I know it doesn't matter but it's good exercise for my brain.



Autumn 7

Wednesday, 29 October 2008 9:36:12

Wednesday, 29 October 2008 9:36:12

So as the days now shorten
and the wind picks up we realise that
The swallows and the swifts have gone
The pond is empty of its frogs
But here and there a bee, a wasp drones on

And while some autumn flowers bloom
The last sweet peas of summer struggle on
The beech trees shake themselves like dogs
and the wind chimes slightly out of tune
And the swallows and the swifts have gone.

More lines shuffled about and I've experimented with repeating the line about swifts and swallows.  I think I'll leave it for a while now.  I still want to play with the image of the trees being browner on one side than the other, though. Perhaps that's a separate piece - a haiku maybe?



Autumn 6

Monday, 27 October 2008 16:18:51

Monday, 27 October 2008 16:18:51

I moved some lines and altered 'the autumn flowers' to 'some'.

The swallows and the swifts have gone
But here and there a bee, a wasp drones on
The pond is empty of its frogs
And while some autumn flowers bloom
The last two sweet peas of summer struggle on

Shall I remove 'two'?  It makes the line scan more easily but s less detailed. I decide it doesn't matter: no one will care if there are one two three or seven last sweet peas.

The swallows and the swifts have gone
But here and there a bee, a wasp drones on
The pond is empty of its frogs
And while some autumn flowers bloom
The last sweet peas of summer struggle on

I wonder about the repetition of 'on'.  And how to begin.  I'll try

So as the days now shorten
and the wind picks up we notice that - no, realise is better -
The swallows and the swifts (etc)

and I see that I am slipping naturally - or am tempted into the iambic de-dah rhythm. I like it but does it suit the poem?

I like the image of the trees shaking themselves like dogs, the raindrops showering off them. Should the trees be more specific?   What were they?  Beech, I think. 

The beech trees shake themselves like dogs
or
The beeches shake themselves like dogs

Leave it. The wind chime's lost its musicality. Oh dear. Too clumsy. Out of tune, maybe?



Autumn 5

Thursday, 23 October 2008 15:27:04

Thursday, 23 October 2008 15:27:04

I still don't have a shape, a structure, for this piece - but it is beginning to develop. The observation, the notes and the thinking are starting to pay off. The fact that I'm writing this listening to the wind banging the last roses against the window does help. 

So as the days shorten
The wind picks up
And the trees shake themselves
Like dogs
The wind chime clinks and clashes
No longer musical

The days are mixed as
Blue sky with grey
Green leaves with red and brown
And while the autumn flowers bloom
The last two sweet peas of summer
Struggle on

The swallows and the swifts have gone
But here and there a bee, a wasp drones on
The pond is empty of its frogs

I notice that in the last three lines I've fallen into a rhythm of 8,10,8 iambics.  When I look back I hear that again in 'And while the autumn flowers bloom' but 'The last two sweet peas of summer'  while also 8 beats is a very different rhythm. I need to play around with this and see what can be made.



Autumn 4

Wednesday, 22 October 2008 13:59:05

Wednesday, 22 October 2008 13:59:05

You need an angle, an approach. Well, maybe not always. Writing about previous places, often I've just found it enough to express an evocative image. Setting myself the task of writing about autumn makes me even more sympathetic to children faced with this requirement.  I need to think how I feel about it - and that's a task in itself.

The best I can come up with is - mixed feelings. And continuing that thought, perhaps that does link quite naturally with some of the things I've noticed, such as the flowers of summer next to the leafless branches, or the trees with green leaves on one side and brown on the other.  Ok, that gives me a starting point.



Autumn 3

Sunday, 19 October 2008 15:14:53

Sunday, 19 October 2008 15:14:53
Stilll looking about me. I notice more details when I know that I might want to write something as a result. I saw that the trees beginning to turn autumnal brown were doing so in stages - some parts of a tree would be green, other parts yellow and still others brown - as if they were being cooked on one side more than another. Perhaps they were. The wind is often strong at this time of year and can denude a tree very swiftly so that one day it's in leaf and the next it's bare. So fast, it's a bit scary. 


Autumn 2

Thursday, 16 October 2008 10:22:07

Thursday, 16 October 2008 10:22:07
This morning the air is sharp, the sky is pale blue. The sun low and making striking shapes and shadows as it comes through trees trunks and branches. There are contrasts at this time of year - falling leaves, withered, crinkled, next to sweet peas still managing to bloom in ones and twos. Dark red leaves of chard, light red stalks; other leaves gorgeous green. Perhaps I need to know the names of more colours. Green just isn't good enough - but (and this must be an issue for any writer) what if I know that name and my reader doesn't? The seed pods on plants, especially honesty, are great - little silver coins - and though the trees are in a perpetual rustle, the ivy is still, oblivious. There's something rather ominous about it.


Autumn 1

Wednesday, 15 October 2008 15:25:23

Wednesday, 15 October 2008 15:25:23
So far I've got words like dreary, misty, murky, drizzly and downright rainy. But that's based on walking the streets of Sheffield on a rainy morning. Before that we had a couple of days of really clear skies where the colours of the leaves on trees really stood out. The acer is losing its leaves fast now and there's a great pool of reddish brown crinkled leaves underneath. Crab apples - like little red marbles - are littering the front path and the leaves will soon be joining them. Lots of plants are still in their summer green and some - like the roses - are putting out new buds. Summer growth needs cutting back. There are long waving arms of unpruned fruit bushes and ornamental shrubs; the old raspberry canes need cutting out and everywhere needs weeding.


Poetry Day...week...

Monday, 13 October 2008 20:27:11

Monday, 13 October 2008 20:27:11
Sorry - really overwhelmed with stuff over these few days. Poetry stuff that is. Very enjoyabe too and lots of enthusiasm out there. Though not for examination type study of poems...  Anyway, my thoughts turn, like Keats, to autumn. It's a hackneyed topic but all the better to have a go at.  See if you can do something original. First of all I need some data. S I shall spend some time tomorrow and the day after researching. No, not in the library, but on the street, in the woods or the garden. What's MY autumn like?  What's YOUR autumn like?


Poetry Day...Week...

Thursday, 9 October 2008 17:03:40

Thursday, 9 October 2008 17:03:40
No work in progress today or yesterday as Poetry Week visits took some time and sent me spinning down to Reading and then back up to Lincoln. I had the delightful experience of working with Judy Seal at Dolphin School (really!) where, as well as workshops during the day, she had organised a Poetry Cabaret for the evening. Brilliant work on show written and performed by her Y7 and 8s, some of which I hope to put on the Verse Nurse pages. They also performed a couple of my poems, the 'Dark Avenger' and 'Song of the Homeworkers', which was lovely. The 'Homeworkers had a real edge of menace to it...  


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