Archives for the month of: November, 2014
An old magazine advertisement for a Williams Typewriter courtesy of the Old Design Shop.

An old magazine advertisement for a Williams Typewriter courtesy of the Old Design Shop.

At the beginning of this month I wrote of the bumper crop of archive poems for November. Here are the last few from the files of 2012 and 2013:

A Bequest of Wonder, a poem inspired by a painted banner of Chinese silk, a Chinese artist’s portrait and two detailed Shunga prints.

I do. Do you?, in which all the antics of friends and family at a wedding are recalled.

The Benefits of 320 Kicks, for which I, the poem-writer, executed 320 kicks.

Did you read the post about the poem I’d like on my epigraph? Here I share about the wild horses who fling their thoughts.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books available for preview and purchase. Click on the titles below:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

Books_gift_edited

Christmas is less than a month away. There’s still time to order a book of BeadedQuill’s poetry for someone special. Even non-poetry readers love the short and pithy ‘sushi‘ verses.

There is a choice of three titles:

The most recent publication, In the Ocean: a year of poetry offers a bumper 104 poems. Over 52 weeks the poet produced 2 poems a week. This book is a collation of her creative output. There is a verse for everyone in this volume.

Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys is a compilation on love, life and work for today’s modern men and and boys. Carl C, a modern boy himself, says of the collection, “We Modern Boys can be rather boorish and in such a bothering rush. Emily asks of us: pay attention for a while.”

The third title, Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012 presents twenty poems that chronicle the poet’s formative decade of travel and learning. Verses originated in cities and rural towns from across Brazil, South Africa, England and Poland. The mystical decade resulted in this collection of observational gems.

All three titles are available for preview and purchase at BeadedQuill’s Blurb Bookshop.

Starr 031007-0039 Danger - Unexploded Ordnance - Restricted Area - sign

Forest & Kim Starr [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

November punched its winds at us.
Blind, we raked remembrance
and glory. Blind grot from combat
now in books
is still our iron harvest.


Two sources were the inspiration for this poem. A friend’s Facebook status about the discovery of an unexploded shell in his local Swedish neighbourhood prompted me to look up a little about these doodads.

UXO (unexploded ordnance) is the acronym used for munitions that did not explode at the time they were employed and are still pose a threat when discovered at a later date. The UXO’s are also identified as ‘blind’. The ‘iron harvest’ is the colloquial term used for the residue shells unearthed by French and Flemish farmers in the erstwhile battlefields of WWI.

I have also been thinking about how our human experiences, both individual and collective, can sometimes take years to surface or reach a conclusion.

In truth, I have also been browsing through the poetry journal Agenda’s Requiem: The Great War edition. Perhaps this and the general culture of WWI commemoration have entered my sub-conscious.

However, there it was not my intention to produce a WWI or a war commentary poem. I merely wanted a poem. As with all my poems, hopefully it could travel to any time or place where humans leave their trail.

(It is also an irony that in isiXhosa, uxolo means peace.)

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

I’ve clearly stepped into my own Back to the Future DeLorean. A post scheduled November 12th was made live today. Consequently the post found its way into the back list. I can only plead autumnal illness and an addled brain. Please read about “Wild Horses Don’t Break.” Writers with chest infections sometimes do.

P.S. Number III is my favourite.

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

An old magazine advertisement for a Williams Typewriter courtesy of the Old Design Shop.

An old magazine advertisement for a Williams Typewriter courtesy of the Old Design Shop.

Sometimes I write material other than poetry. Here is an extract from a recent article I wrote about a young man who served during World War I. He had worked as a graphic designer and was fond of reciting poetry.

“Even his father was surprised when Julian Gould enlisted in 1915. Gould had gone to Art School, spent time in a Paris studio and at the time when war broke out, was engaged as a print designer. His friends and family knew him as a kind and considerate dreamer who studied French and loved poetry. His political sympathies were not overtly aligned to King and country

Like many men who went into battle, he lived by the bullet. Read the full article in the Public Catalogue Foundation’s November newsletter.

I have written other pieces for the newsletter including
an article about the Brontë Parsonage Museum,
The Grand Ol’ Skaters of York, an exploration of a winter scene by painter Jan Griffier I (c. 1645 – 1718), and
103 True Faces of Robert Burns, which considers a joyful, playful pastiche that reworks a well known portrait of the young Burns.

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

An illustration of a prawn salad from from Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, 1907. Courtesy of the Old Design Shop., a vintage image treasury.

An illustration of a prawn salad from from Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, 1907. Courtesy of the Old Design Shop, a vintage image treasury.

Today I present two poems from the archive –

Now here is something to marvel at… (posted in 2012)
and
Is it worth it? (posted in 2013)

Both poems tackle the theme of worldly aspirations and success. In “Now here…” the concerns of juggling a shoestring budget are interrupted by observations of life’s ordinary marvels and man’s urban success (the Gherkin).

