I’m linking this to dVerse Poets Pub, my first contribution there in a long, long time. The form is one created at the Pub: a quadrille, a poem of precisely 44 words, and the prompt in this case was to contain the word ‘open’. I cheated a little bit with some double-barrelled words, but for much clearer and better poems, do join us over at the Pub!
For dVerse Poets Pub tonight, the prompt is to write about the things that happen while we’re not paying attention, the small things in the corner of our eyes, half-glimpsed. I based my poem upon my almost unhealthy obsession with sneaking a peek at other people’s bookshelves.
as long as no grumble rumbles in our umbilical cord
as long as you stay unmarred and perfect.
Inspired by gym galas, Yummy Mummys and scruffy ones like me…
Linked to the Open Link Night fun over at dVerse Poets, where we are discussing passion over form this week. Well, my son is passionate about his trampolining, but his form… Still, in my eyes, he is the best competitor out there!
I’ve got an issue with privacy. I’ve never liked open plan offices, I don’t like people coming into my study at home, I don’t like showing my work in progress. Psychologists may see a link there with the fact that my mother read my diaries and opened my letters when I was a teenager. I just call it personal space: I’m happy for those around me to have theirs, and hope they will allow me mine. So it’s unusual for me to show you a first draft, but I thought it would be interesting (for a later version of me too, perhaps) to see how my poetic mind works. This is still too explicit, personal and verbose. It leaves nothing to the imagination. It was written after a rather frantic weekend alone with the children. I will come back with an edited, perhaps even a final version and would welcome any suggestions for improvement.
It’s been a day of shouting
Coffee-ad family picture frayed and curled,
burnt up in blood-hot temper.
Sullen moods, sulk and whine, heave and lift
of bone-breaker words:
careless second of uttering,
then a lifetime of regret.
It’s been another day of failing…
my children, my ideal, myself
and all the compensatory cakes I bake
turn to sand in our mouths.
I’m left chasing words on empty beaches,
finding other people’s discarded treasures
more plentiful than shells.
I pick up a conch and pour my anguish in its ear.
I pour all my inadequacy into a jar,
screw on the jam-stained lid so tight
then fling it back into a sea just lukewarm.
So my poems are merely turgid,
my thoughts piddling, my family average.
We muddle on and on,
imperfect and random
victims of illusions
drunk on lost words.
I’m linking this to dVerse Poets Pub, a friendly community of poets who support and help each other.
This song by David Bowie from his latest album ‘The Next Day’ always has me in tears. Not because it is a love song, but because it talks about Berlin past and present. Berlin has always exerted a powerful fascination over me, because it is a symbol of more than one dictatorship. I visited it back in the days when it was a very sad, divided town. [Incidentally, a journalist friend of mine at the time said that nearly all major cities starting with a B are heading towards destruction and unhappiness: Beirut, Belfast, Belgrade, Bucharest…]
Of course, Berlin is no longer gloomy and schizophrenic. It has become the trendy place to be for creatives and young families. Yet this song reminds me that the revolution we hoped to achieve in Eastern Europe – and which entailed quite a bit of human sacrifice ‘walking the dead’, as Bowie puts it – was supposed to be about more than having more consumer choice or becoming trendy. It was about starting over, about being brave and honest, about establishing new ways of thinking and listening to each other, a new kind of culture. Where are we now? Very far from all that.
So this is a very long-winded introduction to this draft of a poem that I wrote – am still writing – for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night, based on this idea of a failed revolution. But then, perhaps all revolutions are doomed to fail.