tilted galaxy

This image of a tilted galaxy appears courtesy of http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/pictures/space/tiltedspiralgalaxy.html

For World Space Week last October I wrote “On the declaration of the first day of the Year of Our Light.”

There are some wonderful lines in this poem, such as

“The swirling spheres in proclamation”,
“Light of more silver bright”
and the bit quoted for the headline, “The whole kerfuffle woke the stars.”

Sometimes I just like poetry for the way it allows words to sound.

For more about my fascination with words, see
Nice Words #1
Nice Words #2
Nice Words #4
Nice words of the moment (from autumn)
Cast them together

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

What does your truest smile look like?

Mine is at its most genuine when it crinkles across my nose. Here’s the very short poem I wrote about it.

Genuine“, along with 103 other poems, features in my most recent book, In the Ocean: a year of poetry.

Image cropped from a vintage advertisement for corsets from Le Petit Echo de la Mode (Dec. 15, 1901 issue). Courtesy of the Old Design Shop.

Image cropped from a vintage advertisement for corsets from Le Petit Echo de la Mode (Dec. 15, 1901 issue). Courtesy of the Old Design Shop.

How am I supposed to compete
with Nicole, Fully Experienced

who is able to stroke false lashes
onto her eyelids
rather than lose the wily moults
to the back of a chair?

Nicole, with her cream of know-how,
certainly has a drawer of négligée
and suitable apparatus for pranking

Unlike 8 pairs of cotton briefs,
stitched where they give
so as to last another year of wear;
The only bedside apparatus
a weatherworn Bukowski (apparently
to some a turn on).

I bet fully practised Nicole
wears fetish heels as thin and long
as the ballpoint used to spike down
my wares.


I was on Charing Cross Road recently. Swept up in the usual bustle of traversing a London pavement, I kept mindful of my step and the other walkers as we congested around a buggy that had stalled the flow. A scrap of paper under someone’s heel caught my attention. It was a flyer for the services of Nicole, Fully Experienced.

Nicole’s imagined experience inspired today’s poem.

(I am still not entirely convinced about the title, as women who do work in the adult entertainment industry may find it condescending. ‘Skills’ and ‘Wares’ were other options which I considered.)

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

Tulips from A Day in a Child’s Life by Kate Greenaway, c. 1881 and courtesy of the Old Design Shop.

I did not set out to write poetry. I intended to write Novels. And anyway, I am of the view that much superbly written and evocative poetry already exists. The Shadows of Giants loom large. At the moment I have no illusion about even coming close to their kneecaps, never mind shoulders. This time last year I posted “Emulation“, a poem about the finely wrought craft of three (English language) poetry giants.

Emulation” references two poems that had a notable impact on me during my adolescence: Sylvia Plath’s “Mushrooms” and “The Thought Fox” by Ted Hughes. (Yes, we studied them at school in our English lessons. Some exposures in life just can’t be helped.) Both poems struck me with the synaesthetic potential of words. To this day, I can still feel those mushrooms mouthing their insidious, hollow-breathed o’s at the world (“So many of us! So many of us!”). That Thought Fox still darts with a hot fox stink across my imagination.

(I had not noted, until reviewing these poems for this post, that both set the scene in a forest. How very archetypal; how very Brothers Grimm.)

“Mushrooms” is referenced via Plath’s famous “Tulips” (1961). I came across “Tulips” when I was older . Although a recognised and fine work, it does not evoke the same nostalgia for me.

The third poet to whom homage is paid is John Donne for his poem “The Flea“. Besides the pleasure of the words, it latched onto my leaning towards the miniature and slightly odd. Perhaps my little poem “An arrangement of Strangers” owes Donne a debt.

I may not (yet) have found myself on the shouders of giants, but I have written nearly 200 poems. 149 of them are available in book format:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry – 104 poems written across a year
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys – 25 poems about work, life and love
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012 – 20 poems about loss, love and growing up in quiet suburbia

Please follow me on
Twitter @BeadedQuill
or Facebook BeadedQuill

This illustration gem appears courtesy of the Old Design Shop, a wonderful resource for vintage images.

This illustration gem appears courtesy of the Old Design Shop, a wonderful resource for vintage images.

You cooking me

Two burnished hazelnuts
singe flax.
Golden Savoiardi shake
loose vanilla pods.

An oiled aubergine
turns roasted cumin seeds.
The sorrel and bay sauté
with wild mushrooms,
freshly picked.

A wholesome slice seals
the Dijon.

I have written a number of poems that draw on the influences of cooking and kitchen. Today’s offering started as a meditation on the colour mustard, the most unglamorous (even unsexy) of colours. The meditation shifted along the colour spectrum towards synonyms of yellow, golden-yellow and brown. (A Poem A Day October was once again the prompt source.)

“Mustard and brown” vied as an alternative title for the poem. In this version, the end lines would also have been different:

A wholesome slice seals
you cooking me.

Here is the alternative version in its entirety.

Mustard and brown
Two burnished hazelnuts
singe flax.
Golden Savoiardi shake
loose vanilla pods.

An oiled aubergine
turns roasted cumin seeds.
The sorrel and bay sauté
with wild mushrooms,
freshly picked.

A wholesome slice seals
you cooking me.

I’m still undecided as to which combination works better poetically. I prefer the opening version for it’s punch and mustard. What’s your take?

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

Edgar Degas - Orchestra Musicians - Google Art Project

“Orchestra Musicians” (1872/6) by Edgar Degas [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

From the archive, a poem about playing in an orchestra. If recollection serves me correctly, we may have been rehearsing a seldom performed Tchaikovsky symphony.

My ongoing relationship with music has also inspired:

And a – a poem with a boogie woogie beat
Nightstar of Sirius – written during a jazz concert
We stayed up late and waved our sticks about – as told to me by a fellow concert-goer while queuing for proms chamber recital tickets at Cadogan Hall
Nos Liberavit – a poem about the joy of song

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books by BeadedQuill – Yours to own!

Rocky Road dessert

By Leon Brooks [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.


(inspired by Sachin’s story)

the fat floated to the top
I scraped it off

on setting

I melted a combination
dark chocolate and caramel bars.
Dark chocolate I love.
At work they
prefer caramel bars.

On setting to the top
a combination
dark chocolate and caramel bars
separated as fat
on the top.

On setting I tried to disguise the mess with icing sugar.
The powder disguise melted
into the combination
dark chocolate and caramel bars
still warm.
I ruined an attempt of
dark chocolate and caramel bars.

I ruined rocky road.

At a friend’s flat-warming on Saturday one of the guests recounted the sad tale that inspired this poem. I did warn the narrator that the line “I ruined rocky road” would find its way into my poem on the theme of ‘failure‘, yet another prompt from A Poem A Day October.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
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Books

Newspaper rack, Gare del'Est, Paris - 2014-02-01 - Andy Mabbett - 02

By Andy Mabbett (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.


I haven’t read the news today,
but it knows how to chassé into my life.

Laid out in Budgens
4th Briton beheaded
splashed from the Saturday cover pages
into my eyes.

Over lunch cooking
on the radio the weekly round-up
where the chatter chewed
over NHS woes, the nurse’s strike.

Before I could log on to my mail,
a banner scans past offering
man at war, Ebola,
grotesque foods of the world

and a celebrity wedding.
I didn’t read the news today,
but I did entertain
an interview with David Gandy
who only gyms five hours a week.

The starting point for this poem was derived from a prompt suggested by A Poem A Day October.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to Australia, the European Union and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years. Contributor: Voyager.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. 

I have written a number of poems inspired by London commuting, including this surreal scene posted last year.

Here are some others:
On the Way to Westminster (a personal favourite)
Trapped Items
Tunnel Days
Tube Sketch

Anthurium at lalbagh flower show 7109

Anthuriums from Lalbagh Garden, Bangalore by Rameshng (own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


This greeting comes cold from the residue
of morning, 3rd October. Last draff of coffee
in the cup on a saucer that would rather be
the stippled salver that serves red
to passersby and those who scan
the street for things to watch
and then behold anthuriums
for sale at the florist.

“Paris”
2014


On relocating to London, I jettisoned my personal library. Since then I have forbad myself from spending on books. As far as possible I beg and borrow. On a few rare occasions I have caved – for Zadie Smith’s essays, Chinese poetry and a tome of Charles Bukowski poems, The Pleasures of the Damned (Canongate, 2010).

It started with ‘hell is a lonely place’ which punched me in the stomach. There in the bookshop I decided that I had to have the whole book, at £15.99. I didn’t care what else was in it. It turned out Bukowski is quite well known. I was a latecomer to his work.

Bukowski’s poem ‘the last generation’ introduces the literary scene of Paris in the 1920s, a time when writing “was a romantic grand game…, full of fury and discovery”. In short, “it was much easier to be a genius in the twenties”.

Part tongue-in-cheek (I’m guessing), the poem suggests:

.. if you sent your stuff postmarked from Paris
chance of publication became much better.
most writers bottomed their manuscripts with the
word “Paris” and the date.

I’ve paired this little joke with today’s prompt: “Write a poem in the form of a letter to someone”. I guess you, dear reader, are the someone.

I love writing letters, and the subject has featured in other poems:

In the unposted letter
It should not be polished
Pavement Writer
Things of the heart told in quiet

I have also written about Paris.


Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books

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