There are cracks in the yellow plaster where the heat from our radiator swelled too thick against the walls. On mornings when the city wears its age, supporting the same white eyebrows that danced in laughter beneath your grandfather’s furrowed forehead, we count countries. Making up names for the yellow lands within the lines that don’t fit onto the maps we know, and assuming stories to account for the slight changes to the U.K’s shape.
‘Rising Sea Levels Swamp Isle Of Man’ informs the weather man off CNN; his voice broadcast from your tongue to every country we can see. ‘Giant Squid Consumes The Heel Of Italy And Part Of Alaska Melted By Newly Discovered Tectonic Fracture.’
Some days I will remind you that we are too old for make-believe. Too old to put stock in imagination and waste time on delusions of magic.
You’ve never believed me on that.
To you I must be magic to be true.
Inspired by: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/poetry%20prompts
Just as soon as…
my alarm picks a decent song
to drag me out of sleep
when the radio hisses into life.
Just as soon as…
I finish one more cup of tea
and wash up the mug
along with everything else in the kitchen,
and the clean the surfaces….
though the floor could do with a sweep.
Just as soon as…
I watch this you-tube video,
complete that castleville quest
finish the next chapter of suchandsuch
or maybe… write that novel?
Just as soon as
all of those niggling jobs
that I’ve said I would do
and then put off for another day
I’ll focus my attention
on the work
to pass university year one.
Will there be a day,
when legend and mythology
become the final refuge
My Gentleman’s pocket-watch, ticks with the snaps of child-proof bottle caps. Settled against the inlay of his waistcoat, an inch below the level of fingers which balance Plato upon their very tips.
My Gentleman tilts the pages while he reads, catching fire-light in the glint of gold-leafed edges.
My Gentleman reads Plato by firelight. Or at least, my gentleman’s Shadow reads Plato by firelight. Lean charcoal fingers, hinged at the knuckle, angles cut with degree precision.
Perhaps my Gentleman is carved from oak. With acorns for eyes, bark for stubble and a broad leaf, plucked from a tree’s top branch, tucked inside the breast pocket. Only a fold of green to be seen.
My Oak gentleman’s Shadow reads Plato by fire-light, and swears that he would know his own cave.
I could talk about how the air smells clear,
and I don’t mean clean
because clean is the smell of bleach,
poured down drainpipes
to mask that stench
that never really goes away for long.
When the air is clear,
you can still taste raindrops on the breeze,
and it sits a little heavier
upon your skin,
just as the dust from yesterday
sits a little heavier on the ground.
I could tell you about the pheasant
strutting his stuff in the fields,
or the green algae
growing across the corrugated plastic
of our greenhouse-roof.
I could mention those two tree,
on the other side of the brook
which have fallen
in such a way
that they look like one,
split down the middle
as if by lightening.
I could list the world
of my secluded cottage life,
from parish border
But I doubt,
that any of these little things
would show you
the small oddities
to a farmer’s daughter
My mother and I,
killed the first orchid we were given.
We are not a houseplant
sort of family.
What we grow
is out in a field,
thrown from the back of a tractor
and carefully monitored
mineral level adjustment-
All to ensure optimal production
when the combine
finally drives through the gate.
I have yet to see
my mother send off soil samples,
for the daffodils
my grandmother planted in the garden.
But then again,
normally the rabbits
will have them
before the month is out.
We killed the orchid by overwatering it, and sticking it in a window sill. We have got better with orchids since then, we have managed to keep one alive for just over a year!
You are one
of the many reasons,
why all of my jeans
reek of sheep.
What possible reason,
could any of you have,
for simply lying down to die.
That is not metaphorical.
Those ‘adorable’ little,
climb into the water bucket
and lie down…
And half the time
it’s the really good ones,
with decent shape,
that might make
good trade in the autumn sales.
Back to my
The teat is in your mouth,
as it has been,
on and off,
for the last twenty minutes.
For the love
of all that is good,
will you just please
get on with it
This poem was inspired by the ‘unlike poem’ prompt for day ten of NaPoWrimo. We are finally down to the last two ewes to lamb and we haven’t had too bad a lambing, so here is a photo of one of the newest members to the flock and a video of some of our other lambs here at Twemlows.
