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Some people believe poetry is simply not relevant in today's 140-character-limited world. This is my attempt to make some of my favourite poems relevant in the style of Frau MALU and duncantorr in this same section. It is set out with the original poem first and my alternative interpretation below. Forgive me for not preserving the original rhythms of the poems.
Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again. And then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked
I cried to dream again.
- Caliban, The Tempest, William Shakespeare
Be not afraid. This website's full of noises.
Sounds, sweet airs, 5 star revs that delight and hurt not;
Sometimes a thousand chattery lounge posts...
But not often, as they pay less now.
That, if I then had slept deeply on my keyboard pillow...
I would have dreamt of Very Usefuls and baby sheets.
That the clouds surrounding Dooyoo HQ might open
And shower riches of Crowns upon me, that when I woke,
I cried to dream again.
- Miwam Shakespeare
This Is Just to Say
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
- William Carlos Williams
This Is Just to Say
I have written
A review of
A Lush body product
which you probably
did not want to
actively read today
It was so smelly
and so so soft.
- Miwa Carlos Miwa
somewhere I have never traveled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which I cannot touch because they are too near
your slightest look easily will unclose me
though I have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully, mysteriously) her first rose
or if your wish be to close me, I and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing
(I do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands
- e.e. cummings
somewhere I have never traveled, gladly beyond
fiction books, dvds and tv show cats,
there are most frail gestures at balloon holders,
towels, bic pens, beans and candles
opening newest revs in all tabs,
closed as my heart is now
to any sensation above mild boredom
(though skillfully, mysteriously) i sometimes chuckle
at the occasional joke, tidbit or anecdote
and I shut the tab beautifully, suddenly,
having rated 'Very Useful' where perhaps
it was not entirely deserved...
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of a mother trying to scrape pennies together
for a birthday. or the young couple moving house,
rendering death of grammar and spelling with each new rev
(i do not know what it is in me that compels me to close
and open those these tabs; only something in me understands
the sense of desperation, and that of yearning)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands
- m.m. lemmings
To mis-quote Ernie Wise, "here is a poem what I wrote":
Some shout insults, some throw eggs
I've had Kamikazee cyclists kick out with their legs
Spitting and snot, stares - a lot
And hand gestures waved, not the nice type made.
"polar bear killer", "fat selfish pig"
As I drive down the road in my four by four rig.
But here's where their argument falls flat on its face -
My Volvo XC90 - saviour of our race
It's a pocket sized bus,
Has a whole seven chairs
And here's why it's the friend of those poor polar bears:
On the daily school run, it keeps cars off the road
I can carry three families worth of kids in my load.
So the next time you see this gas guzzling school run taxi,
Don't rage, or be angry,
Hug some artic wildlife and go plant a tree.
By the way, I don't actually have a Volvo XC90, but if anyone from Volvo reads this and likes it, there's always space on my drive for a freebie!
If you have read Malu's latest review, you will see that she is reviving a challenge, first issued by Ciao's Kirsty1 some years ago, in which the idea is to re-write one or more famous poems adapting them to one's own whim.
As examples of possible candidates for this treatment, Kirsty suggested ten well-known poems, and being unimaginative, I took her at her word and had a go at excerpts from all of them. The originals are quoted to facilitate comparison. It struck me that the originals had in common the fact that they were all written in the past, and were therefore out of date.
This was not the poets' fault, of course. The fact that they lived, and wrote, in the past was just bad luck, of the sort that might happen to anyone. Nevertheless, their work was obviously ripe, indeed overdue, for modernisation. Sympathetic modernisation, naturally, but one can't stand in the way of the march of progress.
* * *
1. Kipling's "If" was written as advice to his son about how to handle himself in the world, but in an era that predates the emancipation of women. Since then huge strides towards equality have been made, even in spheres such as sport where men might be thought to have an inbuilt physical advantage. One thinks of the sterling efforts of, for example, scientists in the former Soviet bloc to level the playing field and enable female athletes to realise their full potential.
1a) Old male-oriented version, final stanza:
"If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And which is more you'll be a Man, my son!"
1b) Modern equal-opportunity version:
If you can run in one forgiving minute
Further than nature thought a woman oughtta,
Steroids and hormones will have helped you win it,
And - here's the flaw - you'll be a Man, my daughter!
2. Scholars have long speculated about the location of the fabled city of Camelot, as described by Tennyson in The Lady of Shallot. But the "many-tower'd" gives the game away, doesn't it?
2a) Version ripe for development:
"On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro' the field the road runs by
To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shallott."
2b) Redeveloped version:
On either side the river lie
Tall shards of concrete jutting high
That pierce the smog and meet the sky
Above the roundabouts' radii
That web the reclaimed bogs;
And up and down the people go
In elevators; to and fro
The Jubilee Line runs below
The island known as Dogs.
3. Holidays aren't what they were in Stevie Smith's time, and neither is sea-bathing. No chance of floundering fatally with all those Baywatch characters on duty. The time and place to get out of one's depth is clubbing in the evening:
3a) Offshore version:
"Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning."
3b) Far out version:
Everybody saw him, the dead drunk man,
But still he lay mooning;
I was much further out of my head than you thought
And not raving but swooning.
4. Thinking about Wordsworth's lakeland, my initial inclination was to assume it would nowadays be just an enormous film-set for blockbuster epics and costume drama ("...a host of Cecil B de Milles"?). But then the proximity of Sellafield provided the necessary critical mass:
4a) Pastoral option:
"I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze."
