findingtimetowrite

Thinking, writing, thinking about writing…

Archive for the tag “words”

To Be Seduced

Purple sheets and iron rings

Seduction blares

A trumpet whore.

But I prefer the subtle strokes

of half-guessed thoughts.

Aslant leaves all to be desired.

 

It’s my favourite time of the week: Open Link Night over at dVerse Poets Pub. Come and join me for some fun, a real community vibe and good poetry, of course!

On Writing Poetry in the Morning

Know

not at all

what to find in dredges

of my mind: appealing rhymes, rocking sounds,

or free verse galloping to the hounds, ideas so abstract,

sly turns of phrase, precise descriptions, felicitous haze. I wake with words crawling

 

out

every pore

refusing to battle

leading, coaxing, bullying more. Nothing

licks them into shape, so let them swarm gently, leaving agape,

Meaning, words drift asunder, while the Poet chases rainbows. It’s a perfect blunder!

 

This has been an interesting experiment of mathematical meter over at dVerse Poets.  I wrote a rhyming and metered poem yesterday which I have now redone to fit a Pascal Triangle, that is, 1-3-6-10-15-21 syllables in each line.  I am not sure it adds to the poetic experience (the rhymes have gone awry, of course, and I’ve had to lose or change words), but it’s all part of exercising the poetic muscle.

 

Then and Now

I’m afraid I am reblogging myself instead of creating a new poem. Yes, to such grim depths have I sunk – with three fussy patients in the house fighting the flu.  Still, it expresses so much of what I feel about writing now.  And how that has changed in the last year or so since I got serious about writing again.

Well, as serious as you can get whilst making tea, milk with honey, chicken soup, hugging feverish youngsters and so on.

Submitted for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub, the friendliest place to meet and greet poets.

Then and Now.

 

The Death of Poetry

I’m poet-ed out.

 

My words, once so deft

at finding me,

now stand chastened

like moon-faced schoolboys

caught truant once again.

They’ve let me down,

skived off when most needed.

They’ve left in a scramble of deafening noise.

 

I tripple, weary, through mock-landscapes of meaning,

I gush and jargon with the best,

as, achingly, I long for sparseness,

hard-won meander, richness to digress.

Ideal conduct of desire,

harbinger of eloquence,

I snatch at shadows

flitting just outside my vision.

 

There is no rhyme

there is just reason

in my life and on my page.

 

 

Semolina Pudding

When all is said

some word remains,

hanging smartly, hanging loose.

When all is done,

some deed compels

to scratch afresh, to find new root.

They’ve mocked enough the pale surmise,

they’ve overcooked that sweet surprise.

They’ve rattled, counted beans of their trade.

They’ve filed all corners and watered down juice.

It’s all here.

Queen Blandness.

To fill with your meaning,

Take on your colours,

Succumb to your fears.

Girl, Interrupted (by Words and More Words)

This month, and, above all, this past week, I have had to shed my creative self like a snake-skin and slither back into my smooth professional self.  There are many things I enjoy about my work (performing in front of a mostly attentive audience, having my opinions mostly respected, getting paid most of the time).  Yet I can see that it is not conducive to writing.

So diametrically opposed to writing is this kind of itinerant consulting life (there, I’ve said it, that’s what I am!), that I found myself struggling to write even those book reviews I have been planning to write for the past 2-3 weeks.  Not just because of travelling, being tired, faulty or overpriced wireless networks at hotels… but because my words have all been used up.

When you use persuasive language, corporate jargon and the left side of the brain exhaustively, it becomes nearly impossible to fall in love with words again. I no longer want to play with them, soothe them with a lullaby, tease them with a come-hither look, bend them to my will or surprise them and myself.  All I want is blessed silence.

And escapist books to read.

The Art of Science

When they uncovered the last of the bones

they placed them so gently

alongside the rest,

and brushed with soft caresses

the mould blooming in cavernous skulls.

 

When they found paths of eerie beauty

where particles had met

and shuddered to a halt,

they held up mirrors of foggy fascination

to conjure up bold dances to music overload.

 

When the lab mice get injected

to thrill to slightest sound,

vibrate in nervous tension,

they travel through synapses at speeds you cannot measure -

those words blushing with excitement at waking up on stage.