Not With That Brawd
“I ain’t doin’ business with that brawd”
was the locked jaw hiss
of Chicago Big Boys,
who’s guns rattled enough cops
to keep my show under the radar
from the ones who couldn’t be bought.
“I ain’t doin’ business with some brawd”
was the lifetime mistake
of wanna-be gangsters
who thought a dame with decent gams
should live her on back,
and couldn’t cope with fact
that the pistol was in my hands.
“I ain’t doin’ business with some dam sap”,
was the line I used
in the back rooms of juice joints,
when the Chicago Big Boys
tried giving me high-hat.
Don’t forget who supplies you
with all of that jack.
At the moment I’m a little bit obsesses with this movie trailer.
I absolutely loved ‘The Great Gatsby’ when I read it for A level, and it still remains one of my favourite books, so instead of a 1930/40s detective styled poem I thought I’d used the fabulous world of 1920s bootlegging for my inspiration.
All of my poem is completely fictional!
Oh, and I simply adore feedback, *hint, hint*.
Slang source: http://local.aaca.org/bntc/slang/slang.htm
He left for Egypt with the last of the English summer tucked away in his suitcase. Alongside the photos he kept of her, on that garden swing her grandfather built, the honey suckle in full bloom at her back.
When the letters came. They were sun bleached and sand stained, creased and folded so many times that lines began to obscure the words he’d wrote.
‘we have found…
not long now…
I will give you…
This was me experimenting with prose poetry and having a go at using an idea that I had a while ago but never really did much with. I may develop this piece more at a later date but until then I think I’m pretty happy with how it is.
While I have you here, I just want to say a massive thank you to all my new followers who have clicked that little follow button since the stat of April, it really means a lot to me and brightens my day endlessly when I see that someone else has enjoyed my writing.
Don’t forget to leave a comment if you get chance, I love to hear what readers think of my writing and comments are a fantastic way for a writer to learn which direction leads to improvement.
The guidebook stated:
‘Graymere’s Greatest Folly,
rebuilt in 1963,
under the instructions of Harold Graymere,
the 8th Earl’s youngest son.’
It didn’t mention your death,
only two years later,
when you found three crates of absinthe
quarantined at the back of your father’s wine cellar.
Or that you begged your father,
to rebuild the old Graymere Tower
after lightening stuck the roof
and sliced the brickwork in half.
were the words of your brother
when he wrote to ask
why I never came back,
and why I turned Graymere Tower
into your final folly.
I’m note entirely happy with this poem, so please leave a comment if you have the time, and tell me what you think.
We cluttered stone angels around your headstone,
in the hope,
that even if our faith had been misplaced,
they would be real enough
to keep you company,
and displace the bitterness
we soaked into your final peace,
when we gave our last goodbyes
and prayed to one we thought selfish.
Well That Isn’t Worrying At All.
Well that isn’t worrying at all.
And there is no conceivable way,
in your mind or mine,
that this could go wrong.
I am utterly fine,
with you scaling that wall,
I mean really!
There are clear handholds,
that gutter seems securely attached,
and your mother always said:
‘That son’ of mine,
part boy, mostly monkey.’
It has by no means reached the point,
where nine, nine, nine
is firmly punched into my phone
and my thumb
is simply hovering over call.
I have complete faith in you.
Just remind me again.
How much is too much
when sarcasm is used?
As I have shown in my previous poems, I have not really been paying too much attention to the NaPoWriMo prompts. Mainly because I really didn’t like the one for the day, or because I have already a poem that echoes the prompt and I do not wish to repeat myself.
A valediction – ‘Incomplete’
So instead I used a prompt that I found on Poets’ Pub which was to write a poem saying exactly what you do not mean. After quite a few failed attempts I actually found my inspiration from commenting on a poem about a car covered in rubber ducks.
At the back of my wardrobe is a half empty shoebox,
despite the repeated phone calls,
only to leave polite,
less than polite,
full out irritated, infuriated,
I think I understand why ex-girlfriend sometimes
their ex’s cars type answerphone messages!