4b) Nuclear option:
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That carries dust from Chernobyls,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of toxic overspills
Within the lakes, the streams, the seas -
The seeds of cancerous disease.
5. By whatever insidious accident lakeland might be kept safe from the cameras, it's unthinkable that Yeats' Innisfree could have survived as well:
5a) Get-away-from-it-all version:
"I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade."
5b) Get-me-out-of-here version:
I will arise and go now, in the limelight of TV,
For a cabin has been built, wherein a series will be made;
Nine others will compete there, each a C-lebrity,
Till one's left alone with a B-list grade.
6. Remember Christina Rossetti's "Remember"? -
"Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay."
No one can modernise that. Forget about it. The sentiment is timeless, as is the probable response:
'Sure, Chrissie babe, sure. Remember you? You bet. You got it. How could I not remember you? Trust me, I'm with you all the way, holding your hand just like you said. In spirit, sweetheart, in spirit. Look, when you get back from...wherever...the silent land, give us a bell and we'll see what gives, huh? Till then, gotta love you and leave you, babe. Got another call coming in. Luvya loads...'
7. The countryside in W H Davies' time would seem to have been a safe environment for the pursuit of Leisure, as advocated in his poem of that name. But today?
7a) Leisured version:
"What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows."
7b) Lesioned version:
What is life in Intensive Care,
Too bruised to stand; too dazed to stare?
I stood and stared beneath the bough,
A chainsaw buzzed and I'm here now.
8. Coy? Does anyone do Coy nowadays? From all one hears, it seems unlikely that a modern-day Marvell would have needed to reproach a prospective mistress for slowness to respond:
8a) Ladylike version:
"Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, Lady, were no crime
We would sit down and think which way
To walk and pass our long love's day."
8b) Ladettelike version
Had we but world enough and time
Then back into your bed we'd climb,
But we're both due on other dates;
Thank goodness we've stocked up with Mates.
9. Remember tigers? Magnificent beasts, though a tad fearsome. You still see a few forlorn specimens in zoos, but they're dying out in the wilds as their natural habitat is tamed by man, their future more bleak than Blake. No matter; I'm sure cyber-science will soon come up with a wholly satisfactory virtual replication:
9a) Dangerous version:
"Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?"
9b) Endangered version:
Tiger, Tiger, fading fast
In the forests you're the last
Not immortal; when you die
We'll give a Tiger Sim a try.
10. Rupert Brooke's sacrificial patriotism is a bit passé, don't you think? The professional modern soldier's objective, in the words of George Patton, "is not to die for your country but make some other bastard die for his". For true unqualified death-wish flag-flying these days, one must look elsewhere:
10a) The Soldier:
"If I should die, think only this of me;
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer earth concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home."
10b) The Supporter:
"If I should die, think only this of me;
That there's some corner of a football ground
That is for ever England. There shall be
On that rich earth a Rooney jersey found;
A jersey England wove, shaped, made to wear,
Sold, once, for fans to sport, away or home
Their bodies England's, topped with skin not hair
Saint George's cross tattooed across the dome."
* * *
O Brave New World, that has such people in't. Don't worry, folks. Things can only get bitter. Luvya loads...
© Originally published under the name torr on Ciao UK, 2004
I first wrote this poem/ short story as part of a college task for young children to understand that they shouldn't want to be like the people that they see in the media. It is an eye opener to see at how many children want to be thinner and want to wear make up at a young age. I believe that it is important for children to feel confident about themselves and should understand that they are fine the way they are. I found that children as young as 3 want to be like somebody famous and would want to change the way they look so I made this poem/ short story so they could recognise it is alright to be different through a fun and engaging way. (Please be aware that this is aimed at 3-7 year olds).
The poem/short story is about a hamster called that meets all different characters on his journey to the shop and tries to make them feel better about their insecurities by paying them compliments about other things that they are good at. So here goes...
Harry was a bigger braver hamster than most,
He just loved to eat toast,
Harry always worried about his looks from everything he read in those silly books.
One day Harry needed more bread so went to the shop,
but he found it a struggle to get to the top.
As he walked into the shop he saw a cat named Cliff,
who was complaining he was too stiff.
Harry reassured Cliff that he is clever,
but Cliff disagreed and said never.
Harry finally bought his loaf of bread,
and began to walk home which was always a dread.
From his trip he learned nobodies the same,
and that there was nobody to blame.
On his was he met a dalmation called Dotty,
she told him that she's too spotty.
Harry disagreed and shook his head,
and told her she's beautiful instead.
Further on his journey he met a guinea pig called Gurney,
he didn't like being so so small,
he wanted to be very tall.
Harry told him being small can come in handy,
as old ladies will still give you candy.
Harry began to realise he didn't want to change,
as everybody is of a different range.
Harry the hamster was then full of joy,
as he knows he's a lovely boy.
So that is my poor attempt of writing a poem/short story for young children.
Hope you enjoyed reading it
The angels they were by your side,
You knew this and you felt them there.
They wanted you from the very start
but the fight in you meant they had to share.
We are glad to have had you here with us
through the that times you made us laugh.
Dancing and joy, fond memories shared
it seems growing old, was never your destined path.
Your not really gone,
Your here in our hearts, with each song and memory too.
Friends and family hold you so dear
with each blow of the wind we know you are near
yet we can't help feeling so blue.
We shall all think of you and smile
For we know that is what you would want.
In our hearts now, and forever more
The girl with the beautiful smile.
My dear, strong friend who lost her battle today. She was brave right up until the end. Missed by so many people already.
Love you Chantelle.
I was looking through some of my poems the other day, and I came across this short one that I had written for my husband, then later I turned into a cross stitch picture that is framed on our bedroom wall.
I thought I might share this with my fellow DooYooers.
--The Miracle Of Life--
The miracle of life is happening in me,
Before very long, the whole world will see.
As each day passes, it grows more and more strong,
There's no one on earth, should think this to be wrong.
As September approaches it will become clear,
This miracle inside me will soon be here.
This as you know, will be special forever,
It's not only a year since we got together.
But the birth of our child, is when we will see,
The miracle of life that you gave to me.
I wrote this not long before my son was born, who's now 13. I had met my husband exactly a year before my son was born.
I know it will mean nothing to any of you, but it was special to my husband.
I gave it 5 stars because it's my poem ha ha!!
The dictionary definition for poetry is: A verbal composition designed to convey experiences, ideas, or emotions in a vivid and imaginative way, characterised by the use of language chosen for its sound and suggestive power and by the use of literary techniques such as meter, metaphor, and rhyme.
Poetry is an art form that many of us are first introduced to as very young children when our parents read poems in their simplest form such as nursery rhymes. And for a large proportion of people, that's as far as poetic appreciation ever goes because once at school, the education system seems determined to browbeat us into learning and analysing various dreary poems, the result of which is to completely turn people off poetry forever.
How many of you had to learn about Wordsworth wandering lonely as a cloud or of Robert Browning sitting in Italy thinking about how he'd like to be in England now that April's there. It's a miracle any of us develop a love of this art form!
Well written poetry can be a very powerful medium, telling a dramatic story over many stanzas as in narrative verse or distilling intense emotion into fourteen lines as with the sonnet.
I make no bones about it, I love the English language, the sounds and the cadence, everything about it is beautiful. I also love poetry but rather than wax lyrical about the subject in general, for this review I'll limit my choices and write about my top five poems plus a couple of extra recommendations. These five poems are ones which resonate for me and which I hope you will also enjoy.
As a little girl, I was given A Child's Garden of Verses, a collection of poetry by Robert Louis Stevenson and one of the first poems that captured my imagination came from this book. It was 'From a Railway Carriage' which has a meter similar to the sound of a steam train (for those of you old enough to remember what one of those sounded like!)
Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging along like troops in a battle
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.
Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,
All by himself and gathering brambles;
Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;
And here is the green for stringing the daisies!
Here is a cart runaway in the road
Lumping along with man and load;
And here is a mill, and there is a river:
Each a glimpse and gone forever!
For me, this poem perfectly encapsulates that feeling of being an impartial observer, of being in one world, that of the railway carriage, and yet looking out into another.
Another poem which also uses meter to reflect the subject is the Song of Hiawatha by Henry Longfellow where the beat of a Native American drum is used to great effect. This is a very long narrative poem and there are several illustrated copies published which would make an excellent introduction to poetry for boys, dealing as it does with the young Hiawatha growing to be a Native American hunter.
A huge proportion of poetry, it seems to me, concentrates on two main themes: love and death. As most teenage girls, I developed a love of all things romantic and for sheer drama and storytelling, The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes and Tennyson's The Lady of Shallot are favourites, but both are really too long to include here. One of the most intensely romantic, and shorter, love poems is Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnet 43 from her Sonnets from the Portuguese where she writes about love as being something spiritual and eternal rather than merely earthly.
But Shakespeare is the master of the sonnet and love sonnets in particular. My favourite is Sonnet 116, a very sparse and clinical title for a simple, yet beautiful expression of love.
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
Of course, it's impossible to write about poetry without mentioning the War Poets who described the utter folly of war in such evocative terms. Many of these poems are made even more poignant by the fact that their authors didn't survive the carnage. If I have to pick one poet to represent all war poetry it would be Wilfred Owen who died in the final year of the Great War a week before the Armistice. His Dulce et Decorum Est describes the realities of that terrible war as opposed to the ideal of it being honourable to die for your country.
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! - An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
Even more horrific than the picture this poem paints is the fact that nearly a hundred years later, young men are still dying miles from home in wars that should never have begun.
For me the sonnet is undoubtedly the most powerful form of poetry, concentrating deep emotion into just a few short lines and it's as relevant today as when the first sonnet was written centuries ago. My favourite modern sonnet is Marked with D by Tony Harrison, which he wrote following his father's death. His father was a baker and a blunt Yorkshireman who, like many men from a similar background, found it difficult to express himself in words.
When the chilled dough of his flesh went in an oven
not unlike those he fuelled all his life,
I thought of his cataracts ablaze with Heaven
and radiant with the sight of his dead wife,
light streaming from his mouth to shape her name,
'not Florence and not Flo but always Florrie.'
I thought how his cold tongue burst into flame
but only literally, which makes me sorry,
sorry for his sake there's no Heaven to reach.
I get it all from Earth my daily bread
but he hungered for release from mortal speech
that kept him down, the tongue that weighed like lead.
I'm not absolutely certain whether my final choice is a poem at all because it's also an art installation. Eurydice by Sue Hubbard is written on the underpass between Waterloo and the Miramax cinema and in a way is a return to the rail travel theme of my first choice. Sadly, since I last saw this poem in situ I believe it's been vandalised by some ignorant person without respect for public property or the English language. It's a while since I've been there and hopefully, by now, it's been reinstated.
I am not afraid as I descend,
step by step, leaving behind the salt wind
blowing up the corrugated river,
the damp city streets, their sodium glare
of rush-hour headlights pitted with pearls of rain;
for my eyes still reflect the half remembered moon.
Already your face recedes beneath the station clock,
a damp smudge among the shadows
mirrored in the train's wet glass,
will you forget me? Steel tracks lead you out
past cranes and crematoria,
boat yards and bike sheds, ruby shards
of roman glass and wolf-bone mummified in mud,
the rows of curtained windows like eyelids
heavy with sleep, to the city's green edge.
Now I stop my ears with wax, hold fast
the memory of the song you once whispered in my ear.
Its echoes tangle like briars in my thick hair.
You turned to look.
Second fly past like birds.
My hands grow cold. I am ice and cloud.
This path unravels.
Deep in hidden rooms filled with dust
and sour night-breath the lost city is sleeping.
Above the hurt sky is weeping,
soaked nightingales have ceased to sing.
Dusk has come early. I am drowning in blue.
I dream of a green garden
where the sun feathers my face
like your once eager kiss.
Soon, soon I will climb
from this blackened earth
into the diffident light.
These five poems speak to me and may not be your particular cup of tea (unintentional rhyme there) but I hope they've gone some way to demonstrate the power and beauty of the English language and that poetry has a sound and rhythm almost akin to music and is every bit as relevant.
Ok lets just start this review by stating that I am not a Wordsworth. I just find that I can write a good straightforward poem. I like a poem to rhyme. I know that this is not very intellectual, but it is just simply my taste. A simple poem can make somebody's day a little brighter. I find it more special to sit and write a personal verse for someone rather than just write thank you in their card.
on the 23 of November my darling and dear father passed away. my sister asked me to write a poem that she would read at the funeral. I found it quite therapeutic to write my feelings down on paper. I was determined that it was going to be quite a humorous poem as my dad was only 55 and loved a good laugh. It was an honour to write this poem and have it read out in his funeral as he was my best mate and I just wanted the whole congregation to know that he was so very special to us. I was so chuffed when people came up to me afterwards to say how touched they had been by the poem.
Our daddy our mate
Loving, supportive and
Down right great
A laugh a minute
A real true gent
Loved and admired
Wherever he went
You'd hold our hands
If we'd have a fall
But you could also
Scream and ball
If we came home late
There would be hell
You treat this house
Like an hotel
And when we got older
And boyfriends came by
Daddy you'd turn into the FBI
you'd grill them intently
and give them a stare
they'd be so afraid
they would quake in the chair
So today we will cry dad
But tears of pride
For all the memories
Well treasure inside
We wont say goodbye
Cause its not the end
Our fabulous daddy
Our wonderful friend.
Hope you liked the poem. As I said it is not Shakespeare but surely poetry is what each individual person interprets it to be. I loved my dad so very much and I just felt that this poem would show people how special he was to both me and my sister. x
I grew up on a diet of poetry, studying Blake, Wordsworth and the war poets amongst others. The following poem is my own work; I wanted a short break from the reviews and felt a poem might be refreshing.
Scorching sunlight beats down on her fragile frame
She pauses for a moment to wipe the sweat from her brow
Leaning 'gainst her plough, her face furrowed and weary
Scratched hands and bloodied legs show years of toil
Her master watches from his hammock, pipe in mouth
He pauses to pull his hat further down over his brow
Shielding the harsh rays as he fans his face with a feather
His mind fixed on the day's yieldings and his next meal
Woman has stooped to knees, crippled through years of labour
She catches sight of her crooked shadow in the brown soil
Her arched back and brittle fingers showing signs of decay
Thoughts fixed on work, survival and fear
Master has risen and is moving through the fields at pace
Whip at his side, his strides are decisive and bold
The glare of his eyes burns into the frail figure before him
Her frightened face is granted no remorse
Scorching strokes of pain blister her already chapped skin
On her knees she knows not to beg nor cry
One final devastating blow to her bony neck, she slumps
A crumpled skeletal figure in the red soil
The day's weight on her shoulders does not dull her spirits
A smile as wide as the river she works sculps her face
Plump cheeks that glow with pride and purpose
She paints a picture of quiet content
Casting her net into clear crystal waters
A silver fin flashes in the ripples
Then darts beneath the surface into cooler climes
She shrugs her shoulders, she don't mind
More women gather on the river bank
They stop to unload the day's tales at leisure
Hearty laughter fills the warm summer air
Cares put aside while their nets coast the tide
This is just a poem that I have written, it was going to be entered into a poetry competition in college but apparently there wasn't one, that's why I did it on Last Rites, although I never knew what it was about, so it is mainly a poem about Jorrrr or how I felt at some point over the past few months, all the rest of the content is just so it has something to do with last rites, hope you enjoy.
