** New Poem added 06/10/2021: silhouette of the whale **
Sometimes I like to create worlds to hang my words on and with this poem I think I was trying to paint a picture, rather than write a poem. I wanted you to believe that this was a real place, a real story.. but also, to know that it was a fantasy. There's an artist in England, based in Scarborough, called Tracy Savage who I love and her paintings are bursting with subjects she finds fascinating, that capture the imagination in her own individual style so that it's almost reality, even though you know it isn't. This one for me was about really bringing these characters and their world to life, the story as much a surprise to me as it was maybe to you reading it. It can be quite difficult to end a poem like this and I wanted just enough ambiguity that I couldn't be sure if it was a dream or if it's what happens when the lines between reality and fantasy start to blur. You can make your own mind up on that one.
** New Poem added 19/09/2021: (it feels like) the sky is falling **
I spent a few days at a lakeside lodge recently on an unspoiled rural site with a lough and woods in their natural state. There was nothing to do but walk, take the boat out and relax in the private hot-tub, sunken into the deck. It was hard not to be inspired. Fortunately I had my notebook and camera with me so I jotted down some observations and took photos of anything that I thought might provide a backdrop to whatever the poem wanted to be...and then I just let my imagination run away from me. Some poems are like that. No pressure. Just relax and watch it happen.
** New Poem added 17/09/2021: what if I told you that yesterday is dying **
I visited Carlisle Castle this week, in the English County of Cumbria (near the ruins of Hadrian's Wall). The castle is over 900 years old and holds the record for being the most besieged place in the British Isles, not surprising given it's location on the border between England and Scotland. Many a historic battle took place on that site and you can feel it in the air as you make your way around the largely intact structure. The castle walls, however, once grey, are now a brilliant red and although this is because of the stone that was later used, it's hard not to think about the blood spilled within those walls. This was another poem that has undergone a radical change in structure with early drafts offering a much more straight-forward account of an imaginary battle which may have taken place there so it read like a history pamphlet rather than a poem, and as most of you know by now, if I can take the non straight-forward way I often will. Do I think this makes my poems more interesting to read? Perhaps. Does it make it more enjoyable for me to write in this way? Absolutely. I think I like to try and create surprise or revolutions in perspective. What I mean by this is that you, as the reader, are free to guess, infer, decode, untangle, unscramble, translate...A poem can be a very personal thing but it's as much about how a poem is received as how it is written.
** New Poem added 09/09/2021: take me down to the garden (return to the memories afterglow) **
it's interesting to me to see which poems have been read the most and, apart from I saw you peeking (through my window), also a personal favourite of mine, in the memories afterglow, has been read more than times than any other poem. Like a lot of my recent poems this one went through a few different versions and there was a lot to consider...tone, pace, length...how to I remain faithful to the original poem while creating something new. I don't think this is a poem I could write until now. When I think of lost innocence I think of course of the garden of Eden and so I wanted some of those biblical references in the poem; the 4 rivers flowing to the corners of the earth, the terrestrial paradise, the feather floating down from heaven. I really like the imagery in this one; the blush of the Serruia bride (Serruria is a flower often described as the blushing bride), the petals opening to the warmth of the sun, the garden's grassy bed and damp morning dew and the gentle nods to the original so the characters feel familiar...I'm really proud of how it all ties together actually and how it ties to the original; the endless echo, the infinite series of waves...like they are destined to be together, like they've been doing this for a long time. Which of course I suppose they have. The switch in narrative was also intentional. In the original, the narrative all came from him but I wanted her to have her own narrative in this one. I like that contrast but it also feels more submissive, like she has all the control now. The fact that she returns slowly to the moment suggests some maturity since the original, like some time has passed since they were last together and they don't want to waste a single moment.
** New Poem added 08/09/2021: bound by threads of life (a coincidence in verse) **
Do coincidences exist? If yes, what are they? There are many theories about this but of course no one really knows for certain so I guess we can all decide our own beliefs which is maybe how it should be anyway. I think that coincidences happen all the time but whether they are purely random or a symptom of the universe I'm not sure. I like to think of coincidences as meaningful. Like I think that things happen for a reason. I don't believe it fate though and, while many will argue this is the same thing, I don't believe these things are predetermined, I think they just happen so we can learn from them and grow as individuals. It's how you choose to interpret something and what you do with that information.
07/09/2021: I seem to be in the middle of one of my most creative periods for quite a while, I've missed writing poems actually. I always thought my poems weren't very good you know but actually I'm starting to think that they are, or at the very least that I enjoy them, I'm not trying to make any great artistic statements here. I'm even thinking about maybe publishing them in a book, I think it would be really neat to have a book of my poems. Anyway, two new poems coming soon. One is a follow-up to easily one of my most read poems here. A coincidence? I've never revisited a poem before so that's been really interesting.
