Archives for the month of: August, 2013

Evening, 31 August 1822

Above, the ungraspable in grey or white 
or sometimes black, I read now
is wrought of Forms,
this water overhead.

What Science seeks to calibrate
quickens my palette, hand and knife
and revives my boyish eyes to see 
pictures in the sky.

The series of cloud studies painted by John Constable during the summers of 1821 and 1822 inspired this poem. Thank-you to Laura for alerting me to these and other images by Constable in the Your Paintings online archive.

Follow my Twitter comments art, visual culture, music and martial arts. I tweet as @BeadedQuill

My first volume of poetry, SHINING IN BRIGHTNESS, is available for preview and purchase. Please do have a look.

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as told to me by Klara

Last week three

of my octogenarian friends dropped in.

Nobody drops in on me!

But they did: from Brighton, Cambridgeshire and Dorset.

 

So, where are we going out tonight?

asked my friend from Brighton.

I had no idea,

but we found pizza.

 

(I don’t know why I am so into it.

I had it out two nights last week.)

 

We ate

and stayed out late.

We drank too much

and waved our sticks about.

This image, courtesy of HelloSprout, is a handmade card and available for purchase from etsy.com. See http://etsy.me/r1D7Vd

This image, courtesy of HelloSprout, is a handmade card and available for purchase from etsy.com. See http://etsy.me/r1D7Vd

 

Pine for the pigeon as a cat.

Cover the house from ground to roof.

You’re ivy.

Start as a seedling in mid-summer.

 

These are six ways to complicate your life.

 

 

I tweet as @BeadedQuill. Please follow me on Twitter.

Have a glance at my first volume of poetry here. SHINING IN BRIGHTNESS was published earlier this year.

Success is speaking to the people who matter,
In networking when due. Waste no time on a satyr.
Success is doing what you should
for Work, for Security, for Good.

It’s silence when your speech would rattle,
And indifference to a pointless battle.
Success is deafness to all that’s ugly,
But sympathy if your deed’s seen widely.

It’s loyalty as the price dictates; 
Courage when others might judge, “Flake.” 
It’s patience when the drudge seems worth it,
But for laughter, song or frivolity – surfeit.

Success is found in application, 
financial stability and securing one’s station.
In all of life and nothing less
Is this almighty guidepost that’s called Success.

--

Sometime between the ages of eight and ten, when I had already learnt to read and was in the habit of memorising written material (mostly bible verses for Sunday School and gedigte (poems) for Afrikaans lessons), my paternal Granny gave me a palm-sized laminated card. On the card was printed the motivational poem “Success.” In sing-song iambic quadrameter and neat AA, BB, CC end rhyme the poem sets forth fourteen guidelines that should assist one in living the worthy life. My earnest pre-adolescent self set about memorising these words of wisdom.
In trying to write out the poem, I was certain I had forgotten part of it. So I turned to Google, and found the full piece.

Success
author unknown

Success is speaking words of praise,
In cheering other people’s ways.
In doing just the best you can,
With every task and every plan.
It’s silence when your speech would hurt,

Politeness when your neighbour’s curt.
It’s deafness when the scandal flows,

And sympathy with others’ woes.
It’s loyalty when duty calls,
It’s courage when disaster falls.
It’s patience when the hours are long,

It’s found in laughter and in song.
It’s in the silent time of prayer,

In happiness and in despair.
In all of life and nothing less,
We find the thing we call success

Interestingly, it is the verse about loyalty, courage and patience and the third to last line that I had not recalled. This was my reconstruction of what I thought to be my favourite part of the verse: “It’s found in laughter and in song,/ And in the silent time of prayer,/In all of life and nothing less,/ We find the thing we call Success.” I had erased, “In happiness and in despair.” Or, rather, whenever I have thought of the line, “In all of life and nothing less,” I simultaneously imagine the line in church marriage vows, “In sickness and health,” which serves to encompass all joys, hardships and eventualities of life.

This ennobling little verse, if a verse can ever imbue such upon its reader, resonates with Max Ehrmann’s (1872–1945) poem “Desiderata” (1927), which also lists actions and mindsets through which one could foster a good and worthwhile life. My earnest adolescent self also went through a phase of trying to memorise this work. The favourite line, besides the famous opening (“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.”), is “You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.”

Yes, a poet would cling to such a line.

Shining in Brightness,” a book of my poems and essays was compiled earlier this year. Preview this first volume at blurb.co.uk
Follow my Twitter musings about the artist’s life, the successful life and the wonder of dried figs. I tweet as @BeadedQuill

My hairpin gave and broke

in the lock I had tried to unpick.

One piece I held up in my fingers.

That I could take away.

The other length, small as it was,

there I left.

Please find and follow me on Twitter. I tweet as @BeadedQuill

In an alleyway of thought
A nibbling rat sniffs
	amongst the kitchen waste,
snouts for a morsel to inch through.
It’s a voracious, fat-bellied rat
	carrier of diseased fleas
	and nibbler of all that should be left to decompose.

Such is clinging mind:
it won’t let go.

For another poem that develops a metaphor from kitchen leftovers, see the recent “Tightly Sealed.” The above poem and others produced over the last year are earmarked for two forthcoming volumes. Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys explores a young woman’s response to the men – older, younger and boyish – in her orbit.  Under a Blue Dome is an unfolding miscellany of poems about ordinary life under the great, grand sky. If you haven’t yet seen my first volume, SHINING IN BRIGHTNESS, you’re invited to preview it at blurb.co.uk.

Follow my Twitter musings about monkey, rat and martial mind. I tweet as @BeadedQuill.

BeadedQuill is also on Facebook. Do “Like” the page.

Summer_Vintage_Woman_by_CherishedMemories

This image, ‘Summer Vintage Woman,’ is courtesy of CherishedMemories.

A few recent poems have orbited around summer. 29°C captures some moments from the July heatwave. Another Summer’s Day explores more delights of the warmer season. Summer food and outdoor eating, which we enjoy at such times with childlike relish, are enacted by the child characters who feature in Packed Lunches and Summermelon. Tightly Sealed and Look At draw on observations of ordinary days as they continue to unfold during a suburban summer. Leftovers accumulate in the ‘fridgeResidents must still go to work and pick up groceries on the High Street.

An Arrangement of Strangers, a poem about some childhood fears, proved the wildcard.

I consider Recycled the most beautifully put together of them all.

Image courtesy of http://vintagefeedsacks.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/free-vintage-clip-art-vintage_27.html

Image courtesy of vintagefeedsacks.blogspot.co.uk

In which the superhero of pre-used words makes a re-appearance

The superhero of pre-used words 
met watermelon boy.
It was summer.
They had pips to spit
But also fruit to eat and

The superhero of pre-used words 
and watermelon boy
arrived at the driveway, 3 quite sharp.
Between them half a shell of watery sweet
	summer joy
“You first!"	

The superhero of pre-used words 
has met with Watermelon Boy.
They spit pips
at the wall
A noun; a verb;
	too many adjectives

The adverbs sweetly steep the fruit.
They ingest those.
It’s how it’s done,
not what, that counts.

The superhero of pre-used words 
and melon boy
spit pips –

the champion is melon boy
      his best is 2m .03
(quite impressive!)

On a sunny Sunday
the watermelon pips
hit
leftover rinds – green happy smiles

Follow me on Twitter. I tweet as @BeadedQuill.

My first volume of poetry, SHINING IN BRIGHTNESS, explores the quiet pleasures and experiences of suburban life and travel. Preview it at blurb.co.uk

Today
the sour faces coming out of front doors
of those who must go to work

the pinched looks of those shuffling
with shopping trolleys; 
those who must buy groceries

Look at Grey Mullet
laid on ice at the fishmonger’s

Look at whole others who 
smile weakly and wave 
that magazine for the homeless/unemployed
outside where I buy stamps 

Broadest of coffee smiles 
         - another  
a flaky-rimmed pasteis de nata
         - time, thanks  

Yeah, yeah
he growls today and shakes his whole self on that concrete pavement
rousing the pigeons, in the rose bed, who then flap at the petals

and the thorns and leaves, but they are smaller and less interesting

like the work-faces folded away in drawers
or the pure bliss of 59p to buy soya milk
         for seven days of breakfast joy
a coffee smile and through a window,
a fishmonger’s whole plaice on ice

Preview my first volume of poems, SHINING IN BRIGHTNESS, at blurb.co.uk.
Follow my traipsing around London’s suburbs and high streets on Twitter. I tweet as @BeadedQuill.
BeadedQuill also has a Facebook page. You’ll find it here.

Image with thanks to http://postcardiva.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/antique-bathing-beauty-postcards.html

Image with thanks to postcardiva.blogspot.co.uk

On the verge of blue,
it goes for grey
brings 16°C instead of heat.

A midday change of mind: the afternoon
turns kindly, warm
to swims in ponds and lemon sorbet

if it weren’t a Wednesday workday.

London, July 2013


Follow me on Twitter. I’m @BeadedQuill. At the moment I’m tweeting about occasional ambles on Hampstead Heath, dips in the Ladies’ Pond and London life in the summer warmth.

Preview my first volume of poetry, SHINING IN BRIGHTNESS