Since the time of birth I've grown
Through this able body I have shown
How to smile when you're feeling down
To live you're life without a frown
A life full of joy is hard to find
A loss of happiness deep in mind
The smile has stayed though it's not within
All of this hardship, a blow to my chin
I lie here in madness, filled with rage
Death has me captured, locked in its cage
My mind has wandered, gone to its cell
Soon I'll be gone, trapped in a shell
Time begins to take my final breath
As I lie alone on my bed of death
Will it be heaven, will it be hell
At my last rites I begin to tell
As I lie here in sorrow, a life of regret
A life of guilt, to him I'm in debt
It is him we have lost, him we called Jorrrr
A life cut short, left wanting more
Now I'm feeling like I'm going insane
The power of guilt causing me mental strain
Sleepless nights with doubt in mind
Peaceful thoughts become hard to find
Repressing memories to the back of my head
I still can't believe he's actually dead
These thoughts in my mind, will be my killer
My life seems like a fictional thriller
The cancer has spread through this difficult test
Soon I'll be gone, laid down to rest
My body has weakened, thrown into fits
Death awaits me as I fall into bits
I know of death, I know its need
Through my best friend I've seen it bleed
This my last rite, the last thing I say
To be with that friend for just one more day
Thanks for reading!
This has been changed from the one I posted on Ciao.
~~~~ Poetry for fun???~~~~
The boy stood infront of me in total disbelief. "There's no way its fun miss"
Hmm, let's see if I can change his mind!!
I recently set this challenge for my class. The reason - They needed to be calmed down after the lunch-time play in a snow blizzard.
We also need to have 2 volunteers to recite their own poetry in a forthcoming assembly.
So here's what we did - give it ago and see what type of day you've had.
~~~~ The Title prompt ~~~~
Today is ...
Write this prompt down the margin 15 times.
Then after each prompt write the ending to the sentence. that best describes your day;-
1. a colour
2. a piece of furniture
3. the weather
4. a sport
8. holiday destination
9. an animal
10. a film
11. a drink
12. a smell
13. an emotion
14. a family member
15. a memory
Here's how I modelled it for the children before they set off to create their own poem for fun.
Today is white
Today is a white rug
Today is snowy
Today is contact rugby
Today is sorbet
Today is office- worker's shirts
Today is a sports car
Tdoay is a beach resort
Today is swamp of bees
Today is comedy of errors
Today is a glass of milk
Today is a fresh lemon smell
Today is overwheming happiness
Today is my little grand-daughter
Today is a longing
When the children had recorded all their responses, I then got them take away the prompt ' Today is..' and build on what each promt reminds them of. I asked them to help me with mine to create a class poem from my ideas. (this would then give the less able more confidence to go and try it for themselves) Here are their ideas ;
dazzling and fluffy
hard and fast
sharp and tingling
dazzling and ironed
sporty, young and cool
busy and fun
zooming and dashing
crying with laughter
soft, refreshing and cold
zangy and zingy
new and beautiful
a wish to hold onto.
Looking back over the poem and reading it in your head gives you a clear idea of what sort of day you've had.
I found that using this strategy / prompt encouraged the kids to think outside the box. They were so engrossed in turning their own prompts into bigger ideas the class descended into a calm, quiet envirnoment that produced some amazing ideas. We actually ran out of time. The children just wanted to think of more ideas for prompts.
I have tried this way of writing on several occasions and it's amazing how the stresses and emotions of a day come develop through words and onto page. You do feel a strange sense of achievement when you read your DAY back.
Aand yes I did change his mind - he came up with some brilliant ideas and even said "this is great fun"
Have a go - copy and paste my prompts into a word doc and see what sort of day you've had.
enjoy and thanks for reading
also on ciao
Warning. This is not exactly an essay about 'poetry' in general, and (you'll be pleased to note) contains no poetry written by me. It is instead a discussion of TS Eliot's poem 'Preludes.' It was written for an undergraduate degree, and may contain more detail than you fancy reading.
I wrote this a few of years ago, and is partly in homage to my father. My father was both a poetry reader and a writer. One of his favourite poets was TS Eliot. I wrote this after my father died, and it was written as an assignment for my university degree (English Literature, clearly). This is dedicated to him.
You may want to go away and read the poem this essay discusses - you can find it here (amongst other places) http://www.bartleby.com/198/3.html.
Darkness and Despair - Preludes
If one can judge a man by his poetry, TS Eliot was a man obsessed with desolation, decay and despair(1). Many of his works had themes of hopelessness and aridity, culminating in The Waste Land. His poetry, at least until his conversion to Anglo-Catholicism, has, by some critics, been seen as a sort of personal search for something: perhaps, salvation, faith or hope.(2) This search is combined (in his poetry) with disillusionment and pessimism verging on hopelessness. We find this desolate landscape even in his early poetry, such as The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, an analysis of which I will leave to others, and in Preludes, both published in the latter half of the 1910's.
Preludes has several main themes running through each section, and techniques to remind us of the sordidness of the city and of those who pass their lives in it. The poem introduces us to stages of the night and day(3), starting with evening in part I, to morning in part II, the middle of the night into morning in part III, and back to evening in part IV. During this 24 hour period, certain themes intrude themselves into the reader's consciousness. The landscape and the souls inhabiting it are dirty, grimy, and obscured by filth. We are made aware of the passing of time and its 'masquerade' with mention of the time of day each activity takes place, and the appearance of discarded newspapers to remind us that the past is gone. We cannot wholly sympathise with the denizens of this sad place, because we are never introduced to a whole person. Instead Eliot describes their feet, eyes and hands. Their sordid souls are insubstantial, 'flickering' on a ceiling, or stretched across a grimy sky. All these half-people and their souls seem to spend much of their time waiting for something that may never arrive - indeed, perhaps they are waiting for nothing at all. Even a horse 'steams and stamps', perhaps awaiting its own salvation, or perhaps simply waiting to go home. Throughout the poem, we are reminded that reality is not as real as we think it is, and what we see is likely only to be the surface grit: that appearances can be deceiving and that there is, in this locale, no hope. Each section, stanza and line emphasises and expands on desolation, grime and hopelessness.