Is it worth it?” uses the image of a well-kept lawn as the metaphor for reigned-in success. Grass is that something else that reaches from the earth and applauds the expansive blue of sky. It exists as a blade of grass merely being for being’s own sake. When the grass has once again reached an unruly height, the lawnmower returns to cut it down.

I explain in the 2013 post that “Is it worth it?” was a based on an earlier short poem I thought I had mislaid. That poem, about prawns and trekking up a London hill, later reappeared.

Success, achievement and priorities have also featured in these poems

Highest Priority
How do you make a dream come true?
A definition, notably for the cloud-dwelling artists
The Character Building
926 breathless accomplishments


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

Edouard Manet, The Masked Ball at the Opera (c.1873), oil on canvas, 59.1 x 72.5 cm. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA. Image courtesy of Wikiart.org

Edouard Manet, The Masked Ball at the Opera (c.1873), oil on canvas, 59.1 x 72.5 cm. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA. Image courtesy of Wikiart.org

All the beautiful people, darling,
are at the opera house tonight.
They’re wearing their tasteful sparkles, darling.
At interval their drinks order’s laid out.

Atop the bar, an isle in the crowd,
a row of champagne bottles direct their corks:
To a man with an eye-patch who conducts
with a dress ring of diamanté.

At a prom pouffe black dress
brought to taste in a cinch, by a double C.
For the camp contrapposto at ease with a
whisper at the silver ice-bucket.

Mon cherie, you should have been here
on opening night when everyone…
He leant over into the gold drops
dingling and weighing from her ears.

All the beautiful people, darling,
are at the opera house tonight.
They’re wearing their tasteful sparkles, darling.
See at interval their drinks order’s laid out?

They’re terribly civilised at the opera, darling,
as beautiful people are.
Only beautiful people, darling,
populate this muse’s arena.

An elderly one strolls out on the terrace, wears a skullcap
to keep warm where one there was hair.

Inside champagne corks from the glittering bar
aim at the gossip and theatrical flares.
For in Covent Garden, darling, even the Christmas lights declare
All the beautiful people, darling, are this side of the square.


Last Thursday I attended a triple bill of contemporary ballet at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. This little verse unfolded as I indulged in some people watching during the two intervals.

Yes, there really was a man wearing an eye-patch waving his diamanté dress ring. In fact, at one point I thought there was more theatricality in the audience than on the stage.

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

Baker Street Waterloo Railway platform March 1906

By Anonymous (The Graphic) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A number of poems have come to me during London commutes. “Every morning because it’s wonderful to watch” originated on the platform at East Finchley station. When I find myself waiting for a train to arrive, I still sometimes think about the poem between the tracks.

Other tube poems include

Trapped items
Tube Sketch
Tunnel Days
On the way to Westminster
The Home Commute
supreme ultimate


I tweet as @BeadedQuill and am on Facebook (BeadedQuill). Please do follow me.
Three books of my poetry are available to view at BeadedQuill’s Blurb Bookstore.

Bruce Boyd (C) http://www.thewildones.co.za

Photographer: Bruce Boyd (C) http://www.thewildones.co.za

I love this poem – “Wild Horses Don’t Break” – so very much. To date it is one of the poems I’d be happy to have on my gravestone. Not that I like the idea of being buried in a cramped plot. Fling my ashes to the dunes and the sea!

The wild horses of Kleinmond are not grey/white. Most are brown. That detail was a stroke of artistic license intended to echo the seaside dunes and create the sharp image of white movement through mountain passes. There’s also something mystical about a white horse (or could this be the Celt in me surfacing?).

This post’s accompanying image is of the real wild horses of Kleinmond taken by photographer Bruce Boyd. You can view many beautiful images of Kleinmond’s wild horses in the Wild Ones online gallery. Prints of these images as well as a calendar are also available. Follow updates about the Wild Ones on FacebookA heartfelt thank you to Bruce for generously sharing his work.

Kleinmond, by the way, is a seaside town in the Overstrand, near Cape Town. It neighbours Betty’s Bay, a beautiful stretch of coastline that has inspired a few of my most personal poems:

On a rock amongst rocks
A thousand scientific facts about the sea
A quiet thought also titled In this place, I eat butternut soup

My poem “Bursting art” is quite different in tone. For its simplicity and quietness, it would be another epitaph contender.


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


During the first months of posting on my blog in 2012, I opened this short piece with a reminiscence about the red creepers that draped my undergraduate university during autumn. I went on to comment on the dark evenings that enclose this season in the Northern hemisphere

I tweet much more when I’m in on a chilly autumn evening. Find me on Twitter as @BeadedQuill.
My ramblings may also be found on Facebook: BeadedQuill.
If you prefer paging through a book under a blanket with cocoa at hand, consider one of the titles from my BeadedQuill Bookstore at Blurb.

Illustration details: Cropped and re-tinted image by Jules Grandgagnage (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons.