Archives for the month of: June, 2014

Poems inspired by sea creatures

This poem about scales is a mash-up of ideas about old flames and red herrings. Strangely, yesterday I also wrote about sea creatures. In ‘New ink cartridges‘ I paired cephalopods with writing in black ink.

The image of fish scales is courtesy of Wikicommons Media and photographed by Rajesh danji. View the original image here. You can view Rajesh’s work on his photo blog, Banglore Photo Daily.

“Mollusca: Octopus, squid, nautilus, and cuttlefish” from The Animal Kingdom, Baron Cuvier, 1834. Image courtesy of Biomedical Ephemera.

From one side of the pool
to the other,
pacific waves cursive;
held by rocks hard-backed in blue.
A visiting squid squirts ink 
fresh and black.
A pseudomorph arrows from the nib.

26/06/2014


For Christmas ‘Secret Santa’ gave me a dinky, frosted pink fountain pen. It’s small; probably about 8cm in length. Its micro-cartridges only last about a dozen A4 pages, which spans two to three days of writing in my world. The half-a-dozen cartridges that came with the pen were used up long ago. I have been without ink for nearly six months, so today I decided to re-stock.

For £1,99 I bought a bag of 50 cartridges from Ryman’s on the Strand. This is the first poem from that bag of ink-filled plastic bullets now sitting on my desk.

Here’s a link about the ink-squirting of cephalopods. I’ll leave you to peer into the metaphorical rock pool and make sense of the squid and its pseudomorph.

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

Paul Klee, Red Balloon (1922), via Wikimedia Commons. This work is in the public domain in the European Union and non-EU countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years or less.

Five poems posted on the blog this time last year. You may even have read some of these before. Which one made the strongest impression on you? And why? Write your comment below. It’d be lovely to hear from you!

Simply say, I am here at this place

Image courtesy of the Old Design Shop, a vintage image treasury.

I am very fond of this little poem from the archive. It outlines advice for letter writing, an activity that I so enjoy and of which I reckon I am one of the last remaining proponents. Many recipients of my correspondence have graciously sent back their pen-and-paper replies. In some instances, they have noted the formula for correspondence.

This poem is one of 25 in my volume Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Author: Arpingstone.

The sweaty gym clothes
yelled in the tog bag,
m8t$er f%$*er could the day get any worse?
But in the Zara and Topshop bags,
short summer dresses from the 
50% off rack just giggled at the hope of seeing sun.
The backpack lugging the laptop 
for an evening of more work simply sighed. Weary 
would carry them home.


Another poem inspired by my commuter experiences on London’s tube.

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

Next to the postbox

I must be one of the last humans who still writes letters and postcards. From the archive, a poem about completing a letter while standing on the pavement next to a local postbox.

This poem is included in my book, Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys.

Image

Image from the February 1912 issue of Pictorial Review, courtesy of the Old Design Shop, a vintage image treasury.

Preheat a deep pan of golden leaf.
In a large bowl split bitter chicory.
Lift out the notes that made sense
at the time. Turn up the heat.

When sulks and stews have almost evaporated,
You will have a sweet smelling slush.
Whizz to a powder, this interesting theme.
Return to the pan if you wish.

I was delighted to discover I am not the only creative to have derived inspiration from recipes. Yesterday, I was introduced to Leonard Bernstein’s “La Bonne Cuisine” (1947) on BBC Radio Three. Bernstein translated recipes from La Bonne Cuisine Française (by Emile Dutoit) and then scored them for voice and piano. The four pieces are Plum Pudding, Queues de Boeuf (Ox Tails), Tavouk Guenksis
and Civet à Toute Vitesse (Rabbit at Top Speed). They are most entertaining and worth a listen.

Here’s a clip of “La Bonne Cuisine – Four Recipes for Voice and Piano” being performed.

I tweet as @BeadedQuill about all manner of things that capture my imagination. BeadedQuill is also on Facebook.

Please also have a look at my latest book, In the Ocean: a year of poetry.

 

Image courtesy of the Old Design Shop, a vintage design treasury.

I was not a lawn-mower customer. I was trying to book travel. Out of the annoying interaction resulted the poem “I don’t work for you (or Modern Frustrations)“. This poem is one of 104 in my latest book, In the Ocean: a year of poetry.

