write, write and write again

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:

The Spider, first line: It's horrible and ugly and I hate it.

The Spider rewritten. First three lines.

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.

Spider's web with rain drops

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.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

6 thoughts on “write, write and write again”

  1. 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)


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