** New Poem added 04/09/2021: don't let your eyes deceive you **
Who knew flamingos led such interesting lives, I had a lot of fun with this one and I hope you did too. I read a poem on here about a butterfly and I loved the simplicity of it, the idea of taking one thing and writing an entire poem out of it, no hidden meaning, just the joy of describing something. I didn't know what to write it about but when I saw a picture of a flamingo on a birthday card I thought how beautiful it was. I thought it would be a beautiful poem but when I started reading about flamingos I started to think what funny little things they were so I wanted to capture some of that feeling instead. I still haven't found my butterfly though.
** New Poem added 31/08/2021: in the land of the midnight sun **
This is a poem about loneliness, isolation, depression... It started out as something else entirely and I've written several different versions until I found what it was trying to tell me. It reminds me of some of my earlier poems (Charles Belle IV, for example) which were written at a time when I did feel very alone and, even though I'm in a really good place in my life, I could still connect with some of those feelings. I love the idea of nature being used throughout the poem because it can be so bleak, so harsh... much like life itself, and the image of snow and ice, volcano's, dark skies were what kept pulling me back into it. It has an almost other worldly feel to it which is apt because it felt like it took on a life of it's own, it certainly wasn't the poem I had wanted to write. I also wanted to inject a little bit of hope into it which the other versions didn't have and so the rhyme is intentional. I had to work at this one so I'm proud of it.
** New Poem added 30/08/2021: growing old (gracefully) **
I've really been struggling with one of my poems. I just can't connect to it or find the meaning in it so in the meantime, I've taken a little detour. I love using humor in my poems, it makes me smile and I hope it makes you smile too. We all have to grow old gracefully don't we???
** New Poem added 25/08/2021: a deeper connection **
The ancient Greeks believed that people were born with 4 legs, 4 arms, a head and 2 faces. Zeus, however, feared them and split them in half leaving them to search for the rest of their lives. Chinese legend suggested that a red string of fate was tied around the ankles of two people destined to meet each other. Jewish scriptures meanwhile, said that, 40 days before a man is born, God calls out the name of his romantic soul mate - literally a match made in heaven. I've come to believe, however, that you don't just have one soul mate in life, as romantic as that may be, but lots of different soul mates who come and go from your life, each one teaching you something new, until you meet your forever soul mate.
** New Poem added 23/08/2021: in the silence of midnight **
There really isn't anything else like the love you feel for a child and I tried to capture some of that in a poem. I'm really proud of this one actually. I love being a Father and I always wondered if I would ever be enough, if I would be able to teach her all the lessons she may need. You know what though, she is teaching me just as much and I feel happier now than I've ever been. I love my Ida Rose.
22/08/2021: I've started writing a poem about soul mates. Hope it works out.
** New Poem added 20/08/2021: everywhere he looks **
Oh, this is a playful little poem isn't it. I suppose you might call it observational if you were that way inclined. I like poems that have an elusive quality to them, that use images to evoke ideas and emotions that can't precisely be pinned down. Incidentally, the painter in the poem is Bob Ross and I think he'd like this one. He had a playful soul too.
** New Poem added 20/06/2021: black gold **
A tribute to my Father who was a miner in the North East of England. The collieries that once dominated many parts of North East England may have gone but there is no doubting the important influence that coal mining has had. Once upon a time coal was king and my Father was an important part of that rich history. I will always respect and love him for doing such a dangerous job to put food on the table and clothes on my back.
07/06/2021: I've started writing a new poem about a clown staring at the end of the world. Interested to see how that one turns out.
** New Poem added 26/03/2021: livin' in sin **
I suppose you could say that this poem has a religious undertone but it was never meant that way. I was wandering down a 'long road' and I had this little tune in my head which started to turn into words. The landscape around me was bleak which I think inspired the landscapes in the poem of course. I love that time of year when it's not quite winter and its not quite summer. Some poems start life as an idea and some just start. This was one of the latter.
22/03/2021: After some time away, over 3 years to be exact, I've started work on a new collection of poems tentatively called 'no rhyme and no reason'. Those of you who know me will know this could be a long process and the reason I haven't written anything new for so long is because I became a Father for the first time so it will be interesting to see if this influences anything I write in any way, she sure has influenced me and my life. We're also living through a pandemic of course so maybe that will find it's way in there too. I hope you're all keeping safe. We are. I'l upload the first poem shortly. This will be my 7th collection of poems and I feel like there's a new maturity to my poems now and I want to take my time with these ones to get them right.