napowrimo

Swagman

The Swagman’s Rest by Pro Hart

Touch my hand

bones splinter in the dirt

think of the wind over the sea

and places bandicoots skitter in the eve

I was once a good man

with shining rope, glinting gun and a plan

although the map’s not one you can see

and my words came smooth, debonair, like lies

 

My final shouts rang true though

if anyone cared to hear them

and I washed myself in the sound

‘Oh Nell, my love, I wronged her.’

the drink has taken stronger men

and left better women stranded

but I broke her heart and stole her wine

the child we’d made, abandoned

 

When it came time for him to die

alone he was, in bracken

the river was so loud that night

she felt the baby quicken

perhaps he called aloud those words

Nell, she didn’t hear him

upon his head she put a curse

and found him in the morning

 

To free his twist in memory’s embrace

we left a blank and humble cross in place

lost now to all but she:

Sandy Dan the Swagman, we

tied ropes across his grave

of bleached bloodwood, as dead as he

and while mountains rise against the sun

no more a-roving will he see

 

Day 18. I enjoyed this prompt: First, find a poem in a book or magazine (ideally one you are not familiar with). Use a piece of paper to cover over everything but the last line. Now write a line of your own that completes the thought of that single line you can see, or otherwise responds to it. Now move your piece of paper up to uncover the second-to-last line of your source poem, and write the second line of your new poem to complete/respond to this second-to-last line. Keep going, uncovering and writing, until you get to the first line of your source poem, which you will complete/respond to as the last line of your new poem. It might not be a finished draft, but hopefully it at least contains the seeds of one.

I used “The Swagman’s Rest” by Banjo Patterson. It ended up with an odd, off-kilter rhyme sequence but I like it

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Jetsamina

Image result for arrietty the borrowers

draw the hook up

and catch the spinning load

of fluttering flotsam

drain-smelling of rotting things

peer closer though

it is the diminuative sink-sprite, Jetsamina!

her gossamer wings of silvery vagina-slime

and an evil dark-brown-black dress, mucky with hairballs

cat-breath of pilchard surprise

“I will grant you a single wish”

she gurgles in a voice of soap scum

her demesne: the smelly underworld of sewers and stormwater drains

so

I snap on clammy rubber gloves

make my request

a Borrower’s behest

make me like Arrietty (and Spiller)

tiny, special and deft

we’ll ride the effluent together

Damn the rest!

The Day 8 Glo-Napowrimo prompt was to write poems in which mysterious and magical things occur. I kinda like the idea of mixing the magical with the mundane, even disgusting. I get an odd satisfaction from gross jobs like cleaning the greasetraps in the drains… so I was struck by the idea of a local spirit who might live in there. And I adored Mary Norton’s Borrowers books as a child.

Pic: still from Studio Ghibli’s anime film “The Secret World of Arrietty” sourced from https://lesamantsreguliers.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/arietty-mon-amour-arietty-the-borrower/

Definitions of Power

Woman/ powerful

from: Girl/ vulnerable

White/ powerful (but guilty)

also: Australian/ troubled2nd-classBrit “oh your accent’s not that strong” and I rarely demur

and Gothic/ powerful but a “chosen minority” – remembered hatred from smallminded folk still stings but I enjoy(ed) the provocation

Middle class/ welcome if undeserved

Affluent/ lucky

Intelligent/ powerful because it’s in the accepted way. I’ve come to see there’s so many forms of unrecognised intelligence, it pisses me off this narrow view, I don’t actually think stupidity exists, but ignorance does

(And so very few goths are not white, middle class, intelligent – so)

Tall/ vulnerable but powerful

University educated/ never enough

Mother/ vulnerable – is it necessarily bad?

Londoner/ knowing something

White (again)/ easy

Sister/ love

Friend/ means almost everything

Lover/ undercover

Unworking/ vulnerable; the worst of all

Day 7 prompt: write out a list of all of your different layers of identity. Now divide all of those things into lists of what makes you feel powerful and what makes you feel vulnerable. And make a poem… (edited as I saw fit!)

Gold, Fools

today I saw old scars and heard

new stories about them

gaps in teeth winking like small sequins

while words trickled through that glistened with meaning I tried to catch

like gold panning

they say the precious dust settles to the bottom because it’s heavy

like truth can be a burden and

hard to see among shifting sands and gravel

and maybe if you eat the whole beach and keep on licking the shore that way

seeking truth

your teeth will grind away and your stomach will ache because

there’s a lot to swallow and a body can’t always tell what’s heavy metal or which parts of what you’ve ingested are the righteous words and concepts in the flock

mistakes can be made at cellular level, muddles, cancer is the body attacking itself or growing too fast in one direction like gold fever can kill

(a lie: that truth always sets us free)

it’s as complicated as a whole ocean of shells

and I’m so busy Living in The Moment

I can’t even remember who I was

or wanted to be — don’t ask me for definitive answers — my garbled utterances are the muddy water in the pan and those flecks and facets of shiny stuff could be any damn thing

I think this is probably yesterday’s prompt: (Naprwrimo day 6) to play with line lengths. I’m running a bit behind schedule but hope to catch up soon

Photo: Pineapple Supple Co @Unsplash

Neural pathways

As I slope up that bone-colour concrete path

sticks and gumleaves and sand

the scent of the bush – lemon eucalpypt and banksia

alone for the first time in days

home but not home

that smell in my eyes maybe because they fill with tears

or I’m thinking of him trapped inside delerium

grey-green and olive green and agapanthus green and black-burnt trunks with

small explosions of scarlet tongues and creamed-butter ragged tulle blossoms

following paths I’ve never run before

the warm air holds me safe and not too hot

thinking of how I heard he quietly saved his son once from a precipice

the way you do with family, unhesitating, sure as a heatbeat

those old trees stand tall, smooth barked and guarding

not over me, their roots luxuriate in more ancient soil

can you ever reconcile

a life, a mind, a body, a soul

or illness

or just keep jogging on

 

Day 4 prompt was: to write a poem that is about something abstract – perhaps an ideal like “beauty” or “justice,” but which discusses or describes that abstraction in the form of relentlessly concrete nouns. I found the example poem by Amy Tudor in this piece so moving I guess I tried to mimic the style, I think it worked well to focus on trees and flowers etc.  

