Poetry writing

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Poetry writing

#1  Postby Aern Rakesh » Dec 11, 2010 1:27 pm

I've been inspired to start another poetry writing thread (we've had them before) because of the fellowship of haiku haven. But I thought it might be nice to have a place where we can post other kinds of poetry and seek comments and criticism from our fellow poets, and since Blip concurred, well here goes. I'll start with what is, I think, my favourite of my own poems, which I'm afraid several of you will have seen before...

It was inspired by this picture by the nature photographer John E Marriot (who gave me permission to display it with the poem)

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Underneath the ice

It is the pivot of the year.
The Ice Queen prowls the tundra
restlessly seeking release;
with every pulse of her blood
a shimmering aurora ripples
across the snowy folds of her garment.

A curious white fox
bounds up in greeting,
then hunkers down again as
the Queen’s quarrelsome fretting
echoes across the waste:
The heat, the heat! It would undo an iceberg!

The fox abandons her camouflage.
She barks out a greeting
and gambols to her side,
and the Queen bends down,
stroking the soft white fur
into a deep shade of russet.

Her intemperate love can do this.
Startled, she apologises.
It‘s my most awkward feature,
impossible since birth.
Even now, listen how it
thunders with abandon!


But the fox is chasing her tail,
intrigued by its sudden change of colour.
The animal sniffs the air and departs.
I’m told they used to bequeath hearts,
the Queen calls after her.
But who would have mine?

Metaphysicians would locate
the soul in the brain, but what do they know?
Deep in the night the valves flutter open:
the molten scar murmurs,
its mantle grown crusty
with pearls of uncertain worth.

Even here, this far north,
the Ice Queen’s tears never freeze.
The red deer roam, winter-thin and impatient.
And on the other side of the world
mothers brush light into
their daughters’ auburn tresses.

Bears in their dens dream
of succulent scarlet berries
springing from her touch.
She continues her sojourn in silence,
and underneath the ice
harbours a hot red secret.

November 2007
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Re: Poetry writing

#2  Postby Blip » Dec 11, 2010 1:46 pm

That is a wonderful piece of work with some beautiful imagery. I particularly love the sustained feeling of restlessness 'restlessly seeking release', 'quarrelsome fretting', 'winter-thin and impatient' and the skillful use of red and white throughout.

It goes without saying that your use of language is exquisite.
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Re: Poetry writing

#3  Postby Aern Rakesh » Dec 11, 2010 1:54 pm

Blip wrote:That is a wonderful piece of work with some beautiful imagery. I particularly love the sustained feeling of restlessness 'restlessly seeking release', 'quarrelsome fretting', 'winter-thin and impatient' and the skillful use of red and white throughout.

It goes without saying that your use of language is exquisite.


:hugs: Now your turn!
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Re: Poetry writing

#4  Postby Blip » Dec 11, 2010 2:14 pm

Nora_Leonard wrote: :hugs: Now your turn!


All my bits and pieces are on my office pooter, but I'll pick one out on Monday :)
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Re: Poetry writing

#5  Postby j.mills » Dec 11, 2010 2:57 pm

Wonderful stuff, Nora! I love the bit where her "intemperate love" changes the fox's colour. Very arresting!

The colour theme reminded me of Charles Causley's Innocents' Song. Show of Hands do a great musical version.

One of mine for the acoustic physicists:

What I tell you three times is true

I love you, I made her thrice repeat
into my frequency analyser.
I scrutinised the wave, a squawk of love
drawn taut on time's rack, intensity exposed.

Downloaded to computer,
I fed it through a Fourier transform
that yielded an unwieldy set
of spiky surds and sines,
difficult to manipulate, as I hoped I was.

I checked the proof. No doubt:
those ragged peaks and troughs, that suspect scrawl,
exactly corresponded
to these unruly coefficients,
each built of only numbers,
of integers' integrity.

I ran my finger up and down the screen
for hours,
but never could identify
at just what stage
the truth came in.
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Re: Poetry writing

#6  Postby THWOTH » Dec 11, 2010 3:13 pm

Great idea <N>. :thumbup: I'm just bookmarking for later... alligator :coffee:
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Re: Poetry writing

#7  Postby Blip » Dec 11, 2010 3:22 pm

Ah, j.mills, I simply love the what-I-reminded-myself-is-called hamartia in your poem. And the final stanza is a gem.
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Re: Poetry writing

#8  Postby Aern Rakesh » Dec 11, 2010 3:26 pm

Thanks for the comments, J. Mills.

And I love yours, even though I'm not an acoustic physicist.

It is incredibly poignant, all the science talk as a wonderful contrast—and disguise!—for the underlying passion.

Not to mention the actual poetry, which is very good indeed.

I scrutinised the wave, a squawk of love
drawn taut on time's rack, intensity exposed.


I like that very much.

(Now she has to look up hamartia...) :scratch:
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Re: Poetry writing

#9  Postby j.mills » Dec 11, 2010 3:27 pm

[Quietly googles hamartia.] Oh yes, that's exactly what I was going for. *Cough* :grin:
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Re: Poetry writing

#10  Postby Blip » Dec 11, 2010 3:33 pm

j.mills wrote:[Quietly googles hamartia.] Oh yes, that's exactly what I was going for. *Cough* :grin:


That's the beauty of poetry: appreciative readers bring their own interpretation and meaning to a work. This reader sighed at the narrator's distrustfulness of his beloved and shook her head, knowing that his distrust carried the seeds of the end of the relationship. Hence my use of the term hamartia. There's another lit crit word which means 'clearly destined to suffer' (pathetic something-or-other?) and if I could remember that I'd use that too.
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Re: Poetry writing

#11  Postby Aern Rakesh » Dec 11, 2010 3:51 pm

Blip wrote:
j.mills wrote:[Quietly googles hamartia.] Oh yes, that's exactly what I was going for. *Cough* :grin:


That's the beauty of poetry: appreciative readers bring their own interpretation and meaning to a work. This reader sighed at the narrator's distrustfulness of his beloved and shook her head, knowing that his distrust carried the seeds of the end of the relationship. Hence my use of the term hamartia. There's another lit crit word which means 'clearly destined to suffer' (pathetic something-or-other?) and if I could remember that I'd use that too.


Isn't that interesting. I didn't see distrust so much as an overly 'logical' person trying to 'prove' what perhaps he already knew. As if his head kept arguing with himself over what his heart was acknowledging.

Maybe I read it that way because on another thread I've been reading posts where people have been defining tv programmes that I find intensely involving on an emotional level as 'sentimental' and 'melodramatic'.
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Re: Poetry writing

#12  Postby Blip » Dec 11, 2010 3:56 pm

Nora_Leonard wrote:Isn't that interesting. I didn't see distrust so much as an overly 'logical' person trying to 'prove' what perhaps he already knew. As if his head kept arguing with himself over what his heart was acknowledging.


We must await revelation of authorial intent (although I'm in the school that believes authors frequently reveal rather more than they intend :smile: ).
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Re: Poetry writing

#13  Postby natselrox » Dec 11, 2010 4:53 pm

Awesome!! Bookmarking!
When in perplexity, read on.

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Re: Poetry writing

#14  Postby Aern Rakesh » Dec 11, 2010 4:58 pm

Blip wrote:
Nora_Leonard wrote:Isn't that interesting. I didn't see distrust so much as an overly 'logical' person trying to 'prove' what perhaps he already knew. As if his head kept arguing with himself over what his heart was acknowledging.


We must await revelation of authorial intent (although I'm in the school that believes authors frequently reveal rather more than they intend :smile: ).


Also, I think once the work is 'out there' the author has to let the reader read it as they will. I've had people read some of my writing and tell me what it was about and I've thought "WTF, where did they get that??", but then realise that each person will have their own issues and interpretations and projections etc etc. And that I had to leave them to it.

That said, I'm very interested in what J.Mills has to say about his poems. I think this thread should be for all manner of discussions about our work. (And I think that's a compliment to all you haiku poets that I feel 'safe' suggesting that. Not that you have to be a member of the haiku gang to contribute here, please don't think that!)

As an example of what I mean, I can tell you that in the first several drafts of Underneath the Ice, there was no Ice Queen. And it just wasn't working. And then suddenly she was there and it all fell into place, it came alive for me.
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Re: Poetry writing

#15  Postby Blip » Dec 11, 2010 5:51 pm

Nora_Leonard wrote:As an example of what I mean, I can tell you that in the first several drafts of Underneath the Ice, there was no Ice Queen. And it just wasn't working. And then suddenly she was there and it all fell into place, it came alive for me.


That's an extremely interesting revelation, Nora. The Ice Queen personifies the forces described and, in so doing, draws the reader in to a greater empathy and involvement with the multiple ideas expressed. I believe this is called pathetic fallacy in lit crit - which, for the debating society boys, is nothing to do with error and everything to do with empathy* - and it's a device that I favour myself (I'll post my own Ari up on Monday).

How did that inspiration occur to you?

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pathetic_fallacy
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Re: Poetry writing

#16  Postby Aern Rakesh » Dec 11, 2010 8:16 pm

Blip wrote:
That's an extremely interesting revelation, Nora. The Ice Queen personifies the forces described and, in so doing, draws the reader in to a greater empathy and involvement with the multiple ideas expressed. I believe this is called pathetic fallacy in lit crit - which, for the debating society boys, is nothing to do with error and everything to do with empathy* - and it's a device that I favour myself (I'll post my own Ari up on Monday).

How did that inspiration occur to you?


I don't know. I guess I was thinking about how the Ice Queen in certain stories is always portrayed as a cruel figure. And I started to empathise with that. I guess when I was younger, I spent a lot of time in my head, so on the surface may have seemed cold and detached. Yet there was always this burning fire underneath. So I guess I was trying to set the story straight, so to speak. I wanted to say something along the lines that she had to stick to the icy regions because her passion was so great. Yet at the end of the poem I was trying to say it's also a source of creativity.
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Re: Poetry writing

#17  Postby Animavore » Dec 11, 2010 8:19 pm

Her flaps were like mud-flaps,
Hanging to her knees.
As she ran naked through the meadows
They were flapping in the breeze.


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Re: Poetry writing

#18  Postby j.mills » Dec 12, 2010 1:05 am

^ *Sigh* Thanks for sharing.

FWIW, I veer towards Blip's reading of mine, but Nora's fits too. I look forward to Blip's own. :dopey:
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Re: Poetry writing

#19  Postby Aern Rakesh » Dec 12, 2010 2:14 am

j.mills wrote:^ *Sigh* Thanks for sharing.

FWIW, I veer towards Blip's reading of mine, but Nora's fits too. I look forward to Blip's own. :dopey:


I found Blip's comments really interesting as I could then see it that way as well. But my reaction was my honest, first reaction.

Having read three of Blip's poems I look forward to seeing them here, and to enter into discussion about them. I also look forward to poems for others.

Animavore, were you being serious in offering that, or were you intending to mock us? Genuine question. If the first, may I ask what motivated you to write that particular poem?
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Re: Poetry writing

#20  Postby Amergin » Dec 12, 2010 3:20 am

Moth

Alone and deep in the equatorial bush
I write by the golden light of a kerosene lamp.

A moth beats its delicate wings
against the mesh that covers my windows;
knocks and strums reverberate.
Compelled by light, its gargoyle head
and furred antennae butt the barrier,
with soft thuds and thrums;

dazed with foiled effort
it still persists;
again and again,
the whirr of ineffectual wings.

I return to my words
to butt my head and bruise my wing
for the ecstasy of light within.
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