You still have not returned that shoe.
that you think,
I don’t need it.
The right to a pair of shoes,
that I bought
on your centurion card,
despite being told repeatedly,
that of left feet, I have two.
The dress came to three times as much,
And that was only for the engagement ball.
I never asked about the wedding price.
But I hear,
my step-mother choked to death on a truffle,
after someone at the country club
mentioned the florist bill.
In the end I bailed,
Pelted for the stairs,
One the hem of my Prada dress.
There were fifty-six,
steps that is,
and I’m pretty sure
that I bounced off every one.
I’ll blame the concussion,
For leaving that shoe behind.
no matter how bad we were together,
I really did love-
Awarded by Miss Anastasia
Now this post is a little late in arriving, well actually it is very late in arriving, but I hope you will forgive me.
I really have no clue as to the protocol that surrounds these sort of posts, but since I’ve received a few nominations for various awards, I thought I was high time that I got around to having a stab at organising myself.
So here we go:
So for the Sunshine Award I am apparently meant to highlight 10-12 other bloggers who I think are deserving of being presented with this very, oh so very, orange flower. I am also meant to include ten points about myself… well how hard can that be?
The nominees are:
- Miss Millie Ho – I love this girl’s artwork and I can’t wait to be able to turn around in the future and say, “She drew some of my characters before she became famous.”
- Chris – An absolutely awesome guy, and an absolutely awesome writer. Need I say more?
- Thomas J Webster – You scared the fluff out of me! A fantastic writer of creepy short stories, and another reason why I can not stand next to the gap under my bed in the dark.
- Pyscho Lady – I have always loved poetry, and I love it even more when I read a poets work that is wonderfully original and carefully thought out.
- Kuba Larson – This piece had me laughing the first time I read it, since I related mostly to the initial impression I got. After I read it again I realised that there was more to it then I first thought and the meaning could be taken as much deeper. A fantastic read all together.
-Subhan Zein – I’m a sucker for the romantic. I know it’s clichéd, but throw me a guy writing poetry for the girl he loves and I’m a puddle of gooey mush on the floor. This guy writes beautifully, and not only that, his work had history and cultural roots behind it. It is so rare that you get to see someone embracing poetry as something more than writing and here it is done brilliantly.
- Kyoske – I just love it when his updates pop up in my inbox. I always enjoy reading what he’s put up and there is generally something to brighten my day within the words. Even if I’m just cheered by the thought of someone else gaining some form of success in their lives be it large or small.
- Lone Wolf Poetry – As I said, I love poetry, and here is another fantastic poet that you must check out if you get chance.
- Elizabeth Huff – For services to the world of writers’ block sufferers everywhere. She regularly updates a wonderful collection of writing prompts for those of us who are struggling to put pen to paper, or perhaps just want a challenge with something a little new.
- Kyra Leigh – A close, personal friend of mine and someone I can always rely on for an honest opinion. She is such a talented writer herself and I know that at some point in the future I will have to nod along amiably as the great intellectuals of the world discuss her work.
10 points about myself:
- I’m the daughter of a Shropshire farmer and have spent all of my childhood on a medium sized farm in the beautiful English country-side.
- According to my grandfather, I am descended from Sir William Swinnerton; who was a knight of William the Conqueror in 1066.
- I have a great Uncle in Ireland who used to keep pigs in his sitting room. No, I do not joke, he actually had the pigs living in the house.
- I am incredibly short and my mother often jokes that I am the family leprechaun. (Irish connections.)
- I adore books by Neil Gaimon and Derek Landy. They are two of my absolute favourite authors.
- Each spring I go to watch the point-to-pointing with my family.
- I’ve been a room guide at Attingham Park in Shrewsbury and hope to go back next summer.
- I often take on far more than I should be able to cope with. When it comes to writing and work, I always have something to be doing and I rarely have free time that isn’t brought about by putting off work.