I might not be able to link to the prompts each day as I´m mostly working via smartphone at the moment so cutting and pasting and link making is a bit of a faff… but you can always check in to http://www.napowrimo.net

Band names

Matchbox Scrubland

Out of the Tree

The Hab Spaß

In the Dark

Unicorn of the Apocalypse

Year Nine

Suitcases

Lollipop Bears

Umbrella Mustard

First to be Free

The Undoing

The Wealthy

Pink Meridian

Googlefathers

Make pay while the sun shines

The Take Aways

Lazy Nachmittag

Prunetoast

Missing Skin

He’s right, you could go on forever…. Today’s prompt was inspired by the GloPoWriMo interview with poet Peter Davis. As he indicates there, his latest book is rooted in endlessly writing ideas for band names. Today, the challenge was to try this out yourself by writing a list poem in which all the items are made-up names.

Blurs

we’re all

bleeding into each other

blurring lines and…

and blending with

cries

of pain and…

and love

my nose on

your face

running

a new race

as cold indifferent stars

look on from

above

It’s Global Poetry Month again! The prompt is a love poem… I was thinking about genetics the other day, and how modern life means we’re all merging our gene pools. Which, in a way, is the ultimate act of love. I am travelling so this jet-lagged piece is meant to be read in a sloow “Yellow/ ‘Oh Yeah'” voice to match my treacle brain.

The Spinning Ones

Photo: http://bookdome.com/fiction/Grimms-Household-Tales/The-Three-Spinning-Fairies.html#.WQXN7PmGPIU

once again I rally them

my shining ones, my friends

she tells me that in twenty years

we’ll still be laughing til there’s tears

and magicking the world aright

like we did those moonlit nights

she says that I can let it go

permission to go slow

something I can’t grant for me

but when she speaks, I obey

she sometimes tells me I’m still Jerry

always missed, do not worry

invoke me with my name

on lips, in heart, the page…

and so we go around, around

casting spells and hauling found

fortunes, jokes and sparkling things

while endlessly the earth does spin

 

Today’s prompt was to write a poem about something that happens again and again (kind of like NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo). When I get down, my wonderful friends pull me up again tirelessly.

This is the last day of April and the final day of GloPoWriMo. I made it! I’m going to take a short break and get back to you shortly with a poetry-month wrap-up! 🙂

Photo: http://bookdome.com/fiction/Grimms-Household-Tales/The-Three-Spinning-Fairies.html#.WQXN7PmGPIU

Absolution

A woman on the street was circling, circling

her shoulder bag dropped down around her waist

she had spittle on her mouth

a frail and old person

scraggly white hair, a stained windcheater

broken,

and yet I was too afraid to help

bad possibilities zinging through my mind

of being hit, attacked, screeched at, misunderstood

at the heaviness of a human body collapsing on me in relief

the time it might suck from me

I walked by

with tears in my eyes.

doesn’t absolve anything

lazy coward me

she stopped circling, the spell broken

by me?

no way to know how the light gets in to a fissured mind

I told a friend later and got upset again

silly, scared me

still hoping for absolution

which she gave

‘you’re a kind person for even noticing. You wouldn’t be crying now if you didn’t mean well’

but I didn’t care enough

I could have given her a tissue to wipe her face

‘did you even have a tissue? I bet you didn’t even have one on you’

I just shook my head and sighed

the secret shame of soft, 3-ply folds in my bag,

putting me to the lie

knowing they were there all along

just like

the least I could have done

was

offer her one

 

Off-prompt for the penultimate day of NaPoWriMo! 

Photo: https://unsplash.com/@raffiklopes

Skeltonics in the closet

everything is shrinking

or is it just my thinking

something about drinking

haven’t got an inkling

maybe Skeltonic verse

is par for the course

guess we could do worse

don’t call the hearse

yet

that Hemingway cartoon

crashed like a lead balloon

did no one see

or do they all hate he?

but I got 320 followers

so could not be jollier

and

with two more days to go

in this NaPoWriMo

think I’ve done O (K)

and to finish will be yay!

 

Day 28’s NaPoWriMo prompt was to write a poem using Skeltonic verse. Don’t worry, there are no skeletons involved. Rather, Skeltonic verse gets its name from John Skelton, a fifteenth-century English poet who pioneered the use of short stanzas with irregular meter, but two strong stresses per line (otherwise know as “dipodic” or “two-footed” verse). The lines rhyme, but there’s not a rhyme scheme per se. The poet simply rhymes against one word until he or she gets bored and moves on to another. Here is a good explainer of the form, from which I have borrowed this excellent example:

Dipodic What?

Dipodic Verse
will be Terse.
Stress used just twice
to keep it nice,
short or long
a lilting song
or sounding gong
that won’t go wrong
if you adhere
to the rule here,
Now is that clear
My dear?

This year’s poetry month has felt like more of a challenge to get through than last year, with my other writing commitments bubbling away in the background, so I thought I’d just go for rather silly doggerel today.

Not actually sure if it’s skeltonic or not.
Think I usually write like that.
What-ever. 

The image is a detail from one of  Sir John Tenniel’s Alice in Wonderland illustrations I grabbed off the internet  … I think those pics are royalty-free these days anyway. ?