Part I sets the season as winter, and the time as evening. Traditionally, winter is seen as lifeless and grim, but the first two lines, if not cheerful, lull us into a false sense of security. The evening 'settles down' and there are 'smells of steaks in passageways'. These are cozy images and words. Eliot then uses a very short line with no description to shock the reader out of his reverie; it is simply a bald statement of the time. The end of the day is not peaceful, it is 'burnt out', and the day itself is 'smoky': obscured and dirty, with a false pall of smoke in the air. Even nature offers no succour, the leaves are grimy, whipped around legs like street trash. The old newspapers, like the leaves, also tangle about the feet. Both are dead remnants of days and seasons past. 'The showers beat/On broken blinds and chimney pots'. Even the rain, so often seen as life giving, and so conspicuously absent in The Wasteland(4) provides no renewal, since it beats down only on man-made, lifeless things. The rain can only dampen and erode; there is no rebirth in this landscape.
The only sign of life in this section is the 'lonely cab-horse'. It however, has no spark, it simply 'steams and stamps' and pointlessly and impatiently waits for nothing important, like (as we shall see) many of the souls we meet. The section ends with a single line set apart from its fellows: 'And then the lighting of the lamps' This should be a hopeful sign, but it becomes clear later that it is not. It is merely a statement of fact. Because of the phrase chosen, and the time in which the poem was written, the lamps that are being lit are likely to be gas lamps. Gas lamps tend to smoke and sputter, obscuring what they should be illuminating. The lighting of the lamps offers no hope. There is no light at the end of this tunnel.
With the arrival of morning in part II, we see the shift in style and focus that is so common to Eliot. With two five line stanzas and a more regular rhythm and rhyme scheme, the reader may think that there is the arrival of hope, but this is not to be. The 'morning comes to consciousness/Of faint stale smells of beer'. There is no re-birth, and there is not much true consciousness for the people of this city. Having spent the night imbibing one consciousness-altering substance, which can still be smelt faintly from the street, the 'muddy feet' are now pressing for another, to the 'early coffee stands.' Like the cab-horse, they are impatiently waiting for nothing much at all. Eliot only mentions the feet of these people, he does not describe whole individuals queuing to buy coffee, instead, we are forced to look down at the street covered and obscured with sawdust, and feet on this street obscured with mud. We cannot see anything for what it really is.
In the second stanza, Eliot again emphases obscurity and disguise: 'With the other masquerades/That time resumes,' Morning brings with it pretence rather than reality. The occupants of the rooms continue their safe routines, perhaps simply to mask the general gloom and hopelessness of their lives. Like in the previous stanza, the poet does not allow the reader to form a picture of specific individuals, only describing an isolated part of the body: the hands 'raising dingy shades'. The shades, like nearly everything else in this poem are stained. They hide the outside world from those within, and they are hidden themselves by the grime covering them. These people living in their 'furnished rooms' pretending they are in their homes, yet owning none of it. There is no personal stamp to these surroundings.
Part III concerns itself with yet another time of day, the small dark hours of the morning, and yet another change in style. With the frequent use of the personal pronoun 'you', the poem becomes somewhat more personal and individual. It is not clear to whom the section is addressed. It could possibly be the narrator's wife or partner or an anonymous inhabitant of the city, or perhaps to each individual reader, who could recognise elements of his own life in the lines. Despite, however, the change in voice and style, the themes that run through the poem are still evident, though with some semantic differences. There are here some examples of revelation, but not of a helpful or hopeful kind. 'You tossed a blanket from the bed': there is finally an uncovering, but what is being uncovered is unclear and dirty. The person, like the horse and the coffee drinkers, is waiting - once again, it seems, for nothing important or particular, since each day is hopelessly the same - simply for morning. Whilst waiting, the 'you' is dozing; neither asleep nor awake, perceiving neither dreams nor reality fully. Like the time of day, this person is in a half and half world between night and morning, and between slumber and wakefulness. The reader cannot therefore be certain how 'real' the images to follow are. The darkness of the night here seems not to be obscuring, but revealing, although the images revealed are far from hopeful or comforting. For the first time, we see the interior of a soul, instead of the landscape. The soul was constituted of a '...thousand sordid images.../that flickered against the ceiling'. The soul is dirty and unclear, insubstantial yet squalid. It is hidden by its grime and at the same time by its flickering transience.
Finally, the morning comes, and with it sound and vision. However, hope does not arrive with the morning. The light, like so many other things, is obscured, and can but '[creep] between the shutters'. Small, drab city sparrows sing in the squalor of the gutter. Yet through all this, Eliot gives the subject what seems to be a true vision of the street, 'As the street hardly understands.' The reader is lead briefly to find a ray of hope in this grim day. However, it does not last. 'You' returns to the empty routines. With the return to routine, Eliot once again limits his description of this person to isolated body parts: the hair, the feet, and the dirty hands. All these pieces of this person are again obscured by filth; the feet are yellow, and the hands, like the soul, are soiled.
Part IV reprises the evening from the first part and the soul from the third. It ties the images and themes from the previous sections together. The soul is 'stretched tight across the skies'. I do not think it matters whether this is the same soul from the previous section. All souls in this city are sordid and troubled. This time, the soul is not projected on a finite ceiling, but on the skies, which 'fade behind a city block': hidden by the grit of the city, 'or trampled by insistent feet'. In each stanza, Eliot has us looking down at dingy feet, unheeding of the rest of the person. Like the 'muddy feet' pressing for coffee, these are stamping and impatient, trampling the souls underfoot. As in the first stanza, the time is mentioned, but it is no longer the precise 'six o'clock'. It no longer matters exactly what time it is, for it is all the same. The same things happen each day, each time, to each isolated part of the landscape. The isolated fingers are stuffing pipes, creating more smoke and filth to obscure reality. The newspapers from part I return, soon to be discarded as old news, ending up as 'newspapers from vacant lots' to be wrapped by gusty winds around the feet. The eyes that are described think they can discern reality and certainty, but cannot, because reality is obscured. It becomes clear here that it is not people who have either consciousness or conscience, but things such as the morning in Part II, and the street in this section. The street is blackened and obscured by soot and grime, and the street, like the eyes, is 'impatient to assume the world': convinced of its own knowledge and reality.
In the second stanza of Part IV, the narrator is for the first time speaking directly about himself. There is a brief glimpse of hope that something positive can come out of all this desolation. He is moved by fancies that curl and cling like smoke around these 'images', and he can almost see something beyond the squalor, something Christ-like(5) that can save him. However, he can go no further, there is no hope, and both he and the reader are forced back to the false reality described throughout the poem. The vacant lot from the first section is here again, with the worlds compared old women collecting the leaves, newspapers and other detritus of urban desolation to fuel the narrator's hopelessness. The 'infinitely gentle/Infinitely suffering thing' is only a chimera.
Preludes paints a picture of desolation and squalor. It is the musings of a man disgusted with the sordidness of the world, who has brief fancies of something better, but cannot hold onto them. The feet, the grime, the obscurity of the things in the world are here revealed. The reader cannot hide behind the things that obscure reality. Despite the gloominess of the landscape and the souls who live in it, I liked the poem. We have all lain awake at night and despaired. Eliot put words to that despair. The tone of the poem may indicate hopelessness, but the fact that the poem was written (and that Eliot eventually escaped his Waste Land) bring a kind of hope. The narrator may dismiss his fancies, but he does have them. The world is perhaps not as dirty or as grim as it seems at first glance(6), but such naked optimism often makes us laugh in embarrassment at our folly. Eliot captured a mood which he would later expand on in his masterpiece The Wasteland.
(1) Matthiessen, F O. The Achievement of T S Eliot New York, 1947 esp pg 121 He advances the arguement that one cannot separate entirely the poet from his poetry, and that for much of Eliot's life, he was hoping to feel 'a more compelling faith' than he did.
(3) Williamson G A Reader's Guide to T S Eliot. London: Thames and Hudson 1967, 1988 pg 78
(4) See especially part V with its 'arid plain...there is no water'
(5) Although this poem was written well before Eliot's conversion, the image of the gentle yet suffering thing is much as Christ is often described - gentle as a lamb, and suffering for man's sins.
(6) ...but then again.....
Positions in Life
When I grow up I want to be
A cowgirl wand'ring wild and free
Riding fast and riding strong
Bouncing bareback all day long.
When I grow up I want to play
An instrument by night and day
I'll choose the spoons, close notes and beats
That sing ecstatic through musical sheets.
When I grow up I want to be
A missionary overseas
Seeking souls lost and enslaved
Creating deep missionary waves.
When I grow up I want to be
In uniform, police maybe
Standing proud with truncheon tall
Handcuff boys against the wall.
When I grow up I want a home
With grounds where we can freely roam
We'll picnic in the summer heat
And finish up with doggy treats.
And this home at the edge of the town
Will be a little upside down
Interlocking walls, underfloor heat
House 69, not overly sweet.
When I grow up I want to be
A woman on top, and so cheeky
But underneath or side by side
Position is queen, now let's go ride.
When I grow up I want to be
A porn star (but only in my dreams)
For loyal and true and honest and just
Forever I love you, my hubby my lust.
Thanks for reading.
Mmm! How do you discuss poetry without dissecting it and taking all the soul and rhythm out of it?
Poetry is an art form in which words are used to paint a picture. There are many formal styles of poetry which, for the purist define it. For me, poetry is using words to paint a detailed, sensuous picture of emotions, or illustrate a story. It can be fun and loosely formed in rhyme, or free form. Rhythm, metre, rhyme, assonance and alliteration all come together in different combinations to form poetry.
All cultures have their own particular poetic forms and that may be the Shakespearian sonnet of England, the Haiku of Japan, or even the Persian Rubaiyat.
My own personal favourite are the poems of Lewis Carroll including the following:
'You are old, Father William', the young man said,
'And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head --
Do you think, at your age, it is right?'
'In my youth', Father William replied to his son,
'I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.'
'You are old', said the youth, 'as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door --
Pray, what is the reason of that?'
'In my youth', said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
'I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment - one shilling the box -
Allow me to sell you a couple?'
'You are old', said the youth, 'and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak -
Pray, how did you manage to do it?'
'In my youth', said his father, 'I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life.'
Limericks have also been a favourite of mine and there are few of us who haven't heard of them.
Victorian writer and poet, Edward Lear invented this form.
Limerick by Edward Lear.
There was an Old Man with a nose,
Who said, 'If you choose to suppose,
That my nose is too long,
You are certainly wrong!'
That remarkable Man with a nose.
A sample of my own limericks:
There was a young lady from Leeds
Who swallowed a packet of seeds
Within half an hour
Her nose was in flower
And out of her ..... grew weeds.
(Please fill in the blank space with a word of your choice.)
Childish? Well, yes, quite possibly, but that's what poetry is to me. It can be deep, moody and emotional, or it can be silly, fun stuff like those cheeky verses you get in greetings cards:
'I've never seen a purple cow. I never hope to see one.
But I can tell you you here and now,
I'd rather see than be one.'
My personal poetic tastes aren't confined to the 'silly'. I am a reader and admirer of Blake and Keats. For anyone who does enjoy poetry, no matter what kind, there is an amazing resources to be found free on-line at:
If you really want to discover what poetry is all about browse through the collection on this site.
I have often heard people say that they hate poetry because they only have memories of being forced to learn poems like 'Cargoes' and 'I wandered Lonely As A Cloud' and repeating them over and over parrot fashion. I hated that in school but now, almost forty years later I can still recite....
'Dirty British coaster with a salt caked smoke stack
Dashing through the channel in the mad March days............'
'In Xanadu did Kublai Kahn his stately pleasure dome decree.....'
The strange thing is that I really didn't understand these wonderful poems while I was being force fed them, but they have stayed with me and I think I know what they are are about now!
I hope you didn't find this too boring. I have tried to write naturally and reveal a bit about me. Poetry is one of my great loves in life, whether it be song lyrics, great long elergies, or silly verses made up on the spur of the moment. My poetry gives me chance to really paint masterpieces with words (or at least the chance to try.)
Thanks for reading.
I am not sure of the definitions of this category, but anyway I have decided to post some of my poetry (feel free to correct me on the use of this category). This is very recent, and the first poetry I have written in a very long time. I had some poetry published when I was a lot younger, but my inspiration seemed to have left until recently.
Hopefully, it's not all tripe!
as the one who carried you.
as the one who held you, comforted you, loved you.
as the one who cherished you more than all others,
who will always love you,
who devotes my heart and soul to you.
as the one who made you, shaped you, nurtured you,
the one who will live on in you long after I am dust.
for I am your mother, your maker, your unconditional guardian.
I love you,
in so many ways.
You are my home, my sanctuary, my place to hide.
You are my port in each and every storm,
when my world is crashing around me,
you are my safety,
I hide myself in your heart and know I am loved.
So beautiful are you, reflections of me, the best parts of me,
so unchanged and untouched,
the world has not altered you yet.
You are perfect,
a new life,
so full of expectation,
so much promise.
You have given me fresh hope in this weary world,
you have changed me
made me stronger, better,
for now above all else I am a mother.
You are my greatest gift to this world,
my beautiful, beautiful girl.
For all these years we have spent,
for all these trials we have faced,
I only love you more..
More than I could ever have imagined,
More with each passing day,
So much it spills out of me sometimes,
my heart cannot contain it.
I can barely believe,
it will be possible to love you even more deeply,
but I know I will,
until the day I die,
I will hold your heart in my heart,
and I will cherish you,
with a love that strengthens with every moment I take breath,
with every moment you love me.
I wish I could put into words,
how much I adore you,
how you are my life,
without you there is no sun, no sea, no sky,
no yesterday or tomorrow,
no stars, no flowers,
You are my blessing,
before you, I do not think I was alive,
for now my heart beats stronger,
nurtured by your love.
whatever happiness and adversities await us,
I will embrace them all willingly,
with you by my side.
My life holds only promise,
now I have you,
my one and only,
for pushing me,
always pushing me,
to fight back.
for believing in me,
for always believing in me.
for holding my hand,
and bringing me through all the pain.
for our daughter,
our beautiful, beautiful daughter who makes my life worthwhile.
for loving me more every day,
for always being there,
for loving me as I am,
for forgiving me faults,
for understanding my weaknesses,
and for nurturing my strengths.
for looking inside me,
and seeing me as only you can,
for making me unafraid to reveal myself to you.
Thank you for holding me,
for sheltering me,
for making me stronger.
for holding on when things are bleak,
and there is no light to guide you.
for believing in us,
when things are hard and all others would have fled.
for saving me,
from a life I could not live.
for letting me know you will always be there,
for never letting me doubt you.
for giving me everything I always needed,
and all the things I want.
for making our home,
for always trying to make it better,
for always wanting to make me happy.
for each time you were made happy because I was happy,
for every time you smiled because I smiled,
for every time you cried because I cried.
for loving me as only you can,
for being my friend, my lover, my partner, my other half,
I'm giving this five stars because it's awfully therapeutic to purge yourself through poetry (I didn't want to rate my own stuff obviously!) - not because I'm hugely self-obsessed and arrogant!
If this goes down well (if not please don't be too brutal with me - I'm a sensitive girl!), maybe later on I will post some of my earlier stuff and see how that compares (if I can find it - it was in the days before my computer was a close friend!).
May be posted on other sites.
Tell us about what you think of poetry, what your relationship is with it, and what you can buy with it. But whatever you do, don't just start posting haiku. Because then we'll have to beat you. With poetry.