Kindred Spirits

One of the pleasures of dedicating myself to writing (once more) is that I am rediscovering old friends whom I haven’t seen in years, and whose creative talents have matured like good wine.  Our lives have taken such different paths, we are scattered all over the world, we may struggle with small talk and yet…

Our love of words unites us: in some ways, we are perhaps closer now, sharing the best of of our thoughts, than we were when we were living together side by side.

Let me introduce you to just three of these.  First, Paul Doru Mugur, a friend from high school, the only one who kept pushing me (sometimes ruthlessly) to write.  Here is a beautiful and rich essay of his about time, published in an online journal which he co-edits. He also translates Romanian poetry into English, has published several volumes of short stories and poetry, and is generally very active in the arts world – all while holding down a demanding job as a physician in New York.

Secondly, I have a niece who used to pull my hair as a baby, but whom I have barely seen since. She is now all grown-up, has just graduated from university, writes searing prose in Romanian and occasionally in English.  We barely speak to each other at the big family reunions, but have grown close through our online love of writing.  A facet of ourselves well-hidden from the rest of the family.  Here is a poem in English, but I think her real talent lies in flash fiction or polemical pieces.  Here is a lovely example called Tutus and Cigarettes.

Finally, a friend from university who writes like an angel.  Her blog House of Happy has made me just that: profoundly happy.  I think she has a direct window into my heart and head at times. Here is one of my favourite recent entries. I wanted to reblog it, but our different platforms means I will cut and paste instead (oddly appropriate for this poem):

The Game

Get some paper
Chop it up into small squares (a hundred freckles-wide by exactly four snails)
Retrieve bits of your life and write down trigger-words on the shell-and-freckle paper: trigger words are those words that drag behind them large, live memories, the type you can still see, feel, count, smell (but not always spell…); the kind that roll off the shelf, jump out of the bottle and burn your eyes.
Put them all in a hat, shake well.
Watch them settle inside, now still but still whispering their burnished secrets, a lake of life inside a hat.
Go fishing.
Clutch the trigger word you caught tightly inside your fist.
(eat it up if you must – chew well, swallow carefully; this may be helpful but remains entirely optional)
In any case, hold that word, smell it, consume it or, better still, let it consume you.
Then write about it. Write as if your next breath depended on it.
Prose, verse, a picture, anything that would help you understand
why your heart still roars
although your life, bruised burden
and time itself
stand still.

Oh, all right then, here is a terrible picture from those days, to counteract all these lovely words!  And no, I’m not sharing which one of the wild-haired people was me!

I’ve Lost My Poetry Book

I’ve lost my poetry notebook.

That slender scribbler with blue and white boats on the cover

fitting instantly in pockets

unobtrusive on nighttables

familiar with coffee shops and handbags, desks and grassy mound,

alert and keen

it waited for flighty inspiration.

I’ve lost the mad jottings,

the crossing out, the changes,

synonyms in endless lists,

invented words mocked by their conservative neighbours.

 

I’ve lost my mind

my moment of respite

my calm in eye of storm

the grips that hold me onto life.

 

And in the world I know

nothing is ever fully replaceable.

Poems That Mean the World to Me

There are two poems that I would keep under my pillow if I were in the habit of doing that.  As it is, I have them pinned to the noticeboard in my study and below are my favourite fragments from them.  They seem to speak my words, my thoughts, my heart (but so much better than I ever could).  The first one I discovered a long time ago, as a teenager; the second one I came across only a few months ago, but it sparked my creative renaissance. The sentiments seem to lie at opposite ends of the spectrum. Yet, we all have contradictions within ourselves, don’t we?

You said: ‘I’ll go to another country, go to another shore,

find another city better than this one’.

[...]

You won’t find a new country, won’t find another shore.

This city will always pursue you.

You’ll walk the same streets, grow old

int he same neighbourhoods, turn grey in these same houses.

You’ll always end up in this city.  Don’t hope for things elsewhere:

there’s no ship for you, there’s no road.

Now that you’ve wasted your life here, in this small corner,

you’ve destroyed it everywhere in the world.

(C.P. Cavafy)

When they say Don’t I know you?
say no.

When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
before answering.
If they say we should get together.
say why?

It’s not that you don’t love them any more.
You’re trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.

(Naomi Shihab Nye)

 

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