- I hate coffee. It is a vile concoction that has no use whatsoever for me, especially since a small cup of tea has about four times the caffeine as a can of red bull. (I don’t remember the ratio for tea to coffee but tea wins out.)
- I have a tendency to wear rings which either appear to resemble knuckle-dusters or pieces straight out of the medieval era. Either way, my fingers are rarely bare of decoration.
Now! For the beautiful blogger award I need to list seven more fantastic bloggers who I have the pleasure of sharing WordPress with, and also reveal seven super secrets.
The nominees are:
- Lukas Berzaks – I’m not a cat person. Mostly because these balls of fluff will cause my eyelids to swell shut and the sneeze-a-thon to begin. However, this artist had managed to make me fall in love with cats, if only the awesome kitty that he’s drawn recently.
- Table Art Press – This just made me laugh.
- Cyranette – Cyranette’s blog is wonderful for those searching for inspiration, and she is a fantastic reader for any blog to have, her comments are invaluable.
- Riley Beresini – Contains fantastic artwork.
- Sonja Porter – For making me want to read ‘The One-Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared’ (and for writing about it in the first place, where would we be without obscure books?)
- Weakly Short Stories – As the name suggests, good for a quick read, fantastic openings.
- Random Jossings – Just Read
Seven Super Secrets:
- I talk to my teddy-bears. I simply cannot throw them out, and I find them very useful when I need someone to rant at when sorting out plot problems.
- I’m a little bit of an amazon shopaholic.
- I bluff my way through a lot of things. A lot!
- I get obsessed with TV shows. I watched supernatural seasons 1-7 in about a fortnight and a half.
- Recently I have started working on essays at nine pm, the night before they are due in… This is not good. Do not copy this!
- I ring people, and half way through the ring-tone, realise that I don’t actually want to speak to them.
- I’m awful with dates, despite history being my favourite subject. This is not very useful in exams.
So there we go, I’m pretty sure that is everything I need to complete. I hope that everyone enjoyed reading.
I never understood the joy of being drunk,
until I was sat on the kitchen floor of my student flat,
from misjudging how far to lean back,
and how quick
a kitchen counter will jump out.
We do not hold hands.
Hugging is a concept you reserve
For first days home from uni
And the occasions
Where you simply wish to weird me out.
It is amusing,
That despite having three years on you,
I must reach up
And stand on my toes,
To level my head with yours.
My bigger, little sister.
Those days where we were called twins
Are long gone.
Much to the relief of us both,
And now we are compared more to our parents,
How I have taken Dad’s eyes,
And you are a Swinnerton without doubt.
Hugging is a concept that your reserve from me.
But the facts of the matters remain.
When you claim dominion over this world
And all possible others-
I’ll still get to annoy you without fear of losing my head.
Pandering To My Dislike Of Your
Punching you in the throat is,
pushing away all those other thoughts that
play at high speed acrobatics in my head, and
pre-determine the welcome you will receive
post-opening your mouth.
This is Day Three for NaPoWrimo, and I decided that I was going to write a fixed form poem and that I was going to write a Pleiades.
‘One of the old men fearing no man’ Thomas Yarnton of Tarlton by John Drinkwater
My Grandfather no longer ages.
In photos from family gatherings he stands
than the rest of us
our constant invariable.
Despite broken ribs,
not once but twice!
Despite the bull’s best efforts,
our urges to lessen the workload,
watch the races and leave the farming-
An old farmer never retires.
He doubles the size of the vegetable patch,
two new stables,
buys a flock of ewes
(and claims they’ll lamb themselves…
we all know they will not lamb themselves.)
To him, technology was foreign,
to prove the family wrong
he bought a laptop.
And taught himself to use it in six months.
(Though email still proves elusive
And the last text he sent me
My Grandfather is the same
as the man in my memories,
And even at my most feminist
I did not mind to be princess,
So long as it was my Grandfather’s princess.
My Grandfather is one of those old men fearing no man,
who does not age in photos,
and makes me brave,
when I remember
that his stubbornness
runs just as strongly through me.
I will stand at the edge of the docks,
With neon green hair
And a fist-full of jokes,
So that my features are always alight with laughter.
