Old Pal Poetry and Capricious Prose

When I thought about the different effect that prose and poetry have on me, and how I feel about writing both, it surprised me to discover that I used the pronouns ‘she’ for prose and ‘he’ for poetry. At this moment in real life, I seek out female companionship, which I find more nurturing, but in writing I seem to find a home in poetry when I am unable to write prose.  I wonder what Jung would make of that?

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Prose taunts and haunts me – she blows hot and cold. Sometimes I love her to bits, sometimes I feel close to strangling her. I can never approach  her unprepared. She requires, nay, she demands a lot of love and attention; I often don’t have the time to give her all that she deserves. Then she neglects me, slams the door in my face, throws a tantrum. I spend weeks, even months, trying to woo her back, but there is no sign of life from her capricious majesty.

She is also the mistress of comparisons. She has no qualms about telling me that her other suitors are better, tidier, more organised, more romantic, more dashing, more, more, more…

I have tried to flirt with her younger sister, Short Story, or her niece, Flash Fiction, but it’s Prose the Novel whom I love best. She knows it, I know it. No amount of success with the others would ever make up for the loss of her.

Poetry is my refuge when Prose refuses to cooperate.

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When I cannot find the words, Poetry takes over like an old chum. Knows me best, understands the unspoken, the wildest metaphors and similes. I say a carrot is like a star and Poetry smiles in his gentle, light-filled way and only ever replies: ‘Why not?’

Poetry is the one who soothes my nightmares, unknots the wrinkles on my face and in my mind. He encourages me to discover myself, and if I don’t come back with answers… well, so what? He’ll still be there for me.

He Says She Says They Say

From nownovel.com
From nownovel.com

I don’t know how, I don’t know why
but one day
on the sly
and on the fly
my poems turned into surly teenagers.
No more tender night cuddles
no tear-smirched cheeks to smooth
seldom around for longer than it takes
to grunt and disapprove
of my repetitive attempts
to ask them
how
they feel.
***
Sometimes she constrains our flow
in dismally low fixed forms, barriers and the like…
Oh, pu-leee-ze, lady, make up your mind!
She twirls us endlessly,
frets, crosses out
the best among us.
Then, too late,
she introduces us to new words
still stiff from their dictionary plaid.
So why should we be easy, pleasant and obedient?
Stop trying to make us fit in!

And that’s about all you’re going to hear from me for the rest of the week, which will be dedicated, alas, not to writing, but to amusing and feeding the children, and going through an immense To Do list.

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.