Having acquired new book cases, I have been sorting out some of the many piles of paper that I have in my studio; while doing so, I came across two versions of a poem laboriously written out for a competition back when I was a child.
The earlier version is just six lines long and starts:
Clearly, though, I wasn’t satisfied.
More material has been added to the later version – which runs to eleven lines and seems to have been considered as the ‘finished’ poem – and the linebreaks have been re-jigged. It begins:
It’s good to know that even that long ago I was re-drafting my work with a hope for publication or recognition. Sad, though, that after all this time I am still not much more conf¡dent about linebreaks.
The last line is similar in both versions of The Spider:
“But its web is beautiful.”
“But its web looks beautiful.”
I’m not sure changing “is” to “looks” is an improvement, but then, I am no longer ten years old.
Thinking about the style of the poem – observation of nature and the objectivity that says that however nasty it seems, there’s something positive to be found in life – I do wonder how far my writing has actually developed in nearly half a century.
I’ll even admit that, despite being totally familiar with the rules, I still need to think twice about whether the word “its” needs an apostrophe.
6 thoughts on “write, write and write again”
I remember a poem I wrote when I was 7, I think, which impressed my tutors so much that I had to write it out 20 times, in my best handwriting, using a fountain pen.
Overenthusiastic teachers have a lot to answer for.
(It wasn’t even any good)
Heh. You realise, don’t you, that they only said they were impressed as an excuse for making you write it out? I’m sure they were just trying to give a positive spin to the concept of writing lines.