I will pass hand over hand,
Strain my shoulders
And throw my back into pulling
Do not compare me to a summer’s day,
Or the fragility of spring blossom,
I will not wither if you snatch me from my roots
I can set down new ones…
I can wrap myself as ivy strands,
Plug the cracks in you
And hide each flaw
So they are mine alone to admire.
I will stand at the edge of the docks,
With neon green hair
And a fist-full of jokes,
So that my features are always alight with laughter.
Hold out my fingers for you to grip,
And not complain
When my arms are filled with souvenirs
To which each will be labeled a memory
That is mine to hear
But never truly know.
So perhaps the title of this post is a little over exaggerated, but since my parents can name most of the people in this video, (and count more than a few among their friends), I don’t think that it is too much of a stretch.
In December I thought I might attempt the December Form Challenge. Unfortunately I only managed to complete three poems for the month, due mainly to a title wave of university assignment. So for anyone who is interested. Here are my three fixed formed poems all the way from December.
Lost in Wishing
I took my dream and threw it down the well,
Where I had tossed coins and wishes for you,
Poured my hope in the silence as it fell…
When I once thought that fairy tales were true.
I wanted silver knights on proud horses,
Godmothers, white mice and pumpkin coaches…
But then you wanted to fight the dragon,
And what was our future became fiction.
Make Me Mistress of Lies and Goddess of Chaos
My brightly burning ice giant; god of fire,
My silver tongued lie-smith with weighted whispers—
Will you still love me on Ragnarök’s byre?
When your children wage war on their elders?
For the nine realms will be nothing but chaos,
And each will sit back to watch the destruction
For none shall be able to forestall this loss,
Or find another world to which they can run.
If you say yes; that you will adore me yet…
Should I trust those lips which kiss me sweetly?
That weave such beautiful tricks, traps and nets
To trip and catch the Æsir and their army.
Tell me, if it should be my breath leaves first,
Should you take another into our bed?
Or should you deem this world to be accursed,
And wait for the fates to cut immortal thread.
Another Failure I’ll Add to The List
Your magnificent masterpiece leaned to the left.
Framed and fixed, we never noticed until we stepped away.
You bulged blue, swore saffron and screamed at the help-
As if it were their faulted frame leaning lopsided!
I think I said something, maybe made mock;
My taunting tongue always for an attack on you…
So we both swore saffron, but only you bulged blue.
So those were my three poems that I managed to write for the December Form Challenge in 2012. For anyone interested in seeing the list of forms and the prompts, here is a link: http://kiwi-damnation.deviantart.com/art/DFC-2012-Form-Chart-339762217
As always, please leave a comment if you have one since I love to hear what people think of my work. Thank you for reading and have a lovely day!
The last couple of talks in my creative writing course have been focused on performance poetry, so I thought it might be about time that I gave it a go.
Since this is a first attempt I would love to hear feedback so please, please leave a comment and tell me what you think.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.
I have a personal soft spot for flash fiction.
The doors to the Great Hall hung crooked, gaping open, the rusted pins of old hinges still clinging to the stonework. War was never kind to old buildings, it took them apart and left the pieces scattered across the land.
Cara left her guards outside the crooked doors, steeping past the long abandoned swords, past the brittle bones still encased in armour, past what was left of Dorimere. Instead she crouched before dais and caught the stare of a carved griffon, still perched at the base of what was once a throne.
Her hand brushed against stone feathers.
‘All that has lasted.’ she whispered, retrieving her fingers from the carving’s flank and curling a lips into a soft sneer.
‘He was a foolish man.’ she said to herself, and perhaps the griffon also but it showed no sign of having heard her. It was stone after all.
She stayed as she was, watching, as if she expected the griffon to move or speak. There was no movement or sound, apart from the muted shuffle of feet as the guards beyond the crooked doors moved restlessly.
Cara rose, smoothing her skirts as she did so, pouting as the centuries of dust fell from where it had clung to the fabric. She turned.
The sound of stone grating against itself stopped her from walking away, stopped her still.