 

Photo credit: Bananas (2006) by photographer Steve Hopson, www.stevehopson.com. Via wikicommons.

Photo credit: Bananas (2006) by photographer Steve Hopson, www.stevehopson.com. Via Wikimedia Commons.

10 hours ago
I must remember
to tell everyone
about this
banana.
Post.

4 hours ago
Dumplings!
Post.

a few seconds ago 
Now,
finished my poem!!
Post.


Yesterday evening I read this post, 7 Ways to be Insufferable on Facebook. Ohmyme! Guilty, of all seven misdemeanours, I am quite certain. The post made me laugh so much and 3) The Literal Status Update with its banana-contemplating stick figure, especially so. I couldn’t resist. Here’s another gem of a very short Monday poem/non-poem. It’s almost literally as short as a status update.

In other literal update news, I had an all-day workshop yesterday. There are parts of my ribcage that ache when I breathe out too deeply. I had not realised my ribcage could ache when breathing. Is this normal?

Also, the BeadedQuill blog is now two years old.

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

SSA40433

Looking Back at Cuttings and Proteas: a log entry about growth and development

Two years and 217 posts ago the BeadedQuill blog was born. On 15th June 2013, after decades of hiding my fiction writing in notebooks, I decided to share it with the wider world. To my 123 signed-up blog followers, I say a thank you. To my 659 Twitter followers and 24 Facebook followers, I also say thank you. I hope you derive some pleasure from my ramblings. To my other readers and supporters, I send appreciation across the cyber-sphere. To those of you who have purchased my work, long life and good health to you! Some of the profits will go into my National Insurance contribution.

Since last year, I have published two books, Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys and In the Ocean: a year of poetry. These books incorporate 129 poems written between April 2013 and April 2014. In the last 6 weeks I have posted a further 9 “fresh” poems. Since starting this blog in 2012, the grand total therefore stands at three available titles and 158 poems written by me out there in the world (and possibly a few rogue ones in letters and on scraps of paper). I mention all this as it has been said, “What can be measured can be assessed”. Productivity for April 2013 – 2014 stood at a poem every 2.8 days.

I’ll spare you the productivity tally for blog postings, but will say that being accountable to a public readership compels me to produce copy. This in itself has been a valuable working method that helped with producing articles and the two long-form projects on which I am currently working. (Spoiler: a potential novel and a non-fiction book about travel.)

I continue to work on brand BeadedQuill. This coming year I would really like to focus on matters such as ‘income stream’ and ‘product development’, ‘marketing’ and ‘audience/market development’. To be honest, these topics tire and frighten me a little. At present, I just want to write and practise (plus a bit of Bachata thrown in for diversion).  The business plan, currently a collection of scribbled notes and mind-maps, needs to be formalised.

In the year ahead, I must once again look into the following: journal submissions, the possibility of securing a literary agent, more readings and public appearances. I need to travel! (Buenos Aires for a tango holiday, ideally.) A change of landscape and diversion will recharge me, I believe. I’ve considered investigating doctoral research in creative practice.

This time last year I was in excellent health, after recovering fully from a nasty turn in 2012. This year, I wish I could say the same. Unfortunately, I experienced a little “flare” (the doctor’s poetic take on the matter) about four weeks ago. A glut of corticosteroids is bringing me ‘round, with a journey into highways of insomnia, mild hallucination (and hearing things), emotional intensity and a pervading drug-induced buzz. On occasions like this, the every two steps forward on the health journey seem undermined by the five steps back. Nonetheless, I pick myself up and go back to start.

“Zen mind, beginner’s mind is apparently a desired state for the eternal student. Encounter moments and activity as though for the first time. In this way you will let it teach you.” I wrote this as the opening of my very first post. This is still such a challenging approach. When your efforts seem to show progress, this provides direction and solace. I don’t want to keep going back to start – with The Writing or with health, or with any other number of circumstances of my life. It is nice to feel as though I’m building something.

To counter beginner’s despair, I say to myself, “There must be something redemptive here.” In addition to the number crunching at the opening, I am pleased to acknowledge that another year later –indeed, three years and seven months after my first conscious day of applying pen to paper – I am still engaged in the labour of Being A Writer.

Since my first post, I have also figured out how to insert a link to my Twitter account.