Saturday, 9 October 2010

National Poetry Day

I doubt that you know this, but Thursday was National Poetry Day in the UK. While the necessity of giving poetry its own day is up for debate, I don’t want to pursue that path because frankly I don’t really know nor care about the answer. Instead I thought I’d share some of my own poetry. I’ve not done this before because most of the poetry I’ve written is pretty crap. However of late I’ve started writing some poems that I actually quite like.

The premise is that I start with a photo that I’ve taken on my travels around the world and use that photo as inspiration for a short poem. The theme is Man’s relationship with the natural world, but I’ve only been sticking to that pretty loosely so far. The reason I’ve started doing this is that I keep getting bouts of inspiration and desire to write something, but no idea what to write about. A photo provides a really good focal point for this inspiration and allows me to channel it into something tangible.

Below are three examples, the first of which is about Hiroshima. To get some of the references you might want to check out this Wikipedia article .

Grey Skies and Falling Rain

Across the river from the bombed out husk
Is the bell that will always be rang,
And the flame that will never go out.
Sombre monuments to our destructive

Innocent white cherry blossoms bloom,
Stark contrast to the empty concrete.
The solemn grey reminder of the tragedy
Of human progress,
In the hands of the barbarous.

The grey skies and the falling rain
–Nature’s pathetic fallacy–
Punctuate the grim scene.

The rain will not extinguish the flame,
And the bell will keep sounding
For peace.

While bombs rain
And sky’s greyed
By mushroom clouds

The second is inspired by a photo taken when I was skiing in Austria back in 2008.

The Cable Car

Jagged white peaks carve the perfect blue sky,
The shadow of the mountain bathes half of the valley in darkness,
As the sun gleams off the snow.
Sprawling forests dirty the perfect white floor
With snow-speckled dark green carpet.
Defiant, shoulders of rock peak out from the snow,
Breakers of permanence swimming in the sea of white.

Through the valley floor a road carves and curves into the snow,
An earthworm of humanity against the mountain giant.
A car streams along the road, flying towards the town,
Nestled just out of sight,
Surrounded by trees and half shadowed by the mountains.

And the people in the cable car sit and watch,
As they fly over the mountain along cords of ingenuity.
Their glass castles swaying in the cool alpine air,
As they observe man’s wild and untamed

And the third is inspired by my recent trip to the Northern Territory.

To Steal the Soul of Death

In the swamps of North Australia
In the Billabongs and the rivers,
In the shady jungle at the water’s edge,
Floating just below the surface,
Of the serene, wind-rippled water,
Lives Death.

And from the boat we peer into the middle distance,
Straining our eyes to catch a glimpse.
Lifting our cameras to steal the soul of Death.
To capture the moment we were mere meters from him,
To immortalise our close encounter,
In mere pixels.

So we can go back to our homes in the cities
And boast to our friends that we were so close
And show them the pixels to prove it.
And relive our risk filled trip into the outback,
In fictional detail.

While in the swamps and the Billabongs,
The crocs keep ignoring the boats,
And the straining eyes
And the cameras.
And wait for dinner to enter the water.

Two other poems in this embryonic collection have recently been published in Downright Fiction, which I encourage you to check out, not only because it includes some more work by me, but also because there are some truly fantastic pieces of work by others.

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