‘Petty Princess, Petty Princess.’ squawked a creaking voice. ‘Petty Princess with no inheritance. Come to search, come to seek, she’ll find no gold in the old King’s keep.’
The Great Hall fell silent and the guards stared in, some with their swords drawn.
‘No gold.’ Cara muttered, her face vacant of colour as she began to walk away from the dais. ‘I suppose I must look elsewhere.’
Perhaps not the best piece of writing that I have ever written, but I do love the way in which flash fiction makes you condense a story line right down to the bare essentials. The reader needs to look between the lines to understand what the writer is telling them, and even then, there is so much room for the reader to explore and twist to form their own opinions.
Flash fiction can be taken to the extreme though, shortening the stories down to a single sentence. Of course, I can’t talk about this sort of flash fiction without alluding to Earnest Hemingway’s six word short story.
For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn.
I wonder about this type of flash fiction. Can it really get a story across to the audience, and while the sentences can be amusing, do they really hold any literate value. (I think that’s a phrase…)
SixWordStories holds weekly prompts for, well you have probably already guessed, six word short stories. This week’s prompt seems to be an owl who is currently in the middle of a spa weekend…
It is actually less weird than the previous prompt. Yet I still have no idea what on earth I could write.
The shorted the story, the more difficult I find the words are to write. I like to delve into my stories, and five hundred words is normally the shortest I can go without feeling I’m simply writing nonsense. But that is my own opinion and someone else may find that writing a story in a sentence is far easier than writing one two pages long.
What are your thoughts?
In the two years previous to this Christmas I found myself writing poetry for Newport Girls’ High School Christmas Carol Service.
The reason was that my English teacher knew that I could write, and she wanted poems for the service. So I was cornered in the corridor and asked very nicely if I could write something. These are situations where I find my mouth saying the word yes before my brain can really think out the implications of taking on the task at hand.
Anyhow. The second year I was asked again, and my last acceptance made sure that there was no way out. I had written the previous year, and written something rather good, so why not repeat the feat?
I will tell you why not; Christmas poetry is a pain in the derriere.
I have a personal phobia of be over clichéd, unless I’m being ironic, but that is something completely different. My original point is that Christmas poetry is difficult to write without being repetitive, or clichéd, or saying something that is so cringe worthily cheesy that it would make me wince to write it.
So for the second year I wrote ‘Home for Christmas’. This year I’m writing a short story though it is not quite complete yet. When it is finished I’m debating self-publishing, and putting copies up for sale on the blog, only a few mind you.
Anyway, I can think on that when the story is complete. For now, here is last year’s poem.
Home For Christmas
December’s sleet and sludge to stain rare snow grey
And blank the windscreen dark as tight stretched nights.
These howling winds batter at my moving tin box,
Creeping slowly home down ice clad roads –
Here lies Cold’s treacherous claws,
Here we shall mourn safe passage.
Yet orange squares still yawn cheerful.
Shut to the winter’s eve outside.
Behind them is laid the table
Silver glints, laughter waits,
All beneath warmest light.
Cold tries to sneak in with me,
To curl tendrils through the threshold,
But I snap the door shut too quick
And it is left to whine around the house.
I shed the layers, coat and scarf,
Set them by upon a hallway peg
And blow on gloveless fingertips,
To melt the frozen blue from them.
I shall sink into the mundane chatter
That only comes with Christmas
And the familiar kitchen din and clatter
Of best plates placed upon best table cloth,
Servings of food too great to finish
And bangs of crackers with rattling toys.
Among this old hands encase my own.
They pull me into loving arms
That age but can never truly change.
Always is given the same embrace
No matter the time passed since the last.
Here are paths which divide, twist and bend,
To be pulled together by half forgotten strings,
Awoken in pine sap scented rooms
Where crumpled papers crinkles in flames
And the fire dances in its flickering heat.
Later, chatter fades to sleepy murmurs
Of Grandfathers dozing upon armchairs,
Conversations switch from past to future
Or same time next year?
Perhaps a change of scene?
Will Aunty Flo still bring the mulled wine?
And as for the rest,
Well we shall wait and see
What the year will have to hold
Before plans are set in concrete.
Someone must have been the first to call him Scholar, but whoever it was they were forgotten; alongside first name, surname, Scholar’s real name.
Because— Because people forget the unimportant, sometimes the important and always the words that do not interest them. There are many uninteresting things, and Scholar’s real name was one of those, no one was interested. No one was interested in who Scholar was, his name had never meant anything to anyone, so why would you waste space in your head remembering it?
‘It seems cruel.’
Aye, it does, but that doesn’t make it any less true. I don’t think Scholar even remembers what he was called, before I mean, he remembers he’s Scholar and that’s it. At least I think he knows he’s Scholar, he reacts when he’s yelled, but that could mean anything…
‘You could ask him.’
Ask him what? If he remembers his name? Aye, I suppose, if he would answer. I don’t think he remembers, I don’t think it was an important thing, I think it was an unimportant thing. You know. It doesn’t do to remember all the unimportant things, we have to let some of them go, to make room for the important stuff we like. The important and unimportant stuff that interests us, the bits which stay, bits we cling onto with our nails.
‘So what does Scholar cling onto? What is interesting to a man with no name?’
He does have a name. He’s called Scholar.
‘But that isn’t his name, not really, and that wasn’t an answer to the question I asked.’
I suppose not, but I had to put you right about Scholar’s name, I couldn’t have you wrong on that one.
‘Is it important to you?’
Not really, you can forget it if you want, I’ll make sure to tell you again when you do. Even if it was important, doesn’t mean you’d remember, like I said, you can still forget the important things, I have. Don’t ask me what though, I forget what I forgot.
Not really, I find it overly simple if anything.
‘Then I will just have to trust you on that one. To me it sounds as if everything rambles on from one to the next, no cohesion.’
Ain’t that the way with a stream of consciousness? You get blurred lines, and fractured divisions. No clear cuts between ideas.
‘Tangents which throw you off topic?’
‘No. I mean we’ve gone off topic. You still haven’t answered my question.’
Oh. Well I will now, what was it again? I forget things you see.
Glad to see you’ve been listening. What was your question?
‘What is interesting to Scholar, what does he remember?’
Why everything of course. He’s Scholar, there ain’t a bit of history that’s not locked up inside his head. You ask him about the Greeks and he’ll tell you how to build a pyramid!
‘That was the Egyptians.’
‘The Egyptians built the pyramids, not the Greek.’
When did I say that they didn’t?
Did I? Well I forget you see, history never did interest me much and I ain’t got the room to remember the stuff that don’t interest me. Do you understand?
‘I’m starting to.’
Good. Though if you like history, ask Scholar, he knows all about that sort of thing. History interests Scholar, he knows it all. I think that’s why he’s called Scholar, knows all about the world, more than the world, more than the universe. He knows everything there is to know!
‘Except his real name.’
Aye. He don’t know that. Strange one, he knows it all apart from that. Don’t ask me why, it’s just the way it is, and Scholar suits him. It is him. Him and his books.
‘Has he been it for long?’
Been what for long?
Well I ain’t sure. Couldn’t tell you who was the first person to call him Scholar, or when they called him it, though…
‘Someone must have been the first to call him Scholar.’
Written for the ‘Scholar’ prompt on DeviantArt.com group Unseen-Writers.
The other night was very strange indeed. It didn’t start off strange, it start off fairly normally, if a little dull. (Twenty minute bus journeys with only the company of your iPod, and a severe lack of interesting conversations to eavesdrop on, leads to very dull bus journeys.)
The weirdness grew over the night. I felt rather out of place, walking through Bath at half seven at night, on my way to a poetry reading at the ‘Royal Literary and Scientific Institute.’ The dress I had chosen to wear seem to have shrunk overnight, the skirt seemed significantly shorter than when I had last worn it a few days previously and my heels wanted to explore every crack and nook possible.
I arrived half an hour early, with no broken ankles fortunately, though I did have the wonderful moment of standing in the middle of a road as a guy showed me directions from his map. No cars came, and I did not end up as one with the road surface. All was well in the world.
Anyway, back to being thirty minutes early, sat in the foyer of the ‘Royal Literary and Scientific Institute’ (in Bath). As it turns out, first years turning up to the poetry events we are supposed to write reviews on, is a rare and unusual occurrence. There is nothing quite like bemusing second and third years with my desire to pass the first year of my course, especially since I’m paying nine grand a year to study it.
When the poetry reading did start, it was fifteen minutes late, in a first floor room where most of the audience had already finished at least one glass of wine and were part way through a second. It was mentioned to me by a second year, that this had something to do with the organisers believing that wine improves the poetry that you’re hearing. That worried me. It worried me quite a bit.
The poets themselves, in all honestly, were very good. Olivia McCannon was first up, with her new collection ‘Exactly My Own Length’. Isn’t that such a fantastic title. I love the connotation it holds to poetry and writing. The title is from one of the poems, and according to what I could hear, had something to do with someone she knows walking in the countryside one day and finding a coffin shaped hole dug out of rock. So this person did as any reasonable person would do. Lay down, found it was exactly his own length, (coffin-wise), and fell asleep.
This was one of the few explanations she gave about the poetry. The second half of the book were poems written as coping mechanisms during his mother’s illness and death. Her mother died in 2008, and the poems were never written with the intention of falling into public consumption. Though I felt her interaction with the audience was a little dry, and she simply read us the work instead of engaging in quite the same way as Sasha Dugdale would do later on, her manner was understandable.
There were points where I felt that she was genuinely about to burst into tears, her voice was strained and thick, and she stumbled over words as she gave the brief snatched of explanation that she did give. It was clear that her work is very emotionally based, and holds a lot of power because of that. However, Sasha Dugdale had to be my favourite of the night.
Sasha Dugdale’s collection ‘The Red House’, fed into my own interests and loves far more than Olivia McCannon’s had. Olivia’s poems were incredibly personal, while Sasha’s were based more in stories, histories and ideas.
Fantastic lines such as:
How they sing: as if each had pecked up a smouldering coal
Their throats singed and swollen with song”
This, from “Dawn Chorus” stuck with me, the imagery so utterly brilliant that I couldn’t get the idea of these beautiful small birds, their songs so full and rich that it is as if there is fire and flames burning in the notes. Their throats barely able to contain the sound as they sing away.
I am also a huge fan of tying history and tradition into poetry, such as with her one poem (apologies for any misspelling) ‘Michael Bian’. We were entertained with a quick fill in on how the shepherds on the downs were buried with a piece of sheep’s wool attached to their clothes, as evidence to God, to show why they had not been in church.
This alone had me hook, line, and sinker. Shepards! Wool as evidence to God! Research had gone into her writing, an effort that I admire hugely, alongside the variation within the poems. I love poets who can write from any angle within the spectrum and Sasha Dugdale proved to be one of these poets.
At half nine the poetry reading ended, though the next bus back to campus wasn’t until half ten. This meant one thing for myself and the other first year who would also be catching the bus. We were going to McDonalds, partly for food, and mostly for the fact that they have central heating.
This was the point where the night decided to take a nose dive off random cliff, and land me in some of the strangest situations I have ever been witness to, one after the other. But all that is a post for another day.
Poetry is supposedly akin to song-writing. If I’m honest, that idea is a complete crock. Ask me to write a poem and I’ll be able to bury you under sheets of random scribbles, limericks, sonnets, haikus! You ask for it, I’ll write it.
I have never been able to write a song, at least not successfully, or to any sort of standard.
One of my new flatmates however, is exceptionally brilliant at song-writing. Food and entertainment all in one, (since she is also the best cook out of the lot of us).
So you can all see how utterly wonderful she is, I have decided I should share the link to her most recent YouTube video, containing the song she wrote, and plays regularly when we’re sat up in the kitchen.
I will say now, I’m bias, I love the song! To me it is the greatest thing since sliced bread, or perhaps since bread itself! But you can decide that for yourself when you go and check out her channel.
Without any further ado, here is my lovely friend Miss Maddie, and here equally lovely song “If Looks Could Kill”.